40 Under 40 Class of 2009

Mychael Connelly Sr.

Age 27: Founder, Stinky Cakes

Stinky Cakes, Stinky Cakes, Stinky Cakes …

It’s a mantra that 18-month-old Aidan Connelly launches into when he sees a pile of disposable diapers rolled into the arms of a stuffed animal.

It’s a mission for his father, Mychael Connelly Sr., who had long had entrepreneurial urges, and experienced the sweet smell of success one day when his older son, Mychael Connelly Jr., walked into the room and announced, “I did stinkies.”

“I knew it was what I was born to do,” said Connelly, adding that people expecting babies need practical gifts.

The former graphic artist handles the marketing and dresses in a baker’s suit to deliver stacks of Stinky Cakes to homes and businesses. The diapers are formed into towers of fun — complete with personalized, colorful ribbons — by his wife, Adrienne, in their Springfield home.

Connelly, who grew up in the Bahamas, always wanted to own his own business, and became motivated to do so after Mychael was born.

“Everyone should be able to get a Stinky Cake,” he said, adding they keep their prices reasonable.

But no one should have to use diapers before they are ready, and Connelly is also working to address the issue of teen pregnancy.

He and his wife have been foster parents to two children, and are still involved in their lives. “We are dedicated to doing foster care and devote a lot of time to it,” he said. “These kids really need help and need to be in a loving home.”

Many of the childen in foster care are born to teens, Connelly said, and his next goal is to start a foundation to combat teen pregnancy and provide teens with life skills to help them secure a bright financial future.

“Stinky Cakes is more than diapers. It’s about empowering parents and mothers. It’s a movement,” he said.

Not such a stinky idea.

—Kathy Mitchell