From the March 1998 issue of Startups

Between feeding the kids, driving them to soccer practice and meeting with their teachers, motherhood is a full-time business. Karen K. Curoe, the mother of two daughters, realized this while exchanging phone numbers with other busy parents. Digging into her purse for yet another scrap of paper to write on, Curoe thought how much easier life would be if she could just hand out a business card.

The Raymore, Missouri, mom designed a set of cards with her name, both her children's names and the family's phone number and began passing them out. When other parents began clamoring for cards of their own, Curoe responded by starting a business, Professional Mom Inc., which sells "office products to use in the business of being a mom."

More than a year later, Professional Mom is still going strong. Curoe runs the business from home, producing and shipping personalized business cards, notepads and stationery with the assistance of her husband and her two little partners.

Professional Mom's product line has expanded to include business cards for professional dads and grandparents and thank-you cards personalized with children's names.

Easy As Pie

People living in New York City can have almost any food imaginable delivered to their doors: Chinese, Indian, Mexican . . . and now, home-baked goods, fresh from the oven, thanks to former paralegal Regina McRae.

McRae had never considered opening a business, but after baking pies for a friend's Christmas party in 1994, she found herself fielding an avalanche of orders from party-goers who raved over her peach cobbler and sweet potato pies.

"I started baking as a favor to friends, but before I knew it, I had a business going," says McRae, 42. "People kept calling and asking for price lists, so I had to make one up."

McRae also came up with a name--Grandma's Secrets--and after four months, left her job to deliver her baked goodies by train full time. Thanks to word-of-mouth as well as local media exposure, her client list, which includes Sak's Fifth Avenue and Columbia University, has grown to the point where she now has several part-time workers for kitchen and delivery help.

Grandma's Secrets recently gained national exposure with a Web site (http://www.quikpage.com/g/gransecret) and a partnership with Cakes Across America (a baked-goods delivery service with a toll-free number).

Meet Market

Singles looking for that special someone don't always have many options. They can go to bars; hire dating services or let friends fix them up. Michael Spredemann, a former limo driver, was looking for love in all these places when he heard an ad for a singles club in Denver that offered a range of activities from skydiving to a night at the theater. Research soon told him the business would also be successful in Milwaukee, his home town.

Spredemann was still surprised at the response when he and his father, Jerry, launched Mile High Adventures in January 1996. "The club just took off," recalls the 28-year-old entrepreneur.

While he helps members expand their social networks, Spredemann (who is still single himself) is expanding his membership roster by planning events for married couples, too.

Contact Sources

Mile High Adventures & Entertainment, (414) 456-9494, http://www.events4u.com

Professional Mom Inc., P.O. Box 1686, Raymore, MO 64083-1686, (888) 466-6462