Membership  / Member Spotlight  /  Melissa Hyslop

Mel with Cole

Melissa Hyslop

Toronto

President, Malarkey Kids

"Life as a mom and as a mompreneur has many times of "malarkey", but I would not trade it for anything!"

More About Me

Tell us about your career journey and how you ended up here.

Before beginning a business in manufacturing sought-after baby products, Melissa was the co-owner of one of the first successful, speed dating companies in North America. After a successful ten-year career in the dating industry, which includes meeting her husband and starting a family, Melissa paired her success as an entrepreneur from the dating industry to being recognized as a sought-after, award-winning brand in baby products throughout the world.

Describe yourself in 5-7 words.

Mom
Fur-Mom
Mompreneur
Prosecco Lover
Chocolate covered strawberry advocate

Tell us about a time when you thrived at work, and what you learned about yourself from that experience.

I learned a lot about myself when I launched the first teething mitten, the Munch Mitt. It took three years of research and development with endless nights of doubt and worry as I had no idea if it would be well received by babies, parents and the toy industry in general. However, it was a smash hit as it filled a major gap in the teething business. I realized that I had to believe in myself, no matter what. I had to be my biggest fan.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Creating new products that make babies and parents happy!

How about when you "turn off" and go home? Any hobbies or fun activities you are involved in?

I have my own dog rescue that keeps me busy when I'm not working and when I'm not taking care of my three sons under 9 years old!

Any must-read, must-watch or must-follow recommendations?

#1 - Know your strengths and weaknesses and know them well. If you know you are not good in certain areas, get help early, whether that be from friends who have skills in these areas or from hiring – it is important not to try and do everything yourself. This will only hold you back in the long-run.

#2 – Research – become your own scientist. Figure out if the idea you have has been done before (this is not a deal breaker) and what would make your idea different or unique; does it fill a need? Figure out who your competitors in the space are and how they are doing. Delve into the industry you want to get into by attending trade shows and talking to people. Get to know the who’s who and what’s what of that industry. For products – research patents, trademarks and copyrights, what kind there are and how they do and do not protect you.

#3 – Find a mentor – this should be a person specifically who is in or has been in the industry you want to get into. Pay for this if you have to, it is worth its weight in gold.

#4 – Plan – write a business plan, study it and re-visit it. It is okay to revise it or go outside of this plan when needed but in writing the plan it will help you figure out what your ultimate goal is and whether or not this journey is feasible for you.

#5 – Get your financials in order. Do not start something you can’t finish – make sure you have the finances to back you up. Emergencies happen and sometimes it takes longer to grow than planned. Make sure your family life will not be affected drastically by your ambition and pursuit. Evaluate whether the risk is worth the reward, if so, set some money set aside or work to find investors. Investors with knowledge in the industry are far more valuable than finance-only investors.

Anything else you want to share with the WIT Community?

As mentioned, believe in yourself!