Projected 2004 sales $100 million+
Number of employees 19

Eureka Moment Necessity + Mother = Invention. The necessity: a glaring lack of stimulating videos for infants. The mother: a former art and literature teacher named Julie Aigner-Clark. "Am I the only mom who wants to develop the love of humanities and fine arts in her children?" she wondered soon after the birth of her first daughter. "Unable to find what I wanted for my child, I decided to create my own video." Her brainchild: a homemade video she called Baby Einstein, which focused on simple images and nursery rhymes recited by mothers in seven different languages to encourage and facilitate educationally enriching quality time between parents and infants.

First Real Hit Aigner-Clark filmed the video in the basement of her home, edited it on her Macintosh computer, and talked a single retailer, The Right Start, into giving it a trial run in six of their stores. Word of mom did the rest. Sales quickly rose to 10 million copies, and the company's second product, Baby Mozart, fortuitously hit the shelves just when the nation's media covered a new study called the Mozart Effect, which linked the development of a child's intelligence with early exposure to classical music.

Reasons for Success Simply put, Baby Einstein was an immaculate conception that has stayed true to its founding principles. "The brand grew from something organic - something a mom made for her own child - into something much bigger. But Baby Einstein never lost its heart," says Aigner-Clark, stressing that the products (videos, books, audiotapes) and the reasons behind the business resonated with parents.