The Tale of Prima Princessa and the two moms who created her


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All tech talk/organization aside, if there’s one OTHER thing I relish, it’s hearing stories of success. Such is the case when I got a copy of a DVD in my hands called “Prima Princessa Presents Swan Lake”.

The DVD is charming, and without even watching a single frame, the mere thought of nostalgia from my childhood days of tutu’s and my parents meeting their six-year old daughter backstage at dance recitals with flowers made me misty-eyed just thinking about it.


The 40-minute DVD starts with an introduction from the animated cartoon fairy, Prima Princessa. She then takes a gaggle of tutu-clad preschoolers through several acts of Swan Lake (performed by the Paris Opera Ballet), narrating the storyline while the dancers perform. Who knew Swan Lake had a more dizzying storyline than Desperate Housewives?


In between acts is the fun part, where obviously talented young students from the School of American Ballet teach basic ballet moves for the kids to try at home while they are watching.


Zoe, my 14-month old loved it, and still continues to love it. As enthralled as a 14-month old can be with a movie, she watched the DVD, pointed at the fairy, and danced. Let me tell you, there is nothing cuter than watching your 14-month old dancing along with Swan Lake on the TV screen!


(Well, I do have something cuter. Sending my husband a text message asking “What’s up?” and getting back as a reply “we are now watching Swan Lake at Zoe’s request”. There’s just something really lovable about a visual of my husband sitting on the couch watching ballet with his daughter. )


Wanting to give the DVD a thorough test, I gave it to my neighbor to see if her 3 and 4 year old daughters liked it. I got it back a few days later with reports of plenty of repeat viewings!


What really struck me about this video, though, was not how much Zoe liked it. What got to me was that here was two women, like me, who had their hands full with kids and a busy life – yet they still had time to work together to visualize, create, produce, and SELL a children’s DVD. And here I am complaining that it’s hard to find time to sit down and reply to a few emails. Yes, ladies, THAT is what struck me.


I had to write to the creators, Mary Kate Mellow and Stephanie Troeller ( to find out the motive and the technicalities of their success.


Taking over one year to complete, Stephanie took her very convenient background as a ballet dancer and a cartoonist (talk about the right skills for the job!), and Mary Kate used her wits as a previously successful small business entrepreneur selling her own jewelry to Neiman Marcus, among others.


Among my curiousness of the creation process, the big question I had asked Mary Kate was how they had gotten the ballet footage. I mean, where you do even start?? Mary Kate was very quick to respond that in addition to about four-months’ work on a comprehensive business plan, they spent many hours researching via Internet and telephone. Apparently, the answer is painfully simple – you need to spend the time it takes to do some clever Google searching, and then you pick up the phone.


My next question was, when did they find the time? It took many dedicated babysitters, and many late nights after the kids were asleep.


If you are of an entrepreneurial spirit, remember that Mary Kate and Stephanie started with a need – there were no decent ballet movies for children. The other strength they had was a partnership. One of the problems I had was that I tried to be an entrepreneur by myself, while Mary Kate and Stephanie have proven that teamwork and positive energy pays off – and they have the Princess to prove it!


My hats are off to Mary Kate and Stephanie. They have proven that no matter who you are, or what you do, if you are willing to work hard, you can dream, envision, and create a product for others to enjoy.

If you want to find out more, you can visit their press page at


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