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An Interview with Jenni and Christine

On April 24, 2009, I had the great opportunity of getting to sit down and talk to two (yes, two!) entrepreneurial moms at the same time. Christine Giler is the co-founder of bgranola. She started this business with her cousin Genie Finetto, whom I know quite well. Genie wanted to join us too, but as happens with all moms, she needed to be home with her kids that day. The store they’ve recently opened up (pictured here) is a great new shop in my hometown. It’s our first true “green” store, and I’m already a regular customer. Christine has two daughters, three-year-old Amelia and eight-week-old Charlotte. Yes, she started a business while pregnant! See? Anything is possible! Jenni St. John also has two children. Well, she will have two children come early June. Her oldest, Sophie Anne, is one-and-a-half years old, and Olive Lynne will arrive shortly. Jenni is the owner and founder of “Unbuttoned Maternity.” I first became familiar with her store when my husband bought me a few things from there for Valentine’s Day this year. I love the store, great clothes! I turned the questions to Jenni first. Q: How did you come up with the idea?A: I actually used to work in the licensing industry, for rock bands. So I started making custom rock t-shirts for maternity. I started a company called “Rock Me Mama.” We needed a venue to sell, so we started a boutique around it. Now the line is still very exclusive but much larger. We built Unbuttoned Maternity out of that, we wanted to offer edgy other things that weren’t out there. So everyone who wanted to dress the same way, still could — sexy, trendy, sophisticated, edgy, whatever, just in maternity sizes. Q: We all know a lot of people that have great ideas, but nothing happens with those ideas. Why do you think you actually followed through on your idea?A: It was that time in my life, when I just wanted to do something on my own. I wanted it to be for myself. So let’s take the leap. It was a big leap of faith. Q: So you just went for it?  Did you do something every day to move it forward?A: Yes! 20 hours a day. I never stopped. I quit my job and just went full force. When it’s your baby, so to speak, you’re working on...

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Starting a Business

The American Dream is anything you make it. What makes it American is your freedom to pursue it. So many women have incredible ideas and dreams across this country. And the question we hear asked more than any other is “I have this great idea, now what do I do?” We live in a country where we are allowed, even encouraged, to create our own destinies, to start our own companies and to follow our passions. But so few people actually end up doing that. We here at Better Way Moms don’t think that so few people do this because they are lazy or because they don’t really want to, we think it’s because they don’t know what to do. So we’re here to tell you what we know! We had to go through these steps to create our company, and we want to provide you with all the information you need to create your dream job, company or business. First of all, there is a mindset to becoming a business owner. It’s a big shift to go from planning success for someone else’s profit — working in a large corporation for example — to planning success for your own enterprise. You suddenly find yourself having brilliant ideas in the middle of the night, or glued to the television any time an entrepreneur is interviewed. The world is all yours, when/if you hire employees you feel responsible for them and you want them to succeed. The attitude of “Well, so-and-so never got back to me so I can’t move forward” will dissolve. You will take charge, you will move mountains and you won’t even allow people to utter the word “failure” about anything in your presence. Click here to read our list of basic steps that all business owners need to take to get started. Heaven knows, there are many many books, seminars, classes and conventions on the subject. All of them useful in their own way. We would encourage anyone to take classes, listen to lectures and dive into good books when planning out a business, the strategy and the idea. While we can’t possibly mention all of them, we will list those that we’ve used and liked. This is by no means meant to be a complete list, or the only list. Just an offering of what we’ve used. Great Books BizPlan Business Software — Write your business plan...

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Great Books

We’ve put together some books that have really helped us figure out what we really love to do.  Many of these lead us to our current jobs as Better Way Moms! See Jane Lead: 99 Ways for Women to Take Charge at Work Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth Smart Women Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Achieving Financial Security and Funding Your Dreams...

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Stuck, But Empowered

As I sit on the subway on the way to work this morning, I find myself reflecting on my job. In this economic climate, I know I should be grateful that I have one — I get that. And I am grateful, to the extent that it means meeting my financial obligations and contributing to the family pot.  But I’m not proud of this money. Now, saying that out loud (or in writing) is not easy for me. After all, money’s just money right? It’s all green, as they say? The problem is, this money isn’t just green for me. It represents time away from my family in a job that, quite honestly, I would have probably passed on had I known a little more about it when I started.  Yes, I know — hindsight is 20/20. And that’s great, but what do I do now? I can’t change the economy, and I can’t change my financial responsibilities to my family at the moment. So I’m not sure what to do. This has always been my problem really, the next step. It feels like this mythical place I just can’t get to. I’m not trying to throw a pity party here. I’ve complained enough about this situation to know it needs to be changed. The singular act of complaining has not yet transformed my predicament into a better situation (surprising, right?!).  So, here I am, on my way to yet another day at a job, and a situation that doesn’t quite fit. Why? Because this situation serves everyone else’s needs but mine. I’m learning more and more how important balance is in every aspect of my life — especially as a mom. The balance is off here, and it’s up to me to fix it. No magic, perfect situation is going to fall into my lap. I’ve got to seek out opportunity and give it a chance to return the favor. As hard as it is to take on yet one more thing, this is my life, and everyday I spend out of balance is a day of wasted fulfillment. Each day is my life, and it’s time to put my needs back into it. Author:...

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