"Undoubtedly, the greatest hurdle I've faced is finding balance between motherhood and my role as a company founder while returning to work. Gradually, I'm learning to let go of the notion that I can excel in both realms with the same level of dedication as if I were solely focused on either one."
At Babybee, we're passionate about supporting mothers and making their lives easier. As a mother-owned business, every product we design is created with real mums in mind and rigorously tested to ensure it meets their needs. With Mother's Day fast approaching, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the incredible women who inspire us every day, including our founder and super-mum, Emily Stone. In this interview, Emily shares her experiences as a mother and a founder, and how she balances the demands of running two successful businesses with the joys and challenges of raising her children. Join us as we chat with Emily and gain some insight into what it means to be a mother and an entrepreneur.
"Be kind to yourself. It's often said that raising a child takes a village, yet nowadays we find ourselves striving to do it mostly on our own while simultaneously pursuing a career, being a loving partner, a supportive friend, a caring daughter, and so much more! Cut yourself some slack."
Emily Stone is a mother of two young children, Mimi (2) and Will (6 months), and the successful founder of The Babybee Group. In 2015, she co-founded Babybee and her passion for designing products that simplify and enhance the lives of parents has been the driving force behind its success. Aside from family and business she likes a good glass of wine, and is not embarrassed to admit that she loves a trashy reality TV session. Find out what else makes Em tick:
Can you tell us a bit about your journey as both a mother and a founder? How do you balance the two roles?
Juggling family and career is never going to be easy and as parents, I think we all do whatever it takes to make the juggle somehow work, whatever chaos that looks like.
I made the decision to bring both of my little ones with me, and I consider myself fortunate to have the support of a nanny (Mimi began daycare at 18 months)
With both of my bubs, I went back to work after 2 weeks and made the decision to keep them with me and hire a wonderful Nanny to help out. And while there are definite advantages to this arrangement, I must admit that it can be incredibly exhausting to divide my attention between two demanding priorities throughout the entire day. In fact, the idea of going to work on my own for a whole day actually sounds like a holiday!
Mum guilt is real. Founder guilt is real. And I am terrible at prioritising self-care. I am certainly no poster girl for balancing the work, and parent juggle. But a few things I do to make sure I am getting some quality time with the kids is to put my phone away from the moment I get home from work to the moment they’re asleep. Mimi sneaks into bed with us around 3 am so we all have amazing cuddle time each morning. I have Wednesdays blocked out for just me and the kids and on weekends we try to get out for at least one big adventure outdoors.
What inspired you to start your business? Did becoming a mother play a role in that decision?
Babybee was actually born 5 years before we had our daughter Mimi so for 5 years, the Babybee Group was essentially my first baby. The inspiration for starting Babybee was seeing a gap in the market that we were going to be able to fill predominantly by operating an online direct-to-consumer business model and cutting out the costs of the middle men in order to offer amazing quality, stylish products at an affordable price point.
What are some of the challenges you've faced as a female founder and mother, and how have you overcome them?
It’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride and over the years I’ve learned to become a lot better at handling the constant ups and downs that come with running a business. Undoubtedly, the greatest hurdle I've faced is finding balance between motherhood and my role as a company founder while returning to work. Gradually, I'm learning to let go of the notion that I can excel in both realms with the same level of dedication as if I were solely focused on either one. I’ll get there one day!
What advice would you give to other mothers who are aspiring entrepreneurs or considering starting their own businesses?
If it’s a passion project or side hustle then go for it! I strongly believe that doing things that we’re passionate about and bring us joy, even if slightly reducing your time with the kids, it will overall make us better, happier parents.
If you’re doing it to replace your source of income, first validate your idea with at least 100 potential customers (I love a good Survey Monkey survey shared by friends and family). If everything stacks up, don’t underestimate the time commitment required to get your business off the ground. Factor in some additional resources to year one of your feasibility/financial model to ensure that if things do get hectic, you can afford to hire a virtual assistant or some sort of support to free you up. And at home, whilst it is another expense, leverage your time with a cleaner, laundry service, meal delivery service or anything to keep the chores under control and allow you to spend every hour away from work with your family. Cancel your streaming services and leach onto your friends and families accounts and that should pay for your cleaner right there!
What are some of the most rewarding aspects of being both a mother and a founder, and how do they complement each other?
In so many ways! Seeing new products launch that I worked on and tested for hundreds of hours with Mimi when she was a baby is an incredible feeling. Knowing that I’ve added functionality, comfort, safety or something special to a product that is going to make other parents' lives easier is really rewarding. And now using some of these products on a daily basis with Will brings me even more joy as well as all the memories of where the product began from a simple sketch.
How do you prioritize self-care and ensure that you are taking care of yourself while also managing a business and a family?
Yeh, I’m not going to answer this one! Haha.
What's your favourite thing to do with your kids when you're not working?
We love the Kids Gallery at the Melbourne Museum. Sitting at the “cafe” table in the kids playroom whilst Mimi brings Will and I cafe treats and 20 cups of tea. Any adventure out of Melbourne where we can get outdoors for the day.
How do you unwind and de-stress after a long day of work and parenting?
I’m not going to lie, if it’s been a struggle and Mimi hasn’t gone down before 9pm, then all I can manage is a hot shower, some trash TV and I’ll be asleep before the episode ends. On a good night though, a glass of wine and a work de-brief or strategy session with my husband actually energies me despite it still being work. I know, very lame….
What's the best Mother's Day gift you've ever received?
Mimi got me a massage last year (thanks to my amazing sister).
What are you hoping for this year?
I’m looking forward to some epic day care art!
Do your kids understand what you do for a living, and if so, what do they think you do all day?
At 2.5years old I’m going to say no, however, Mimi now asks me “ How was your day mama, did you have a meeting?”. She absolutely loves coming to the office. She puts Wills nappies on the test dummy “bubbas” and sits in all the new prams and products.
What's your guilty pleasure TV show or movie that you like to watch when you have some downtime?
I hate to admit it but I do love reality trash whilst I’m working in the evenings. I’ve got Farmer Wants a Wife on in the background as I type! Otherwise bring on the true crime or Nordic Noir if I'm in the headspace for subtitles.
What's the most embarrassing thing that your child has ever said or done while you were on a work call or in a meeting?
Where do I begin… Will has done some epic explosive nappies during important meetings and he regularly does loud farts (which the team have taken to mean he doesn’t agree). And whilst I always angle my camera up while breastfeeding on a Zoom call, I’m sure I’ve flashed a little too much on more than one occasion.
How do you involve your children in your business or work, and what benefits do you see from doing so?
Product testing and photoshoots. And when they're 18 I'll expect them to sue me for all their unpaid wages! But in all seriousness it has most definitely improved many of our products.
What's the best piece of advice you would give to other working mums who are struggling to balance their career and family life?
Be kind to yourself. It's often said that raising a child takes a village, yet nowadays we find ourselves striving to do it mostly on our own while simultaneously pursuing a career, being a loving partner, a supportive friend, a caring daughter, and so much more! Cut yourself some slack.
This Mother's Day, let's take a moment to honour and celebrate all the amazing mothers out there, including those who are leading the charge in the business world.
And from everyone here at Babybee - Happy Mother's Day to all the mumma's and mumma's-to-be!