MOMpreneur: n. defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.
Welcome to our latest installment of MOMpreneur Monday, highlighting businesses and brands that were founded by female entrepreneurs and fellow Mommas!
Today’s featured Modern Boca MOMpreneur is Laura Duksta, New York Times bestseller and author of I Love You More, I’ll Hug You More and You Are a Gift to the World/The World is a Gift to You!
Tell us a little about your background and how your ideas became books…
Hello moms! I’m Laura Duksta, Ambassador of Love and New York Times bestselling children’s author. Since a young age, 7 or 8, I’ve had the idea that I was meant to travel the world, meet my sisters and brothers and share the message of love.
Originally from the Boston area, I graduated from University of Maryland, with a degree in Sociology. I moved to South Beach, and found myself managing and tending bar at The Clevelander – practicing being social! Though, during that time I had the idea for my first book, I Love You More, that’s now sold nearly a million copies in seven languages.
I’m grateful it’s become a favorite in hearts, homes and classrooms around the world. It took me a bit to get there, but it so magnificently helps me to fulfill my mission of generating the conversation of love around the world! While I don’t have children of my own, I’ve always considered the children of the world mine. I love being an Auntie and my books are dedicated to my four (+ 2) nephews and nieces who were raised in Weston, Florida.
Dr Seuss didn’t have children and said, “You have children, I’ll amuse them,” I say, “You have children, I’ll inspire them.” My mom jokes that she has grandchildren and grand books, and we’re expecting another grand book this year: No Matter What, You Are Loved.
How did you start the business of being an author?
I self-published I Love You More, sending it to print on September 10, 2001! My mom, a kindergarten teacher, financed the project initially with an investment of $15K. On September 11th, we had to ask ourselves if we were going to go through with the printing. Standing in that day, we didn’t know what the world was going to look like in three weeks or months. But we felt, “now more than ever the world will need our book and its message of love.” The same could be said today!
Towards the beginning of March, a twelve year old middle school student took her life after being incessantly bullied for having no hair. She had a condition called Alopecia Areata, that I’ve also had since the age of 11. I’ve come to believe that my books are written, so that we all know, especially our children, that no matter what others say or do, no matter what is going on in our lives, or in the world around us, how truly loved we are!
In my school program, “You Are a Star…Keep Shining!” I share about the power of love and being yourself, choosing kindness, my experience as an author, as well as my signature cheers, “I Am a Genius!” and “I Shine!” I’ve presented my program to over 100K students, filling them up with the awareness that they can go and grow through challenging times. It’s often the toughest lessons that help us become our best and brightest selves! My program is an author visit, and supports your school’s character enrichment and SEL initiatives.
What’s unique about your books?
I have three books now: I Love You More, I’ll Hug You More and You Are a Gift to the World/The World is a Gift to You. They’re done in a flip format, meaning they begin from either side and read to the middle, so like love, they truly never end. They represent the giving and receiving, and infinite nature of love. I have a few more in the works, that all spark love, connection, appreciation, laughter, enthusiasm, and tuning into our innate genius!
Administrators and teachers let me know their students talk about my program long after my visit. I’ve come to believe it’s because they experience an hour with someone who has what should be a significant challenge (my bald head), yet I’ve embraced being myself. I have fun, I’m doing what I love, and I am genuinely present with them. It lets them know that they too can go and grow through whatever life brings their way. That’s a powerful awareness to have with all that’s happening in our world today. It’s often the students who are going through a challenge who take the opportunity for the first time ever to share, and do so in front of 300-500 classmates! I know I’m tilling the seeds of love and greatness that are already inside their hearts, and all of our children deserve that!
Why should Modern Boca Mom readers read and purchase your books?
I believe you’re never too old for a good picture book! My mom taught kindergarten for 38+ years and always gifted me her favorite books, which I’m sure inspired my path. I Love You More, is one of those books that belongs in every home and classroom. It’s one that people keep to pass on to the next generation–in fact recently someone shared it’s been added to their family’s will! I’ll Hug You More uses a host of animals to share times that you and your little ones will hug one another to express your love and appreciation.
My books are great gifts for baby showers, Mother’s Day, teacher appreciation gifts, birthdays – well every day is a good day for love, hugs and a great book! Reading is a fantastic way to bond with your children and can spark awesome conversations. They cherish that time that you are fully present with them.
I travel all over the country with my school programs and am also available to speak at events, including Women’s and Educator conferences, professional development days, etc. It turns out we could all use a good dose of love, connection and power that comes from being ourselves! I have an amazing “TEAM LOVE” – Jaime handles bookings and inquiries, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
What exciting things are coming up for your business?
I recently signed with the top literary agency! We are looking forward to growing and amplifying the conversation of love together, even well beyond what we’ve done thus far – think TV, movies, musicals and more! Prayers Up!
What do you love about working and living in South Florida?
My vision and mission have always been global, and I love that people from all over the world live in and visit South Florida. I sign my books at Art Festivals and Markets and on any given day my books can be purchased for families in over a dozen states and several countries. I love nature, you can find me out nearly every day at sunrise walking the beach. You wouldn’t believe the crew of Sunrise Sisters and Misters that walk and greet one another and the new day! I’ve dubbed it Rise and Shine Happy Hour: 6-8 AM. We are so blessed to live here!
Connect with Laura Duksta:
Visit my website for more information and to sign up for my bi-monthly “Laura’s Love Letters” to receive a complimentary e-book of You Are a Gift to the World/The World is a Gift to You.
- INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/laura_duksta_author/
- FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/laura.duksta/
- LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauraduksta/
SUBSCRIBE to Modern Boca Mom here!