By Paola Girotti
Paola is the founder and owner of SUGARMOON, a sugaring business with three salons, take-home sugaring and organic body care lines, and the SUGARMOON training academy. In this instalment of her Women of Influence web series, The Truth About Entrepreneurship: My Life on the Moon, she shares her story of mixing motherhood with her entrepreneurial journey, and offers advice on how to do it well.
In my last blog about deciding whether entrepreneurship is right for you, I mentioned that I had my first child not long after starting SUGARMOON. My son was born 8 1/2 weeks premature, a shock on the home front as well as the business. We had no room set up for my son, nor did we have plans firmed up on who would replace me at SUGARMOON. Luckily, we had started interviewing a month prior and our first employee, Flora, was able to jump in to help out a few days a week, she too with a six-month old baby. We were blessed to find a trained sugarist (I have come to realize, 14 years later, that this is a rare find).
My son remained in hospital for nearly a month, his lungs needing to develop. He also needed to learn how to suckle. I was pumping around the clock and recovering from a C-section, while my former partner took the helm and made sure the business was running smoothly. This was a difficult time for everyone, with the theme being fatigue—I was struggling with having a newborn, and my partner, with two children of her own, was working endless hours.
I had no plan, and a big reality check: this was having a baby while owning a business. EI was not structured to support entrepreneurs, so at home we discussed all options that would make sense for the family. In the end, my husband took paternity leave and I went back to work after eight weeks.
My schedule looked interesting. There were appointments, and blocks all along that read “pump”—which meant mooing in the back room with the pump hooked up to both breasts, or having Elias come over for a visit where I could hold him. He became a bit of a celebrity at SUGARMOON. I was showered with gifts and people were excited to see him. The situation was not ideal but it was working; there was stability at home, Elias was happy, and I was able to continue to build SUGARMOON.
My advice for entrepreneurs heading into motherhood?
Try to plan in advance what you will need. Look into your partner sharing maternity benefits, as we are so lucky in this country to have this support. Hire a nanny or nanny share to allow you to continue to focus on your business and help you with at-home routines to allow you the best time with your child.
I would also suggest taking time to consider the decision—if that’s still an option. Looking back, I likely would have waited to start the business. I would have loved to have the year off to spend with my son without a lot of worry. That being said, I have friends and clients that have chosen this path, and they have shared that there are pros and cons.
Know that feeling guilty is normal and a part of this process. Ultimately, your child will appreciate the hard work that you are putting into your life for the family. My kids are part of my business. I share all the marketing initiatives we have, and they get excited and appreciate giving their opinion.
I will never forget the day I visited my son’s school for their Mother’s Day’s breakfast, where he presented what he loved most about me. It started with “I love that Mama makes me pasta, I love that she reads me stories, she cuddles me, and she sugars people’s bikini lines.” The entire room roared laughing and I smiled with pride. Little did Elias know that he was my best marketing tool that day as many of the mothers approached me afterwards to ask me about sugaring. Many of those mom’s are friends and clients still today!
Motherhood and entrepreneurship may not be perfect together, but they are by far the best things I have done.
During her fourteen years as the owner of SUGARMOON, Paola has experienced both the triumphs and the trials of being a female entrepreneur. In her Women of Influence web series, The Truth About Entrepreneurship: My Life on the Moon, she’s sharing stories and lessons from her journey as a business founder and owner. From financing, to expanding, to balancing motherhood, Paola offers a candid view and valuable insights for aspiring and fellow entrepreneurs.