Mom-trepreneurs 

Spring has started to arrive across Canada. Flowers blossom, grass grows greener and it’s as if nature is having a triumphant celebration of surviving “The Polar Vortex” that was this past Winter.

May also bring us the opportunity to celebrate some of the most important people in our lives - Mothers! Who would be here without one? Women of all kinds deserve recognition, and Mothers are certainly no exception. 

It’s no secret that being a Woman in the world today is wrought with many challenges. Leslie Hoolaeff, one half of the two-woman team that owns Lover’s Tempo, embraces the daily struggle of juggling the demands of motherhood with the call of a fulfilling career. It’s emotionally and physically demanding and it requires a lot of great strength from an uplifting community of supportive Women.

For Mother’s Day this year, Leslie reached out to fellow Mom-treprenuers to get their take on how they tackle the constant demands of “doing it all”.

Our Panel of the Super Moms we Know & Love 

Sabrina Humphrey, Miss Boss

Miss Boss opened its doors in 2009 in the trendy art and fashion district of 124th Street in Edmonton, AB. Although the store began as a handbag and accessory boutique, in 2013 it expanded to also include a full range of women’s clothing and outerwear.

The store’s owner, Sabrina , handpicks all merchandise the store carries to ensure that only the best and latest styles are on display. At home, Sabrina is the mother of 3 children, two girls and one boy.

Jen Rainnie, Malvados Footwear

Jennifer is a successful entrepreneur, savvy marketer and industry mentor. With nearly 20 years of experience in leadership roles in the fashion industry. These days her industry focus is now on her lifestyle footwear brand, MALVADOS, but she still finds time to commit to being the gala chair and a board member for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and on top of all that, looking after her 3 teenage children.

Michelle Bishop, Elle’s Closet

After having to return quickly to work following the birth of her first daughter, Gabrielle, Michelle Bishop decided it was time to change up her career as a massage therapist. What started as hosting leggings parties blossomed into selling clothing out of her basement followed by opening her first retail store. Currently Elle’s Closet has two locations in Athabasca and Edmonton, as well as an online store.

Kerry Lawrence, Dex Clothing

Kerry Lawrence, Dex Clothing: Kerry is a mother of an almost three year old boy, with a baby girl on the way in October. She manages one of today's fastest growing fashion brands, Dex Clothing, for the West Coast of Canada. She loves capturing her family on their adventures and is addicted to posting on Instagram Stories. She loves vacationing with her family, and relaxing on her patio!

The Q & A

What kind of challenges do you face being a mother while running your business?  

Sabrina: Balance between work and family would be my biggest challenge being a mother and running a business. Trying to be a mother and run a household with children's sports, activities, homework, dinner, laundry etc and still bringing your A game to work everyday and meeting deadlines can definitely be a challenge. As a mother I want to be there for all my kids activities and special moments but also want to see my business grow and be successful.

Jen: The guilt game that you play with yourself as a working mother is always the biggest challenge. Over the years I’ve really struggled with this but now that my children are a little bit older I look back and realize that I should never have been guilty for providing them with the role model that I am. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve managed to be a positive influence as a parent and a strong role model as a working mom.

Michelle: I think the biggest and most glaringly obvious is the mom guilt. I love my work, it sets my soul on fire. I also love my children and couldn’t survive without them. Juggling my time between them and work is very hard! My daughter often asks why I can’t be teacher helper more often at school, or why I can’t take them to gymnastics. It hurts my heart and some days I cry and feel like I’m failing them. But then I remember that my job makes me incredibly happy and it’s important that they grow up seeing that it’s possible to have both. I’m still told by people that you can’t have it all, I refuse to believe that. I have accepted you can’t find balance (ha, work life balance. There is no saying I hate more) so I’ve given that up and thanks to a conversation with a good friend. I now work on being present wherever I am. If I am at home, I am present and with my family. If I am at work, I am present and not feeling guilty for loving my work. Or at least....that’s what I’m focusing on. That’s my goal.

Kerry: I think the biggest challenge (and I know we hear this every day…) is mom guilt. I am very lucky to be able to apply myself to both my son, and my career. But it is simply impossible to give either one 100%. Someone is always missing a small piece of me. But at the end of the day, I’d rather that than having to give either one up.

Does being a mother influence the way you run your business? If so, how? 

Sabrina: Definitely being a mother changes the way I run my business and the day to day routine. I do a lot of evening work when my children are all asleep and I also work longer hours on weekends when my husband can be at home to take care of the children. I have also made my work space at the store kid proof and kid friendly because 9 times out of 10 at least one of my children are with me when I am working in the store. So my staff and I have made a space that is safe and comfortable for them. When customers come in to visit a lot of them know my children from babies as all 3 have basically grown up in the store.

Jen: Absolutely! Any mother will tell you that with motherhood comes patience. Until you are a mother you don’t quite understand both patience and delegation. These are two traits that you need to embrace in life as a working mom and they naturally spill into your work life as well.

Michelle: Yes I would say it does. As I said, I have been told I can not have it all. The being a mom and being a business owner. To that I say bulls**t. It won’t be easy but I am all about babes supporting babes and supporting women entrepreneurs. I think it’s incredibly important to show women that they don’t have to give up one for the other. You can have both. I think I’m passionate about showing that because I want my daughters to grow up knowing they don’t have to choose between family and a career. It won’t be easy, it won’t be easy at all. But nothing worth it ever is.

Kerry: When I’m in season, my life revolves around my work. When my son was a newborn, he came to trade shows with me (as did super dad). I nursed while showing my collections, and relied heavily on baby swings! When I’m in my slow time, my life revolves around my family and work while still a priority I make sure I am putting my littles first and work gets me second. I think the key to “having it all” is flexibility. Allowing yourself to bend rules, and skip steps to keep your sanity!

What is your go to solution for decompressing from the stress of work and motherhood? 

Sabrina: Personal care would be my solution! Nothing makes me feel better than going for a massage, a pedicure or getting my hair done. This time alone is precious and makes me feel good. A good movie, snuggled up in my bed is another favourite to let go and forget about life's busy schedule.

Jen: WINE!

Michelle: Wine! Hahah! Okay, actually it used to be. I still fully believe in its place and importance. But lately I am focusing is self care and self love. I have made working out a priority again in my life. It really is the best stress reliever. Also stepping back and away from everything every once in a while. It’s so easy to push it aside and say you don’t have time but making time for your spouse or your friends is so important.

Kerry: I would normally say wine… but I’m currently pregnant with my second! I would say just taking time for yourself. I think the fact that my husband not only is a rock star father, but also WANTS to be just as involved as me is my saving grace. He was happy to master bottle feeding so I could have me time. He will stay home so I can go out with some friends. You can’t be giving 100% of yourself all the time. Sometimes you just have to reconnect with your own brain! 

Do you have any advice for other mothers who are interested in starting their own business? 

Sabrina: I think that if you have a dream or business goal in mind you should go for it. Whether you have children or are thinking of having children there is no time like the present. Teaching your children the value of hard work and going for your dreams only teaches them to follow their dreams.

Jen: Don’t be disillusioned that you can do it all. YOU CAN’T!!!! It’s absolutely impossible to be good at everything because motherhood and running a business are both massive undertakings. Be more than comfortable delegating and letting go of your expectations.

Michelle: Buy stocks in your fave wine company?
Seriously though, have a support until in place. If I didn’t have a supportive husband and friends, this would be so much harder. And girl, it’s already damn hard! But write down why you want to do it, what drives you to do this. Keep it nearby and on those days where you think you can’t push anymore. Because those days will come, read what you wrote. If you have passion and love for it, it will carry you. It’s going to be hard, you doubt yourself. But girl, you will be so proud of yourself too! You can achieve more than you ever imagined if you are willing to work hard and put in the time. And your children are going to be so proud of you. Always remember that. 

Kerry: Slow and steady!! Don’t try to grow too fast! You are in charge of so much already, and if done right, being self employed is a dream as a mother…. but if you take on too much, and can’t delegate it will all come crashing down. Allow your dream to be a hobby, and then a goal. And enjoy all the baby snuggles along the way!

It’s great to look at the similarities and the differences across these Mom perspectives. The truth is that it isn’t easy, but sometimes it’s good to know that you aren’t alone in your feelings. And if you’re looking for advice on a Mother’s Day gift, it sounds like you can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine.