By Candace Alper
Published Monday, October 4, 2010
In working toward today’s launch over the past year, I have found myself looking back, recalling how it all began.
I am a Mompreneur in its most classic definition. My daughter, Hannah, was born in January 2003 and, like most Canadian moms, I looked forward to a full year of maternity leave with my baby girl. I loved everything about being a new mother and took it all in. I joined Mom & Baby groups, I went to Movies for Mommies and I looked forward to my husband coming home from work to enjoy our time together as a family.
By the time summer came, I was thinking about what it would be like to go back to work. We had been looking into daycare for Hannah and the reality started to sink in that my days with my daughter at home were numbered.
It was a time when “mompreneur” was not a buzzword and there was an abundance of inspirational success stories like there are today. Conversations about what I could do to be at home with our daughter dominated everything. One evening over dinner, the idea of Name Your Tune began to take shape.
We are a musical family. Eric has always worked in the music business. It is his passion. It is in his blood. His grandfather founded and owned one of Toronto’s landmark blues nightclubs. Our first date was a concert. His first gift to me was an acoustic guitar. Our first road trip was to see my favourite band. The first Mom & Baby group I joined was a music circle. We sang to Hannah all the time and it was when we noticed how she lit up when we would slip her name into as song that our idea grew into something more.
And so it began: a crazy idea about producing a CD featuring the child’s name in every song. We are a musical family – but not in the Guthrie way. Neither one of us can play an instrument or sing (Eric playing the drums in a band in high school doesn’t count nor does signing along with the Indigo Girls when I’m alone in the car with the volume turned up so loud that I can’t hear myself and I never did learn how to play that guitar).
We began to put together our wish list of talented friends who could bring our concept to life. One by one, they came over for dinner and one by one, they all responded in the same way, “Fun! I’m in!” We chose the songs and I started to rework them to include Hannah’s name.
We successfully presented a business plan to an investor and I took a crash-course in music production. Four months in a home recording studio, 700 names, 9 songs and countless late nights at the computer later, we had our initial recordings.
November 29, 2003 was my first gift show and our big debut. I made 30 CDs that day while people shopped around at the show.
At the time, we didn’t know where we were going with Name Your Tune. All we knew was we needed it to work in order to pay the bills and replace my pre-Hannah income. I did every gift show I could – at schools, churches, synagogues, community centers…wherever. People loved it. They called to order more and then their friends called to order.
Eric is a publicist in the music business and knew that our next step was to put it “out there”. We sent a copy to a friend at Today’s Parent and received our first review.
We look back now and realize how far we’ve come. When it began, Name Your Tune didn’t have a website. We took orders by email and by telephone and our business was all through word of mouth. That first review listed our email address “email@example.com” and our home phone number.
Next we sent Name Your Tune CDs to the hosts of Breakfast Television in Toronto. They were running segments every Wednesday morning about hot, new and innovative products. I received a phone call on a Monday they were going to feature Name Your Tune on Wednesday. Within 36 hours we had a website.
There have been many other exciting turning points for Name Your Tune since then, including media, celebrities, retailers, customer testimonials, shows, four new songs and the addition of thousands of names to the original 700 names we started with.
The turning point that stands out for me on both a personal and professional level is when my best friend and her husband joined Name Your Tune as partners. Jessica and I met on the first day of nursery school and have been best friends ever since. With 35 years of friendship behind us we are now partners in business. Jessica and Mario bring fresh energy, knowledge and passion to Name Your Tune.
Other than planning a surprise trip to Walt Disney World for my daughter, what I’m about to tell you has been the hardest secret I have ever had to keep. Today, October 5th, 2010, I am excited to open my vault and share the news!
After a year in the making, we are proud to announce the release of our second volume: Name Your Tune 2.
We are proud that our Name Your Tune performers, Paul, Lenny, Barbara and Tim who have been with us since the beginning have again shared their dynamic talents with us. For Name Your Tune 2 they are joined by new talent that includes Erica Ehm, Dana Glickman, Jennifer Valentyne and Scott Stratten.
A special note of thanks to my friend and graphic designer, Lindsay Brewda of Grace Announcements, whose creative talent you see all over our new website. Not only did she collaborate with me in designing our personalized placemats and wall art, but she helped me to make my vision for our new website a reality. I hope that you enjoy looking around and shopping here and if you think it looks good, it is in large part because of Lindsay.
We dedicate Name Your Tune 2 our daughter Hannah, my nephews Jack and James, Jessica and Mario’s daughter Beth and also to all of you who are reading this and who have shared Name Your Tune with your family and friends over the last 7 years.