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9 Businesses Run by Badass Multitasking Super-Moms

9 Businesses Run by Super-Moms

The superheroes have cornered the market on multi-tasking. A newspaper photographer by day becomes a flying strongman by night. A millionaire playboy moonlights as a crime-fighting rodent. And they still find time to squabble with each other.

Multitasking gets a bad rap these days, as the kryptonite to mindfulness, but for working moms it’s their lifeblood.

Batman v SuperMom? Place your bets, folks. My money’s on the real heroes. I have watched my best friend make Pad Thai one-handed, the other occupied with a squirming baby, while remaining fully immersed in our conversation. She’s a stay home mom, a student, an artist, a maker, and an entrepreneur.

I try to imagine my own capacity for motherhood: how could I possibly add another thing to my already-hectic life? I don’t have time to shower most days, and the home-cooked-to-takeout ratio leans heavily on the latter.

But moms everywhere are making it happen, simultaneously nurturing small businesses and small humans – both 24/7 jobs. And they’re killing it. (There’s hope for me still.)

Since I can’t speak from experience, I enlisted the help of Jill Salzman – serial entrepreneur, speaker, podcast host, community rouser, and mom. She’s the brains behind Founding Moms (her third business venture), a collective of online resources and offline meet-ups that help mom-slash-entrepreneurs connect to build better businesses together. 

“I started it because I was running unrelated businesses and merely wanted to find other women building businesses and raising babies at the same time — because how were they doing it? Apparently I’m not the only one wondering these things.”

Jill Salzman of Founding Moms
Jill Salzman

So how are they doing it? Easy: moms are made to be entrepreneurs – the skillsets required for each are remarkably similar. Business owners often have to “make it up”, Jill says, employing cunning and resourcefulness to get things done, and learning along the way. The same is true for parenthood.

“Ask business owners and they’ll likely tell you that, at any one time, they had no idea what they were doing. Many never feel like they do. Similarly, when parents raise a child, they also have no idea what’s coming—minute-to-minute."

10 Businesses Run by Badass Multitasking Super-Moms [Giveaway]
A Founding Moms meet-up

My own mother (Hi, Mom!) was, for the majority of my childhood, of the stay-at-home variety. Though she didn’t “work” for many years, she was still a working mom – her business was us. She raised three kids, volunteered for a women’s shelter, led our Brownie troop, organized our bowling league, chaperoned our school trips, sewed costumes for school plays, and still had time to make milk-carton boats and butter tarts and crocheted Christmas ornaments from scratch.

I'm cute, yes?

We were incredibly lucky to have had our mom there all the time. If she had owned her own business, maybe we’d have missed out. Or maybe we’d have just traded crafting sessions for entrepreneurship lessons. Our experiences may be different, but the children of mom entrepreneurs can have upbringings just a rich as my own.

Forget about mom-guilt, Jill says:

“I was plagued all day long while working by the thought that I was a terrible mom for sending my firstborn to childcare too soon. One Saturday during a playdate, I overheard my daughter talking to her friend, suggesting that they try playing a new game. She asked, “Do you wanna play ‘Let’s Go To The UPS Store?” and then waved her friend over to get into her imaginary car. It was my working mom moment of revelation: my daughter was not only unaffected by my being a working woman, but she was encouraging her friends to join her on her own imaginary work day. Guilt? Gone.”

9 Successful Businesses Run by Moms

This Mother’s Day, we’re honoring the countless mothers who run successful stores on Shopify. I chatted with some of these badass, multitasking super-moms.

Here are their stories:

1. Laura Thomas

Founder of Pretty Presets, Photographer, Mom

1. Laura Thomas

Pretty Presets is an online shop selling pre-made alterations for Lightroom that save her customers tons of photo-editing time. It’s a business that Laura started on a $100 initial investment:

“My encouragement would be to not throw yourself and family into a financial bind, but to be thoughtful and deliberate about every purchase.”

Laura’s story:

“Seven years ago, after a few failed businesses, I was feeling stretched, tired and wishing for more time with my family. I was at the end of my rope and had nothing to lose. I started my current business on a generic blogger website almost overnight. The inspiration? My kids. My husband was away for work often and I had two toddlers at home. We had just moved to a new town and I didn't know anyone there. It felt as if everything was stacked against me. What I learned through the process was priceless.” 

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

“I asked my 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter, who have had me working from home since their toddler years, how they would like to encourage other moms. Their response was, ‘Stick to what you're doing. Do what is healthy for you and your kids.’ As I began typing, I left out the ‘you’ part. My son immediately said, ‘That's important. You have to remind the moms to do what's best for them, too.’ He's right. We are often so worried about everyone else, that we forget to take care of ourselves. Also, don't forget when you become successful, that it's not always about you. It's about the platform you've been given to encourage and help others."

We are often so worried about everyone else, that we forget to take care of ourselves.

Fave business resource?

"People Over Profit by Dale Partridge"

2. Patricia Bright

YouTube Personality, Beauty & Style Expert, Founder of Y-HAIR, Mom

Patricia Bright

Patricia drew from her experience as a beauty vlogger to create Y-HAIR – a line of extensions aimed at simplifying the daunting purchasing process usually associated with the product.

Patricia’s story:

“I started my business only a few months before finding out I was pregnant with my first child. Knowing I was going to have a baby was both exhilarating and scary at the same time but I knew it was only going to fuel my aspirations and not stifle them. There’s nothing like having to provide for your own child to inspire you to do the best you’ve ever done before.”

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

“Time is the most precious commodity. Find a balance, cut off when you have to, plan ahead and do as much as you can when you have downtime. Great support is essential, you can’t do it alone so don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

Time is the most precious commodity.

Fave business resource?

“Youtube. One of my all time favourite channels is by female entrepreneur, author and philanthropist Marie Forleo. She shares lots of practical tips on living life to the fullest, and turning dreams into a profitable reality.”

3. Leslie Plank & Stacy Gnewkowski

Co-Founders of Hawthorne Collection, Best Friends, Moms

3. Leslie Plank & Stacy Gnewkowski

It started as a small investment business: $300 and a glass of wine. In their first year of business, they shipped over 8000 packages from their homes, and three years later, Hawthorne Collection now operates out of two retail locations. Being moms first, and business owners second, their priorities drive how they run their businesses:

“We are a very mom and kid friendly environment. We often hold babies or entertain small children so moms can shop. We don’t make anyone feel like they don’t belong in our store, we want it to be a comfortable place for everyone to come.”

What does balance look like for you?

“Living in the midwest, our company policy is that if the local schools have a snow day, we are closed. This is not only for the safety of our employees on bad roads, but also because then we have a complex issue of ‘all the kids are home but we need to work’. One particular snow day, we also had a lot online orders to pack up and ship out. Thinking it would be a great idea to go in when the store was closed and get the orders packed, we loaded up all 5 kids and headed into the store. It would have been fine except one of us forgot to lock the door behind us. Within minutes the store was full of customers, and the backroom was full of 5 very energetic and loud children. We quickly realized it was maybe not the best idea.”

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

Network. Help each other out! In our early stages there were a few key local women business owners that helped us out and encouraged us. Now that our store is larger, we have had the opportunity to help out other women-owned businesses launch and grow.”

Fave business resource?

“We are very data-minded people. Data is key in determining what our best sellers are, what we need to restock, and what trends are hot.” 

4. Jai Nam “Mommy” Choi

Founder of Mommy Sauce, Mom, Grandma

4. Jai Nam “Mommy” Choi

Mommy Sauce was born out of a love of cooking and family. Encouraged by her son, a renowned chef, she built a business of her own, selling her secret recipes to the world.

Mommy Choi’s story:

"I grew up in a family of 11 kids and spent a lot of time in the kitchen. We were always eating! I then moved to America, met my husband, and his food tastes and family background were completely different from mine. I learned to make food that meshed the two different styles of Korean cooking and after I had my two kids, my cooking evolved even further to incorporate new flavors and tastes as we started eating more American food. My husband and I worked very hard 7 days a week doing every job that came our way so that we could support our family, but every night, we looked forward to our family meals at home. Food is a big part of our lives and that is why I think my son became such a famous chef! Our friends and family felt comfortable in our house and were over all the time, and I was always feeding everyone! It was inspiring to see everyone enjoying my food, and that gave me the energy to work harder to develop my special sauces!" 

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

"Juggling work and family can be tough, but when you're passionate about something, go for it. It doesn't matter how old you are, you're never too old to start something new!"

Fave business resource? 

"My family and friends."

5. Bita Doagoo

President of Detox Market (Canada), Mom

5. Bita Doagoo

Detox Market was created to cut through the greenwashing, and offer products with clean, transparent ingredients.

Bita’s Story:

“My son was 15 months old when we opened The Detox Market. After 3 days at daycare he started biting us – we knew this wasn't going to work. So he started coming to work with me! It was a temporary solution, but it opened my eyes. Being a mother and an entrepreneur didn't have to be compartmentalized into separate things. It was at that point that I started to feel all parts of myself integrating. It made me appreciate being a mother even more.”

Being a mother and an entrepreneur doesn't have to be compartmentalized into separate things.

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

“Don't burn yourself out! Have a priority list, don't lose sight on what's most important (your kids!). This will ground you and renew your passion. Once you have that list, pace yourself.”

Fave business resource?

“My husband! No book or app can ask you the objective questions like the people around you.”

6. Rana Longworth

Founder of Mom N’ Tot Box, Mom

Mom N' Tot Box

Rana’s Story:

“As a stay at home mom of two toddler boys, I wanted to work after my youngest turned one, but I didn't want to have the conventional 9-5 job. I have always enjoyed helping small businesses and purchased many things for my sons and myself from small online shop and small local shops, and the online business idea of Mom 'n Tot Box was born. I am able to support small businesses and deliver some amazing items to customers and also have a job that I'm proud of. I can work from home, while enjoying the day to day activities with my boys.”

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

“Enjoy all the moments with your kids and plan your day. I always set aside a certain amount of time depending on the time of the month that I work. I make sure all the other times while I'm not working that I'm present and enjoying my family.”

Fave business resource?

"7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey"

7. Emily Arbour 

Founder of Cheerfully Made, Event Planner, Maker, Entrepreneur, Mom

7. Emily Arbour 

Emily attributes much of her success as a mom entrepreneur to her tight-knit and supportive community of fellow retailers. She admits that the balance was a struggle in the beginning:

"I had my first store, Blackbird for four years, and during that time, I had two kids. When my second kid was born, I basically took my babies to work. I nursed them behind the counter, and put a crib in the bathroom."

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

"Find the balance and find it early! My kids are in school from 9am to 3:30pm. I work 10am to 3pm and try only to work weekends when necessary. So I've got time to get dinner going and pick them up at school without my career choice affecting them too much. I also include them in as much as I can – you'll find my 5 and 7-year-olds stamping hands at the door at my craft shows, or running appetizers at my open houses."

Fave business resource?

"Instagram. I use it as a marketing tool but I also expose who I am as a real life person. My followers get a kick out of seeing how messy my life can be sometimes. I think it helps make me relatable and leaves folks feeling like I'm someone they might like to support."

My Instagram followers get a kick out of seeing how messy my life can be sometimes.

8. Jordan Ferney

Blogger, Designer, Founder of Oh Happy Day! Shop, Party Planner, Mom

9. Jordan Ferney

I caught Jordan just as she was taking some time off for maternity leave. Her blog, an ode to parties and colour and beautiful things, owes its 10-year momentum to creating original content and continually investing back into the business. Two years ago, she added “Merchant” to her many hats when the Oh Happy Day shop was born.

A day in the life of Jordan:

"I spend the morning with my family and drop my kids off for school. Mornings usually mean lots of meetings. I have meetings with the Editorial team about content, meet with the Ads team about partnerships, and meet with the Shop team about any issues with the store. I help brainstorm photoshoots, or sign off on advertising partnerships. My main job has been to focus on the big-picture stuff like working on new products for the party shop."

Fave business resources?

"Doughbies (we order cookies all the time), Lugg (it is like Uber for moving stuff), Uline and PsPrint."

9. Elle Rowley

Founder of Solly Baby, Mom

10. Elle Rowley

Solly Baby’s versatile wraps were born out of the founders own frustration with baby carriers on the market.

Elle’s Story:

"It's hard for me to believe it was five years ago that Lucy, my then toddler, and I were pushing rolls of fabric across our living and dining room floor for our first round of wraps. Those were some crazy days with a toddler, a newborn, and a husband in school full-time as Solly Baby began, but motherhood taught me that our capacity is far greater than most of us believe. I learned to do more with 15 minutes than I could previously do with 2 hours. Not only that, there's something about raising children that has made me acutely aware of how fleeting time is. It put the fire under me to go after what I wanted. Not only for myself, but also to show them what's possible." 

What advice would you offer to other moms starting a business?

"Really understand how your product or service adds value to the world and then work like crazy to share that." 

Fave business resource?

"Other entrepreneurs. Surround yourself with people who get what you're doing and who you can exchange ideas with."

There's something about raising children that has made me acutely aware of how fleeting time is.

From all of us at Shopify, to all moms raising the next generation of entrepreneurs: thank you for all that you do.