Timea Kristof is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Montreal, Quebec. Her company, MPNA Inc., features MessageFromSanta.ca and MessageFromTheToothFairy.ca, where she offers personalized letters and packages from Santa and the Tooth Fairy! We are thrilled to be sharing Timea’s Success Story!
About Timea’s Business
Both MessageFromSanta.ca and MessageFromTheToothFairy.ca offer a customizable experience where parents can choose between four stationery templates featuring bright colours and cartoons for their personalized letter, which will include the child’s name, city (for the Tooth Fairy) and also accomplishment, gift the child asked for (for Santa letters) along with one of the 4 positive messages of encouragement of choice to mark the occasion. If they choose, parents can also include a message they wrote themselves.
MessageFromTheToothFairy.ca features our signature Tooth Fairy (fairy style Tooth Fairy) and Super Tooth (our unisex Tooth Fairy), and they both offer the popular Tooth Fairy Coin package which includes a personalized letter, a Tooth Fairy seal and our signature coin. In addition to those items, other packages, like the Tooth Fairy Pillow package, include a personalized pillow, temporary tattoo, a small tooth-shaped toy, a wand and a signed card.
MessageFromSanta.ca offers colourful and fun packages. Our basic package is the Magic Reindeer Food package which includes a personalized letter, Santa wax seal and magic reindeer food. Some of the other packages feature a Santa Cam or a personalized Elf plush toy. Our Hot Chocolate Santa package is very popular which also includes a Santa key and a nice list certificate.
The packages are mailed with either our signature Canada Post or postmark stamps. Our letters and packages are not only to encourage kids and make them feel special, but also to trigger their imagination, as we believe imagination is the beginning of everything!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
It all started with my kids. MessageFromSanta.ca was born out of something that happened with my two sons; my older son started writing to Santa through the HOH OHO service offered by Canada Post. The first year he didn’t get a reply. Then, still with hope, he tried again the next year. This time, both he and his brother received letters – but they were identical. My older son lost interest and did not want to write to Santa. The next year I wrote a personalized letter from Santa and his eyes lit up. The excitement was back!
There is something really magical about those childhood beliefs; Santa and the Tooth Fairy especially. So born out of these experiences (and once I saw the potential), the next logical step was to create my two businesses, MessageFromSanta.ca and MessageFromTheToothFairy.ca.
I wanted to prolong that magic for other kids. I had also wanted to be my own boss for some time to give me more time with my own kids. Once you have that idea that you are so passionate about, and you know how to turn it into a viable business, then entrepreneurship becomes the next logical step. There are other entrepreneurs in my family who I’ve always found inspiring, so I knew I would be in great company.
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
For a long time I wanted to be my own boss, mostly to be in charge of my own destiny. There were a few things along the way that were catalysts for the big decision to work for myself. One catalyst was being overlooked for a promotion that I felt I had really earned after much overtime and dedication. Frustrated by my destiny being in somebody else’s hands, I felt more and more that I needed to take back control, and that could only happen if I was my own boss.
Then I became a mother. Having what should have been a 9-5 job making 9-8 demands on my time, something had to give. I wanted to build a better future where I could be there for my kids. So I knew it was time. My kids are definitely my big ‘WHY’.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Apart from the aforementioned magic that I get to create for kids, there are plenty more things to love about business ownership. I can control my own destiny as the decision maker. I choose where I take the business, and I pursue the things that I am the most passionate about. As a parent I cannot understate the value of being in charge of my own working hours. If one of my boys needs me I can adjust my schedule as I go. I can’t think of a parent who wouldn’t love that flexibility!
Can you describe a typical day?
Typically I wake up before 7 AM to get my kids ready and take them to school. My main working hours are during school time. When they have extra classes I drive them there and study with them. Then after they go to bed I have my evenings to work on the business some more.
Who do you count on for help?
In the business my support comes from the small team of amazing artists that I work with on the Santa and Tooth Fairy projects. I like to follow other e-commerce based entrepreneurs on social media, as there is always something to learn or some inspiration to be gleaned from watching what others are sharing. On a tough day, there is always an inspirational post to pick you up – you just have to look for them. I also have been keeping an ear to the ground for my next mentor, and they will come into my life when the time is right. As entrepreneurs we are always learning and growing, and having the right people in our circle makes so much of a difference.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
I’d say that running a business while being a parent is about prioritizing for sure, but ‘sacrifice’ isn’t a word I would use. Of course, the kids come first, and providing for them is the priority. So is staying on top of business commitments. If completing orders means that I don’t have a chance to do my own stuff – that’s all part of the deal. So it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. Plus, I know that as the boys grow up and become more independent, and as my business ‘grows up’ too, meaning that I can scale up and work a little less, my ‘me’ time will come later. Since I worked hard for it in the early years of my business, I will enjoy it all the more.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Most of the year, the weekends are family time; I love doing activities with my family. There are a couple of times during the year when MessageFromSanta.ca, being a seasonal business, needs more of my time. Obviously Christmas is very busy, and then we have a heavy production period towards the end of the summer, to get us in shape for Christmas. I complete orders for MessageFromTheToothFairy.ca on a daily basis and if the order comes in on the weekend, I make sure it is done right away.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
MessageFromTheToothFairy.ca just recently starting shipping to the U.S., and we are already showing promising growth. With MessageFromSanta.ca, we are focusing on Canada, and I hope to make many more kids smile next Christmas. Starting any business is risky. For me personally, I took on risk at both the financial and the personal level when I started out. As a parent there is added pressure as you are responsible for more than just yourself – your kids rely on you. But for our family this has been the right decision.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
Firstly, I want to say follow your dreams! But I also want to say something practical and boring too – and that iss to be patient! The beginning of your business journey will likely be the hardest part as you take the financial risk, put yourself out there, and then you have to wait to see results. It takes time to build something from the ground up, but hard work pays off. And when the results come, you will be so happy if you followed your passion and stuck with it. Living from your creativity is a very rewarding place to be!