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What You Really Need To Do To Get Your Brand Noticed

December 3, 2016
get your brand noticed

You have a unique gift to share with the world and now, more than ever, women need a voice. It’s no longer acceptable to sit around waiting for the right time or the perfect business strategy to share your message or your movement or your work. The world needs to hear from you now so you can make the kind of contribution and impact that only you can make.

That means it’s time to get visible.

Whether you’ve just started getting visible with a new business or are growing your visibility along with your brand, I get that sharing your voice and promoting your work isn’t always easy or comfortable. Because even if you have plenty of time to dedicate to getting visible and even if you have a great business strategy to guide you, there’s still one thing that can hold you back: your mindset.

We don’t talk about the mindset piece of visibility often. But we should, because the real reason many of us struggle to get visible is that our fears, doubts and limiting beliefs are standing in our way. And if you want to start sharing your work with greater confidence and more ease, you need to get familiar with your mindset around visibility so you can figure out why you aren’t taking action on what you already know you should do.

Though we all have fears, doubts and limiting beliefs that are unique to our business and ourselves, among female entrepreneurs there are some common beliefs that keep us feeling stuck. I’m sharing four of these limiting beliefs with you today to help you explore your own mindset around visibility so you can start making an impact with your voice and your work now.

“If you want to start sharing your work with greater confidence and more ease, you need to get familiar with your mindset around visibility so you can figure out why you aren’t taking action on what you already know you should do.”

I’m not _________ enough.

It’s hard to take action when you aren’t feeling like you’re “enough”. You might not feel good enough, attractive enough, thin enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough or experienced enough to get visible in the way you’re envisioning. (As you can see, this belief can take many forms.) What it really is, though, is just a story you’re telling yourself about yourself that likely isn’t true. In fact, the question I dare you to ask yourself when this kind of thought comes up is “Says who?”

I haven’t found my voice.

You wouldn’t have a business or a brand if you didn’t have a voice – it’s why you felt passionate enough to start it in the first place. Yes, your voice might need refining or be evolving. But you need to acknowledge that you’ve already found it. You know what your work is about and what you want to share with the world and believing anything else is an excuse.

“You wouldn’t have a business or a brand if you didn’t have a voice – it’s why you felt passionate enough to start it in the first place.”

I don’t have anything new to say or share.  

If you think someone else is already talking about a product or service or movement like yours, you’re probably right. So there is some truth to this belief because it’s all been done before. BUT, you haven’t been the one to do it. And because you have your own style and approach, your work will feel original to people who get to experience it – if you give them the chance.

I’m going to fail.

Yes, you might fail, and it probably won’t feel good. But letting your fear of failure stop you from getting visible is a failure in its own right because it prevents you from moving forward. So, you can stay stuck where you are or you can start getting visible and see what happens. It’s usually worth the risk and, even if you fail, you’ll learn a valuable lesson or two along the way.

When it comes to getting visible, we all face limiting beliefs that hold us back from taking action. But we forget to recognize that we have a choice. We can keep believing them or we can question their truth and let them go.

“Yes, you might fail, and it probably won’t feel good. But letting your fear of failure stop you from getting visible is a failure in its own right because it prevents you from moving forward.”

If you’re ready to get in the right mindset to share your voice and your work, I’m inviting you to join The Visibility Challenge: 5 Days to Stand Up and Stand Out. We’re kicking off the FREE challenge on December 5th with an inspiring group of women entrepreneurs. To learn more and sign up, CLICK HERE.

Ashley Gartland is a life and business coach for creative and service-based women entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses, reach their personal and professional goals and define success on their terms. As a former writer, editor, author and event planner, Ashley has more than a decade of experience getting visible and building creative businesses. You can learn more about Ashley’s work and coaching services at www.ashleymgartland.com.

 

Business

5 Tips To Grow Your Company Without Losing Your Core Values

November 30, 2016
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Having the fortune of working for what I consider to be some of the world’s greatest media brands from Elle, to InStyle, to Goop and Refinery29, and then later getting to consult for similarly amazing start-ups and scaled companies alike, I have gotten to find patterns, similarities, and cultural indicators that these companies have in common. I wanted to share what has been foundational to their growth and success, despite a rapidity that can be handicapping for even the most stable infrastructures. There is a bit of a formula for the success and brand longevity as companies go from small to big that I wanted to share.

1) Create core values or guiding principles

Let’s be honest, decisions are hard. And they get harder and harder as you get older, especially when you have a family at home. However, just as you might for your family and your children, you can make your life a whole lot easier at work by putting together a list of priorities and values. Create it early on, as it will be the bible for everyone’s actions at the company. It should be thought about for all hires, given out when people start and written somewhere clearly on a wall, as well as referenced often by company managers and leaders.

This also becomes your company’s filter for decision-making, ensuring that you are not only generating an outward product that reflects what you believe in, but also creating a way of dealing with things that reflects what you believe in. For example, a previous company that I worked for wrote, “no” is not in our vocabulary. In other words, there was always an answer. So if your gut was “no” to a client issue, you had to find an alternative. You had to take the same approach to an internal conflict. At one of the greatest brands in the world for example, Nike, one of their core values is “Be a sponge. Employees at Nike must be curious and lenient with new ideas, whatever their source.” Ultimately, this encourages active listening and an open-ness to change and evolution.  These things will make you think, but best to plan ahead and set the framework and culture early so that as you scale, things stay intact.

2) Make style guidelines and invest in branding

We tell our children, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but the fact of the matter is, we judge books by their cover. We buy things that we think are “pretty” or that we relate to and go to places that have an environment that make us feel good. You’re not going to get people to consider your product without great packaging, and you’re not going to be able to articulate your brand without a great design that truly evokes the ideas that you’re trying to create. This is something you need from the get-go. A friend of mine at a design/consultancy firm, We Are January, shared the quote, “design is like a mom, nobody notices when she’s around, but everybody misses her when she’s not.” Invest early in a style guide, a logo, and colors, as this will help your potential consumers and partners understand what you’re about and will prevent people from sharing your brand with the wrong interpretation.

3) In the early days, service is the most important thing

Be long-term greedy. Do not make a hasty decision on a client or customer for a little bit of extra financial gain, as reputation is everything at this stage. Instead, make sure that you do everything possible (within reason!) to ensure that you are keeping customers –and staff! happy in the nascent days of your business. Those customers will be your number one marketing tool, and they are technically “free” at this juncture.

4) 80/20 is a real thing

Going along with keeping your customers happy, you will get eighty percent of your business from twenty percent of your customers. I had a former manager have to painstakingly convince me of this time-and-time again, as I chased after every potential client as a seller. In that position especially, the thought of turning down a client was pure sacrilege. After being trained by a former manager to keep lengthy call logs and to book as many meetings with potential clients in a week as I possibly could, I thought it was an obvious numbers game. But the truth was, in taking on such a large potential list, I did not have time to properly prep for any meetings and really understand what would be helpful for these clients’ businesses. Coincidentally, I didn’t even have time to follow-up with them in order to get the deal done when I had a great meeting! It was completely counter productive, yet I was working harder than I had ever worked. When my manager stepped in and reduced my list and forced me to focus and prioritize, a funny thing happened. My numbers doubled and I had more time than I had ever had. Why? I had higher retention (hello efficiency!) and much higher close rates as I got to know my clients businesses and what they really wanted and needed much better.

Similarly, you don’t have to, and shouldn’t work with everyone. This goes for marketing and financial partnerships alike. Create a framework and goals for your partnerships, and if these partnerships do not check all of these boxes, then do not move forward with them. Find someone that is going to be able to help you check all of the boxes, as when you’re small, especially, you have a world of options to select from and align with. Choose wisely.

5) Set goals and KPI’s across your business

Know what you’re working towards! As a runner in college, it became ingrained in me to set goals and to gently increase them, and even challenge myself. As a business, how can you get anywhere without knowing where you are going? Just as you set your mission, vision, and brand guidelines to guide your everyday decisions, set numerical benchmarks that everyone across your company knows and owns. Even if they’re “fake numbers” and you have no living clue how you’re going to get there, make them. So if it’s for sales, pick a number after some research in your category and amongst your competition. If it’s for social growth, do the same. Tell yourself what you want to be able to accomplish, and it’s funny how the universe will step in sometimes and help you chart your path towards it. Even if you don’t hit those goals, it will help you determine where you should be and to reset.

xx,

Allison

Alison Koplar Wyatt has always sat on the business side of the Publishing world, but found a niche in the native content space first at Elle Magazine overseeing their digital properties and then later, as the first advertising employee at Refinery29. After spending five years working with a team to make R29 a household name, she then went to Goop to do the same. She is a free agent now, and is now proud to be working with yours truly on her “real” passion – helping creative and entrepreneurial women THRIVE.

Photo by Stevi Sesin

Business

How to Go Hunting for your CEO

November 30, 2016
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By Syama Meagher

 

Scaling your business requires a capable CEO who can steer the ship, make short and long-term decisions, and keep everyone on track. The CEO will also report in to a board of directors, and can marry the bottom line of investor/financial needs with the day-to-day operations of the business. A great CEO will ultimately give you the opportunity to be the Chief Innovator or Chief Visionary of your business. Not all founders should be, or need to be, CEO of their companies. Being the CEO can kill your dream if you are not into financials, managing teams and be willing to separate what’s right for the business vs. what you feel is right. If you think you are ready to hire a CEO then read on to make sure you land yourself a good one.

Evaluating Skill Set and Experience

Bringing a CEO onboard requires that they have a strong skill set and set of experiences that you don’t have. To avoid redundancies, make sure you have a solid list of your core competencies. In addition, you should evaluate your goals with your business. Are you interested in selling it eventually? How big do you want your business to be? Identifying your long-term goals will assist you in finding the right CEO who can make it happen.

“Bringing a CEO onboard requires that they have a strong skill set and set of experiences that you don’t have.”

Personality Profile

I wish there was a Match.com for finding a good CEO. It’s certainly challenging to meet someone who can share a vision for your business, yet also has the right personality to execute on it. A CEO’s primary responsibility is managing the all-star team, and therefore all the major department heads on your big or small team should meet with the CEO to test for fit. A CEO that has been brought on by investors or the founder in a small company without any briefing will be greeted with some resistance- primarily because people are afraid of change. To ensure a smooth transition and high levels of performance, really think about the personality fits of your current employees.

“A CEO that has been brought on by investors or the founder in a small company without any briefing will be greeted with some resistance- primarily because people are afraid of change.”

Hide and Seek

Finding your dream CEO will take time. Angel List is a great place to post your job opening. Angel List attracts innovative businesses and employees in a primarily tech dominated space. I also suggest to my clients that they talk to their current CPA’s and lawyer’s as they tend to travel in C-level circles working with investors, founders and CEO’s. LinkedIn is also a valuable resource to seek out CEOs and vet for experience.

A note on Interim CEO’s

I’ve served as an interim CEO for fashion companies in the past and it’s been useful for companies in two ways. First, it’s great for startups that know they need some guidance and direction as they build the structure and are hiring more key players. Secondly, it’s helpful for brands that are in transition and are having difficulty finding the right long-term fit. An interim CEO will be on board for 6 months to 1 year. A long-term CEO should be someone with your business 5 years +.

How much will this cost?

Expect to pay a full-time CEO between $75,000 – $400,000 a year depending on experience and the size of the business. You can hire a part-time CEO, but that is only really effective in smaller startups. Alternatively, you can hire a strategic consultant who can help groom you with CEO skills and the cost will range between $150-500 hourly. This is not a bad idea if you just need some direction and an experienced advisor.

What exactly should your CEO be doing?

I love Steve Robbins’ job description for a CEO:

A CEO should be doing “everything”. Everything includes:

1. Setting strategy and direction.
2. Modeling and setting the company’s culture.
3. Building and leading the senior executive team.
4. Allocating capital to the company’s priorities.

In essence, the failure or success of the company will rest in the hands of your future CEO. This is why hiring a CEO can be such a difficult process and time consuming. Most startup founders will want to stay on as long as possible as the CEO of their ventures, and most investors will want you to stay on as well. Your impact on your business and getting it this far is impressive and all parties involved, employees and investors, will need your passion and vision to stay strong. Good luck making this big decision for your business!

Syama Meagher is a retail strategist and CEO of Scaling Retail. She works with fashion brands and retailers on product and brand launches internationally through ecommerce, wholesale and brick & mortar. Syama has previously worked for Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife and Macy’s.  To build your brand and create a profitable business visit www.ScalingRetail.com and email hello@scalingretail.com
Business

Secrets to Growing a Global Empire with Ladyboss Extraordinaire Rebecca Minkoff

November 1, 2016
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It was a chilly and rainy morning last Thursday in New York City, but that didn’t stop dozens of women from joining us for an intimate “Fireside Chat” with the uber-talented designer, Rebecca Minkoff. As we settled into a makeshift study next to a faux fireplace in the beautiful Spring offices, the energy was palpable. We listened to Rebecca share honest details on everything from career advice she had received early on (no, you can’t be a dancer, singer, actor and a designer a the same time – pick one!), to what she would be doing if she weren’t a global fashion icon (indulging her hippie side and becoming a doula), and therapy (her brother and co-founder visit a therapist regularly and it’s greatly improved their relationship). The fabulous Amy Woodside from OKREAL led the Q&A and we were as inspired by Rebecca’s scrappy, take charge, go for it attitude as we were with her knack for keeping it real and encouraging her employees to support one another. Here are a few things we learned from Rebecca during their chat.  

Rebecca Minkoff Fireside ChatRebecca Minkoff Fireside Chat

On Fear

When running your own business, you are going to hear “no” a lot more than you are going to hear “yes” and you can’t let that intimidate you. She believes in moving your ideas forward and finding a way to turn negativity around. Sometimes, when things seem like a stupid idea, you need to believe in yourself and find a way to make it happen.  If things sound like a terrible idea, you should do it.

Rebecca Minkoff Fireside Chat

On Balancing Work and Motherhood

Rebecca believes that each woman has to answer what work/life balance means for them.  It’s easy to look at some fellow entrepreneurs and think, “wow, they must never see their kids”, but you don’t know the intimate details of their life and maybe that works for them.  Everyone has a different threshold and you have to find your own version of balance.  Rebecca opened up about going too far in one direction and how she had to learn to rein it in.  For example, she doesn’t go out more than two nights a week (usually for work) and her weekends are sacred family time.  Because of this, her personal relationships with friends have sometimes suffered and she struggles with FOMO just like anyone else, but this is the balance that works for her family. You need to not feel guilty about finding those balances for yours.

Rebecca Minkoff Fireside Chat Rebecca Minkoff Fireside Chat

On Women Supporting Women

When it comes to women supporting other women, Rebecca is adamant that there is still work to be done.  She has been fortunate to have been surrounded by really supportive women for most of her career and she has definitely connected more with other women since becoming a mother herself.  Having a common reality has been huge for her and she is a firm believer in leaving the office to spend time with your family, pets, stuffed animals, whatever!  She has talked to a lot of women in male dominated fields and it’s surprising that more women aren’t helping to foster the professional growth of the women below them.  We need to help each other out instead of compete.

Rebecca Minkoff Fireside Chat Rebecca Minkoff Fireside Chat

On Making It

When you are just starting out and looking at the people you think have made it, from the outside it looks like they can sit back and enjoy their success. 10 years ago Rebecca thought that when she grew her company to the size it is today she’d be taking long vacations and maybe running away on a cruise ship. She’s not. There is always so much more to do when you are growing your brand. There are a lot of people trying to make it out there and you can’t rest on your laurels.  She realized that you can’t let them be hungrier than you are. Even in the moments when your dreams seem unattainable, it’s important to stay focused and driven. Do away with any rules you once knew, and create your own. 

 

Rebecca Minkoff Fireside Chat

It was a morning to remember and we can’t wait to watch what Rebecca and her brand get up to next. Her future plans include dreams of expanding into home decor and even beauty. If we learned anything about this ladyboss it’s that she is a visionary and she’s going to make these dreams a reality.

You can find the latest from Rebecca Minkoff on Spring and enter coupon code FALLFIRESIDE to receive 20% off* the entire site.

*Offer expires 11/12/16 and is a maximum discount of $50.

Business, Give Back

One Woman’s Journey To Saving Over 200,000 Underprivileged Babies And Counting

October 18, 2016
Jane Chen

Here at heymama, we are fortunate enough to be immersed in a community of smart and savvy women who are building brands for and to support women and children worldwide. So many companies are not only making a name for themselves in the business world, they are finding opportunities to give back to those less fortunate and make a tremendous difference. It is important to Katya, Ali and I, as mothers, to be supporters of these visionaries and change-makers, shining a spotlight on people who are giving hope, resources and support to those in need.  We are really excited to create a new area of heymama where we will highlight these give back brands, charities and organizations, making it easy to support them and the communities that they are caring for.  We will be highlighting several women this week who have upped the ante on changing the world – we hope you are as inspired to get involved as we are.

Xo

Amri

When we heard about Embrace Innovations and it’s CEO, Jane Chen, we needed to interview her ASAP. Challenged in a course at Stanford University to create a baby incubator that costs less than 1% of those on the market, Jane designed the Embrace Infant Warmer, a baby-warmer that does not require constant electricity and keeps babies at the ideal body temperature. This ground-breaking yet simple technology uses a wax technology, and literally has been saving the lives of premature and underweight babies in developing countries worldwide. Recognizing the tremendous impact she could have, Jane went on to launch Little Lotus, a line of swaddles, sleeping bags and blankets with a special regulating function (which helps babies sleep better) and a 1:1 give back program that helps to save one baby with the Embrace Infant Warmer  for every Little Lotus product sold. The Embrace Warmer has already helped save over 200,000 babies and counting. As moms, we know how much our babies mean to us and are enamored with Jane’s goal of saving one million lives. Read her incredibly heartwarming and inspiring story below.

Jane! We need to start by saying how incredible Embrace Innovations is! Can you tell us a little about the Embrace Warmer and how it came to be?

Thank you! The Embrace Infant Warmer is a low-cost incubator designed to help premature and underweight babies in the developing world. It looks like a tiny sleeping bag, and keeps infants at a stable temperature using an innovative phase-change material that melts at 98 degrees F and maintains that temperature for up to 8 hours, without the need for electricity.

In 2008 at Stanford, a group of my classmates and I were challenged to design a baby incubator that cost less than 1% of a traditional design. Our class project led to the creation of the Embrace Infant Warmer, which to date, has now helped over 200,000 preterm infants in 20 developing countries.

Jane Chen

With each purchase of a Little Lotus item, a baby is helped by the Embrace Infant Warmer in a developing country through our nonprofit partners. Our goal is help save the lives of one million preterm infants, and we’re rallying families here in the U.S. to help us accomplish that.

Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished! Why is the Embrace Warmer so helpful in reducing the newborn death rate and helping premature babies in developing countries?

Around the world, more than one million babies die on their birthing day, with most of these deaths occurring in developing countries. The leading cause of these deaths are preventable complications, often related to prematurity and low birth weight. Newborn death rates are high in these countries, often because of a lack of prenatal care, as well as a lack of access to hospitals and modern medical equipment.  Moreover, many places don’t even have consistent access to electricity. This is why we set out to design a product that would be super easy to use, without the need for constant electricity. Our product can be used in a village clinic, or even in a home setting.

You must have some incredible stories from all of your travels and the help you’ve provided to so many people. Is there any story in particular that has touched you of a family your product has helped?

There is a child named Nathan who is extremely special to me, and his story is probably surprising to most. Born just under two pounds and abandoned on the side of the road in China after his birth, he’s come to be one of my biggest sources of inspiration.

After Nathan was discovered by an Orphanage (Little Flower) with whom we had just launched a program, Nathan was kept in an Embrace Warmer for thirty days. Thanks to the product, and Little Flower’s loving care, this tiny infant survived! At that birth weight, he really shouldn’t have survived at all, so his plight and survival was incredible – a testament to why we do this work at Embrace Innovations. When I went to visit him at the orphanage at seven months old, I found a healthy, happy baby boy.

Today, Nathan lives in Chicago with his adopted family, and is a smiling, interactive, and very lively toddler. His family has even sent me photos of Nathan posing next to his Embrace Warmer, which he is way too big for now.  Last year, Nathan’s mom gave me a figurine of a an angel guiding a little boy, representing our relationship. It was incredibly moving.

What an incredibly rewarding journey! Can you tell us about Little Lotus and its NASA technology? How does it work to keep babies’ temperature regulated?

Our swaddles, blankets, and sleeping bags use a special fabric that was first developed for NASA spacesuits. The fabric is incredibly soft to the touch, but contains microns of wax which keeps babies at the ideal temperature by drawing away excess heat when babies get too warm, and releasing it when they start to cool down.

The Little Lotus products were designed to help babies maintain their ideal skin temperature, and as a result, our studies have shown that babies are getting almost an extra hour of sleep a day with our product compared to other products, as they have fewer temperature fluctuations!

Jane Chen
How does purchasing a Little Lotus swaddle benefit babies in danger around the world?

Little Lotus Baby runs on a TOMS Shoes-like 1:1 model of giving. With each purchase of a Little Lotus item, a baby is helped by the Embrace Infant Warmer in a developing country through our nonprofit partners. Our goal is help save the lives of one million preterm infants, and we’re rallying families here in the U.S. to help us accomplish that.

What was your own journey like founding this company? How did you get things off the ground?

I started Embrace back in 2008, right after I graduated from Stanford. My co-founders and I moved to India, home to 40% of the world’s premature babies, and spent the next four years getting this product off the ground – figuring out everything from clinical testing, to manufacturing , to distribution. It was incredibly challenging!

In the spring of 2015, we decided to launch Little Lotus to help us fund the expansion of the Embrace Warmers. My team and I launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the first $100K, and we were successful! We used those funds for critical product development, manufacturing, to deliver our first batch of products to customers back in December. Since then, we’ve developed an amazing community of parents who love our products, so the journey has been immensely rewarding.

You’ve seen so many difficult situations on your quest to help these little babies, not only in the personal stories from the countries you’ve worked with but also in your own struggles to build this business and get funding. What is the biggest takeaway or lesson you’ve learned in all of this?

During my time living in India, getting Embrace Innovations off the ground, I could feel myself becoming jaded over the years. On top of dealing with the regular stresses of startup life, I was in an environment where I had to face endless chaos and corruption, and where I was surrounded by extreme poverty, illness, and death. Then at some point, I had a realization. For every horrible thing I experienced, there was something equally as beautiful. The noble doctors I met, who stayed up all night seeing patients. The wonderful team who had come together to join us in our mission. The mothers whom, no matter how poor or uneducated or impoverished, would do absolutely anything to save their babies. I had the chance to see the purest and most selfless forms of love in the world everyday through my work. How could I become jaded when I was surrounded by such beauty of the human spirit?

I learned one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my life: you get to choose the lens through which you see the world. I choose to see the world through the lens of beauty. As Thoreau said: “It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.”

Jane Chen

For every horrible thing I experienced, there was something equally as beautiful. The noble doctors I met, who stayed up all night seeing patients. The wonderful team who had come together to join us in our mission. The mothers whom, no matter how poor or uneducated or impoverished, would do absolutely anything to save their babies. I had the chance to see the purest and most selfless forms of love in the world everyday through my work.

I read a crazy story you told about losing your funding just a week before the deal was to go through.. Can you tell us about that? What did you do?

I’ve faced plenty of challenges in running a startup, but this was definitely the scariest.

In 2014, Embrace Innovations was on the brink of shutting down when a major round of funding unexpectedly fell through. What saved us was a serendipitous meeting with Marc Benioff, CEO and Founder of Salesforce. He and I sat next to each other during a meditation class at the World Economic Forum, and at the time, he was just about to help launch a global program on premature births with the Gates Foundation. When this crisis hit, with only a few days of cash left in the bank to run our company, I sent Marc a desperate email asking for his help – not really knowing what to expect. He generously agreed to fund the company, and gave us the runway we needed to find a new strategy, which was how Little Lotus was born.  We realized we couldn’t count on our revenues coming only from emerging markets, and decided to leverage our technology to launch a great product for babies in the US that can help babies in the developing world at the same time.

I can only believe the universe conspired for Marc and I to meet each other, and I will forever be indebted to him for his belief in our mission. and I to meet each other, and I will forever be indebted to him for his belief in our mission.

 

Jane Chen

We are big supporters of chance meetings! What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

“The universe will go on without you.” In other words, don’t take yourself too seriously!

Can you share four pearls of wisdom that you’ve learned so far in life?

1. When you fail, get up and try again. As an entrepreneur, you will fail over and over again. You will constantly face setbacks. And you just have to be ok with that. When my company nearly shut down, knocking the wind out of me, I had to find the courage to get back up and find a solution. As someone who has failed many times, I urge you to try, try, and try again.

2. You’ve got to keep putting yourself in challenging situations, and pushing your limits.  Each step in creating Embrace was scary — I had no previous experience developing a medical device, or running a company, but by thinking big, we turned an idea into a product that has helped save thousands of lives.

3. Accept what cannot be changed.  In life, and especially as an entrepreneur, so many situations are out of our control. Sh*t happens. Don’t waste energy fighting the things that cannot be changed. Instead, adapt to the situation and learn to ride with it.

4. Always have fun. One of the things I love so much about surfing, my passion sport, is how delightfully fun it is. I’m reminded not to take myself too seriously, to just enjoy life and be grateful for every day, and every experience. Truly, the best surfer is the one who is having the most fun. And that’s how I want to live my life.

Are you inspired by Jane as much as we are? You can read more in this Forbes article she wrote here.

Lastly, we are thrilled to support Jane and her Little Lotus giveaway! Click here to enter.

Business, Lifestyle

How Being A Good Animal Got Laia Aguilar’s New Brand On The IG Map

September 28, 2016
The Animals Observatory

via Constance Gennari @ The Socialite Family

 

Every once in awhile we come across a brand so good we long to be kids again or that we might squeeze into one of the dresses as a top.Thankfully we come to our sense before that happens and do the next best thing, buy it for our kids and take a million pictures to post on Instagram. It seems we aren’t the only ones that heard the whispering a few seasons ago that Laia Aguilar, the founder of Bobo Choses had moved on and created not another Bobo but a purely new kid’s fashion line The Animals Observatory. A quick check in  #theanimalobservatory showed us over 14k others are posting their love for the line. Here are a few of our faves and Laia’s story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even when I was little, I never went anywhere without a pad and crayons… because drawing is my way of life.

What wisdom can you share about career, motherhood and life?

In my experience, and in a nutshell, anything is possible if you are willing to work hard, in both your professional and your personal life. Nothing worth having comes easy. Plus, you need a bit of luck and, in my case, a husband worth an empire (laughing).

We were such big fans of Bobo Chooses why did you leave and how did you come to found The Animals Observatory?

I had left Bobo Choses for various reasons. Bobo Choses is the brand I founded and where I worked as Art Director for seven years. It was both a happy and sad moment, a very intense one. Basically due to differences with my then partners. It was tough, because it’s a brand with my DNA since I founded it. But there was nothing else for it.

But then I  met Jan Andreu, my partner at The Animals Observatory. Jan is an unusual businessman; rational and intuitive. He manages the business side of the brand, I manage the creative side, so it’s a great match.

You created some of the most original and fun prints for both collections. How do you come up with such amazing prints?

Even when I was little, I never went anywhere without a pad and crayons. When it’s time to conceptualize a collection, I have plenty of material to choose from, because drawing is my way of life.

 

The hashtag #theanimalobservatory has almost 14,000 tags and full of the next trendsetters 😉 Why do you think it’s become so popular? How has social media impacted your brand?

Well, we are more than 14,000 tags now LOL! The truth is that I feel very grateful. I imagine that, somehow, the customer perceives truth and honesty in my designs. Maybe that makes them so popular.

Social networks have been my best ally in spreading my brands, both in Bobo Choses and now in The Animals Observatory.

What’s your biggest retail market? We noticed a lot of the hashtag users come from Korea and Japan. Why do you think your designs are so popular in those markets?

Indeed, Japan and Korea are two markets that have enthusiastically accepted my designs, with Bobo Choses before, and now with The Animals Observatory. I do not know what the reason is, but it’s sure a wonderful mystery!

You are able to live in the gorgeous rural countryside of Spain, where you live with your family and dog, work and design your collections.. Can you tell us about your life there and the work life balance you have created? Do you find it’s easier for you to be creative there?

Living in the country has made me happy. Here, life makes sense; it’s where I like to be. I don’t know whether it’s easier or not. In any case, the countryside lets me enjoy an environment as enriching and beautiful as the private world in which I create my collections in my study. It’s actually much easier than it looks. The showroom and headquarters, marketing, finance and operations are in Barcelona. The creative centre is in the Empordà countryside. Once a week, the creative team and the coordinator meet in Barcelona.

 

What is the brand philosophy of The Animal Observatory?

Our philosophy is simple: to present our vision of childhood through clothing that is materially and conceptually hard-wearing and long-lasting. Clothes that can be handed on without losing their quality or their ability to seduce. It might be called slow fashion. Plus, our challenge is for these clothes, when today’s kids are grown up, to bring their childhood flooding back, like Proust’s madeleine. We want to be Proust’s madeleine (laughing).

What do you love about what you do?

One of my greatest pleasures as a designer is choosing the colors.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Be a good animal, true to your instincts.

Be a good animal, true to your instincts.

#STARTUPSTORIES, Business

#STARTUPSTORY: How Elle Rowley Built Solly Baby Into A Household Name

September 20, 2016
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Elle Rowley is the enterprising mama behind Solly Baby, the super light wrap used to carry your baby.  The all around perks to baby wearing are quite astounding, and we can’t figure out why there was a time this had gone out of style! Thanks mama for bringing this back. From creating her own carrier, to selling on Etsy, to launching her very successful business, Ella’s #STARTUPSTORY is definitely one to be read and inspired by.

solly baby

Just make sure you are really adding value. Don’t start something just to have a business, make sure you are really starting something you care about and you want to share.

Tell us your startup story. How did you start Solly Baby Wraps?

After using migraine-inducing carriers that left me feeling like a packhorse with my first baby in 2009, I wanted something comfortable and chic to wear my second baby in so I could not only best take care of his needs, but also so I could still chase after my toddler and meet her needs as well.  There were only a few other wraps on the market and they were heavy and hot and didn’t appeal to me aesthetically. After making my own wrap, absolutely loving the experience, and discovering through the feedback of friends that I had done something really different, I decided to start making and selling them on Etsy. From selling there I could see there was a real demand so I took it to the next level by sourcing real manufacturing and I started working through social media to get the word out. In 2016 that’s an obvious route but in 2011, advertising through social media was really just beginning.

What do you think sets your brand apart?

First to market for our particular carrier has been huge, but I’d also like to think that really staying true to our brand values and our community has set us apart.

What has been your most successful marketing tool?

Instagram is still such a strong tool, but its power is definitely on the decline. We are excited to try pushing other platforms now to see if we can find something equally successful.

solly baby

Why baby wearing? What are some of the benefits to mama/daddy and baby?

As a baby wearing educator, I’ve studied so many that now I have a hard place even beginning to make a list. It reduces postpartum depression and colic, regulates baby’s heart rate and body temperature, and increases bonding and just a certain level of confidence that you can go out with your baby as well as take care of other children. It really is such an amazing tool for any parent. It’s hard to believe it ever went “out of fashion”, but I’m so grateful for its resurgence in the last decade.

It reduces postpartum depression and colic, regulates baby’s heart rate and body temperature, and increases bonding and just a certain level of confidence that you can go out with your baby as well as take care of other children.

What’s been the best part of what you do?

I love telling the stories of mothers as much as I love sharing great products with them, so social media has created the perfect place for an entrepreneur like me to find the stories of real parents using our product, even if it’s just a snippet from someone’s day, and to be able to share them. I’m still amazed I’m able to share our product in this way and that it’s been as successful as it has been. It’s so fulfilling for me personally.

Do you have a fave quote?

“Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.” – Oprah

solly baby

What’s the funniest thing you’ve done baby wearing?

At some point after having Frances, my third, I found myself posting an (upper body!) photo on Instagram while I got my postpartum vaginal exam to encourage people to wear their babies at the doctors office because it makes it so much easier and you don’t have to worry about germs. Later that day, I was like, “I should probably reevaluate my sharing boundaries.”

I live for the adorable picture of babies on your Instagram they are sooooo cute! How do you find them?  Do people send them to you ? Have you created a hashtag or do you see them when people tag you?

I know, right?! So many darling babies! We are so fortunate to have so many people tagging us each day. I still go through them almost daily because they make me so happy.

What was the biggest challenge with getting Solly off the ground?

Cash flow! It was always cash flow.

solly baby

What’s the business like today? Do you have a big team?

We actually prefer to keep our team as small as possible and to contract out wherever possible. We have an office, but I prefer to work from my home office (which, this pregnancy, is often my bed!). All of our production is in Los Angeles, which is so nice because we can visit often to oversee our fabric production and sewing.

You must have made some amazing friends with mamas who love your wraps! Can you tell us a few of the inspiring women who wear them?

I am not super into following celebrities, but I will say that I randomly met Anne Hathaway a few months ago who has been wearing her son in our wraps. That was, like, a moment, you know?

But, mostly, I just like seeing every day moms wear and love them. I’m most inspired by the moms who are quietly working hard and loving their babies the best they know how.

I’m most inspired by the moms who are quietly working hard and loving their babies the best they know how.

Any advice of mamas who dream of starting their own business from home?

Just make sure you are really adding value. Don’t start something just to have a business, make sure you are really starting something you care about and you want to share.

solly baby

 Can you share 3 pearls of wisdom that you’ve learned along the way?

  • Make your own definition and then align your business goals with that definition (read: money does not always equal success or maybe it does for you, but make sure you ask yourself that question).
  • Always look up. If you really want to take your business to the next level then know what that looks like. It’s easy to get stuck in startup mode with all the other startups around, but you should always know the next step for your business to get it beyond that level. It’s easy to stay in startup land forever because it’s comfortable, but don’t be that kid that graduates high school and sticks around for the next 5 years. You can do better than that.
  • Enjoy it and don’t let it own you. I constantly remind myself that relationships matter so much more than any business.

 

Brand Spotlight, Business

Why Your Kid Will Run To The Mailbox Everyday

September 14, 2016
pipsticks

Maureen Vasquez, mama of 4 under 4, used to be a graphic designer, but now she is using those powers for the greater good… STICKERS. Created on the base of keeping her kids busy and artistic, Pipsticks is an international subscription sticker club where everyone in the world can now enjoy the gift of stickers!

pipsticks

  1. How did you get the idea to launch a subscription sticker company? 

I was a graphic designer with a background in brand management and had always been interested in having my own business. A few years ago, we were invited to join one of those sticker club chain letters. As a child of the 80’s, I couldn’t say no. But unfortunately, like all chain letters, it was a bust. It took loads of time and energy to find friends, write letters, enclose stickers, address envelopes, find stamps (oh, f’ing stamps!!).

Nothing happened for three months and finally, my kids received one measly response – it came in a plain white envelope and had one little sheet of stickers inside. Though frustrating for me, they went absolutely bananas crazy over that one sheet of stickers waiting in our mailbox. Inspired, I created Pipsticks after looking for a sticker subscription and coming up empty. At Pipsticks, we take the headache out of sticker clubbing and promise a monthly return that is easy and awesome.

The most amazing thing is that we now have two clubs – one for kids and one for sticker loving adults! Apparently sticker love is blind when it comes to age!

pipsticks

  1. How do connect with your customers and get the word out?

    We go to this shopping event called ShopUp – we’ve been in London and in LA. As an online biz, it’s great to actually connect with customers face to face. The buzz at the events is always fantastic, and it’s so fun to people watch. Each location has been totally different – all cool moms but each region with its own edge. At this point it’s kind of like camp – lots of the vendors have been to previous events and live all over the world. It’s awesome to get together to catch up over tables of beautiful hair bows and drool worthy toys. It’s also the only place where I’ve found myself checking out kids for fashion inspiration, haha!

pipsticks

  1. What do you hope Pipsticks accomplishes?

Pipsticks is about so much more than stickers. I’ve set up the company to bring simple joys into people’s lives. Whether that joy comes from re-living your own childhood obsession with stickers vicariously through your kids, seeing them freak out over stickers in the mailbox, or having five minutes to really taste that coffee in the morning or cold beer at the end of a long day while your kids are happily occupied with stickers is what it’s all about. I hope Pipsticks reminds lots and lots of people how easy it can be to get excited over something as simple as stickers and mail.

  1. What’s your happy place?

Saturday night, anticipating the next morning (Sundays are my days to sleep in!).

  1. You have 4 kids under 4, how do you get any work done? 🙂

I’m married to an awesome guy who is super involved and we split things 50/50. We work together and move in and out of the parenting as one unit. At the moment, our offices are run out of a cottage behind our house, so we don’t have to waste time commuting and can feel totally present (dipping in and out of the kids’ days), despite having a full work day. I’ve also got a great pair of headphones to drown out the sound of kids coming from outside, haha.

It’s difficult to stay on top of customer service and social media while parenting. Though I hate to be attached to my phone when I’m with the kids, I do have to check on things every hour or so. Not ideal but necessary. I work 3-4 nights a week after the kids go to bed (I can’t let myself sit down on the couch after at night unless I’ve determined it will be a night off or it’s game over and I’m watching The Americans – I’m addicted!).

And, I don’t beat myself up. Something really does have to give if you have kids and run a business (or have kids OR a business). I don’t sleep as much as I’d like, I haven’t exercised in a really long time, and I’m in desperate need of a facial ,etc, but this is what I need to do to build our family business and it’s not forever (I hope). If I didn’t absolutely love what I’m doing, there’s no way I’d be so happy about doing it (but hello, millions of stickers!).

P.S. Pipsticks will be a part of the ShopUp by Babyccino Kids event September 18th & 19th. Come shop the 40 different booths, while your kids enjoy a plethora of activities and lets not forget all of the delicious food vendors! Find out more about the ShopUp event  here.  

Calling all crafters, download this printable sticker card template here.

#LadyBoss, Business, Co-Founder, Interview, Shopping

Editorialist: Started On The Runway Now We Here

September 9, 2016
editorialist-18

Former Accessories Editors, Kate Davidson Hudson and Stefania Allen, found a hole in the accessories market and filled it by creating Editorialist. Featured in some of the most-read publications, this magazine/online shopping destination is filled with the most coveted and hard to find pieces that they spotted on the runway and designer market appointments. Thanks ladies for feeding our shopping addiction and putting all of the best accessories in one place! Major plus, if you live in NYC, they offer same day delivery #BLESS

editorialist

We didn’t feel there was any single destination that satisfied our need for both quality content and quality product. It was at that point we thought, if it doesn’t exist, let’s build it.

What was the tipping point that took Editorialist from something you both wanted to see in the market personally to something you felt you needed create? What pushed you into the startup world?

As editors we always lamented that so many of the incredible pieces we saw in market appointments and Europe covering the shows, never actually made it to store shelves. A lot of what we saw at our common retail locations were either watered-down versions of the key pieces of the season, or, felt like very redundant iterations from store-to-store. At the same time, we slowly began to realize that we, personally, preferred shopping online and reading our fashion media online within the hectic pace of our day-to-day working lives. It was at that point that we thought to ourselves, there has to be a more efficient way to consume our media and shop in one streamlined environment. We didn’t feel there was any single destination that satisfied our need for both quality content and quality product. It was at that point we thought, if it doesn’t exist, let’s build it.

I know as an editor it was always frustrating to see such great pieces on the line and then they would be dropped. What is your process like to get such great stuff  on your site? How do you work with designers to ensure you get the selects?

We’re fortunate in the sense that we come from the editorial world, so we have the benefit of years of cultivating our eye and being able to spot talent along with those quality directional pieces that will be great investments for someone’s wardrobe. We love to work with designers on exclusive pieces – whether it be an entirely new product or simply an exclusive colorway, we have a sense of what will be important in the market moving forward and if we don’t see those ideas already commercialized in samples, we work to create it with our partners to ensure we’re bringing the best and most investment-worthy product to our readers every season.

You launched Editorialist magazine after a few seasons online. What was this experience like and how do you see it compliment the site?

We launched as a pure digital entity. But, like most early businesses, we came to learn that the plan is constantly changing and evolving to fit with the market and what your customer wants. We always understood that content and the contextualization of the product on our ecommerce platform was critical in adding to the experiential value of our site and in underscoring the importance of the pieces across the platform. After our first year, we were getting such strong engagement with our editorial content that we decided to print a small run of an issue. Initially, we were approaching it as something more akin to a pamphlet that was an outgrowth of the content we were already creating for the digital platform. But, that first issue took off and we quickly learned that our customer and reader wanted the Editorialist experience accessible at every point throughout their day: digitally, socially, via live chat, and in print. We both came from a print background so we inherently understood the value of a tangible asset, but in our digitally-driven world, we were very surprised to see that print, if done the right way, can still have a huge draw and value-add for our audience.

editorialist

It is game-changing to have another mother as a business partner. It can, understandably, be a hard thing for a non-parent co-worker to understand the urgency of a run to the pediatrician or the unpredictability of it all. As two mothers, we both get it and can step in to cover for the other without a moment’s hesitation or a second guess.

What has it been like building your team from the ground up? Growing pains?

It’s been a great learning experience growing our team. I think the two things we’ve learned are: Hire the “all-around-athletes”. Meaning, particularly in a start-up environment, you need to hire for those team players who are ready and able to wear many different hats, are excited about the product, and not afraid to get their hands dirty. The second, perhaps harder thing we’ve learned is that once you realize someone is not going to be a fit, it’s better for them and for the company to part ways, right away.

Best business advice you have ever received?

Hire to your weaknesses.

How has your business model changed from the early days? How is it the same?

We initially launched as a digital-only entity. Now, print has become an increasingly important component of our product and the Editorialist experience.

editorialist

Hire the “all-around-athletes”. Meaning, particularly in a start-up environment, you need to hire for those team players who are ready and able to wear many different hats, are excited about the product, and not afraid to get their hands dirty.

How do you split your responsibilities? How did you decide to create your roles since you both come from similar backgrounds?

There is a heavy cross-pollination in what we both do; but, as general roles, Stef oversees the e-commerce and Kate runs the editorial.

Best part of what you do?

The best part of what we do is having the opportunity to work with amazingly talented and innovative people from the creative, design, and technology worlds.

You see the best of the best out there. What are you personally lusting after right now?

The list is too long – or probably too embarrassing- to note in full. But, log on to editorialist.com for a look at some of our most lust-worthy pieces from the fall collections. We only buy into what we love and can authentically stand behind, so the site is populated with all of our most coveted pieces of the season.

editorialist

You both have pretty young ( and super adorable kids) how do you manage the juggle as working mamas? Do you find it helpful to have an other mom as a co-founder to lean on?

It is a juggling act on a day-to-day basis. I’m not sure you ever find a true balance. Everyday ends up presenting its own set of challenges and I just try to focus on my kids whenever I am with them and make sure they always know they are the priority. When I’m at work, I try to be fully present there and work as efficiently as possible, so I’m getting the most value out of every moment spent at the office.

It is game-changing to have another mother as a business partner. It can, understandably, be a hard thing for a non-parent co-worker to understand the urgency of a run to the pediatrician or the unpredictability of it all. As two mothers, we both get it and can step in to cover for the other without a moment’s hesitation or a second guess.

Do guys still spend a lot of time together outside of work?

We do… our kids are great friends so it’s nice to take those opportunities to also get them together…and maybe squeeze in a little work talk along the way 😉

Our three pearls of wisdom about Motherhood:
1. Cherish the little moments- it’s often in those small, everyday moments you create the most treasured memories.
2. Be the example you want your kids to follow.
2. You’re doing better than you think you are…2016-08-22-fw_16_coverrgb

Editorialist

Advice, Brand Spotlight, Business, Contributors

How To Throw A Bash For Your Brand On A Budget

August 25, 2016
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Amanda Blakley is a travel writer and now entrepreneur with her new baby garment line, Petits Genoux, where she married the old-fashion styles of our ancestors with a modern-day twist and we are so in love. Read below as she shares her advice on how to throw a bash for you brand on a budget and some adorable photos of her own event. 

Petits Genoux

Looking to amp up your brand exposure in a fun and interactive way? Why not create an authentic experience that brings your company to life in a live setting? We spend so much time and energy these days building our online communities, but what about our off-line community? Not just our “followers”, “friends” or “fans” passively observing our businesses from afar. Instagram is great for brand building and reaching new consumers, but sometimes old school human engagement, not the digital kind, is where it’s at! Let’s forget about reach, readership and interactions for a minute. Let’s try and reconnect with the people, places and things whom we ultimately create our products and services for.

We recently threw a simple (but chic) park playdate for our local friends and customers in Toronto. It gave us the opportunity to showcase our brand in an informal setting, get real-time feedback and put faces to the names of some of our best clients, accounts and future customers.

Petits Genoux

Here is a little tip-sheet on how you can do the same:

  1. Define your objective. do you want to sell product, introduce a new collection, spread the word about an exciting new service offering? No matter what it is, you need to determine the best way to showcase or communicate it, in a setting where your guests/customers will be most receptive to the message.Petits Genoux
  2. What’s your hook? I think it’s fair to say that many of us get invited to a lot of events. We’re busy, time-starved and quite frankly, slightly jaded, so in order to get a guest to RSVP and actually turn up at an event, it needs to have a hook or purpose more meaningful than just a rack of clothes for sale and some canapés on offer. Brainstorm an idea, theme or concept that adds substance and creativity to your event, in the spirit of your brand. Feature a local performer, a children’s choir, face painting, beat boxing, type-rope-walking – anything to elevate your event beyond just another shopping night or trunk show.
  3. Distill your brand to a couple sentences then work backwards to define what type of setting and activity would resonate most with your audience and potential customers. In the case of Petits Genoux, our main target audience is new and expecting mom’s. Where do they hang out on a gorgeous summer morning? The park. So we set out to jazz up their predictable daily outing and attempted to make it accessible, fun, entertaining and whimsical, all before getting their littles home for nap time. Siblings were invited to play in our teepee village, sip lemonade and eat popsicles, while babes-in-arms could easily be toted around while their moms perused our wares.
  4. Timing, as you know, is everything, and the same is true of when (and where) to host your gathering. Some lifestyle brands or products might have more success throwing an evening event. Or perhaps you might consider a chic breakfast or coffee break for those customers working a more traditional 9-5. The key is to find a time slot and activity that makes sense while also creating an element of anticipation for your guests.
  5. Get inspired. Pinterest is full of entertaining ideas, pick one and make it your own with little custom details that speak to your brand. Can you screen a must-see experimental film on the side of a building and sample your brand of popcorn while guests chill out on lawn chairs? Host an intimate dinner with a local chef pairing each course with your core brand values? The key is to create a concept that will help to harness the unique aspects of your brand or business that make it special while propelling your company or brand into the spotlight.

Amanda Blakley

Tourist | Entrepreneur | Adventurer

Petits Genoux

#LADYBOSS, Brand Spotlight, Business

Lindsey Boyd Of The Laundress Shares The Secret To A Perfectly Fresh Wardrobe

August 24, 2016
Lindsey Boyd, cofounder of the laundress with her kids

Lindsey Boyd met her cofounder, Gwen Whiting, while studying Fiber Science at Cornell University. Post graduation, they’ve come to realize they spent WAY too much on dry-cleaning that didn’t even work. They searched to develop a solution and The Laundress was born. Save your dollars and your dresses by reading this interview.

 

You’re such an expert in fiber care! What are the worst three things people do to their clothes?

1-Dry clean too often

2-Put items in the dryer when they should be air dried

3-Use chlorine bleach
The Laundress Stain Solution

What is the top product you make that you think everyone should buy and why?

The Laundress Sport Detergent is the best product for removing odor, perspiration, and stains that stick to your workout clothing and other high performance fabrics.

There is nothing worse than thinking your sports bra is clean, and (much to your surprise) starts to smell bad before you have worked up a sweat!

What makes The Laundress so unique? What sets you apart from other cleaning products?

In addition to providing the product solutions, we also educate our customers on the proper care for their clothing and cleaning methods for their home. We provide the answers, as well as the product solutions for the best results.

There are so many institutionalized players working in fabric care. What was your biggest challenge breaking into the industry? Any smart marketing techniques you used? 

The Laundress is an experiential product. It needs to be used first for customers to see the benefits and compare results to other products. Therefore, the challenge lies with convincing people to believe that our products work without trying them. From a marketing perspective, social media has been instrumental in building a viral word-of-mouth community around the brand. Tapping into key players in that realm has really helped us effectively market the brand and get new customers. We know that once someone tries The Laundress, they will be completely hooked!

laundress

Your product was created as an alternative to dry cleaning. What are the advantages of using Laundress? Is dry cleaning bad for your clothing?

We know from our Fiber Science studies that most fabrics do not have to be dry cleaned. The issues lie more with the construction of the garment, so a silk blouse that says “dry clean” can be washed. We look at the fabric content of the item to determine if it can be washed or not. Most manufacturers say dry clean, because this takes the ownership and liability away from them regarding care. However, fabrics such as silk, cashmere, wool, and denim are all highly washable.

What’s your favorite part about owning your own business?

My favorite part is the ability to make things happen without any corporate hurdles or red tape. Gwen and I are hustlers! When we see something we want, we like to move quickly and that flexibility doesn’t happen within a large corporate structure.

Best career advice you’ve ever received?

If you are passionate, you will be successful.

How has your life changed since having kids?

My children enrich my life and make it so much more fun. I love being a mom and watching them grow up!

How do you manage your time with family vs. work as busy working mama? Do you have any ways that you maximize your family time or routines?

I am very big on making lists. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to get everything done. With children, there is so much to do at once,and that is the biggest struggle. The way I balance it all is that when I am with them, I am with them 100 percent. They have my full attention, and I know that those moments are quality times for us.

Part of being a mom is cleaning up all of the messes! Please tell us how to remove some tough ones like coffee or red juice? (we drink a lot of coffee at my house, and someone keeps giving my kids that red juice;))

The Laundress Clean Talk blog is full of “recipes” for removing kid stains (see link below from our Make Messes Campaign). I always have The Laundress Stain Solution, Wash & Stain Bars, and All-Purpose Bleach Alternative at the ready in case anything goes down. The Laundress Surface Cleaner is also a must-have for spills and painting-gone-wrong moments!

http://blog.thelaundress.com/wordpress/2016/06/27/summer-food-stains-dont-have-to-be-a-bummer-to-remove/

The Laundress, kids painting

Do you feel like your daughter is influenced by your work and being a working mama? Is she your little helper?

She loves hearing about what I do, and she loves using the products and (especially) smelling them. She has quite a nose on her. Her favorite scent is Classic. She is also a big fan of coming to my office to visit everyone and “working” at my desk.

What’s your favorite mommy and me activity?

I love painting with my kids, because that is an age appropriate activity right now where both kids can get involved. We also have a lot of fun with dance parties, which sometimes involve dressing up!

Three Pearls of Wisdom

  • More life; less digital: Spend less time on email, social media, and behind the lens capturing the perfect picture, and enjoy what is in front of you. This is something I am working on as I love all that is at my fingertips with my iPhone and taking pictures of the kids, but I need to just enjoy them and all of our special moments.
  • Invest in yourself: You have to make scheduling time for yourself a priority – especially when you have children. It is important to take up new hobbies, make time to work out, and go out to dinner with friends and date night with your spouse or partner. If you start slowly at one of the above you won’t lose yourself, and this leads to more personal happiness and your best self for your family.
  • Work hard, play hard: For me this means when I work, I am fully there and stay 100 percent focused, and when I am out of work mode, whether it’s with my children or on vacation with girlfriends, I am there completely.  This is how you stay balanced and centered. You just do one thing at a time and avoid overscheduling yourself, and all generally works out.
Baby, Brand Spotlight, Business, Design, Events, Shopping

Jonathan Adler Shares 5 Tips To Decorating Your Nursery

August 24, 2016
Jonathan Adler x Fisher Price

Jonathan Adler x Fisher Price

Earlier this week we celebrated the new Jonathan Adler Crafted by Fisher-Price collection of chic and modern baby gear, nursery furniture and decor, and the man behind them. The entire collection is so glam you’ll want to bring it out of the nursery and put it on display in any room. Jonathan’s black and white palette with pops of color is sophisticated yet playful and will go perfectly in a nursery or even your living room.

He gave us these 5 tips to decorating your nursery:

1. The main lighting fixtures should be something you want to live with forever- and make sure its dimmable. The table lamps are where you can be fun and irreverent.

2. Try to stick to a high contrast color palette. The people at Fisher-Price told me that kids respond to high contrast colors (like black and white) as much as I do.

3. Start with a good quality rug. I love Peruvian flat weaves. They are handmade by craftspeople in Peru and are soft durable and – and groovy.

4. You are going to spend a lot of time in the nursery so fill it with soft and squishy pillows and throws.

5. I’m a fan of warm and honey colored woods in the nursery. They look good now, and they’ll look good as baby grows

Jonathan Adler x Fisher Price

Jonathan answered all of our burning questions on how to make our nursery feel like a glamour oasis of style; think giraffes, sleek wood, and squishy pillows galore. What’s his go-to gift from the collection??? It’s also a mama fave – the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.

 

Jonathan Adler

All of our lucky mamas got to select a piece from the Jonathan Adler Crafted By Fisher-Price collection to take home with them. You can check out the whole collaboration here, which is available for pre-order on Buy Buy Baby now!

Jonathan Adler x Fisher Price

We raffled off a slew of goodies from the collection including the gorgeous babygear plus a Jonathan Adler gift card to one lucky mama. Drum roll please… It’s Patricia Chang! Congrats mama!

Jonathan Adler x Fisher Price

While everyone got even more beautiful with Glamsquad,  Laura Cattano  gave personal organization consultations, and Whealth & Co provided  healthy nibbles.

Jonathan Adler x Fisher Price