10 Careers that Bring Out the Kid in You

These women entrepreneurs found the fountain of youth—through their work.

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Toy Maker

One day, Valerie Lecoeur led her three children on a treasure hunt along the beach. Only they found more trash than treasure—including discarded beach toys. "Why not make toys that will biodegrade in a few years when washed out to sea?" she thought.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Valerie Lecoeur

How It Makes Her Feel Young

Her beach toys, made from a corn-based bioplastic, were picked up by Pottery Barn. Best part? Toy testing with her then two-year-old daughter, Sophie, on a sandy beach. "It's good to remind oneself that sometimes—most times—simple is still the most fun," she said.

Photo Credit: Petra Whitehead


Pamela Diedrich's desire to capture every moment with her two dimpled boys—from summer park outings to birthday parties—led to her career as an event photographer. "When friends saw my scrapbooks, they'd ask if I could make one for their kids," she said.

Photo Credit: Pamela Diedrich

How It Makes Her Feel Young

Now Diedrich, a former choir girl, rocks out weekly at concerts as the music photographer for the local event review website, How Was the Show. "I get to be an artist again," she said.



Photo Credit: Pamela Diedrich

Party Planner

When Nicole Liwienski turned 15, her parents threw a Quinceañera, a Hispanic coming of age party, for her. "I felt like a little bride in my ball gown," she said.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nicole Liwienski

How It Makes Her Feel Young

Now, as co-owner of White Peacock, an event styling and planning firm, she attempts to create those magical moments for her clients' children—only she adds in a charitable aspect, like donating gifts to Operation Gratitude.


"It's not about what you receive in life, but what you give," she said. "And you're never too young to learn how to give back."

Photo Credit: Darcy Jerome at Pretty Girl Designs

Sheep Farmer

Writer Catherine Friend was a city girl until her partner, Melissa, convinced her to raise sheep and cattle on a small, sustainable farm in southeastern Minnesota. "I've had to find reasons to love farming myself, since supporting a spouse isn't enough of a reason to totally build your life around animals," she said.

Photo Credit: Zoom 'n Dog Productions

How It Makes Her Feel Young

Farm life reminds her to explore her environment like a child—through her sense of touch. Sinking her fingers into the warm, soft fleece on a sheep's back invigorates her. "I'm happy to spend an hour sitting on the ground, letting a lamb sleep in my arms, or scratching an ewe's head," she said. 


Filmmaker Maggie Betts lost two uncles to AIDS in America. After traveling to Africa with UNICEF and learning about their Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission program, she understood how she could lend her artistic talents to help in the fight against AIDS.

Photo Credit: Kat Westergaard

How It Makes Her Feel Young

She spent four months in Zambia shooting The Carrier, a documentary about an HIV-positive woman trying to prevent transmission to her unborn baby. "I discovered so many new things about people and the world we all live in—both the good and the bad," she said. "It makes me feel like an eternally curious—and eternally humbled—inspired student."

Photo Credit: Kat Westergaard


The ritual of pouring a morning cup of coffee inspired Julia Dean's pottery line. "A personal relationship is built with our cup," she said. "Our day can benefit from this near sacred time we give ourselves."

Photo Credit: Dede Hatch

How It Makes Her Feel Young

She teaches pottery to children. "They're our greatest reminder to play," Dean said. And she gets her hands dirty every day. How many of us can say that? 




Photo courtesy of Gina Smith/Shutterstock.com

Photo courtesy of Gina Smith/Shutterstock.com

Fashion Accessories for Children

On a sunny day, Molly Fienning stood with other military families on the flight line, waiting for her pilot husband to park and exit his F-18 jet. She noticed children squinting in the sun. 

Photo Credit: Babiators

How It Makes Them Feel Young

It inspired her to launch Babiators, aviator sunglasses that protect children's eyes from harmful rays, along with Carolyn Guard. When customers send in pictures of their kids in Babiators, Fienning and Guard are reminded of their own carefree childhoods—splashing in pools, digging in the sand on a beach, or riding in a sled.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Babiators

Kids' Fashion Designer

Emine Sandi believes children should be as stylish as their parents. But while shopping for her unborn son, she couldn't find any baby clothes that felt soft against her skin and appealed to her tastes.

Photo Credit: Klever Kids

How It Makes Her Feel Young

Now with Klever Kids she designs clothes that are both soft and stylish—and influenced by her own childhood. Like the white silk dress in her couture collection. "It reminds me of the pride I felt as a flower girl," she said.

Photo Credit: Klever Kids

A Video Game Truck

Kathy Wachtel spotted opportunity in her husband and children's love of playing video games.

Photo Credit: Game Truck

How It Makes Her Feel Young

The enthusiasm kids show for GameTruck, her mobile video game theater, is contagious. But what's priceless? Her kids think she's cool.



Photo courtesy of shutswis/Shutterstock.com

Photo courtesy of shutswis/Shutterstock.com

Franchise Owner

Tracy Walker-Andraschko brought Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park to Des Moines, Iowa. She wanted a place for families to be active together.


Photo Credit: Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park

How It Makes Her Feel Young

She gets to jump on trampolines. Which can burn up to 1000 calories per hour. 







Jennifer Jeanne Patterson is a freelance writer and author of 52 Fights. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. Find her blog at Unplanned Cooking.

Related: 20 Ways to Increase Your Earnings

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sky Zone

First Published March 9, 2012

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