Hello! Happy Monday! Welcome to our Mommy Monday feature for this week! Each week, we interview a mom business owner and get to know her a little better! We like to find out how she balances life with children and a business! We also like to hear about the marketing strategies that are working for her! Hopefully, this provides a little bit of inspiration to all of the other hard working moms out there! If you’d like to be considered for this feature, send us an e-mail! We’d love to learn about your business, too!
Today’s mom entrepreneur is Shannon Tennyson.
What is your business?
CALZICO, a globally inspired, versatile clothing brand for tweens.
When did you start your business?
I started development of CALZICO in December 2015, inspired by my own tween daughter and my travels. I have two part time team members as well, who are invaluable. CALZICO presale will launch in December and we are preparing for a kickstarter in mid-November. Outside of CALZICO, I have a part time consulting business, providing Organizational Change Management consulting services to global clients since 2003.
What services/products do you offer?
CALZICO is versatile clothing for expressive tween girls in sizes 6-12. With convertible, reversible, and layering styles, we offer tweens age appropriate options to express their style, confidently. With every flip, zip, and layer, CALZICO items simply do more; for example, our signature “zipskirt” has a removable layer. We know the transition from child to teen is an important time and we’ve designed clothing to embrace it, not obscure it. For traveling families, we love the super soft, travel-friendly features that enable girls to pack less on their next family adventure. So many ways, she’ll have outfits for days! CALZICO is cut and sewn in NC using textiles from the US, West and South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Indonesia that celebrate world diversity while aligning with others who empower locally.
How do you balance family and business?
Not easily! For my consulting work, I have flexibility and control over my work week and travel schedule. That helps tremendously. I work 80% from home, so I try to maximize the hours my kids are at school. Then when they return home, I try to be available to connect with them and ensure they start on ‘must do’s and homework before diving back into my evening work. Right now, I try to dedicate 2 days per week plus time on weekends and evenings to CALZICO, and focus on my other client work the rest of the week.
At home, each person in our family also helps with CALZICO; our 13 year old with video and photo editing, our 10 year old with design input and fittings, and my spouse with additional responsibilities that I previously handled. I reserve a periodic ‘night out with mom/dad’, as a way to reconnect with each child; it fosters some of the best memories and discussions I have with my kids.
But it’s not all roses. There is a lot to juggle. Organized chaos tends to be my norm, as it is for many mom entrepreneurs I know. While preparing to launch CALZICO, I have to forego things; downtime, time with friends, travels etc. Happy to say that conquering laundry is now partly delegated to my tween and teen!
What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
Find grace! And give it freely to yourself and others. Mistakes and ‘misses’ are part of the gig. Three things I work to incorporate that help me are:
- Creating small rituals to re-center and reduce stress (e.g. my morning tea or a walk when the house is quite). I try to remember that while there are things I may need to forego in order to achieve my entrepreneurial goals, adequate sleep, nutrition and laughter should really NOT be one of them.
- I start my work day by identifying my three highest priority tasks and jotting them down. I’m a bit old school so I use a mini notebook for this (mine is literally 3×3″ so I can’t fit much more on a page). This keeps my daily ‘to-dos’ manageable. If I finish those three, additional tasks are a bonus. If I get off track, I go back to my list of three! I also keep an overall project plan posted on my bulletin board so I don’t lose sight of the overall path I’m on.
- Try to connect with new people. Find communities. We’re all busy and I’m an introvert so this is a huge challenge for me, but when I meet new people, I am often surprised to learn of the path their life has taken – things they ventured into because they were listening to the ‘nudges’ in life, as I am. Give and get support. Paths cross if we make room for it.
And if none of these ideas work for you, scream into a pillow and try again.
How do your market your business?
CALZICO will be predominately a direct-to-consumer online e-commerce store, so I have been and will continue to engage with local community feedback groups of moms and tweens, our brand blog, individuals and communities on social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), bloggers, and other media and influencers that align to our market. I expect to add Pinterest and Snapchat soon, too.
Where can we find you?