Meet Lyss Stern, founder and CEO of Divalysscious Moms.
Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business?
Lyss:: Founded in 2004, I wanted to bridge the gap between my pre-baby lifestyle and newly bestowed motherhood after the birth of my first son, Jackson. Rather than give up my beloved stilettos for strollers, I decided to embrace them both. My company’s name came from combining delicious–a friend’s word describing my work–with Lyss, and a pinch of “diva” thrown in for good measure. And voila! Divalysscious was born, celebrating moms that are strong, sexy, confident and (dare we say it!) even more fabulous post-baby. I feel that stilettos, sippy cups, strollers and Starbucks all go hand-in-hand with this uber-cool, modern group of diva moms.
Market Mommy:: How long did it take before you felt successful?
Lyss:: I knew I was "successful" after I published my first book, “If You Give a Mom a Martini... 100 Ways to take 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself” (Random House) and became the Editor In Chief of Observer Playground, the new parenting publication for NYC moms. However... I think I will feel most successful when we sell my TV show that we are currently pitching to the networks!
Market Mommy:: How do you define success?
Lyss:: When my children are happy, and healthy that is my definition of success!
Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?
Lyss:: I am frequently asked how I balance motherhood and owning/operating my own business. While every successful mother and business owner has her own recipe with ingredients that work for her as an individual, some tips that I like to give other mothers that are in similar situations are the “Divalysscious Tips”, and the ingredients that work for my “Mommy Entrepreneur Recipe.”
Here are my “Divalysscious Tips on How to be a Mommy and an Entrepreneur” -
1. Your Children Come First. That means that any email and phone call can and will come after the children are happy and settled in. With today's technology, it seems that everything is urgent; however your child's well being comes first and your children need to feel secure.
2. Prioritize. Make sure that your work can be done early in the morning before the children wake up. Yes, that means sometimes waking up at 4:30am to finish work… of course you will need a large cup of coffee!
3. Have a routine. Having breakfast with the children and taking my older son to school in the morning are crucial aspects of my daily life. Dinner, bath time, and bedtime are also extremely important for my children and for me. I try my best to put down the blackberry, and eat with the children, bathe them, read to them, and spend quality time with them before bed. After my boys are sleeping, I know that I can go back on the computer to finish up my work.
4. Have a “Mommy Time Out”. Moms who run their own businesses also need to take a few minutes out of their busy day for themselves. I have a strong philosophy that if mom isn't happy, then the children won't be happy. Take ten minutes to meditate, get a quick ten minute back massage at the local nail salon, flip through a magazine, or even make a phone call to a friend, completely unrelated to work, just to say hi. I believe that taking this time for yourself is critical.
5. Delegate. Always remember that being a mom and a business owner gives you the right to delegate the work, which means surrounding yourself with a great supportive team comprised of positive people who have high energy. Make sure these are people that you can trust, and people that can help you. My husband is my biggest supporter, at times he has to help with the children because I might need to be at a meeting, have to work late, etc... I know that I can count on my husband and vice versa for him, as he too has a high demanding job. Delegate the errands with your family and care givers, and do not be afraid to ask for help! It's always better to ask, than to be completely overwhelmed.
Market Mommy:: When did you break the six-figure threshold?
Lyss:: In year three of my business.
Market Mommy:: What business strategies contributed to your success?
Lyss:: For me, being the best mom I can be turned out to be the job of my dreams. My success comes from my passion. I always say that Divalysscious Moms is my third child! I am growing my business and my brand, all the while doing something that is fun, hard work and completely satisfying.
Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you?
Lyss:: I call it ‘Word of Mom;’ one mom telling another mom about how fabulous Divalysscious Moms is. My database started off with six moms and now has over 200,000 of NYC's most influential women and moms! It’s important to stay focused and do a great job, and word will spread naturally. I regularly tap into this network for inspiration on new event ideas, and use real-life issues, thoughts and concerns to develop meaningful events that will actually make a difference in these women’s lives!
Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?
Lyss:: The best advice I give moms that are starting out their business, is follow your dreams and passions and try to answer a ‘need’ that you recognize in this world. For me, I recognized that moms in New York City wanted to stay chic and continue to network with each other in fun, fabulous ways. I came up with something to answer that need! You have to "go for it" and surround yourself with positive, trustworthy people.
This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.