[MOMPRENEUR SERIES] Featuring Video Producer Micki Pagano-Parente

This Mother’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to recognize some Mompreneurs that we’ve met along our journey. Somehow, they find a way to balance their entrepreneurial workload while being full-time Moms. We’ll be introducing them to you throughout this Mother’s Day weekend and we asked them to share some tips for fellow Mompreneurs.

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been about eight years since we first met Micki! We’ve always admired Micki’s creativity and professionalism. And, working with national and local brands including The Culinary Institute of America, American Cancer Society, Rockefeller Group, and BR Guest Hospitality, Micki’s talent continues to be recognized, earning her 22 distinguished industry awards! She’s an inspiration. It has been amazing watching Micki grow her business with her family and we are so proud to be in her company.

Micki&Tony Parente 1Introducing: Micki of Branding Shorts

Q: Please describe your business.

A: I run a video production company.

Q: How long have you been running your business?

A: Ten years.

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: I’ve always loved filmmaking and made short films for fun. I was a Madison Ave creative director for many years, creating and shooting commercials around the world, but it was a very stressful and demanding lifestyle. Ready to flex my entrepreneurial muscle, I left a lucrative career to do my own thing and have more of a balanced life.  

In 2008, my husband (a marketing director) and I joined forces to start Branding Shorts as a way to leverage our big brand experience to help small businesses grow through the power of short branded videos. Since then, we’ve produced videos for local and national brands, as well as helped charities fundraise through video, across the country. We’re honored to be recipient of 22 industry awards.

Micki Parente 2

Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being a Mom and running your business?

A: It certainly is a balancing act raising a child and running a business – and to make sure you have quality time for both. One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is flexibility. Since my husband and I run the business together, we’re grateful to be able to make our own hours. We have an office, but work at home too, which allows us more time to spend with our three-year-old son, who is our number one priority, as well as our seven year old rescue pup, who’s also like a kid :).

Q: For current and future Mompreneurs, what advice would you give them?

A: I would say, get enough rest. Make a plan every morning for the day. I love making a check list and crossing things off – it gives a sense of accomplishment. Being a mom and an entrepreneur are similar in many ways – both require lots of nurturing, love, devotion and attention to grow. Motherhood and entrepreneurship give an opportunity to learn something new – and make an impact – every day. 

Q: What’s your secret to staying healthy and beautiful?

A: Staying healthy, feeling good and getting enough rest is important to both motherhood and entrepreneurship. I try to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies, a daily walk and do my best to keep it all-natural with our family meals and my beauty regiment too. For example, I like using coconut oil as a daily moisturizer and also like Naturally Susan’s Avocado Rose Salve. I even use natural lipsticks made without chemicals. Going natural and organic has become more important than ever, since becoming a mom. And companies like Naturally Susan’s are great to support the growing trend toward natural, non-toxic, skin care and a healthy lifestyle. 

Learn more about Micki and her work by following her at:

Special thanks to Micki! We’re grateful that you’re part of our journey! 

[MOMPRENEUR SERIES] Featuring Jewelry Designer Loella Medina

This Mother’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to recognize some Mompreneurs that we’ve met along our journey. Somehow, they find a way to balance their entrepreneurial workload while being full-time Moms. We’ll be introducing them to you throughout this Mother’s Day weekend and we asked them to share some tips for fellow Mompreneurs.

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We often find Loella making jewelry at her booth when we’re at events. But when she visits our booth, she loves sharing videos of her kids dancing and singing, giving us a sense of her home life…filled with bright smiles and joyful laughter. That’s the happy place we always want to be. It’s obvious that Loella’s family is her priority yet you’ll find that she pours as much love and attention into designing and making her beautiful jewelry as well.
Loella Medina
Introducing: Loella of Loella Medina Jewelry

Q: Please describe your business.

A: I design and handcraft jewelry.

Q: How long have you been running your business?

A: 7 years next month!

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: The idea of being free to make my own decisions and my own schedule is really what pulled me into starting my own business. I always knew I wanted to have flexibility to be available for my kids so starting my own business seemed like the perfect solution. When my children were younger and would get sick more often, I knew I could stay with them all day long taking care of them and snuggling them back to health without worrying about having to call out of work. So the big leap of faith I took 7 years ago has been well worth it in that sense.

Loella Medina Jewelry

Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being a Mom and running your business?

A: I currently work from my home, and the lines between home life and work life get blurred a lot. It is difficult to detach from work when it is so accessible. I have started to take summers off to spend quality time with the kids, we go on park adventures, museums, the zoo, etc. I take my mind off my business for a few weeks and come back with renewed energy. Also, I do not do this crazy parenting stuff alone; my husband and I always divvy up school trips, we always attend school conferences and events together, etc. We are also very grateful to have a lot of help from our families. My husband is very invested in seeing me win, so he is always up for lending a hand during set ups at retail events and being my “salesman”.

Q: For current and future Mompreneurs, what advice would you give them?

A: There is definitely a lot to juggle, and that’s okay. Always follow your instincts; start with why and your path will become more clear.  And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Q: What’s your secret to staying healthy and beautiful?

A: Sleep and moisturizer. 🙂

Learn more about Loella and her work by following her at:

Special thanks to Loella! We’re grateful that you’re part of our journey! 

[MOMPRENEUR SERIES] Featuring Artist Amanda Newman

This Mother’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to recognize some Mompreneurs that we’ve met along our journey. Somehow, they find a way to balance their entrepreneurial workload while being full-time Moms. We’ll be introducing them to you throughout this Mother’s Day weekend and we asked them to share some tips for fellow Mompreneurs.

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Our earliest recollection of meeting Amanda was about three years ago at Artists & Fleas in Brooklyn. She had such a beautiful booth set up with the most adorable little cork buds (they’re little plants growing out of bottle corks). Needless to say that her booth was one of the most popular! It’s not until we asked to feature Amanda for our Mompreneur Series that we learned of her second business that she’s been managing for 15 years! And, we knew that a Mom with two businesses definitely has sage advice. Amanda is one of the sweetest individuals we’ve ever met. 
Amanda Newman

Introducing: Amanda of Amanda Newman Art (and Corkbuds!)

Q: Please describe your business.

A: I do custom artwork such as chalkboards, murals and signs for restaurants, businesses, weddings, etc.

Q: How long have you been running your business?

A: 15 years!

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. Even when I was younger and the rest of the world tried to tell me that you can’t make it as an artist, I knew that I would have to because I couldn’t picture doing anything else. In retrospect, I’m sure part of my inspiration was to prove everyone wrong!

Amanda Newman Art

Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being a Mom and running your business?

A: For the first year of my daughter’s life, I thought that I could work from home while also taking care of her. I think it is a common misconception that this is possible – I’ve rarely met any moms who were able to make this work full time! I guess looking back I did “make it work” but it was not enjoyable and I would not do it again that way. It was not fair to my daughter or my business because I was never 100% attentive to either one. I was fortunate to have a solid client base at that point and most people were very understanding that my availability was not as flexible as it previously had been. When my daughter turned one, I was finally able to put her in daycare full-time and it’s made a world of difference. Now I try to be strict about only doing work during work hours while she’s at daycare, and then I can give her my full attention in the evening when she’s home. A person who works 8 hours a day at full capacity is just as productive, if not more so, than a person who works at half capacity (i.e. also momming) 100% of the time.

Q: For current and future Mompreneurs, what advice would you give them?

A: Don’t try to do it all. Being a stay at home mom is a full time job, and running your business is a full time job. If you try to do both at once, you’ll never be happy, healthy, or do your best work. Of course there are times when you’ll have to “do it all”, but in the grand scheme of things I think it’s so important to schedule out your days so that you are giving 100% to the task at hand. You don’t want to be reading to your child but really thinking about the client who just emailed you with an issue. Treat your business like all the “9-5ers” treat theirs – it can wait until tomorrow. People can tell if you’re not fully invested in something (i.e. talking to a client while trying to feed your child). If you don’t take your business seriously nobody else will and your career will always be viewed as a hobby. Being serious does not mean working 24/7 – it means being fully present during the hours that you are working. Another piece of advice – take more vacations! And enable an automatic vacation response for your emails. I promise your business will still be there when you get back.

Q: What’s your secret to staying healthy and beautiful?

A: I go running every other day. I plan the time into my schedule and consider it a necessity of life. It gives me time to clear my head and gives me more energy to tackle the rest of life.

Learn more about Amanda and her work by following her at:

Special thanks to Amanda! We’re grateful that you’re part of our journey! 

[MOMPRENEUR SERIES] Featuring Painter Hannah Lowe Corman

This Mother’s Day, we’re taking the opportunity to recognize some Mompreneurs that we’ve met along our journey. Somehow, they find a way to balance their entrepreneurial workload while being full-time Moms. We’ll be introducing them to you throughout this Mother’s Day weekend and we asked them to share some tips for fellow Mompreneurs.

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About two years ago, we met Hannah at a pop up event at West Elm on the Upper West Side where we were showcasing our work, side-by-side, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. She’s an amazing painter and now Mom to an adorable baby boy.

Hannah Lowe CormanIntroducing: Hannah of Hannah Lowe Corman original paintings

Q: Please describe your business.

A: I am a Mindfulness Painter, which to me means that my process of creating is a mindfulness practice and the resulting paintings tend to be serene and meditative.

Q: How long have you been running your business?

A: I started selling my paintings in early 2016, but I’ve been creating art since childhood.

Q: What inspired you to start your business?

A: When I moved to New York, I knew that I wanted to work for myself in some capacity, but I wasn’t sure how. I got connected to a group of artistic female entrepreneurs, who inspired me to believe that I could turn my passion into a business. Making art has always been a part of me – it wasn’t necessarily something I even thought about as a “thing I do”. So while it was totally natural, it actually wasn’t at all obvious to me to start a business around painting, until that light bulb went on that yes, indeed this is a viable career path.Hannah Lowe Corman Art

Q: How do you balance the responsibilities of being a Mom and running your business?

A: It’s definitely a challenge. I’ve had to strip down my business to the absolutely essential. With a 9 month old, I have zero time for extraneous Facebooking, video-watching, email editing, etc. I paint or work on my website during my son’s naps (which may be 45 minutes, or, if I’m lucky, 90 minutes. I write emails and think about social media after he goes to sleep at night. When he’s awake, I try to be fully present with him, whether that’s feeding him, playing with him, or just watching him play solo. Do I sometimes multi-task and scroll Instagram when he’s awake? Yes, of course, I’m only human, but I try to notice when I’m not being present and snap back to what’s in front of me.

Q: For current and future Mompreneurs, what advice would you give them?

A: I felt very overwhelmed with work and baby at first because I was so accustomed to doing everything I could in my business. It wasn’t until I realized that half of the admin stuff I was doing wasn’t actually advancing sales that I felt okay letting it slide. Sometimes I get that creeping feeling that I SHOULD be learning about Pinterest or beefing up my SEO, but then I allow myself to let go of these “should” thoughts and just focus on the essential day to day activities. I’m sure one day in the future I’ll have more time to dig into other topics, but for now I’m enjoying living outside of the online world. So for current or future Mompreneurs, I’d advise boiling down your business tasks to the absolute essentials. By letting go of things you feel you ought to be doing but aren’t really necessary, hopefully that will give you space to be present with your children when possible. I also like to think about (and be grateful for) all the aspects of my life and business that are exactly what I want; sometimes we get caught up in pushing and growing that we forget that we’ve actually created a lifestyle that we’ve wanted and that we should take advantage of that ~ whether it’s flexibility of our time, or not reporting to a boss, or being able to pick up our kids from school ~ notice what you already have and not what you are still striving towards.

Q: What’s your secret to staying healthy and beautiful?

A: Oh man, sometimes I don’t feel healthy or beautiful. On the days that I look and feel my best, I’ve gotten solid sleep and I’ve had a lot of water.

Learn more about Hannah and her work by following her at:

Special thanks to Hannah! We’re grateful that you’re part of our journey! 

We love our NS Fans!

 

Our newest NS Fans…

…one from Martha’s Vineyard and the other from Iceland. They reunite every year in New York City and we had the pleasure of meeting them. Thank you for being kind to your body!

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Our Avocado Rose Salve has been getting some wonderful accolades…

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There’s something amazing about our scarf…

pink-green-cowl-scarfThere’s something amazing about our pink and green cowl scarf…it has a story. 

It was Saturday, October 29th, when we met Joede of Black Pearl Creations. We were neighbors at an event. As she was purchasing some of our skin care products, she shared a story with us. A story about her tenacity. A story about her greater appreciation for life. Because eight years ago, she received a grave diagnosis. She was diagnosed with aggressive Stage 3 breast cancer and her situation was dire. 

But now, eight years since that diagnosis, she continues to defy the odds. We recall some of our words to her that day and we repeat it for her and for everyone…”You go girl!” Your passion to continue to live, laugh, and love every moment of life is an inspiration.

We chose this scarf with purpose…it intertwined the colors green that reflects our logo and pink, a symbolic color for breast cancer awareness. Thank you for creating such beautiful work. It was our pleasure to meet you and we look forward to keeping in touch.