A few years ago, I met the only real, professional concert pianist I have ever known, Angela Jia Kim. Angela owns New York-based cosmetics company, Om Aroma. She also manages Savor The Success, a women's networking group. While I've never met Angela in person, we communicate regularly as fellow mompreneurs. I am also one of the Savor The Success featured bloggers, and that's a fun way to stay in touch.
A few years ago, Angela decided to stop touring as a concert pianist to focus on endeavors that allowed her to be closer to home and start a family and a business with her husband. That intrigued me since that's exactly what I did (replacing exciting “concert pianist” with boring “corporate attorney”), so I asked Angela to share some of her best tips for making it all work together. Here's some of what she told me.
dM: How has becoming a mom changed the way you manage your business?
Anglea: Having my daughter, Sienna, has actually helped our business because now, I'm forced to be more focused at work or while she's taking a nap. It's like, “OK, I have one hour to do this and this. No time to waste!”
I have a nanny who comes everyday to help out. I also have an amazing husband, who is also my business partner.
dM: You started your businesses before your baby was born – do you recommend that other women do the same? Why or why not?
Angela: I believe that starting the businesses before having a baby helped me to plan and hire the right people in a strategic way. As you know, the period right after giving birth is chaotic and crazy. Having systems in place was the key to my businesses running beautifully while I had to step away.
Of course, many women decide to start their businesses after the baby is born, and this is okay, too! So many have succeeded this way.
dM: What encouragement can you offer for women who are already moms, but who want to start a business with their children at home?
Angela: Running a business at home while taking care of children is very tricky. It can be done, but there are days when you are going to want to throw in the towel! When that occurs, just know that you are not alone.
My suggestion is to try to hire someone to come in everyday to watch the kids while you work. This will get you organized and focused. Ultimately, the quality of your work will be much better if you can do this.
dM: What is one thing you might have liked the opportunity to do differently in hindsight that you think people could benefit from knowing?
Angela: I would have gotten comfortable with selling from the start. It's not until I realized that I was my company's best sales person that Om Aroma started to really take off. This is so important for all business owners.
You have to start off selling your own wares or services until your company gets big enough to hire a professional sales team.
My biggest advice is to buy bigger toys as the money comes in. Yes, you have to invest in your company, but you also need to start selling so you can buy bigger things to make your business grow. This means investing in people who can get your products on the market. This provides you with the income you need to invest in the business and make it grow. One leads to the other, as you do more of one, you can do more of the other.
dM: Thank you for sharing those experiences and insights, Angela. There's more on tap at the Women Entrepreneurs Rock the World Conference on May 5-6 in New York City. Join Angela, Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter, Taryn Rose of Taryn Rose Shoes and Poppy King of Lipstick Queen to learn how to get your products to market. Allison Slater, Sephora's VP of Marketing, other boutique buyers, and members of the press will be on tap too!
Question: What mom tips from the trenches would you like to share?
Visit Shea Radiance Supplies for natural and organic bulk supplies and shea butter from Africa and beyond. I often use this shea butter to dress my daughter's beautiful red hair! You may also enjoy this FaceBook photo album from my visit to the Shea Radiance kiosk over the holidays. Check them out and tell Funlayo and her family that Donna Maria sent you!