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Local moms hoping to win $50,000

Kelly Bolton (standing), with her 8-month-old daughter Emily, and her sister Suzanne Spraque, with her 1-year-old daughter Emily, entered  their business, Melodies About Me, in a nationwide contest. The sisters are currently in the top five to win $50,000 in cash and prizes. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kelly Bolton (standing), with her 8-month-old daughter Emily, and her sister Suzanne Spraque, with her 1-year-old daughter Emily, entered their business, Melodies About Me, in a nationwide contest. The sisters are currently in the top five to win $50,000 in cash and prizes.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Becoming a parent drastically changes a person’s life, but for Suzanne Sprague and her sister Kelly Bolton, their daughters also sparked a small business.

Sprague, of Bremerton, and Bolton, of Lake Stevens, created Melodies About Me last year. The business creates and sells personalized children’s songs.

Sprague came up with the idea last July while she and her husband were on vacation. They walked past a kiosk selling personalized children’s music and Sprague bought CDs for her daughter, niece and nephew.

“I was like ‘you know what I bet a lot of people are like us and would like having one,’” Sprague said.

Sprague, a former high school science teacher, and Bolton, a former cost analyst at Boeing, said they would have never entered the children’s music industry if it were not for their children. Sprague’s 1-year-old daughter, Hannah, and Bolton’s 8-month-old daughter, Emily, served as the driving forces behind Melodies About Me.

“Without having kids we definitely wouldn’t be doing this,” Bolton said.

Sprague and Bolton teamed up with their mother, Terry Lage of Marion, Iowa, to write children’s songs and personalize each CD with a child’s name. Their mother has “a gift for writing,” according to Bolton and composes the children’s tunes at her piano.

“We spend a lot of time on the phone and e-mailing,” Sprague said.

The family teamed up with music arranger/producer Mark Pence, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to produce the songs. Pence also enlisted the help of various singers to lend their vocals to the songs. Sprague and Bolton then edit the personalized children’s names into the songs before shipping them to the customers’ homes.

“We wanted to make music that the kids would like and the parents would enjoy too,” Sprague said. “It’s a very good mix of music.”

Last fall, Bolton and Sprague entered Melodies About Me in a small business contest. Intuit, maker of Quicken, Turbo Tax and QuickBooks small business accounting software, received more than 1,500 entries nationwide in the Just Start contest and Melodies About Me was selected as one of the top five contestants.

“Landing in this contest has really pointed us in the right direction,” Bolton said.

People can vote for one of the top five contestants online at www.IWillJustStart.com. The business with the most votes will receive $50,000 in cash and prizes.

“It’s like a dream,” Sprague said. “I can’t believe we’re doing this.”

The sisters said the $50,000 in cash and prizes would greatly help their business get off the ground and begin production on a second CD.

“We’re doing it (Melodies About Me) with or without the winnings,” Bolton said.

Melodies About Me is currently working on personalizing their first CD. People can pre-order CDs at their Web site, www.melodiesaboutme.com. CDs will be available March 1. Sprague and Bolton’s mother said the business would not be the same without the family involvement.

“We’re like legs on a table, we can’t stand without one another,” Sprague said, quoting her mother.

The sisters said they are about 1,000 votes behind the winning business and currently are sitting in third place. People can vote for Melodies About Me until Jan. 31. The winning team will be announced Feb. 8.

“We’re just two local, ordinary moms who had a dream and decided to just go for it,” Sprague said. “We just want people to support us.”

Vote for Melodies About Me in the Just Start contest at www.IWillJustStart.com. Contest ends Jan. 31. The winning business receives $50,000 in cash and prizes to further their small business.

To pre-order a CD from Melodies About Me, visit their Web site at www.melodiesaboutme.com. CDs will be available March 1 and cost $18 plus shipping and handling.

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