Former advertising executive, Tricia Messeroux-Curwen was on to something when she started the ToddleWood® photography project back in 2008. Little did she know, this project would later become a noteworthy brand sought after by parents of 3-6 year-olds across the country. ToddleWood®, a shortened version of Toddlers in Hollywood, transforms everyday children into A-list celebrities, iconic figures, and historical legends, and captures them in awe-inspiring photographs.
Messeroux-Curwen realized that she had an eye for dynamic photography after the birth of her first daughter, Skylar. “When she was two I started to take lots of pictures of her. Once I started showing people they would ask, ‘Who did that?’ ‘How did you do that?’ or ‘Did you hire someone?’ and I knew I had something so I nurtured it and took it to the next level,” says Messeroux-Curwen. She always had a love for photography though she majored in TV & film production with a minor in marketing and advertising. The images she captured of her daughter inspired her to take her interest in photography seriously. She purchased equipment and began developing her skillset. She aligned herself with mentors, took photography courses, purchased books, watched training videos on YouTube, and delved into hours of research to perfect her technique in order to produce creative, eye-catching images.
In the spring of 2011, Messeroux-Curwen walked away from her high-paying corporate job and the comfortable lifestyle it offered and poured her heart, time and efforts into running ToddleWood full time. “There came a point and time where I figured with all the strategic thinking and creativity that I was doing for other brands I could do for my own. I’ve worked for big companies like Kraft, Nabisco, and General Mills. I learned what to do and what not to do in a suffering economy and how to convince your audience that your brand is right for them,” she says. Messeroux-Curwen surmised that leaving her job was what she needed to do in order to truly get her brand off of the ground.
Although life as an entrepreneur is challenging, running ToddleWood full time affords Messeroux- Curwen more quality time with her husband and two daughters, while enjoying the fulfillment of pursuing her entrepreneurial dreams. Most importantly, her daughters are able to witness as she pursue her dreams. “I need them to see. When I was in corporate America, they couldn’t see what I do. Now they can see what I do and what I love. I can teach them and encourage them to do whatever they want to do,” says Messeroux-Curwen.
Currently Messeroux-Curwen’s days consist of putting out casting calls for upcoming photo series, supervising her team of makeup artists, hair stylists, seamstress’ and technical personnel. She spends a considerable amount of time promoting the brand, preparing for photo exhibits, and managing the company’s clothing line for kids, which consists of t-shirts, onesies, and high-end jogging suits. ToddleWood apparel is currently carried in retail outlets in New York and New Jersey and will expand to include stores in Michigan, Florida, and Louisiana. Going forward Messeroux-Curwen is looking to potentially add a children’s fragrance and bedding line to the company’s current product offerings.
Messeroux-Curwen encourages everyone to “Live it up,” stating, “Life is too short and you only get one so don’t’ live and realize regret. It’s the saddest thing because you did it to yourself. When people say, ‘shoot for the stars and follow your dreams,’ take it seriously regardless of your circumstances. Find a way to make it happen.”