Being a mom as lovely as it is, is a full-time job. Managing a business on top of that is something many women are facing, and now we have a pandemic on top of it. Around the world, more than 1.3 billion children are stuck at home. Women academics are submitting fewer papers than ever, while men are being more productive. On the bright side, there are theories this period may change the balance of work/home/kids forever - with millions of dads now facing what most working moms are familiar with.
Whilst hoping for the best, let’s wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day and use that moment to honor these amazing moms who are nailing it when it comes to juggling motherhood and running a business.
Paige Lauren - Founder of PAIGELAUREN
Paige’s business idea was born in 2008 when she was trying to purchase something for her friend’s newborn baby and couldn't find anything that she liked. She was already thinking about starting something but didn’t have a clear image of what would that be, so this was a leap into designing baby clothes.
Having no experience is not something that should discourage entrepreneurs- Paige had never designed or manufactured clothes, but went all in to pursue an idea she believed in.
“My mom always said that learning how to run a business while you’re running it is the most expensive way to get an MBA! I learned about the clothing business by asking a lot of questions. Everywhere I went I asked a million questions about fabric, what’s involved in sourcing the materials, how it's woven — every aspect of it. That’s how I learned. I would get three bids for everything and ask questions until I found the right vendors to do what I wanted to do: make simple, incredibly soft clothes for babies.”
After her first show in New York, the Paige Lauren line of baby clothes achieved great success, quickly finding its way to parent’s homes. In the middle of business expansion, she had to stop for a while to take time off for her newborn son and then to re-launch the line later making it even stronger and more recognizable brand than it was.
“I want real moms with a thousand followers who really love these clothes. This brand is all about warmth and togetherness. It is a lifestyle. When my customers buy Paige Lauren, I want them to feel like they're involved in a community of mothers who are all supporting each other.”, says Paige about her brand.
Jakki Liberman - Founder of Bumkins
It all began in 1989. when Jakki’s third child’s sensitive skin reacted badly when the baby was wearing disposable diapers. Cloth diapers were only available via delivery service so that made it very hard for her and her baby. That’s why Jakki created an upgraded cloth diaper and presented to the world her new brand. Bumkins won Best Product of the Year in 1990, only a year after she launched it. Later on, the business was spread to a wider line of baby products like smocks, splat mats that help with preventing stains, cute bibs, reusable bags, and baby apparel. On her mission, she partnered with many brands like Dr. Seuss, Nintendo, Disney, and DC Comics.
Many working mothers can relate to getting kids involved in the business. Jakki is a great example of that - her kids help with orders and often travel with her to trade shows, three of them presently work with her full-time. Bumkins became a family business and inspiration on how to build a brand from scratch.
Kwany Lui - founder of Bundle Organics
When Kwany and her co-founder, John Mascari realized how many women have a problem balancing their diet during their pregnancy and how to choose nutrients and vitamins, they decided to help by creating a solution for women to get the nutrients they need.
They made a line of organic prenatal juices that are helping new moms and expecting moms with their nutritional needs while saving them time. Bundle Organics focuses on a healthy diet that will help and ensure the mamas-to-be get all the needed vitamins.
“Being an entrepreneur can be a very solitary journey and I personally have been very thankful to have a co-founder who I can use as a sounding board and who can keep me sane when the going gets tough. Prepare yourself for an emotional rollercoaster. Being an entrepreneur is a humbling experience and you have to be okay just shrugging things off. You have to be okay with getting a hundred No’s from suppliers, partners, investors, etc. before getting to one Yes. And just when you think you’re over the hump, something else will come up. You have to appreciate the journey and learn to never get too low when things are bad or get too high when things are good.”, shares Kwany her advice to entrepreneurs.
“I don’t believe that work/life balance is obtainable. For me, I’d rather be present, more so than balanced. I force myself to become very efficient and focused at whatever I am doing, and I try to ensure my time is aligned with my overarching goals and priorities.”
Jacqueline Smith - founder of Kiesque Liquid Palisade
Jacqueline Smith’s brand was founded as a result of the problem she had - she couldn’t find time to get a professional manicure and doing it at home always ended messy and interrupted by kids. Sounds familiar? That’s how she came up with an idea to produce original liquid painter’s tape for nails. “Kiesque, pronounced key-esk doesn’t have a specific meaning but the name was created with a few goals in mind. It was to have a distinct uniqueness to it, have no google returns, and not have any translations in a foreign language”, explains Jacqueline.
Jacqueline shared how she started her business: “I imagined a liquid applied to the cuticles before polishing and peeled away afterward to reveal a clean manicure. The very first thing I did was to spend hours researching patents on the internet and searching every store I entered to see if this concept existed. Next, I paid for a professional patent search to double-check my findings and spent time learning about the process.”
The brand quickly became successful and expanded to markets outside the US. In the European Union she signed an exclusivity with Sephora Europe for an all store launch. Now, Jacqueline manages to have time for her kids, work, and play.
Michele Welsh - Founder of SafetyTat
SafetyTat is a great example of how ideas can come to you on a regular day while you are trying to solve small daily problems. One day, Michele and her family were in a theme park when she got scared that kids might get lost in a big crowd. She quickly wrote her mobile phone number onto her children’s arms. People noticed and complimented the idea and then it popped up in her head - she could make a safe temporary tattoo. She and her husband Bob founded SafetyTat, a great addition to everyday life for helping parents of small children to worry less when they are in public. SafetyTattoo is making temporary tattoos that you can transfer to the child's arm and add a phone number, health information, etc.
“I founded SafetyTat almost two years ago and have become the nation’s leading and most trusted retailer of child safety temporary tattoos and have sold products worldwide, in 140 countries! We also invented the world’s first and only (patent pending) line of ultra-convenient waterless Quick Stick Write-on tattoos. Simply peel and stick! SafetyTat has been able to help thousands of parents stay connected with their kids. I have loved every minute in both creating this company and the incredibly rewarding feeling of helping other parents and caregivers.”, explained Michele.
Michele’s kids are also involved in the business process. They can learn how entrepreneurship works and that the ups and downs of running a business are something not to be scared of. In her interviews, Michele is always trying to give positive and useful advice to new mom entrepreneurs since she knows how hard it can be when you’re just starting.
“Our biggest obstacle was—and still is–FOCUS on our growth. There are so many helpful applications of our product, and infinite markets to explore. Laser focus and specific goal-setting is key. We rely heavily on direct customer feedback as well as focus groups to help us grow.”, says entrepreneur mom.
Lisa Greenwald - Founder of Chewbeads
In 2009 Lisa’s son was born and he loved to chew on her necklaces as many babies do. That’s how she got the idea to make soft non-toxic teething jewelry that was safe for babies to chew. Soon, as the brand expanded she also started offering rattles, teething rings, and bath toys.
As Chewbeads rapidly grew she had to learn how to manage production, marketing, and another entrepreneur to do-s. One of the problems they had was finding a factory that would produce silicone jewelry supplies so they tried using Alibaba but kept trying to find a vendor that will provide them with materials that fulfill all safety requirements.
“We wanted to claim what it DOESN’T contain: lead, BB’s so there were several trails of samples and you end up with something you feel is saleable.
We started with one necklace in 14 colors and pre-sold to retailers, so we kept it one product until we had commitments from people, we needed proof of concept. We focused on what we believed, on what our core concepts were, don’t try to do everything. It’s way easier to tell your story with a targeted product and laser focus.”, says Lisa.
As running a company is hard to do alone, her husband left his job to help her and now he has his part of work at Chewbeads. Now they have a strong brand that has sold over 140,000 chewable necklaces and they are selling worldwide.
Julia Collins - Co-founder of Zume Pizza
Influenced by her grandparents with whom she grew up with, Julia Collings made a billionaire company. For her, food is a metaphor for memories and lovely moments spent with grandparents. When food was served, everyone was invited so eating was like a gathering for everyone. In her Zoom Pizza company, pizza is made in an interesting way. Robots make it. You didn’t see that coming, right? The company even patented the way of cooking food during the delivery. Once food reaches customer it’s completely fresh which is what made this brand stand out. There’s no cooling off while food is being delivered since it’s all programmed to have it ready and fresh in time.
Another amazing thing this mom does is that she is trying to help with food supplies in the world while helping with environmental issues like global warming. She is using regenerative agriculture which if applied right could stop planer from drastic climate changes. She says that she wants to save the world. That mindset that doesn’t set boundaries to itself is what makes a great entrepreneur. Inspiration and the will to be persistent in your goals are characteristics that are setting you up for success.
“One of the things that happen when you’re a serial entrepreneur or a founder who has worked on a couple of successful businesses, you finally have this experience of feeling a little bit like the wind is at your back. And it doesn’t mean things get easier. Actually, things get harder and more complicated. But you develop a little more confidence and you also develop a great network. Not just a network of friends, but a network of investors and a network of partners and people who want to work for you and with you. So the transition has been really wonderful.”, says Julia.
Lauren Kassan - Co-founder and COO of The Wing
All moms have found themselves exhausted and overwhelmed sometimes needing a little space for them to recharge. The Wing is a kind of a social club founded by Lauren Kassan and Audrey Gelman. The main idea, except relaxation and rest, of course, is creating a sense of a community in the co-working space. They have so many different activities available, from book clubs, discussions and other educative programs, to bars, a place to eat and changing rooms. After getting an idea for her business Lauren sought investors and turned for advice to her previous boss.
“I definitely had to learn how to be more efficient with my time. You have to be thoughtful about your days, what meetings you’re taking, and make sure you’re prioritizing. Working mothers truly are some of the most productive people. Another critical piece of advice I received is that "No" is a full sentence. Saying no is not only empowering but necessary!”, says Lauren. We should contemplate that advice and see if any of those might change our business and time management.
If you’re wondering how she manages to run a business and be a mom, here’s what she says it’s helpful. Waking up earlier than a baby, as Lauren does, is definitely a great way to start your day and focus yourself on goal. Her office is also close to her house so there’s less time spent in traffic to arrive at work. Asking for help is definitely a big thing to do. There’s no need to be ashamed to say that you need help to get stuff done. It will be so much more efficient for your work then you trying to juggle everything alone. A good entrepreneur knows when to stop and relax and that’s actually the big investment into their brand.
Yeva Hyusyan - Co-founder of SoloLearn
SoloLearn is a platform for learning coding in programming. Yeva is using it herself and saying that she thinks that we will all need knowledge in coding at one point. This mom entrepreneur has 3 kids and manages to do all tasks in a day with an organized schedule.
Although she worked in companies before this one, she says that’s it’s completely different when you have your own startup. It’s on your mind 24/7 and that’s something all entrepreneurs can relate to. Yeva also says that, opposite to the old days, programming has now become a fashionable and popular job.
“This field and particularly startup life is different, as you have a lot of things to learn. You have to be in trend all the time, you have to read and try new things.”, advises Yeva.
A good point to learn from this successful entrepreneur is that you should be your product’s first user. You should try it, see if it has any flaws that need correction. By using your product you show that you believe in it. And we all know that you need to believe in your product in order for others to believe in it.
In a world where is so hard for women to obtain needed fundings for their ideas, to find proper mentorship, where is hard for moms to find time to put in their business and when it’s so easy to give in to the fear of failure, these women as many other mom entrepreneurs found the courage to dive into the business world. Doesn’t that deserve applause?