Name/age:Kathleen Tobin, 35
Company/description:iKidStore.com features children's name-brand products and also raises money for charities.
Based: San Francisco
1999 sales: N/A
2000 projections: $2 million-plus
Family ties? You'd think that having 16 siblings and 35 nieces and nephews would've prompted Tobin's vision for iKidStore.com, which reaps advertising revenues and affiliate fees from kid brands spanning Gap Inc.'s babygap to FAO Schwarz. But the childless (yet prepared) 13-year marketing and advertising vet says it was actually her co-op marketing efforts for former employer Bank of America that did it. She realized the Internet's potential for providing a similar marketing service to "time-poor" children's goods consumers.
On your marks: "I came up with the idea last August, locked myself in my apartment for a week and wrote the business plan," Tobin recalls. "I left my job on September 30 and started calling [potential] partners October 1." By iKidStore.com's November 9 launch, she had scored 50 partners and 100 links.
No sob stories here: Fortunately, associates Tobin had previously worked with on ad accounts heard about her plan, contacted her and invested a combined $1.3 million for holiday advertising. "It's all been a miracle," says Tobin.
Although an influx of competitors crowding the market is likely, she's confident her position as a pioneer, her stores of venture capital and her willingness to donate a nickel of every dollar of net profit to charity will keep her at the forefront. She encourages customers to give as well. Says Tobin, "No matter what happens, this has been the greatest experience of my life."