Women entrepreneurs making toys and more for kids: enter to be in our holiday gift guide! (Credit: Upsplash)
Women entrepreneurs making toys and more for kids: enter to be in our holiday gift guide! (Credit: Upsplash)

(Editor’s note: The deadline for submitting entries has passed. Please check back for updates as the holiday season approaches.)

Let’s face it: Most kids have way too much stuff already. (Remember last year’s L.O.L. Surprise! ball, the “it” present with 50 layers of toy surprises for children to unravel?) But since the holiday season is all about gifts — and kids tearing into them — it’s inevitable that parents, grandparents or anyone with a child in their life will want to buy them something special.

Since most kids are already swimming in mass-produced goodies like Fingerlings, Hatchimals and all things Disney, we’re looking for submissions from independent female entrepreneurs who make meaningful and one-of-a-kind gifts for kids for our 2018 Gift Guide.

[Related: Check out our 2017 Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide]

For this guide, we’re seeking women business owners whose ventures churn out children’s favorites all year round. We want to hear from founders selling building blocks, stuffed animals, educational games, sweets and more, or who offer music lessons, face-painting and other fun activities. (Please note, you don’t actually have to be a “mompreneur” to apply.)

In short, if your product or service is meant to make kids happy, we want to hear all about it!

Between now and (new deadline!) end of day Sunday, October 21, tell us about ONE product you sell or service you offer for $100 or less that would make a fabulous gift for a little loved one, or the youngsters of parents who are valued employees and important clients. In your submissions, tell us the story behind your product, and how it entertains or enlightens children.

[Related: Meet the Women Behind Elf on the Shelf]

We will begin showcasing our gift ideas on Tuesday, Nov. 20 — just in time for early-bird shoppers tackling their holiday lists on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. We’ll also promote the guide on social media and share it with our media partners throughout the holiday shopping season.

Full List of Criteria:

  • You must nominate yourself.
  • You must have been in operation for at least 2 years, and run a full-time endeavor.
  • Your product or service must be for kids, and must cost $100 or less.
  • Yours may be a for-profit business, nonprofit or social enterprise.
  • You cannot be a franchisee, independent distributor or sales representative.
  • You must have one or more employees besides yourself (full- or part-time, but not independent contractors).
  • You must have created the product or service yourself; it can’t be sourced from a supplier.
  • You may reside anywhere in the world.
  • You must submit a high-resolution image of the product or service with your application.
  • If you have male co-owners or employees, you must be the primary leader of the company.
  • A team of judges at The Story Exchange may ask you to send your product for review.

Note: Your startup story, included in your submission, will become part of 1,000+ Stories, an ongoing research project with Babson College, if you are not already a part of this campaign. Information provided for the gift guide may be published as part of that effort.

Also, if you have already submitted your story to our 1,000+ Stories project and would like to be considered for our 2018 Gift Guide, please fill out the form anyway, as it contains additional questions. If you have filled out a 1,000+ Stories form within the past 3 months, please indicate as such in the response fields for any duplicate questions.

After you apply, be sure to spread the word! Tell your friends, colleagues and networks about The Story Exchange’s guide, and encourage others to submit applications by sharing a link to our call for applications via email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We can’t wait to hear all about your great gifts!

Questions? Please contact us by writing to [email protected].

[Related: The Story Exchange’s Visit to a Pop-up Holiday Market]