It’s possible to pursue something for yourself while simultaneously showing up well for the people you love. It’s possible to be a great mother and a great entrepreneur.
These ladies prove everyday that there is truth to that quote. Although they all came to be business owners in different ways and for different reasons, they share the same drive to have a thriving business and family.
After her husband was diagnosed with cancer, Stephanie Rickenbaker got serious about clean living. She reduced her family’s exposure to toxins and learned about boosting health through nutrition. During this journey, Stephanie developed an Elderberry syrup. Her ingredient list was short, SWEET, and 100% pronounceable: organic elderberries, a signature spice blend of organic cinnamon, ginger and cloves and seasonally harvested raw, local honey. Her daughter, nicknamed “Sweet”, loved the syrup so much that Stephanie named it for her! In a short time, Sweet’s Syrup catapulted from a kitchen creation sold among friends to a household name. Sweet’s is delicious on its own, or swirled into yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies. It also pairs nicely with seltzer, kombucha, tea or whiskey.
Cotton & Clay Co.
Phoebe Vinson started Cotton & Clay Co. in 2018. In the beginning it was strictly to help pay bills while she stayed at home to raise her son. She hated knowing the financial burden was on her husband, so she began doing what she did best, create. As her vision for the business began to change, her mission became more clear. This business was not about her, it was about the lives it could bless. She began using the business as a tool to help other women find their passions and also began donating a percentage of sales to Least of These Carolinas, an organization that helps provide resources for children and families in the foster care program. Her hope is to encourage other women, especially stay at home moms, that their passion they once had before they became a mom is still there. It might have been put on the back burner due to raising a family but it is still there waiting to be awakened and used to not only bless her but others.
Vida Forward started making spices because she wanted to help make home cooking easy. One of the biggest problems that most of her friends had with cooking, is that there are too many spices to buy and or remember when cooking a meal. She decided to solve this problem by creating her own seasoning blends that are all natural and full of flavor; Vida’s Spices
It’s really a family affair. My children love helping me with labeling the packages and my husband’s expertise is helping me with the numbers. It’s a lot of fun learning together with my family what it means to own and run a small business while still having a full time real estate career. The good, the bad, the ups and downs, it’s all worth it to me because my children get to see that dreams with actions becomes reality.
As a mom maker, Kathy Allen’s kids have seen her try different avenues and learn skills to bring success to three different businesses. A florist and plant shop on Park Road, a Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop on Selwyn Avenue and lastly, Kathy Allen Fine Cakes.
After having Quadruplets in 1985 with only one surviving, she sold her business and spent two years studying the art of baking and discovered an incredible beauty of handmade sugar flowers. She introduced sugar flower artistry to the Charlotte wedding industry 27 years ago and has been working with brides to custom design their wedding cakes ever since.
My kids are proud and thankful for me being a role model teaching how relationships are built, seeing the value of hard work, being an ambitious and successful career women, and finding the time to pursue my personal passions. I hope my kids will always do what they love and love what they do.
Cristina Agurcia started baking because she loved making food that she wanted to eat. She started making cakes for friends, and then they would take them to their friends, and slowly word of mouth started to spread. A couple of years passed and Cristina’s business outgrow it’s capacity to bake from home. The family found a home for The Batchmaker‘s growing kitchen at Laca Projects. The family’s love for Charlotte has grown with her company and Cristina feels it’s extra special to look out of her bakery door to the city sky line every day.
Seeing my kids embrace the Batch House has been one of the sweetest takeaways from it all. They come in every weekend, we do two story times a month, and whether its story time or just helping me wipe tables, say hi to customers- they are here for it and they look forward to it every weekend.
Three years ago, Joanna Reule’s family started enjoying the health benefits of homemade bone broth. The decision to start selling her homemade bone broth came after seeing the movie “Lion” on a girls night. The film’s portrayal of scenes of human trafficking, particularly with children, broke her heart. Joanna realized that she needed to do more; that’s when the idea hit. Sell Brave Broth, give part of the proceeds to organizations that help heal the tragedy of human trafficking and tell her story. The story of a healing food created for a healing cause. Today Joanna donates 20% of sales to international and local charities fighting against trafficking.
I love that my children have been able to see me create a company built on bravery, love and healing. My hope is that I’ve given them inspiration that will fuel their fires of compassion as well, lighting up their own journeys along the way.
Lesley Dibble started You’re That Girl Designs in 2010 when she felt a need to be creative because of an unfulfilling sales job. Starting on Etsy, she explored graphic design since she couldn’t afford a graphic designer and found she had a passion and talent for design. 25,000 sales later just from her Etsy site, we think she has found her groove!
Some days it’s really hard to be a mom and a business owner but I’ve come to realize that like anything, there’s give and take. In the grand scheme of things, I am so very fortunate. I am able to work from home and be with my son even though I don’t always get as much quality time with him as I’d like. I hope that having my son see me running a small creative business will help him realize that you can make anything happen with hard work, creativity, and adaptation.
Elisabeth Connolly started her business Elisabeth Rose 9 years ago and didn’t expect to have children at the time. 2 years later, Rosie came along. Elisabeth’s daughter has quite literally grown up right alongside her business. She was a newborn, in a bouncy seat next to her mom’s desk when she booked her first big, “game-changer” wedding stationery suite. Rosie was a toddler when Elisabeth hired her first staff members. Currently, Rosie is doing school from the office while Elisabeth works to adapt her company to this new normal.
Rosie has, and always will be my first priority and I count it an honor to have her by my side at work, to show her how to run full-force after her dreams, to work hard, to serve others, to learn from mistakes, to stay humble and to stop at nothing.Elisabeth Connolly
Nilufer Tanrikulu & Yasemin Moore
Nilufer Tanrikulu is a Chemical Engineer that has been working in product development for 27 years as a Research Chemist. A mother of two daughters and grandmother to 6 grandchildren, Nilufer was inspired to create safe and effective products for their use. She sought out to provide a safer alternative for sunscreen and Pink Hippo Sunscreen was born. With help from her daughter, Yasemin Moore, Nilufer launched Pink Hippo Skincare. “I knew her products were not only made with amazing, clean ingredients but they also worked! And I was excited to share them with other like-minded women in our community.” shared Yasemin. The company is a true family affair, with husband/father Osman Tanrikulu, who is also a chemist, playing a huge role in product development behind the scenes.
The saying goes that if you “do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life.” Another one tells us that “10,000 hours of deliberate practice will make an expert in any field.” Artist Brooke Knaus actively believes in both of those ideas and hopes her children see her living in those truths through her choice of a career in art making. Her decision to start selling her artwork was an organic evolution of those two philosophies. She paints because it’s a passion that would be there regardless of sales but to see her work living in the homes of buyers is the ultimate gift.
You may recognize Adria Roberson from behind the counter of the former Candy Girl Confections. While we miss all the sweet offerings, we were thrilled to see Adria’s new venture; Gemdrop. Started in 2017, Gemdrop offers unique, hand-crafted jewelry that is a combination of semi-precious gemstones, oxidized sterling silver, enamel, bone, wood, tribal and vintage beads, and diamond accents.
Being a wife and a mother is a crazy juggling act in and of itself, and I sometimes wonder if trying to be creative and run a small business at the same time is too big of an ask and not fair to me or my family. But, then I see my two boys balancing school and sports – and they are even working on a small business idea of their own – and I think that we all owe it to ourselves to try to become everything we dream we could be and I would never let my kids think otherwise, so why shouldn’t I try to lead by example?