It’s no longer the age of the man going off to the office and the woman staying home in every family. Many women are opting to prioritize their careers and working extremely hard to balance their work life with their family life. However, there are many women who still opt to become stay-at-home moms once their children are born. Every woman’s reason for making the choice is different, but the overarching criteria seems to be time and a more flexible schedule. When you work a 9 to 5 job, you pretty much are required to be there between those hours – no excuses. Stay-at-home moms are busy doing all the daily tasks that make a household run, but their schedules are a bit more flexible – they’re able to run off to that playdate in the middle of the day, or book an appointment for the late morning.
Stay at home moms definitely aren’t just focused on cooking and cleaning – many of them are strong, fiercely intelligent women who at one point had high powered careers of their own. Eventually, between diaper changes and afternoon snack making, many stay-at-home moms find themselves inspired to start up a business, and many begin things right at home.
Sure, it may not work for every stay-at-home mom – but many end up turning their fun side gig into extremely lucrative careers.
Here are 16 stay-at-home moms who became millionaires.
16 Debra Cohen
Cohen started out as many stay-at-home moms do – she was a high powered business woman travelling around the world, but when her daughter was born, she decided she wanted to have more time to spend with her. Cohen found herself home all day in a gorgeous Long Island Tudor home, and she quickly grew a bit bored. Her solution? Redecorating. When she began redecorating her home, her house soon turned into an endless parade of painters, construction workers and more. She didn’t feel too comfortable with so many strangers parading through her home, and thus her idea was born – a contractor referral service. She managed to find five great contractors, took a small loan of $5,000, and began testing things out close to home – with her neighbours. She paid back her loan in a few months, and within a few years, had Home Remedies – a business valued at over $3.5 million
15 Sandy Stein
Stein spend over three decades working as a flight attendant, and after all her time in the workforce, this mom decided she wanted to stay-at-home and focus on her business. The idea that transformed her from regular mom to millionaire mom is so simple it’s almost silly – Finders Key Purse, a small device that attaches keys to your purse to make sure they don’t disappear into the depths of your messy bag. The simple idea is now worth $25 million – far more than she could have earned as a flight attendant, even if she worked another 30+ years.
14 Stephenie Meyer
Okay, basically everyone who knows anything about pop culture knows exactly who novelist Stephenie Meyer is. However, they may not know what she was doing before catapulting to superstardom, thanks to her hit teen series, Twilight. Meyer was happily living as a stay-at-home mom, taking care of her three sons, and some daydreaming eventually led her to scribble out her thoughts. After writing the first book, within a matter of months Meyer had signed a $750,000 three-book deal with a prestigious publishing house. She went on to earn far, far more than that, and even more when the books were turned into a hugely successful film franchise. She now has a net worth of well over $100 million.
13 Sheri Schmelzer
Sheri Schmelzer proves that you don’t always have to create something totally new in order to achieve success – sometimes, even modifying an already existing, popular product can pay off big. Schmelzer took a look at Crocs, the popular rubber footwear that were all the rage a few years ago, and saw only one thing – holes. Though the shoe itself was perfectly functional, she figured people would love the chance to accessorize their shoes and custom fit them to their personalities. She created Jibbitz shoe charms, and by merely creating a new product that slightly altered an already existing best seller, she built up a net worth over approximately $300 million.
12 Sara Blakely
You may not know who Sara Blakely is, but just mention the word Spanx and every woman on earth will know exactly what you’re talking about. The popular compression garment is a lifesaver for women around the world when they’re trying to squeeze into form fitting dresses, or just create a sleek look, and it’s all thanks to this one young mom. Blakely was working a series of jobs in sales when she was inspired to invent Spanx, and she did everything from drive around to various manufacturing factories to researching patent law in order to make her product a success. As a reward for her efforts, Blakely earned the distinction of being one of the youngest self-made billionaires at the young age of 41.
11 Julie Aigner-Clark
Many stay-at-home moms who become millionaires end up inventing a product due to a need they see on the market – Julie Aigner-Clark is no exception. When she was at home with her newborn daughter in the late 1990s, she had difficulty finding educational materials she could use to expose her baby to music and the arts. Her solution? Make one herself! She made a video in her basement, edited it with the help of her husband, and the endeavour eventually turned into the hugely successful Baby Einstein series. The company was eventually bought by Disney, a powerhouse in the children’s entertainment sector, after the company was making $12 million in revenue a mere five years after Aigner-Clark shot the first video.
10 Debbi Fields
Everyone knows Mrs. Fields cookies – they’ve been around for what seems like forever. However, the origin story might be less familiar to some. In the late 1970s, Debbi Fields was a stay-at-home mom who was becoming a bit bored at home. She found out what she was passionate about – baking cookies – and decided to try to turn it into a business. The young mom was only 20, and her idea to open a store that sold only cookies was a strange idea in 1977, but she managed to successfully open her first shop in California. A decade or so later, in 1993, she sold her home baked empire to an investment firm, and now you’ll see Mrs. Fields stores across the country, and Mrs. Fields cookies on the shelves of countless grocery stores.
9 Nicole Donnelly
Take note, entrepreneurs – your big idea doesn’t necessarily have to be absolutely world changing, it merely needs to satisfy a tiny niche in the market. That’s exactly what Nicole Donnelly did. The stay-at-home mom was getting frustrated as she battled her child’s diaper rashes, and found that when she let her daughter enjoy some time without bottoms to alleviate rash symptoms, her legs quickly became cold. She brought back the 1980s fashion staple – leg warmers. For children, they were the perfect solution, keeping tiny legs warm, but also helping make diaper changes easier. She got her start peddling her product to other moms, and quickly grew the company to a multi-million dollar valuation.
8 Rosie Herman
Rosie Herman spent fifteen years working as a manicurist before the birth of her twin girls. When she became a mom, she decided she wanted to spend more time with her twins, and retired from the salon in order to become a stay-at-home mom. However, there was one issue that continued to plague her – dry skin. She couldn’t find any product that satisfied her needs, and wasn’t willing to compromise with products that were full of chemicals and dyes, so there was only solution – make her own! Rosie made batch after batch of lotion in her kitchen before finding the perfect formula. She started small, making the product for herself and giving a few jars away to friends, then moved the operation to her garage when demand increased a bit. Eventually, she had a business on her hands that was worth over $20 million.
7 Rebecca Matthias
While maternity fashion has come a long way over the years, in 1982, when Rebecca Matthias was a pregnant woman in her late 20s looking for stylish options, there just wasn’t a lot of choices for fashion conscious moms-to-be. She decided to create her own maternity clothing line, and eventually became the founder and CEO of Mothers Work Inc., a maternity wear company. What are some of the stores in her empire? Well, the most recognizable is probably the ultra-popular A Pea in the Pod, a company even celebrities flock to when they need chic maternity wear. Her company now has 1100 stores in the United States along and is valued at over $500 million.
6 Alli Webb
After she got married and had children, Alli Webb – a New York transplant living in Los Angeles – spent five years at home with her children. While she enjoyed her time with her kids, she soon found that she wanted to be intellectually stimulated and challenged a bit more – in her own words, “I started to feel like my brain was drying up and I needed to get back out there.” Webb had former salon experience, but instead of going back to work for someone else, she started her own business – blow outs. Her mobile blow drying business started with Webb going to friends’ homes and styling their hair, and eventually evolved into Drybar – a salon where you can’t get a cut or color, just a phenomenal blow out. She hit branding on the nail by naming her blowouts after cocktails and creating a fun experience that women flocked to. Now, the former stay-at-home mom has a beauty empire worth over $20 million.
5 Brandi Temple
Mom Brandi Temple had her hands full with her four children in North Carolina. However, when her daughters started asking for clothes they weren’t able to find in stores, Temple dusted off a sewing machine her husband had bought her and starting sewing up a storm. Soon, the on-request creations turned into a lucrative business. , but she made time to use a sewing machine that her husband had bought her. Soon, her hobby turned into a lucrative business. The dresses she had formerly made just for her daughters were soon sold under the brand Lolly Wolly Doodle. Temple’s business achieved success without a significant marketing effort on her part – its business came mostly from other moms and customers sharing their happiness and photos of the dresses. Lolly Wolly Doodle’s brings in over $10 million every year now, and also employs many individuals in Temple’s Lexington, Kentucky hometown.
4 Kris Jenner
Okay, okay – everyone knows who this high powered mom is. However, just take a moment to think about the Kardashian family. At one point, Kris Jenner was just a stay-at-home mom with a huge brood of children. Her children all had interests in different things, but they dabbled in different fields with an unfocused attention and no real game plan. So Kris stepped up. While many love to hate the Kardashians, or even just hate them full stop, it can’t be denied that Kris’ business savvy has snagged her children endorsement deals, books, spin-off shows, and much more. Without Kris, the Kardashians probably wouldn’t be the public figures they are today. Her business empire is her family, and she runs it flawlessly.
3 Kim Lavine
Stay-at-home mom Kim Lavine was faced with a common parental problem – what to give her two sons’ teachers for Christmas. Proving that inspiration can strike from just about anywhere, she got the idea for her product when she saw the bag of corn her husband had tossed down near her sewing machine after feeding deer in the backyard. She created her product, the Wuvit, a two pound pillow filled with feed corn that can either be heated or frozen, depending on what the user wants. Once she had her product, she started hustling in mall kiosks, racking up over $200,000 in sales in only two months. Lavine is now the founder and president of Green Daisy, the company that makes the Wuvit, and a multi-millionaire thanks to her innovation.
2 Iris Shamus
When her son was small, Iris Shamus had the same fear that many parents have – does my child have a severe allergy? When her son seemed desperate to sample nuts, she eventually allowed him to try a cashew – and he immediately had a bad reaction. Iris was concerned about how her son would handle his allergy when she wasn’t around, and she wanted some kind of visible indicator that would remind his teachers that things needed to be kept nut-free. When she wasn’t able to find anything like that on the market, Shamus filled the niche with her own invention. She and her son created a cast of fun, child-friendly characters for the most common allergies - Nutso, Eggie, P. Nutty, Soy Cool, Pint, Professor Wheatley, Detective Fin and Crabby. She had dog tags and bracelets manufactured with the characters in fun colors and her idea started to take off. Shamus went from sketching characters at her kitchen table to presenting at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
1 Joy Mangano
You know you’re a big deal when a successful director wants to make a biopic about you starring Jennifer Lawrence – and that’s exactly what’s happening for Joy Mangano. Once upon a time, Mangano was a single mom who was struggling to support her family. During a cleaning session, she grew frustrated with how dirty and wet her hands were getting from wringing out the mop she was using, and she ended up creating the Miracle Mop. Investing only $250, she got a prototype made and began selling her product at trade shows and on QVC. Mangano, a serial inventor, has created countless other products that address pesky problems like the one she encountered while cleaning, but the most well known is still the Miracle Mop, which is responsible for about $10 million in sales a year.