When Your Brand Is Your Baby, But You’ve Got A Human Baby Too
In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 12 founders and executives: How do you balance your brand with a baby?
- Chelsey Wang Founder, Chelsey Wang: Skincare With No Secrets
Returning to work after having a baby is, well, hard. My heart has often felt split between wanting to be with the babies—two kiddos 18 months apart—and yet wanting to grow our business, knowing that in the long run, Lord willing, it will help us care for them in a greater capacity.
We found an interesting solution that has worked so well for our home life as well as the business. We created a home office downstairs where one of us (either my husband or I) are working typically 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. Having a home office has allowed us to be flexible with who is working and who is with the kids. We often switch back and forth, one with the kids, the other one working hard and focused in the office. This way we do not feel that either the babies or the business are being put in the backseat, so to speak. It has been a beautiful and hard journey figuring out how to balance and work hard at both—raising babies and raising a business—but we are doing it and love every minute.
- Julia Teren Founder, Thesis Beauty
I have been practicing attachment parenting religiously, maybe even overdoing it because the early years are so foundational. Trying to make enough work hours has been a very costly and guilt-inducing exercise, as I am sure many can relate to. Having a baby changed everything in my life. I never was able to understand that phrase before when I heard it from other people.
The most crucial thing is lining up the right caretakers—probably the most challenging hiring process ever—and curating priorities so everything important gets done during the precious work hours. I've been through the stage when, if little gets done due to child-related distractions, it felt like my personal failure. I learned to go easier on myself and be realistic about what can be achieved without going into burnout mode.
One thing that was impossible to believe during the first year, despite everyone telling you so, it does get easier. I also heard wonderful advice some time ago on the radio from a renowned psychologist: when you are at work think only about work, when you are with your child think about your child. That instantly changed my perspective, and made me a lot less anxious and produced a ripple effect on so many areas of my life.
- Jesseca Dupart Founder, Kaleidoscope Hair Products
I am what many consider a workaholic. I enjoy what I do so much that, when I became pregnant, I worked while having contractions. I did not take much time away from work after having my youngest son. Upon returning back to work, I felt back at home, and I was able to get right back into the swing of things.
- Julianne Robicheau Founder, Robi Luxury Skin Care
I started my business from home when my oldest was one. When she was two, I became pregnant with baby number two and was still running the business from home. When baby number two arrived, I had my hands full still doing it all from home. Because I am doing the bulk of the work day in and day out, I never took a maternity leave or anything.
I was taking care of two kids and doing as much work as possible during nap times, plus whatever I could fit in while they played. My oldest is now in school, so it’s a little easier to manage the workflow. I’m lucky that the people I do work with (contractors, mentor, etc.) are very understanding and supportive that I have a kid or two in tow when we meet up.
Running my business from home while simultaneously taking care of my kids is stressful at times, but I love that I’m showing them it’s possible. Sometimes I picture my life without my business, and I think of all the freedom I’d suddenly have, but I know I would 100% miss it, and it would be a huge regret. Of course, my work/parenting situation is limiting at times. I can’t commit to pop-up opportunities, for example, but it forces me to be creative about other ways I can market my business.
- Michelle Ranavat Founder, Ranavat Botanics
There’s no easy answer to working with a family, but it is so rewarding. I believe planning and organization are critical to being able to squeeze as much working time into the day as possible. It is also very important to lean on family members when necessary.
I remember flying to Chicago to drop off the boys to be with my parents when I needed to be in India for a sourcing trip. While not that convenient, I felt really good that they were spending time with their grandparents while I was working.
- Joi Rudd Co-Founder, Amala Beauty
Returning to work after having all three of my babies definitely presented its rewards and challenges. It certainly took me some time to get my feet back under the desk after maternity leave.
My experience with all three kids was that I needed about the same amount of time that I was out of office for maternity leave to re-immerse in my work. In my case, that was 14 weeks with each child. As lucky as I was to have a generous amount of time off, I also learned that I would need a good amount of time to get back up to speed. Figuring this out after the first baby helped me prepare and embrace this with the next two.
I personally find my work to be an all-important outlet for creativity and adult interaction that adds diversity to my overall sense of purpose. I am lucky to be able to work from home quite often, and this flexibility allows me to deliver at my demanding job while also being present for my family. This does require keen mindfulness to ensure I am also looking after myself, making sure I commit to carving out time for my own fitness, down time and self care.
After three children, I am starting to figure it out, but every day presents new challenges and demands yet another pivot. As a working mother, I tend to tap into my learnings from yoga, which I’ve practiced regularly for over a decade, and which is a consistent source of balance for me. What I’ve learned is that it's about cultivating strength and flexibility: persevering and working very hard in my professional and family lives, but then letting go, knowing that I have done the best I can.
In life, I feel we often think that once everything falls into place, then we will find peace, but it’s actually the other way around. If we make peace with our perfectly imperfect lives, then everything falls into place. As a working mother and entrepreneur with three kids under age six, remembering this really helps keep me going.
- Natasha Jay Founder, Pump Haircare
It was hard. I still have days where I feel very guilty that I am not there all the time. My work runs long hours and, even at home, I can get distracted with emails or remembering a last-minute order, but I always make sure that I allocate one-on-one time with my son and put the devices away.
- Conny Wittke Founder and CEO, nügg
I actually had my kids when I was the CEO of Tweezerman, and I went back to work very shortly after. I was very fortunate in that my husband was able to stay at home and, thus, we were able to manage “doing it all” as long as we were OK with very little sleep.
In the first weeks after my daughter was born, he actually drove my daughter to the office multiple times a day so that I could nurse her. And, since I had an international role, they both came along quite a bit in the first years.
- Tamara Mayne Owner, Brooklyn Candle Studio
I never returned to work I hired employees to delegate most of my work to and have done my work during his naps for two years. I also have help about every other month from my mom, and my husband works from home one to two days a week to give me more time to work.
- Trisha Watson Founder, Trisha Watson Organics
I returned to work after my first baby when I launched the line. The line came to completion during my maternity leave, and it was at that point my business held a whole new dynamic. Hard work, business skill and persistence played a powerful role and, eventually, I was granted a spot in a well-known natural food market in downtown Spokane. This is where the skincare sold consistently, creating a regular income when I was home with my baby, tending to a family.
- Pilar Quintero Co-Founder, Care Skincare
Well, it’s been nine years since my last pregnancy. I’m a mother of four whose ages range from nine to 25 years. This is my first experience as an entrepreneur. So, I guess I am proof that it is never too late to pursue your career dreams.
- Peter Schafrick Founder, Schaf Skincare
My wife actually had the baby. I just was along for the ride. I vividly remember becoming a father for the first time. It was very emotional. I was awestruck and terrified all at the same time, all while immediately falling in love with this little alien.
As much as I thought I was ready for this, I soon realized it was impossible to prepare myself for this. And those sappy clichés from friends and family suddenly came true. I hate when that happens.
So, when I returned to work, it was with a sense of vulnerability. I now had the added responsibility of being a father, and I was surprised how strong the protective instincts kicked in. Having a newborn for the first time meant it was no longer about just me and my wife. Those fatherly instincts caught me a bit off guard, and I was surprised how selfless I became. I didn’t want to mess this up because I’ve never done this before. Plus the little alien was really growing on me.
After gaining a bit of experience as a father, my confidence grew, and I really enjoyed watching my daughter’s daily progression. I began to look forward to heading home early and learned not to take myself or my business too seriously anymore. There was a lot more to life now, and I (finally) learned to live a healthier and balanced life between work and family.
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