Moreover, this mom-turned-entrepreneur has herself stayed true to a key, founding premise of her company: meaningful interaction between parents and their children. Realizing, after five years, that she was "struggling to find time in my professional schedule to be a good mom," Aigner-Clark sold Baby Einstein to The Walt Disney Company in 2001 for an undisclosed amount. She continues to create books and serve as a creative consultant as Disney expands the business into party supplies, bath items, and a new line of Little Einstein products for children ages 3 to 5, which will be supported by an upcoming TV show.

Latest Offering The Baby Einstein Animal Orchestra Stacker ($10) triggers silly sounds as the first three colorful characters are stacked atop one another. With the addition of the fourth character, the Stacker rewards an infant with flashing lights and four measures of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Year founded 1977
Headquarters Palo Alto, CA
Start-up funds $4,000
1st year sales $10,000
Projected 2004 sales $40 million
Number of employees 65

Eureka Moment The oft-told story - in fact, part of the original marketing shtick of their first book- has three "hippie bums" looking for some way to support their "irresponsible lifestyle" and hitting upon an acceptably capitalist solution with an irreverent little book called Juggling for the Complete Klutz. Crucial to the success of the book was the packaging of three beanbags in a mesh bag attached to the book.

"But here's the more MBA-ish version," says one of the original three, John Cassidy. "Several years later we looked up and realized what we had invented was not a book on how to juggle, but in fact, a way to teach anything by combining instructions along with the tools of the trade. In other words, we invented not just a song, but music."