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Advice, Contributors, Mama Boss

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty For Working

August 23, 2016
Ashley Gartland

Ashley Gartland is a mama after our own hearts. She recently started her Life Coach business, specifically focusing on moms who want to dedicate their lives to their kids, but also be a kick ass woman following her career goals. To learn more about what she does, click here.

 

Dear mamas,

I have spent a lot of time feeling guilty for being a working mom. I have felt guilty when I missed an activity because I’m working with a client. I have felt guilty when I’m traveling for work and my daughters cry through our nightly Facetime dates. I have felt guilty for not giving more of my time and attention to my kids because my work demands those limited resources too. And I have felt guilty for choosing to work. I have felt like a bad mom for admitting that I needed to be more than a mom to feel fulfilled in my daily life.

But that was before I realized that the guilt wasn’t serving me or doing my kids or coaching business any good either. So I decided to let go of the guilt by focusing on the three big reasons I shouldn’t feel guilty for working instead.

I now know that I will always have a choice: I can feel guilty for being a high-achieving woman who wants to be more than just a mom or I can set the guilt aside and focus on all the good things that come from my working instead.

You have a choice too. So if you’re struggling to let go of the guilt, I encourage you to consider these three reasons you shouldn’t feel guilty for working, and then make sure you re-read them often because we all know mom-guilt is nothing if not persistent.

Ashley Gartland

Working is good for your kids.

When I first started working as a coach for moms to help them find a better balance between family, business and self-care, I was concerned how my family would handle the demands of me returning to work. (Ironic, right?) And I felt especially guilty about taking time away from my daughters, who were just 4 and 1 at the time.

But then my oldest daughter asked me a question that changed everything. She said “Mom, it must be a lot of work to take care of our family and be a coach. Why do you want to do both jobs?”

Since she was only 4, I gave her the simple answer: I loved being a mom and I loved being a coach. But when she’s older and more mature I’ll tell her that I choose to work because I want her and her sister to see me defining myself outside of motherhood. I work because I want to show them what life looks like when you go after your dreams.

And, most importantly, I’ll tell her that I do both jobs because I dream of a future for my daughters where mothers are celebrated, not judged, for being ambitious, creative women. So if my girls decide to become mothers someday, they won’t feel like they have to choose between being a great mom and a bold woman. Because if I’ve lead by example in my own life, they will know with 100 percent certainty that they can be both.

Ashley Gartland

Working is good for your community.

I used to be so wrapped up in my mom guilt that I forgot that the impact of my work stretched far beyond my immediate family. And it absolutely did.

Because here’s the honest truth: there are people out there who need what you have to offer. There are people in your community and people waiting to hear your ideas and receive your services. There are people whose lives you could change through your work. There are people you haven’t even met yet who are waiting to experience your unique gifts – and it would be a disservice to let guilt stop you from sharing them.

So the next time you feel guilty for working, I encourage you to think about how your work impacts people on the grander scale. Because I guarantee there are people waiting for you and they won’t ever get the chance to experience all you have to offer if you let guilt run the show.

Ashley Gartland

Working is good for your soul.

When I first admitted I wanted to be more than a mom, I felt a lot of shame that motherhood wasn’t the end all, be all for me – especially because I knew how much I had to be grateful for. And yet, I also knew that there was more to me than the part of me that held the title of mom.

I was also a woman who found my work endlessly fulfilling. My work gave me an intellectual outlet and helped me feel creatively stimulated and accomplished. It let me tap into the things that light me up, the things that make me feel like I have a purpose beyond raising great kids. It let me use my talents and increased my sense of self worth.

So I’ve since come to realize that there’s no shame in moving past the guilt so I can fuel my soul with work that I love. Because working makes me feel like the very best version of me and it brings me joy that overflows into other areas of my life too.

The mom guilt? It’s real and it’s persistent. But if you can focus on the things that working brings to your life, instead of all that guilt, good things will come your way. Your kids will benefit, your community will benefit and you will benefit too.

xx,

Ashley Gartland

 

BONUS: Ashley made this little workbook and it’s really helped us mamas out! Download it here.

Ashley Gartland

#LADYBOSS, Fashion, Mama Boss

Work Smart, Not Hard: A Q&A With #LADYBOSS Rebecca Taylor

January 8, 2016
rebecca taylor ladyboss heymamaco heymama rebecca taylor entrepreneur business women designer mother beautiful patterns inspirational mom cool mom

For all my years as an editor, Rebecca Taylor has been one of my favorite designers, she’s “as easy to work with as her clothes are to wear”. I sported her dresses to more events than I can count, fashion shows, and through two pregnancies. (Those boho dresses work like a dream on a bump!!) What really endears her to me though is the the tone she sets with her team; anything is possible, work smart, not hard, and have fun every day. We can all use a little more of that in our work day. So work hard, have fun, oh and don’t forget to look good!

Tell us a little about your career path?

Growing up my mother made all of our clothes, I remember all of the details that went into each piece.  I went to school for design in New Zealand and was a trained patternmaker.  When I arrived in the US I began working for a 7th Ave. designer, whom I had met through friends and the rest is history.

What inspires your designs?

I am inspired everyday by so much, music, books, art, travel, people in NYC.  I am constantly inspired by my surroundings, there is never a lack of inspiration.

What do you want women to feel like in your designs?

Comfortable and confident.  I want them to feel good about themselves and have fun with fashion.

What do like to keep in your workspace to encourage productivity?

A playlist of 80’s music, diet coke, chocolate, pics of the kids and paper and pencil for sketching.

Are there any rules you should follow when working with a friend?

Always respect each other’s roles and responsibilities.

What would you tell yourself 1 year into your business, 5 years into your business? 

Pinch me is this real?

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How do you aspire to be as a leader, and what kind of tone do you want to set at Rebecca Taylor? 

As a leader I aspire to be a mentor to my team but learn from them at the same time.  Everyone has a very interesting perspective.  The tone I like to set at Rebecca Taylor is that anything is possible, work smart not just hard, and have fun every day.

If you could attribute a few things to your success, what would they be?

I would say my Kiwi upbringing and ideals.  Kiwi’s are thought anything is possible at a very young age and I think it’s that attitude that attributed to my success in this industry.

Favorite part about running your business? Least favorite part about being the boss? 

Going shopping and calling it work, being able to have a creative outlet, truly loving what I do!

What’s been the best career advice you have ever received?

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

What’s been the most challenging thing about growing your brand?

There have been many challenges along the way, but I definitely think the ever changing technologies of today’s landscape pose as a big challenge to businesses today.  You have to evolve and evolve quickly as it directly affects your business since fashion has become such a multi-channel industry.

What are some life experiences that have shaped who you are today?

I think working really hard to grow the business to where it is today.  Also I think becoming a mom has really shaped me to who I am today.

Who are some mamas that inspire you?

My mum has always inspired me in so many ways, but I find all moms are inspiring to be honest.  As a mother you have to be strong and brave in so many ways and that to me is very inspirational.

What’s a pinch me moment in your career been?

When Kate Middleton wore one of my designs.  I remember my team posting a picture on the wall off the elevator and when I got off I thought someone was playing a joke on me.  I thought they had photo-shopped her in my suit.  I think that is definitely one of my top “pinch me” moments, especially because I have always been a huge royalist.

If you could have just one wish for your kids what would it be?

That they are as happy as adults as they are now as children.

rebecca taylor designer entrepreneur mother beautiful mother business women

What is the most import thing you can teach your kids?

I think it’s extremely hard to raise children in today’s society.  We live in Brooklyn and kids today have so much, Ipads, phones, everything really and so my husband and I really try to teach them to be humble and to understand the value of a dollar, but also how to set goals and work towards those goals.

What does community mean to you and how has it been important to you?

Community is important to us because it brings people together in a way that promotes positive changes in your neighborhood.  I think it also creates safe environment while exposing you to diff. cultures.

What is your favorite piece in your collection this season?

I love the black print paisley dress with the shoulder cut-outs. It’s definitely a stand out piece this season.

What do you have on the horizon?   

We have some exciting things in the works so you will have to stay tuned….

 
To learn more about Rebecca and her current collection, check our her heymama profile here, her Instagram here and of course shop the site here.

Lifestyle, Mama Boss, Shopping

#MADEWITHLOVE: Tali Magal Shows Us How To Give With Heart, Soul and Business

December 17, 2015
Tali Magal

Tali Magal is one of those people whose energy and smile is contagious.  She’s joyous from the inside out, and crushing it professionally.  Beyond running her production company Freebird Productions, she supports Accompany, a beautiful ethically edited online shop that only sources brands made with heart and soul.  We rounded up some of our favorite mama run brands on the site, and all of our heymamas a get a 20% discount on the shop too.   We love having this lady in our orbit and sharing a little bit of her magic with you.

Tell us a little about your career path?

I own a production company specializing in print,motion, and commercial campaigns. Our main projects are fashion based, but it has branched into every possible category imaginable; cars, food, beverage, beauty… you name it.  My career path sort of happened organically.  I worked in PR for a year when I first moved to NY in the early 2000’s. Part of my job was to represent various restaurants and hotels.   Magazines & brands would call the PR agency I worked at about doing photo-shoots in these spaces. I would go to the shoots as a PR representative, but I always felt like the creative vibe on set was a lot more my speed than the PR office I worked in. I ended up jumping ship to a production company for a few years, followed by a few photo agencies before finally starting my own production company. I could have never predicted the trajectory, but looking back, it all makes sense and is a really good fit for me.

Did you always know what you wanted to do?

Not at all. When I was trying to figure out what path to follow I kept saying: “I want to be creative, travel, and speak Italian” (I lived in Italy in College.)   — so all fingers pointed towards working in Fashion. I followed that lead and it all started to make sense and work out.

How did your career life change when you became a mama?

Well my babes are still only 10 months old, so I suppose I’m still figuring that out. I have a really wonderful team here in NY & in LA so we have been able to continue working on our regular projects. I have had to slow down on the travel a bit, it is all new territory that I’m just starting to adjust to. But I have worked so hard to build a company that I am proud of and a client list that I love, so I feel like I just need to buck up and make it work. I have gotten a lot better at getting things done quickly. Knowing that I have my sweet babes waiting at home is great incentive to be concise and use work time efficiently. I don’t hang out at the office or dawdle on my way home anymore. I finish what I need to and I’m back with them. I never understood what people meant about wanting to race back to their kids. It just sounded like a dull obligation to me at the time. Now I get it. It’s the most powerful desire and pull. Its like you get butterflies as though you are about to see the guy you’ve been crushing on and you just can’t wait to be in their presence. It puts everything into perspective.

“I never understood what people meant about wanting to race back to their kids. It just sounded like a dull obligation to me at the time. Now I get it. It’s the most powerful desire and pull. Its like you get butterflies as though you are about to see the guy you’ve been crushing on and you just can’t wait to be in their presence.”

tali3

You’ve always been such a loving and generous of spirit person even before your girls. Do you feel like becoming mama made your heart bigger?

Aww Thanks! I just feel like being a mother connects you more deeply to humanity as a whole. You realize that every person around you is someone’s little baby. That we all are truly born so pure and whole and open. In the beginning when I was home cocooning and bonding with them and it was all so primal I just felt super connected to anyone I would come into contact with. I was reminded of how life begins for all of us and how sweet it is. I feel so lucky and grateful that I was able to have a healthy pregnancy and was able to be home and cocoon and bond with my new born babies in a safe place. It is heart breaking to see these stories about all the refugees with little babies and children fleeing their homes on inflatable rafts with nothing. You cant help but feel for those women and children (and families.) So I don’t know if my heart got bigger, but I definitely feel a deeper connection with fellow mothers… and of course with any baby I see. 😉

“I just feel like being a mother connects you more deeply to humanity as a whole. You realize that every person around you is someone’s little baby.”

What is Accompany?

Accompany is an online curated marketplace of fashion, accessories and home/gifting goods that support communities in the developing world across 40 countries — and yet have been edited with an on-trend eye for style.

Why is it’s message so important right now?

In an era of fast-fashion causing pollution and harming marginalized people around the world, and a time when global income inequality continues to grow — it’s now more important than ever to think about how to support independent people, provide training and fair income and to bring attention to social causes worldwide.  The fashion industry is a powerhouse that can really make a difference here, AND we believe this can be done without sacrificing the consumer’s demand for high quality, beautiful products.

How does it work to support women around the word?

We support women in a broad range of ways — from disabled communities fighting human trafficking in Cambodia, to women entrepreneurs in Guatemala fighting the social stigma that women shouldn’t be business owners, to widows living with HIV in Ethiopia working to support their families, to refugees from Myanmar forced out of their country and now living in Massachusetts making double the state’s local minimum wage.  We believe so much good can be done by driving prosperity to the right place, while being in step with consumer tastes, to ensure long-term and meaningful growth, impact and change.

What does it mean to “give-back” to you?

I just feel so fortunate to have been born in a time & place and under circumstances that didn’t just allow but encouraged me to get an education and to pursue my dreams.   I could have just as easily been born in another time and in another part of the world where none of this would have been a possibility. I am grateful for all of my opportunities, and I feel compelled and happy to help others to push past their circumstances and to help themselves. Many people have been good to me, and so I feel like it is just paying it forward to be good to others as much as possible, in return.

What are some of your favorite items on the site right now?

I love the kahina – argan face oil, http://www.accompanyus.com/products/small-argan-oil

The alpaca blankets, http://www.accompanyus.com/products/vanilla-bean-alpaca-throw

The denim baby & momma slippers: http://www.accompanyus.com/search?q=denim+slippers

Chilote house slippers: http://www.accompanyus.com/search?q=chilote+

I love giving these necklaces as gifts to friends: http://www.accompanyus.com/products/coil-necklace

And for hostess gifts, anything from the homewear items: http://www.accompanyus.com/collections/tabletop-dining

How do you plan to talk to your girls about giving back and being supportive of the global community?

I hope to travel with them and not just tell them about the world outside of NY, but to actually show them. I feel like I have learned the most in my life when I’ve lived or traveled abroad. It is the best way to shift perspective and I hope to share that with them. I also hope to keep their world as diverse as possible and not to only show them the tidy parts of life…. And I’d like to instill that being generous of spirit only opens more doors in life.

Who are some mamas that inspire you?

My Mother inspires me, my Godmother Tovah Feldshuh inspires me, super mama and social activist Kathy Eldon inspires me, my dear friend (and Godmama to my babes)  Athena Calderone of eye-swoon inspires me. I have a lot of admiration and appreciation for many many women in my life.

What’s a pinch me moment in your career been?

There have definitely been a few! I loved climbing into volcanoes, sailing through lakes and wading out into the surf in Nicaragua with Karlie Kloss and Ryan McGinley for The New York Times T-Magazine. And I just wrapped an incredible shoot at Elon Musk’s SpaceX in California. It’s not every day you get to shoot high fashion in a top security rocket ship factory.  There were all these incredible space craft there that had been to space and back… definitely surreal.

If you could have just one wish for your girls what would it be?

I hope they find their own joy and fulfillment in life. I wish them all the obvious things; health, joy, prosperity…but if only 1 thing, as my Grandmother always wished for me, I wish them much LUCK in life. 😉

tali5

What is the most import thing you can teach your girls?

I don’t know if there is ONE lesson that rules above all else. I’ll teach them everything I possibly can…. But I hope they always know how deeply loved they are.

To learn more about Tali, check out her heymama profile here and make sure to support #smallbusiness and ethically made products on Accompany here.

 

 

 

 

#LADYBOSS, Design, Entertaining, Fashion, Mama Boss

#LADYBOSS: Designer Jenni Kayne On Getting Business Smart, Meditating and Modern Day Homemaking At It’s Best

December 14, 2015
jenni kayne beautiful mom mom and child

Meet Jenni Kayne, talented designer, founder of blog Rip + Tan, a gorgeously curated and creative blog that begs you to jump right into Jenni’s world and never leave. This mama to two is a staple on the West Coast fashion and design scene, and a savvy business women who has built a beautiful and purposeful brand. We couldn’t be more excited to share her story with you all.

You started designing at a really young age. You opened two stores, were married and had two kids when you turned 28. Did you always have clear vision for what you wanted to do? What do you attribute to this to?

It actually wasn’t all planned out, but I knew I wanted to be a designer pretty early on.  My mom took me to a Chanel show in the 80s when I was 6 or 8, and from that moment on I knew I wanted to be a designer. Linda Evangelista was modeling, and it was pretty life changing because I was so in awe of the whole thing. I was kind of a rebellious child and had to force myself to get things together when I was 18. After that, I was ready to work, so I went to work for other people for a year, and then I went to art school briefly. By the time I was 19, I’d made contacts in Italy with these pattern makers and so many other people in the industry so I just threw myself into it. I was really driven and started my business at 19. When I was 21, I met my husband. He was older, so his friends were all getting married. We were in love, so it just happened that I was married at 23. By the time I was 26 I was pregnant, and loved being a so much mom that I had Ripley at 28. I have 3 stores now, and we’re opening three more in 2016. In the early summer, Newport Beach and Palo Alto; in the fall, we’re opening in Marin County. New York is next. I have this vision of spreading out through the West Coast because this is such a Californian brand and then spreading to the East Coast. Because it is a small company, it’s easier to manage from here in California.

What would you do if you weren’t a fashion designer?

I would be an interior designer because it’s a huge passion of mine. I love designing spaces, whether it’s my stores, my home, or for my friend’s homes.  I actually have thought about picking it up in addition to what I’m doing now, but I’m always striving for balance between work and life and decided that maybe it wouldn’t be the best timing. There were times when amazing opportunities came up for me to design, and they did made me think about what my life would be like if I picked it up, but I decided it’s for the best not to because my life just wouldn’t be the same.

jennikayne2

What’s the best business advice you ever received?

Build an amazing team that supports you!

How do you feel your business acumen developed?

It has developed over time by making mistakes and learning from them. Also because of my dad. He is such an amazing businessman and is also my partner. After having children, it was really difficult to find the balance of being a good mom and being a business owner. I have learned that it’s so important to build an amazing team and have business partners rather than employees. From my team I’ve learned that by letting go a little bit you are able to achieve that balance.

What would say has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced while building your brand?

Honestly I would say that it would be having children and still being able to run a business. Fashion is so fickle, and as hard as it is, you really have to put in your 110%. I don’t want to be the mom who is so busy and doesn’t pick up her kids from school, so I wanted to find the right balance and person to help me run my business to avoid that situation. After many people, I finally found an amazing right hand to help me run my business, and it’s been great.

Any quick fashion or beauty tips for busy moms on the go that need to look pulled together and get out the door fast?

I live in a uniform to take the thought out of getting ready in the morning. It’s so important to dress functionally when you have kids! For me, I know that I can always put on high-waisted jeans, D’Orsay  flats, and a collared shirt or a cashmere sweater, and I’m good to go. In terms of beauty, I really think that less is more. I don’t wear much makeup, but I do wear a tinted moisturizer, and when I feel like I need a little bit more I wear a colored lip. It’s all about finding what works for your body and lifestyle.

 

Jenni Kayne

What’s been your biggest pinch me career moment?

The first time I met Anna Wintour was so intimidating and exciting. I was a young designer. It was awesome.

If you could only wear one outfit from your collection this winter what would it be?

I’ve been living in our Cashmere Turtleneck and a pair of Acne jeans, which we sell at the store. We also did a collaboration with Crescent  Down Works (they make some of my favorite outerwear), which resulted in a supremely soft goose down, flannel lined vest. And to top it off, I would wear a pair of my black leather Chelsea boots.

Do you think your designs changed at all when you became a mom? How has being a mom affected your personal style?

Comfort and functionality are definitely key. Fashion is so important, and you have to love what you wear and be inspired by new looks, but I don’t believe in trends. I believe in wearing functional, beautiful, and classic items. There is always something new, but I do try to keep it consistent. I don’t want to make disposable clothes because that’s not what I want to have in my closet.

jennikayne6

 

We really feel that surrounding yourself with other creative women can be invigorating and life changing. How has community been important in your life?

Community is so important in my life because we inspire and help each other out. I already had this network of friends that are designers, but I have met so many great and creative women through my blog Rip&Tan. I now know a whole world of amazing women in other fields from flowers to crafts to table tops to linens. I think I have cultivated an amazing group of friends that I love to collaborate with because we’re always inspiring each other, and I feel like we all lift each other up.

On your blog Rip & Tan you showcase a lot of gorgeous entertaining, is this a passion for you?  

I think the clothes that you wear and the furniture in your house and the plates on your table are all equally important. I believe in living well and finding beautiful details wherever you can. As I’ve gotten older, I feel like there has been a resurgence of women getting into the kitchen and being homemakers again. After 8 years, I feel like our house has become the center of all of our friends gatherings, and through that, I’ve really gotten into entertaining.

You’ve collaborated with some great brands, Earth Tu Face was already an obsession of mine, and I’m excited to check out some other others that are new to me on your blog! What’s been your favorite so far? What do you think makes for a successful collaboration?

All of them have been amazing and all have been in different areas. I loved the Earth Tu Face lotion that we collaborated on, and I have been using it everyday. My favorite collaboration so far would have to be for Pottery Barn Kids. I worked on it at the end of January and it launched in June; I got to design 50 pieces for them! It was really, really fun decorating, working with my children, and partnering with such an amazing company that can make anything happen. In general, the key to my collaborations is passion for the brand. I like to partner with an expert in their field and do it in an amazing and inspired way . I also did a collab with The Laundress that was a lavender musk laundry detergent. It’s so fun because different collaborations introduce different experiences.

jennikayne3

How do you find balance and your center? I read a little about your love of meditation. Katya and I are always listening to positive affirmation and looking for new ways to reconnect. How has that practice benefited you and how did you find the right meditation?

I would say I haven’t yet, but I try. Finding balance is key in order to be happy, but you can be successful and unhappy or happy and unsuccessful. It’s important to have both by finding the right team to help. With my business, my team is what helped me find balance. Find time for yourself — whether it’s meditating or doing yoga. For me, right now, it’s horseback riding, and I’m happier if I have an hour to myself. Then I can give more. I’ve gotten really into horse back riding again because it’s meditative to be out in nature. I horseback ride 4 to 5 times a week.

jennikayne4

What do you have on the horizon?

One of my idols is Martha Stewart since I love crafting, cooking, and decorating.

I was super excited to do a feature with two of my friends, Annie Campbell and Amy Blessing. We all went to Tahoe last Christmas to my lake house and had this amazing weekend with our kids. The feature just came out in the December issue. We are planning on throwing a party with Martha to celebrate all of her amazing achievements and inspiration over the years, and I’m just so excited to be in her world.

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To learn more about Jenni Kayne and her work, check our her heymama profile here, and follow her on Instagram!

Lifestyle, Mama Boss, Social Media, Travel

#TRAVEL: Courtney Adamo Takes Her Squad Around The World

November 6, 2015
Courtney Adamo and her four kids

There is a lot of talk about authenticity out there and being true to your voice and your beliefs on social media. There is also a lot of judgment going around regarding the how and why people are utilizing Instagram. Courtney Adamo is one of the most authentic voices on Instagram and has been such a supporter of smaller brands through the Babyccino Kids site she co-founded with her long time mama friends, Emilie and Esther. She gave us a peek into not only her career, but also the yearlong trip she’s currently taking with her family. The sweet photos on her feed have us counting our pennies to whisk our own families off on a life changing adventure; where we can focus on learning together, experience life, and appreciate each other. How can there be so much controversy over her beautiful pictures promoting a positive family experience? Haters gonna hate, but we can’t get enough!!   Courtney Adamo takes her squad around the world and we’re following along.

 

How did the Babyccino brand get started?

I met Esther and Emilie in London in 2005 shortly after our first babies were born, and we very quickly bonded over new motherhood and the questions/concerns/gripes/pleasures that come with it. We used to meet in cafes and talk about babies and newfound products we loved, recipes we made and enjoyed, activities we had discovered, and other interesting parenting topics, etc. Two years later, Emilie moved to Paris and Esther moved to Amsterdam. We started the Babyccino Kids blog as a way to stay in touch with each other and continue to share our discoveries as new mothers. This was back in 2007 when blogging was only beginning to become a trend – in fact most people didn’t even know what a blog was when we shared what we were doing.

Gradually, the blog started gaining interest and our blog grew and grew.

In 2010, three years after starting our blog, we launched our shopping portal — a curated directory of stylish, independent children’s shops.  We realized we were putting a lot of time into our blog and not making very much money from it, so we needed to figure out a way to turn it into a profitable business. We also wanted to provide a bigger platform for shops to advertise and grow their own businesses, and to provide a directory for our readers so they could find the smaller, independent brands that are difficult to find in bigger search engines like Google. The shopping portal met all of these different needs. We launched the shopping portal with 100 shops and now we have around 400.  It’s a curated selection so we don’t accept everyone who is interested; we only accept a few new brands here and there.

The most recent addition to our business is our ShopUp event.  Three years ago we started to host live shopping events hosted by Babyccino Kids. These ShopUp events give on-line shops a chance to set up a booth, and sell their wares in the flesh. We’ve hosted events in London and NYC, and we hope to bring the event to LA in 2016.

 

Courtney Adamo and her kids eating ice cream

 

Do you have any sort of rules for selecting brands? How do you find new brands?  With the shops, we look at them and make a combined decision. We look at the products they sell, the quality, the design, and the functionality of the website. It’s mostly a gut feeling. We don’t search for brands to work with, we really just respond to those who are reaching out to us. We have so many inquires, it’s a lot to keep up with at this point.

For me personally to work with a brand they have to be doing something I believe in and be authentic. It has to be something I would naturally buy or support without being paid to do so.

For me personally to work with a brand they have to be doing something I believe in and be authentic. It has to be something I would naturally buy or support without being paid to do so.

 

How do you utilize Instagram to support your business? 

It’s tricky because my feed is quite personal, but in the end it does benefit the Babyccino brand as a marketing tool. I myself prefer browsing Instagram to reading blogs because it is quick and visual and you can decide whether to dig further and click over to a site to read more. I also like seeing a gimpse of the people behind the brand, and I suppose our readers also like to see a personal glimpse our lives. In the beginning we hardly ever referred to our kids by their names or posted photos of our children, but people responded so well to it, so we started making it a bit more personal.

 

Have you made any life changing connections personal or professional through Instagram?

I have several really good friends and people I have met though Instagram. One family in Portugal have become really close friends of ours as a result of IG. She was a follower, we started chatting over email, and she invited us to come to Portugal to stay in her home. For a while, we thought it would be crazy to fly to Portugal to stay with a family we had never met before, but after a while we decided to do it. Because why not?! We went last April and it was really lovely, so much fun, and now we’re really good friends. That’s just one of many things that make me so thankful for this community. I’ve met so many really lovely people I would never have had contact with otherwise. And there’s so many other inspiring people I would still love to meet!

Courtney Adamo

 

How is it working with your partners? How do you divide and conquer?

Most of the workload is divided between Esther (in Amsterdam) and myself.  We spend a lot of time on Skype with each other, making decisions and plans for the weeks and months ahead. Sometimes we just keep Skype on while we’re both working and there will be long periods where we don’t even talk to each other, but we’re there just in case we have questions or need a second opinion. (This was obviously easier when I was in London and we were on a similar time zone.) We also must send about a hundred emails a day to each other! Additionally, we meet up a lot in our respective cities. It’s a pretty great job when you have to go to Amsterdam or Paris for work meetings!

I’m so thankful to have a business partner who shares a similar work ethic and devotion to our business. A lot of times when things go sour with partners, it’s because you do not have the same work ethic or want the same things, and we’re very lucky that we do have that. It’s not very often that Esther and I disagree and I never feel that one of us works more than other.  We’re like sisters. We each have 4 children; we parent in the same way, we share similar views about life and business, etc. I suppose our business is in tune, because we have the same values. It also helps that we have added a couple other women to our team to help with the shopping portal and admin of our business. We have a pretty great team and we are very proud of how far our little business has come.

Courtney Adamo and her daughter holding hands

 

How did the idea behind this year of travel come about?

I’ve always wanted to do this ever since I was a child. Growing up, there was a family living next door to my grandparents who took a year out and travelled around the world for a year. It was a bold move for a family in small town America, and I remember being so intrigued why they would do something like that. When they returned, they came back so changed, telling stories and showing us photos from their trips, friendship bracelets they’d made, etc.  They talked in way that exuded a sense of worldly understanding and adventure; they were really smart had truly seen the world. Most importantly, they were really close as a family. They seemed so enriched by the experience. It shaped them as a family and the time they got to spend together was what they really gained. It was less about traveling the world and more about pushing pause and taking a year to really enjoy each other.

It was less about traveling the world and more about pushing pause and taking a year to really enjoy each other.

What’s been the best part of your trip so far for your kids and for you? It’s been so great to spend so much time (nearly every minute!) together as a family, and to be able to be able to slow down the pace of our lives so that we are able to focus, listen and be more present with one another. Of course this has also brought challenges as well. It’s not always easy to spend every single moment of your day with your children and to try to homeschool them as well. There are moments where the kids test your patience and you wish you could send them off to school for a few hours and give yourself a bit of a break. But we are slowly finding our rhythm and learning what works and what doesn’t. I suppose this has also been a big joy, to really tune into each of our children and understand what their individual needs and interests are, and to be able to focus on these things.

Travel wise, we’ve had some amazing adventures so far. We really enjoyed our time in the small beach town of Trancoso in Brazil. It was the perfect place to slow down and discover the local traditions, foods, language, etc.

…..this has also been a big joy, to really tune into each of our children and understand what their individual needs and interests are, and to be able to focus on these things.

Courtney Adamo and her kids in the park

 

How did you prepare for homeschooling your children? How’s it going? What is the educational value you see in these really life situations/traveling?

It took a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’ve always been an advocate of a loose schedule and not the type to obsess too much about education and rules.  We were already of the mind set that learning by doing is what’s important, not passing a test or getting a perfect grade, so this type of education really plays into that. We’re able to be flexible and be inspired by what’s around us and what the kids are interested in. In the desert in California we learned about the rock formations, how they were made, and the animals that lived in the environment. That’s the enormous benefit to learning while you travel, you can be flexible and not have to just follow the books. If your kids take an interest in something like lizards you can take that and use it, make it a math lesson. Where they may have been so much less engaged in the math classroom, if you can incorporate things they are interested in, you have their attention. I think anytime a child is interested, they learn so much more easily.

 

How did you plan for such a long trip with your family? 

We spent nearly 6 months planning for this trip. We started out by narrowing down the destinations and then purchasing an around-the-world ticket. It helped immensely to know where we were going and to have those decisions out of the way. We decided to spend the year in sunny, warm climates because we love the sun, but also because it would make it easier to pack for the year, without having to worry about cold weather clothes and coats, etc. Packing was pretty easy in the end. I packed shorts and tees for the boys, along with one hoodie and a waterproof outer layer. And swimsuits of course! For the girls, I just packed a lot of summery dresses, sandals and a couple cardigans for cooler weather. Each of the children has a very small suitcase, which they can wheel through airports on their own. Michael and I also have one suitcase, so it keeps all of our stuff organized. Because we sold our house and sold a lot of our furniture and general stuff, we had already narrowed down our belongings before the packing began. I suppose it all happened gradually, so that by the time we were ready to leave London and start our adventure, we were organized and ready. In terms of planning our accommodation, we spent a lot of time talking with friends who have traveled to similar places and getting personal recommendations. We’ve probably booked about 50% of the places we’ll need this year – the rest still need to be booked!! Hopefully it will all fall into place over the year.

Courtney Adamo and her kids walking on the beach

 

We love seeing your family on Instagram. What is your view on kids in social media? Does it ever feel weird that people you’ve never met feel like they know you?

When I have a real life encounter with people from social media, I actually find that really reassuring and encouraging. When I’m sitting on my couch at home, looking at my phone, it can sometimes feel strange that there are random people viewing my photos and commenting on them. But then, when you have a real life encounter with someone, and they are really lovely and like-minded, it reminds you of all the good people who are inspired by what I’m doing and who share interesting feedback and comments.

I started Instagram when I thought it was just for sharing photos with my family, and of course it has turned into something much different than that. There are moments now where I question why I do it (I’m sure lots of people feel the same), but then I’m reminded how nice it is to connect with other women and families from around the world. Being able to share photos with my family is still a bonus!

…when you have a real life encounter with someone, and they are really lovely and like-minded, it reminds you of all the good people who are inspired by what I’m doing and who share interesting feedback and comments.

 

What do you wish you knew before you started your business?

Because our business has grown gradually and organically over the last eight years, I would never have known how much work it would eventually require from me, or that it would become a full-time job for me and my business partners. I might not have jumped on board had I known, so I suppose it’s a good thing I didn’t!

 

What advice would you give to another mama looking to start a business with a friend? 

To make sure you have really good communication between you, that you can speak directly and openly with one another and that you understand from the onset what your roles and contributions will be so that expectations are always met.  Oh and it’s good to have a similar work ethic to make sure the working relationship is successful.

To make sure you have really good communication between you, that you can speak directly and openly with one another and that you understand from the onset what your roles and contributions will be so that expectations are always met.

 

+What are 3 things that have attributed to your success?

1. Hard work
2 .Business partners who have been supportive and encouraging (and who make working fun!)
3. Being innovative and receptive to change. Our company has grown because we are constantly thinking about how to differentiate from other similar businesses and how to meet the growing demands from our readers and shops.

 

You can learn more about Courtney on her heymama profile here, follow her travels on Instagram here, and Babyccino Kids here.

Design, Interior Design, Lifestyle, Mama Boss

Pinterest’s Top Pinner Justina Blakeney Is The New Bohemian

October 13, 2015
Justina Blakeney

Justina Blakeney is a beautiful designer with a bohemian heart. She mixes hand crafted items from all over the world with the sleek lines of mid-century modern design, adds lush plants and make the whole thing looks so right you can’t imagine it any other way! As one of the world’s leading curators on Pinterest she’s been celebrated in Domino Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Marie Claire Magazine and Refinery29.

When did you first find your passion for interiors and design?
Ever since I was a child I was very art and design oriented. I loved to paint, sew and collage. After studying art in college I moved to Italy and began to think about design as a way to make a living using my creative talents. I opened a small boutique for vintage and new-designer clothing and I found that after a few years, I was most excited about finding vintage objects and furniture for the shop. It was then that I realized my passion for decor and began working on home decor projects.

 

Where do you find a lot of inspiration for your designs?
Vintage books-I’m obsessed with one right now that’s called “Textiles and Ornaments of India” from the Musuem of Modern Art (1956). Nature and travel inspire immensely. When I’m stuck at home and need a little inspiration, I turn to some of my favorite blogs–including Old Brand New, Moon to Moon and Happy Mundane. And of course–there’s Pinterest–some of my favorite pinners for decor are Nicole Valentine Don and Victoria Vu. Also, the Rose Bowl Flea market is a spot that really exercises my imagination.

Justina Blakeney in her Jungalow kitchen

Where do you feel the most creative?
There’s no one place. Where I feel creative changes all the time–but traveling in general always brings it out in me.

 

Tell us a little about your background and how all your past experiences came together to take you where you are now.

You can read more about my professional journey here.

 

Do you think everyone is born creative, and some of us just tap into more than others?
Yes! I think we are all born with incredible creativity! I think anyone who has children can attest to just how creative young people are–it’s truly amazing. As we grow older, I believe it’s those people who are able to hold onto that imaginative play that are the most creative.

 

Tell us about your blog, and your brand. How do you describe what you do to others?
I like to call myself a creative because I do so much different stuff in the creative field. Sometimes I just go with ‘designer.’ When people keep digging I tell people that I run a multidisciplinary design studio and design blog. 🙂

 

You’ve built up a huge social media following, with more than 1 million Pinterest followers and 100k+ on Instagram, what are the 5 tips you give to brands/bloggers?
1.) Create original content (don’t just ‘curate’)
2.) Know yourself and your style and your brand. You should be able to answer questions like –what does your brand smell like? (mine smells like plumeria) 🙂
3.) Be consistent–post everyday.
4.) Engage with others on those platforms you’re trying to grow
5.) Partner with brands and likeminded folks that are at similar ‘level’ and grow together

 

Do you feel judged for working? How does that make you feel?
At times I do. I think that I’m probably my harshest critic though. I think it helps with both my self-judgement and the judgement of others that my husband is a stay-at-home dad–I would certainly feel more guilty if Ida were at a daycare all day–but since she’s with her dad it’s like I get a pass 🙂

 

Your husband is a stay at home dad, and that works for your family. Can you tell us more about how this dynamic functions? What advice do you have for mamas managing their business and family life?
The stay-at-home dad thing has been a real blessing for us. We have been doing this basically since I stopped breast feeding at 16 months. Jason and I were both freelancers before and it wasn’t like one day we made a decision to split our roles like this–it was a natural progression. As my work picked up and I got my book deal and the blog was gaining momentum he just started doing more of the ‘parenting’ stuff I starting bringing home more bacon. The more this went on, the more we both felt like it made sense and then we just kinda made it official. But it doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. Living in Los Angeles on one income is very challenging. The money stuff is real. Sometimes we’re broke and putting everything on credit cards. Luckily, Jason’s very cool about it all–we’re super go-with-the-flow– I think you have to be that way in order to make this type of thing work out.

Justina Blakeney in her Jungalow kitchen

 

How do you balance your time between work and your daughter?
I work pretty much 9-5 five days a week. The rest of the time is family time–especially weekends. Ida and I also have special ‘mommy and me dates twice a week. Usually it’s a spa day and a flea market date!

 

What has been the best career advice you’ve received?
Ask for double.

 

How do you engage with your followers/social media friends?
For the most part it’s very clear when you are engaging with Justina or when it’s one of my employees. On The Jungalow Instagram account that’s not me personally,  but someone on the team. On my blog, and my Instagram, that’s me! I try really hard to look at the site and comment back to people there, to really engage.

 

What’s the most challenging project you’ve ever worked on and why?
Anytime I’ve taken a ‘real’ 9-5 job in the past it’s been super hard for me. I’m a VERY hard worker and give a lot and then, all of the sudden, I find when I’m working towards someone else’s dream I find I get burnt out.

 

You’ve got some exciting things in the works for this year, can you tell us about what’s next for you?
I’m thrilled to share that I’m launching Justina Blakeney Home next year!! Everyone will be able to quickly and easily turn a home into a jungalow very soon.

 

What are the words you live by and/or your favorite quotes?

If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing. ~Nigerian Proverb.

 

What are your favorite places to shop for bargains for the home?

Flea Markets, World Market, Ross, eBay, Etsy,

 

What’s the quickest way to transform a room?

Cover all of the surfaces in rad textiles and then garnish with plants 🙂

 

For more on Justina check out her personal Instagram here, the Jungalow Instagram here,  her book The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes here, and justinablakeney.com and thejungalow.com

#LADYBOSS, Co-Founder, Mama Boss, Social Media

#LADYBOSS: DBA Co-Founder Raina Penchansky

September 8, 2015
lady with baby
Co-founder of DBA, Raina Penchansky, this super-mama #LADYBOSS is one to take notes from! She is the talented all business  mama behind this powerful agency repping some of the biggest names in social media.  We were super excited to sit down with her, and pick her brain on what’s happening in the industry.
Can you tell us a about little about DBA Management?
We started our company five years ago when no one was talking about non traditional influencers and we now have offices in NY, LA, Milan, and Hong Kong and manage a roster of insanely talented content creators and influencers in the fashion, food, shelter and lifestyle spaces.  Our focus is helping people build their brand vision offline as well as online.
And why did you start the agency? What were your objectives and goals? What was the gap you saw in the market?
DBA really came from a place of being inspired by what fashion bloggers were doing at the time. I was at Coach with Vanessa Flaherty who’s now Vice President of talent at DBA and my partner Karen Robinovitz was a consultant and we did a handbag collaboration with a few fashion bloggers which at the time was a very new idea and the entire process felt really fresh.  We saw first hand what our branding and marketing expertise coupled with their creativity could do.  Our goal then is the same now, we have to add value.  We dedicate ourselves to our clients and to making a significant impact in evolving the way people see digital talent.

DBA really came from a place of being inspired by what fashion bloggers were doing at the time. We saw first hand what our branding and marketing expertise coupled with their creativity could do.  Our goal then is the same now, we have to add value.

What has been your experience building this brand as a co-founder?
Evolution and consistency are the most important factors in the growth of our brand.  We continue to stay true to our core values because that’s what got us to this place but its also just as important to constantly evolve.
What is your role at DBA ?
My role at DBA is focused on growth and strategy, both for DBA and our clients.
I work very closely with our talent on helping develop their brand trajectory and longterm vision.  We also recently launched DBP – Digital Brand Products which focuses on product development and e-commerce businesses and that has been a really incredible extension to our business.
How has becoming a mama changed you and your prospective on life and career?
Being a parent gives you immense perspective.  Everything changes so immediately and drastically and that carries over into your decision making process in your career.  Nothing feels quite as precious once you’re a mother.
What projects get you going/inspire you the most these days?
We have a few clients right now developing product lines and that process is endlessly inspiring.   Its incredible to watch someone translate their content and relationship with their audience into a larger product conversation.
What is DBA’s biggest challenge/area for opportunity?
The biggest challenge we face is growing intelligently.  Our space changes so rapidly and being smart about where to put our resources is something we spend a lot of time determining.
 lady kissing baby
How do you see the rise of technology platforms that match brands and influencers together changing the industry, and your role within it?
I think anything that helps an influencer is great, especially if it allows them to be true to their content and audience.  I think people want authentic content and that will be the challenge with anything that isn’t customized.  We all see right through something that doesn’t feel on brand.
What advice do you have for bloggers looking to take their personal brand to the next level?
Know where you want to be in 5 years.  You can’t take anything to the next level without knowing where you want to end.  Once you can answer that question you can put the pieces in place to get you there.  That could mean building a team around you, changing your content strategy, etc. but it all starts with where you want your brand to be.

Know where you want to be in 5 years……Once you can answer that question you can put the pieces in place to get you there.

Is there anyone who has been a mentor to you?  Do you mentor others?
My parents have been amazing mentors and instilled in me the importance of humor and intelligence. Reed Krakoff was the ultimate mentor at Coach. I learned things from him I still apply almost daily.
What does DBA look for in potential clients?  
There’s no real formula to it. Each manager looks for something that resonates with them specifically. Overarchingly someone with a formed  point of view, understanding of their audience and the desire to grow and expand their brand.
Is there a certain number of followers/other key indicators you look for before taking someone on?

Size of audience is important but content is more important. Good content always rises to the top and audience builds from there.

How do you see the influencer market changing over the next year?  What’s the next big social platform you see brands gravitating to?  Is Periscope a focus?
Influencer marketing will become more targeted. With the influx of so many channels and content creators, niche will become important to cut through the clutter. Instagram will continue to be important and snapchat is becoming more and more prominent. I’ll be interested to see if Casey Neistat’s Beme catches on.

Influencer marketing will become more targeted. With the influx of so many channels and content creators, niche will become important to cut through the clutter.

#LADYBOSS, Fashion, Interviews, Mama Boss, Swim

Tori Praver On Beach Life and Her ‘Keiki’ Beach Babes Collection

August 11, 2015
tori praver mama and baby at beach

Tell us your story… How did get to where you are now?

I grew up on Maui and spent most of my time as a kid on the beach in a bikini. I loved swimwear from a young age and knew designing was something I always wanted to do, but thought starting my own line was something that would happen much later in life. When I started modeling for Sports Illustrated, the editor there really encouraged me to start my own line. So I decided to listen to her and take advantage of the opportunity at the time.

beautiful mom and daughters beach

What’s special about your suits? What do you think they’re known for?

My suits are known for their fit. I use a special ruching technique that makes the suit hug a woman’s body in all of the right places. My suits are also seamless, and they are double lined so they have a very strong and rich feel.

What inspired your new collection?

My new collection was inspired by South American deserts, South of the border Latin towns and cites, as well as Mexican surf spots and beaches. The natural beauty you find in these places like cactus, succulents, snakes, blue water, and sandy beaches inspired me.

My new collection was inspired by South American deserts, South of the border Latin towns and cites, as well as Mexican surf spots and beaches.

little girls beach tori praver

Why did you start the Keiki line?

The line was inspired by my daughter, Ryan. There is nothing more I love than matching with my little girl, I love our mommy and me moments!

There is nothing more I love than matching with my little girl, I love our mommy and me moments!

Where do you see Keiki headed?

This year was our first year of adding clothing to the Keiki line. There are many ready-to-wear pieces now that match “mama” which was so fun to design!

tori praver swimwear

Are you a big fan of matching mommy and me suits/what’s your mama swim style with your daughter

Matching with my baby is one of the best parts of having a little girl! I love wearing matching bikinis and the matching cover ups.

Something you can’t live with out?

Chocolate and red wine. One of my favorite combos once the little one goes to bed. My mommy vice.

What beach beauty products are in your bag?

Sunscreen, water, lip-gloss

mom and daughters beach

Any summer beach beauty tips? You have such gorgeous blond hair how do you care for it in the summer

Thank you! I wash it every other day or sometimes every 3 days. In between washes I always rinse my hair in the shower and put a good conditioner or mask on my ends. I also don’t brush my hair; I do that in the shower when it’s wet or a run a comb through it when I have conditioner in it.

I also don’t brush my hair; I do that in the shower when it’s wet or a run a comb through it when I have conditioner in it.

What do you like best about what you do?

I love that I get to design and create which is something I enjoy and really love. My swimwear line is a huge creative outlet for me, which is something I really crave and need in my life.

little girl beach tori praver

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Now is the time, if not now- when?” I have always kept this is mind and remind myself daily that life is short, so what are we waiting for?

“Now is the time, if not now- when?”

How has becoming a mama changed you?

I thought I knew what love was, but really I had no idea how much I could love another human! It has been the most rewarding thing and I know there are more moments that I have yet to experience. My daughter has made me so happy and has allowed me to see life in a whole different perspective. Children are so full of life and love, I am inspired daily.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a working mama who travels a lot?

Being away from my daughter. I wish I could always be with her and take her with me on all of my work trips, but I have realized that traveling is really hard on little ones with time changes etc. The past few years have been challenging but very rewarding. It’s been difficult to find a healthy balance at work and being a mom. As much as I love what I do, I love being a mother more than anything else and my daughter always comes first. I have had to learn how to juggle taking care of Ryan while still being focused with work related things, be a wife, a chef, and then find some me time. Although it can all be exhausting, I love every minute of it and wouldn’t change a thing.

As much as I love what I do, I love being a mother more than anything else and my daughter always comes first. I have had to learn how to juggle taking care of Ryan while still being focused with work related things, be a wife, a chef, and then find some me time.

adorable mom and daughter beach

Do you travel a lot with your daughter? What’s been your favorite trip with her?

Yes I take her everywhere! She loves to travel and fly on the “big airplane”. I loved our trip to Bali last year. It was her first time out of the country and it was so fun to show her another culture. She loved the monkeys and elephants!

What are your favorite beaches in the world?

All of the beaches I grew up going to in my hometown on Maui. Ironwoods, Napili Bay, Kaanapali. I also love the beaches on the North shore of Oahu.

To learn more about Tori, check out her website here and her Instagram here

#LADYBOSS, Fashion, Interviews, Kids Style, Mama Boss, Mommy and Me

Chicago #LADYBOSS Monica Royer of Monica + Andy Talks Business, Family and Giving Back

August 6, 2015
monica royer

Tell us about the line and why you decided to start it?

Well I have always been obsessed with fashion and had considered designing women’s dresses (I truly am dress obsessed). After having my daughter, my world totally shifted. I fell in love with everything baby, with baby clothes at the top of the list. I was shocked at how rough the fabrics were. I wanted her clothing to be as soft and organic as possible. Beyond that, I wanted an easy shopping experience with exceptional customer service who could answer all my questions. These were my beginning thoughts on what the brand would look like. It has evolved from there.

Your brother Andy started Bonobos, what is his involvement in the business and what kind of things do you seek his advice on?

My brother is my biggest cheerleader and mentor. He is on the board and does not play a huge role in the day-to-day business. That said, I go to him with a few questions every week of the items I can really use his help so he plays a role of helping shape who we are and where we go. I am his sister but when I started this I asked him to take a new role as my toughest critic. I want him to tell me what he thinks of how I do and be brutally honest. This will help me learn and grow. He is still so kind but I love the totally honest feedback.

beautiful mom and daughter

Your parents must be very proud of both of you, are you from entrepreneurial family overall or did this generation just catch the bug?

My parents are amazing. Andy and I always say we have already won the lottery in life to have them as parents. They are such incredible humans. Our parents supporting us has played an integral involvement in our ability to build businesses. I hope they are proud of us, but I know I speak for Andy here when I say we could not be more proud of them. I can say with certainty neither of us would have these brands if we did not have their love and support.

“Our parents supporting us has played an integral involvement in our ability to build businesses.”

It’s been reported that your mom helped picked out the name Monica + Andy, what were other contenders?

It was hard to decide and my mom did pick the name out. We wanted something that was aspirational for siblings to be best friends. All our lives, we had heard “Monica + Andy” so this really seemed to fit.

Bonobos was early on the direct to consumer e-commerce model, shying away from traditional brick & mortar until recently, and even then in untraditional ways. Can you talk us through Monica & Andy’s approach to brick & mortar/e-commerce?

Andy was such a pioneer in what he did with Bonobos. He really took something that had never been done before and made it happen. In doing so, he really paved the way for the rest of us. Initially he focused all of his efforts on e-commerce which was incredible at that time. It allowed him to get one channel going well and then move on to the next – with innovation of course, and the small footprint guideshop model. My key learning from Andy was you can do a successful e-commerce business and have guideshops as these incredible customer acquisition tools.

monica and andy

Do you feel brands have a greater responsibility now than before to their customers to contribute in other ways to the communities they are a part of?

I feel like it is always great to contribute to your community and it can be so fun doing so! Just this past weekend, we worked with Share our Spare, an organization we love in Chicago, to bring our friends and customers together to donate to those in need. We collected a lot of items and had so much fun doing so. There are so many incredible organizations that we love and have so much fun working with all of them.

monica royer

What do you think are your biggest strengths in business? Weaknesses?

My biggest strength is that I am surrounded by great people and a great team. I base a lot of my hires around being empathetic and kind along with making sure that they have great core competencies in their field. This has helped with company culture and building a team I adore and trust. As far as weaknesses, the list is long. Nothing exposes your weaknesses like building a brand and a company. Probably the biggest is learning to delegate. I have had to learn that even though I love doing certain things as we grow there are people not only more qualified to do them but people who can do them faster. I will want to take something on but literally don’t have the time for it. It is about prioritizing and delegating, and I am getting there. It is still a work in progress.

“As far as weaknesses, the list is long. Nothing exposes your weaknesses like building a brand and a company.”

Day to day, how do you manage your time between business and parenting?

It is the hardest part to manage the time. I try to do a lot of my email work either very late into the night or incredibly early in the morning. This leaves my day open to meetings and spending time with Bella.

What did you do before Monica + Andy and how did that experience carry over?

Before I did M+A, I was in the pharmaceutical industry. It was a high stress job that involved a lot of multitasking. I learned a lot from having to try and do so many things at the same time.

It must feel incredible to be doing what you love everyday, how do you manage the guilt working mamas often feel?

Oh my gosh! This is the hardest part. Seriously. The hardest part. I feel the guilt that all working mamas feel. Even though my work follows me everywhere, I want to help to build a new type of workplace for working mamas. Retail aside (as those are very set hours), we like to allow flexibility for the moms who work with us. In my case, I always want to pick up my daughter and drop her off from school. I might come home and spend 4-7 with her and then be on my computer from 7-2 am just to get my work done. I feel that in this new digital age, you don’t always have to be at your computer as a mom from 9-5. You can email early and late to fit that family time in. It’s so important.

“I feel that in this new digital age, you don’t always have to be at your computer as a mom from 9-5. You can email early and late to fit that family time in. It’s so important.”

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Helping other moms with their businesses is something you feel passionately about (as do we), how has that played a part in Monica + Andy’s voice on the blog and overall mission?

I am SO inspired by the creativity of the moms around me. We are excited to dig deeper into building out our marketplace this year. We can’t keep in stock the incredible goods that other moms have brought to our Mommy Marketplace. Not only do we want to provide an e-commerce platform to these moms, but we want to help them further their businesses in any way that we can. Even as part of our daily life at the brand we love working with full-time and part-time moms. Working with moms is such an integral and important part of the brand.

Your store locations are super mom friendly, for your next store opening in NYC, do you envision building it for the kids just as much as for the moms?

Yes. We LOVE involving the kids in what we are doing. It is so much fun to have an interactive space. When I was a new mom I felt a little lonely at first. Meeting other moms at classes was amazing because they had babies at the same stage. Suddenly there were other people who understood what you were going through – the fun and the long nights.

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Who’s your entrepreneurial inspiration and do you have any mentors that have helped you get to where you are?

I am fortunate in that I have a lot of inspiration in my own family. The first is my brother Andy Dunn (chairman of the board Bonobos) who is an inspiration and a mentor. I have watched him work so hard from his launch. From an early age, his business instincts have always been incredible: his ability to communicate with others and beyond all of that, his ability to lead. From the outside, running a company always looks fun. On the inside, it is so hard. He has managed it with such incredible grace. I admire that so much. My mom has also been a mentor and inspiration. She was a leader in her field for so many years, and I watched her manage a large group of people. She taught me that you can be empathetic yet firm, that you have to follow your vision. That you can have a family and follow your career dreams too. My husband Rob Royer who is the Founder of www.interiordefine.com is also an amazing inspiration. He has built a beautiful brand that I admire so much. His background is in marketing and I am always inspired by his creativity. I learn so much from him about the creative experience just by watching him work.

“She taught me that you can be empathetic yet firm, that you have to follow your vision. That you can have a family and follow your career dreams too.”

We love to end our interviews on an inspirational note… what are some of the words you live by or quotes you love that speak to you most?

“It’s now or never” is my new favorite. Sometime you have to seize the moment and in this new digital world I have to look up from my phone and computer and just do that sometimes. Especially when it comes to parenting. My daughter is 4 and a half, and these moments only come once. The moment to start this company, the moment to watch her first steps. My challenge is always to be in that moment.

To learn more about Monica, check out Monica + Andy here and Monica’s heymama profile here.

Contributors, Fashion, flowers, Interior Design, Lifestyle, Mama Boss, Music

HEYMAMAxLA Bash

July 22, 2015
Heymama hosts garden party to celebrate moms with gorgeous women

Heymama hit LA to get 30 of our most awesome mamas together for a garden cocktail party co-hosted by our ambassador Kelsey Harper of @flowergirllosangeles in her most gorgeous flower drenched backyard. What happens when you meet your Instagram crushes while  sipping wine from @orinswift and refreshing summer cocktails ? Magic. We made so many new friends while listening to DJ @daisyodell and taking pics in  the cool @kikibooth to take home the memories, while enjoying the  famous kyeritos courtesy of @kyesmontana.

The mamas scored giant swag bags filled with goodies from @byboyandgirl, who wrote hand written notes for each guest to go with an outfit selected just for their babe. A pair of jeans from @nydj, a unicorn necklace from @modernqueenkids, a custom box filled with surprises from @mommymailbox, hair clips from the newly launching @girlsongreenwich, and an @lspaceswim cover up!

Many thanks to @staciehess for the beautiful photography!

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#LADYBOSS, #LookGood, Fashion, Mama Boss, Shopping

#LadyBoss: Morgan Hutchinson of ShopBURU Is Redefining Mom Style

July 11, 2015
cute mom daughter stylish playing

 

How did you come up with the name ShopBURU?

My husband, Brett and I spent almost 4 years in Beijing. In fact, Olive Bee is a “Made in China” babe! When brainstorming names for our concept, a Mandarin word seemed fitting.   The meaning of characters BU (哺) and RU (乳) when combined actually means to breastfeed. Though BURU curates ready-to-wear collections for all phases of motherhood, we have a special focus on nursing friendly styles from our favorite brands.

7L3A9823Morgan - BURU - Feb 2015 - Brad Rankin Studio

What’s been the hardest thing about having your own business?

Though I do like to make decisions, making every single one can be exhausting. There is a lot of self-doubt involved on a daily basis. It’s so important to reach out for help and get advice – but at the end of the day, the heavy-duty decisions are still on me.

“Though I do like to make decisions, making every single one can be exhausting. There is a lot of self-doubt involved on a daily basis. “

What makes ShopBURU different?

Many brands in the “mom space” cater to the bump. And while, I love the pregnancy phase – motherhood post bump really inspires me. BURU’s goal is to help all fashionable mamas find a personal #momstyle that works for them in everyday life. Additionally, we strive to be different through our unique brand matrix of established and emerging designers, along with styles that can’t be found everywhere. I am so excited to bring brands like Ryan Roche, House of Holland, 10 Crosby by Derek Lam, and Rachel Antonoff to our customers in a mom-friendly way.

What’s the best and worst advice anyone’s ever given you about running your own business?

Best advice: Keep going.

Worst: Hmmm… I don’t think I have received bad advice actually. I find a way to learn something from every tip I get.

7L3A9637Morgan - BURU - Feb 2015 - Brad Rankin Studio

Who pushes you to succeed the most? Where do you get your drive?

It comes from within. I really expect a lot from myself, and I also want to honor my family and make them proud.

“It comes from within. I really expect a lot from myself, and I also want to honor my family and make them proud.”

How do you think e-commerce has changed over the past 2 years?

I think the main difference is content. The customer now expects to “shop the story”. They want the brand to have a persona. Otherwise, it feels like Amazon and lacks a “special” experience. That said; it must remain simple and easy to navigate. We try to provide a touch of mom life and reality to BURU with our blog and our “Real MOM Monday” series, which isn’t trying selling anything. More than anything, we want to have an authentic relationship with our customers. It’s not just about selling them clothes – it’s about a lifestyle and a service to make their lives easier, more fun, and more fashionable!

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What do you find the most rewarding about having your own business?  

Knowing how unlikely it is that I will ever miss a dance recital or school play. Though there are certain work events that are out of my control, for the most part, I am completely in control of my schedule. And, if I do have to head out of town…I can take my family with me!

“Though there are certain work events that are out of my control, for the most part, I am completely in control of my schedule.”

How has your site changed since you launched?

While our concept has stayed true since our launch in September of 2013, our brands and styles have evolved. We quickly learned that our customer really wants special, yet wearable pieces.

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What do your kids think you do?

A few days ago Olive told me she needed to email a BURU customer…so I am guessing she at least knows the name of my company. She also knows that there are always tons of clothes around and that we travel a lot. I am not quite sure how she assembles all that in her brain though. I look forward to watching it come together though, and I can’t wait to bring her to a NYFW show in a few years.

“…I can’t wait to bring her to a NYFW show in a few years.”

If you weren’t the founder of ShopBURU, what would you be doing?

Traveling the world with Brett and Olive I suppose…until the money runs out 😉

When do you feel you’re most creative?

Inspiration typically hits me in the middle of the night – which is why I keep a notebook and pen on my bedside tables. If I am being totally honest…about half of what I write down is complete gibberish – but the other half is pretty great.

7L3A9602Morgan - BURU - Feb 2015 - Brad Rankin Studio

Give us a glimpse into your daily schedule.

Everyday is a little different, but most begin around 5 with a few hours of work before Olive wakes up…and some morning snuggles with Brett. Olive goes to school 3 days a week and on those days – it is all hustle. Responding to emails, coordinating Tastemakers, completing interviews, styling and shooting new inventory for the site, finalizing orders for upcoming seasons, shooting or editing lookbooks, chatting with developers about web developments, or boring accounting work. (Yuck to the last one…) On the days, when Olive doesn’t have school, I try to plan fun things for us, or lunch with friends. After Brett gets home, we typically go for a stroll and then cook dinner together as a family. Bedtime for Olive post bath…and the wine time for Brett and me!

Who are some of the moms around you who push and support you to succeed?

I feel so blessed to have a wonderful group of dear friends, my own mother included that supports my dreams and me. Additionally, I have met (in person or via e-meets) so many incredible mom entrepreneurs who encourage me everyday by their support and by watching them succeed. There really are too many to name, but specifically speaking – Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked, The lovely ladies of Leapfrog PR in Charleston, SC, Corey Lynn Calter, and Markey Hutchinson of The Beaufort Bonnet Company.

To learn more about Morgan check her out on ShopBURU, on her Instagram, and on her heymama profile.

#LADYBOSS, #LookGood, Fashion, Mama Boss, Stylist

Styling Goes Digital, An Interview With Style Me Perfect Founder Carrie Johnson

July 6, 2015
cute mom kiss daughter

We’ve been meeting so many awesome stylists out there, wouldn’t it be great if you could hire them to help you get dressed for your cousin’s wedding from the comfort of you own computer? Or you’re an oh so talented fashionista who happens to live in Montana, how will you meet clients? Oh wait you can! Meet  Style Me Perfect founder Carrie Johnson. She’s created a “personal” virtual shopping experience to bring fashion talent right to your desktop or door.

Tell us about Style Me Perfect

SMP is an online platform that connects wardrobe stylists/personal shoppers, makeup artists, and hair stylists with clients across the U.S. + U.K. Each of the professionals we represent, offers in-person services where they live (some are willing to travel), as well as customized, online services. Our services are tailored to fit the specific needs of our clients, and our mission is to help them define their own, unique perfect. “Perfect,” to us, is not an aesthetic, where lipstick, pearls, hairspray, and prim, boring pumps come to mind. To us, “perfect” is a very individual, personal, organic response to something that feels exactly right. Our aim is to help our clients achieve this in the vast, and sometimes overwhelming, realms of fashion and beauty!

““Perfect,” to us, is not an aesthetic, where lipstick, pearls, hairspray, and prim, boring pumps come to mind. To us, “perfect” is a very individual, personal, organic response to something that feels exactly right.”

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How did the idea come about?

An out-of-state friend of mine had an important event coming up, and asked if I could recommend some online stores, as she lived in a pretty small town. I did, and she immediately responded that all the stores looked amazing, but she felt really overwhelmed by the mass selection. Would I mind picking out 2 or 3 dresses, and pairing them with some accessories? While shopping for her, it hit me that this type of service could be really helpful for busy women in general, and/or women that just don’t feel confident shopping/styling themselves. So I ran with the idea!

How did you build the actual platform, did you use a template or have a developer?

We were very fortunate in finding a brilliant branding/development team here in our small town that worked very closely with us in creating logos, forms, building our beta site, and our initial web design. My brain-iac husband taught himself to code, so as we grew, and constantly changed, his new skill helped (and still helps!) us tremendously in keeping our costs way down.

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How were you able to grow from one stylist to a global community and have women sending applications daily?

Our blog! I call myself the reluctant blogger, and am kicking myself for not starting it when soooo many people at the very beginning told me to! It’s an amazing resource not only to expound on what your brand actually is, but to advertise, and gain traffic by promoting it via social media. Lesson learned: when the same advice or ideas are repeatedly given to you by many different sources, don’t hesitate; go for it!

“Our blog…It’s an amazing resource not only to expound on what your brand actually is, but to advertise, and gain traffic by promoting it via social media.”

Lesson learned: when the same advice or ideas are repeatedly given to you by many different sources, don’t hesitate; go for it!”

How many people do you have working for you and how much do you still do on your own?

We have a stylist team of 14, but my husband and I are the only admin, which means he wears about 4 hats, and I wear about 17. We have many, many stylists that have applied, and continue to almost daily, but it takes a lot of extra time to email, interview, and then even more time to integrate them into our site and process, once hired. So, finding the right time to start that long process has been tricky. I’ve been very impressed with a lot of resumes that have come our way, so it’s definitely something I’m excited to tackle – I just need about 4 clones to do it!

“my husband and I are the only admin, which means he wears about 4 hats, and I wear about 17.”

How does the platform actually work for virtual styling?

Our process goes like this: The client fills out her event-type/sizing/style-preference forms, selects the stylist she wants, and then submits. The stylist receives her client’s forms, lets her client know when she can have the work completed, calculates the time she thinks it will take her to complete her client’s wishes, and then bills her client. The client can request changes, but if happy, the client pays by credit card via the emailed invoice. The stylist then goes to work shopping online, and then styles a look or looks via Polyvore, which is emailed to her client with styling notes. Each item is hyper-linked in the Polyvore lookbook, so the client can buy anything she likes. If she wants something re-shopped, she can request that, too, at no extra charge.

Here is an example of a typical Polyvore lookbook that we create – I just put together a breezy look for a summer rooftop party….

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My favorite part of our service is that, over time, a stylist is able to build a “Polyvore Closet” for her client, filled with images of actual items the client owns (images sent by client), or of things she has bought. So, stylists are able to create looks using the client’s existing wardrobe, as well. I love this so much!! It makes it so easy to help clients pack for trips, pull looks for work or upcoming events, and suggest new items to update their wardrobe, or really polish off a particular look. It’s super fast for the stylist to style this way, too, so it becomes even more affordable for the client. Win, win.

Our online beauty service works in a very similar way, where makeup artists and hair stylists can shop makeup and hair products to either complete a client’s look, or help a client up her beauty game in general. Our beauty stylists always give detailed notes, tips, and video tutorials to help their clients achieve their new looks on their own.

How is your platform an asset to stylists starting out or looking to make some extra cash.

SMP is designed to be a turnkey business platform for stylists to use – especially if they don’t have a website, or a professional way of billing clients for their services. Our blog and social media outlets are there to help promote them as well. We also act as a mentoring resource they can utilize, as we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks over the years, developing the fairly new concept of online styling. For more established stylists, that already have their own websites and blogs, we simply become added traffic flow for them.

“SMP is designed to be a turnkey business platform for stylists to use – especially if they don’t have a website, or a professional way of billing clients for their services.”

Where do you want to see it go in the next 5 years?

I’m really excited about the idea of expanding our same concept into interior design and event planning. It’s crazy – we’ve been receiving resumes from interior designers and event planners already, and we haven’t advertised this at all (other than having a “coming soon” page up for each on our site)!

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How do you structure your time as far as family time and work time?

My husband and I get up and work on SMP together in the wee hours of the morning to get the critical bulk of the daily work done before our kiddos wake up, and before my husband has to leave for his “real job.” Then, throughout the day, it’s just a matter of budgeting a few minutes here and there – all day long – keeping up with social media, texts, and emails. We’ve learned that we could literally sit down and work on SMP 24/7, and there would still be a mile-long to-do list, so we decided to be very committed at turning off the “work switch” at the same time everyday. In practical terms, my work/mom days are divided into specific time frames, which is both reassuring (I love a good routine), and stimulating to me – like a how-much-can-I-get-done-in-this-set-time-frame game challenge. It keeps me efficient, balanced, and sane! I absolutely love the discipline and creativity involved with working on SMP, but being able to turn it off each day to focus on our family, and to do that enjoying-life thing is so essential! I love the balance we’ve been able to create – it’s just perfect for us.

“we decided to be very committed at turning off the “work switch” at the same time everyday. In practical terms, my work/mom days are divided into specific time frames, which is both reassuring (I love a good routine), and stimulating to me – like a how-much-can-I-get-done-in-this-set-time-frame game challenge.”

To learn more about Carrie, check out Style Me Perfect, her Instagram, and her heymama profile.