7 Mom Entrepreneurs

From writing to baking and organizing, these OC mompreneurs are putting their own unique stamp on business.

Leslie Bruce

Leslie Bruce

Lives in: Laguna Beach
With: husband, Yashaar, and her daughter, Tallulah, 5, and son, Roman, 1.5
Profession: Author; writer of “You Are A F*cking Awesome Mom”
Connect: @leslieannebruce on Instagram, @lesliebruceamin on Twitter, unpacified.com

Background: “As cliché as this might sound, I’ve actually been writing my entire life. As a little girl, I always kept journals, and would make little books out of construction paper and crayons. As an adult, I received my graduate degree in journalism at the University of Illinois and worked in magazine publishing for nearly a decade — at Us Weekly and The Hollywood Reporter. I co-authored my first book in 2013, which became a NYT bestseller, so I’ve been doing the book thing ever since.”

Mission of new book: “My mission is to remind women that motherhood isn’t just about your children. Women who become mothers undergo the biggest, most consequential transition they will ever experience … and at some point, we just stopped preparing ourselves for it. We plan for a new baby, but most of us don’t plan for the new women we become. Not only does this book break down the reasons why women are struggling in new motherhood — and so many are doing so in silence — but is also putting into words feelings they may not have been understanding at the time.”

What do you hope moms get out of your book?
“As women and mothers, we focus so much on everything we’re not doing that we fail to give ourselves the credit for showing up. Every morning we wake up with the intention to do our best for our families, our careers and ourselves. We are so hard on ourselves that we forget to recognize that even our presumed shortcomings and our mom guilt are all just reminders that we want to be our best for our kids — and that makes us f*cking awesome moms.”

What happened after you had your baby?
“When my daughter was born in 2014, I felt really lost in new motherhood. I adored my baby girl, but mom life had thrown me a real mental and hormonal curveball. Early motherhood can be incredibly isolating, and it’s easy to start believing that you’re blowing it when you’re alone and only have social media as a way to grade yourself. After the fog of newborn land had worn off, I realized what I felt really isn’t uncommon, so I wrote this book as [a] way of connecting with other women as they make the transition into motherhood. New moms shouldn’t have to feel alone, especially because they’re not.”

How do you balance being a mom with your work?
“I removed the word balance from my vocabulary a long time ago. I think it sets us up for unrealistic expectations, because there is no way to truly balance everything we need to handle and nurture in our lives. Something will always end up slipping through the cracks, and then we beat ourselves up because we can’t manage it all. Instead, I practice the art of mindful prioritization. Whether it’s every week or month, I make sure I choose at least one day to give 100 percent of myself to one aspect of my world — my home, myself, my work, my kids, my friends, my husband, etc. And the goal being that while I can’t give 100 percent of myself every day to each part of my life, that by the end of the week, two weeks or a month, I will have made each a priority. For me, I spend most of my days prioritizing my career and my children, and then spend one day a weekend focusing on my home and myself, and the other on my friends and husband. That’s not to say I don’t do a little bit of the others every day, it’s just about what I’m choosing to prioritize.”

How have things evolved for you as a working mom?
“Prior to having children, I was a night owl. Most of my writing would take place well into the early morning hours while I was parked on our couch with a glass of red wine. Nowadays, I no longer have that same luxury — particularly since my kids like to wake up with the sun. I’m now so much more efficient with my time, and really try to stick with a firm writing schedule regardless of whether or not I feel inspired to write. It’s definitely not as sexy as Carrie Bradshaw made it seem.”

Ria Safford

Ría Safford

Lives in: Rancho Santa Margarita
With: husband, Conner, daughters, Landry, 4, Sawyer, 2, and son, Jack, 6 months
Profession: Professional organizer; owner and CEO of RíOrganize
Connect: @riorganize on Instagram, riorganize.com

Background: “I first had the idea my last year in college at TCU [Texas Christian University], but the thought of entrepreneurship was not something I was ready to embrace. I worked in Houston commercial real estate, got married and had my first daughter. But I hated corporate life and wanted to do something that I was passionate about and would help people. The RíOrganize idea reemerged while simultaneously deciding to move back to Orange County. I presented my business plan to my husband, and he was in full support.”

Mission: “Our mission is to bring solutions for a beautiful life.”

How has your business evolved since opening?
“RíOrganize launched in March 2016. What began as a part-time gig with me as its sole employee has morphed into a phenomenal team of RíOrganizers tackling multiple projects a week.”

Are celebrities your only clientele?
“When you hire RíOrganize, we treat all of our clients like a rock star. But in all seriousness, an aesthetic and functional life is not exclusive to celebrity and I desire it for every person. Our clientele is eclectic and I love this aspect of my job.”
How did you develop a celebrity clientele?
“I did not set out to work with high-profile clients. I have to give a lot of credit to celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin. She has been so generous with her praise for the work we did on her spaces — and when Jen Atkin endorses you, three million people are going to know you very quickly. As a result, I have been fortunate to work with supermodels, star athletes, well-known musicians, actors and influencers.”

How do you help them organize?
“Celebrities are just like us! They have the same issues we have with organization, albeit on a grander scale but it’s all relative.”

How do you balance being a mom with your business?
“I have been a working mom since day one. Most momtrepreneur life is not for the faint of heart that is for sure. I naively thought this job would afford me more downtime by ‘being my own boss,’ but boy was I wrong. It is still not easy to find that perfect balance between work mom and home mom. The mom guilt is strong having such little ones. Growing RíOrganize has been such an exciting thing for me, and year three of my business has been epically exciting and challenging. I continue to strive for more growth, balance and patience as I navigate through this crazy phase of life.”

Do you have any advice for other moms wanting to start their own business?
“My advice for moms who want to start their business: Just start! Envision what your business dream is and take that first step towards making it a reality.”

Eunice Montes-Hamaguchi

Eunice Montes-Hamaguchi

Lives in: Anaheim
With: husband, Heath Hamaguchi, and daughter, Kyra, 5
Profession: Beauty entrepreneur; owner of BellaBar
Connect: @bellabaroc on Instagram and Facebook, bellabarbeauty.com
Background: “When I got pregnant more than five years ago, it was a very confusing time. I started to question a lot of things, one being the ingredients in my skincare products. From researching I found that chemicals in the products we use daily like deodorants, shampoos, makeup, etc. find their way into our bloodstream and can pass onto the baby. I wasn’t OK with that and when trying to switch to natural products, it was frustrating at the lack of regulations and false marketing by the entire industry. There was no local clean beauty store or organic spa to visit when I was pregnant, so I had to create my own.”

Mission: “BellaBar is about empowering women to make healthy and mindful choices about the way they self-care and the products they put on their body.”

How has the business evolved since opening?
“BellaBar opened in summer of 2017. We opened with a small treatment menu and with only five organic makeup and skincare brands. We’ve been open for more than two years now and have grown our product selection to over 30 different organic lines from bath, body, shampoo, makeup and even supplements. We recently launched our new Express Facial Bar delivering affordable all-natural facials in 30 minutes or less and also have an online store to make it easy to shop for clean beauty.”

Do you feel like you’re helping the community?
“Definitely, what we’re doing is not only providing a safe place to receive non-toxic services but also educating the community on the importance of choosing cleaner products. We’ve become a resource for all things wellness and even partner with holistic healthcare practitioners on events to help educate our clients.”

Are your services and products as effective as the traditional brands?
“Absolutely. I personally test every product we carry and use for efficacy, quality and pureness. I have strict standards when it comes to the products we carry because I want them free from any harsh chemicals but I also need them to work. We don’t allow any synthetic chemicals, fragrances and dyes in the products we carry. So many products on the market are filled with inexpensive ingredients and fillers. Everything should be safe and derived from natural ingredients.”

How do you balance being a mom with owning a business?
“I don’t ever feel like it’s fully balanced but I know I couldn’t do it without the encouragement and support from husband and family. We also homeschool our daughter, so it gives us flexibility to focus on things we love to do most and spend more time together as a family.”

Do you have advice for other moms wanting to start a business?
“It’s OK to ask for help. It took me a while to get to the point of realizing I can’t do it all on my own.”

Christine Bren & Sarah Butler

Sarah Butler & Christine Bren

Christine Bren

Lives in: Newport Coast
With: significant other, Chad, twins Avery (daughter) and Stefan (son), 21, are at college, and dogs and cats
Profession: Co-owner/baker at Lavender Lane Baking Co.

Sarah Butler

Lives in: Newport Coast
With: husband, Keith, daughter, Emma, 20 (is at college), and son, Will, 17
Profession: Co-owner/baker at Lavender Lane Baking Co.
Connect: @lavenderlanebakingco on Instagram and Facebook, lavenderlanebakingco.com

Mission: (Sarah Butler) “The mission behind Lavender Lane Baking Co. is to use pure nutrient-packed ingredients to provide healthier options for people to stay on their wellness journey while being able to indulge.”
(Christine Bren) “Our products are always gluten-free, grain-free and paleo-friendly with vegan and keto options — and free of soy, GMO, trans fats, lactose and artificial ingredients.”

Background: (CB) “Family has played a huge role in starting the business. I searched for alternatives for my newly diagnosed son who has type 1 diabetes, my daughter who [has] celiac and myself — I have four autoimmune disorders. With these challenges, you give up so much, and I just wanted a chocolate chip cookie! And so it began.”
(SB) “Christine came to me with this concept and I immediately was on board. We have been friends for 20 years and she knew I was seeking anti-inflammatory products for my family due to health issues — everything just clicked. Our families’ health is always on our mind as we evolve and grow.”

How has the business evolved since opening?
(SB) “We acquired our own gluten-free commercial kitchen in Costa Mesa in November 2018 and we launched our website in February. We continue to grow month over month with new online orders, subscriptions and distribution at local coffee shops.”

You also donate to local charities?
(CB) “Our long-standing personal connections and passion drives many of our donations. I have been on the board and involved with ChildHelp of Orange County, Children’s Hospital of Orange County and JDRF for many, many years.”

How do you balance being a mom with owning a business?
(CB) “Being a mom comes first. Luckily, because we are both moms, we can tag team when important or urgent things come up.”
(SB) “Our kids are our best supporters and taste-testers! We also feel that we are strong role models, thus a support for our kids in a different way by showing you can follow passions with hard work.”

Is your family involved with your business?
(CB) “Our kids are our best supporters. My twins are both in college, but remain personally attached to the business. Samples are sent for tasting and feedback and my daughter, Avery, currently manages Lavender Lane Baking Co.’s social media from her college apartment.”
(SB) “My daughter is in college and an avid taster/feedback provider (doing focus groups in her dorm). … My son is a senior in high school and wears many hats — a certified food handler, he washes dishes, helps with inventory, makes deliveries … all done with a smile.”

Laura Williams and Bri Cohen

Laura Williams & Bri Cohen

Laura Williams

Lives in: Laguna Beach
With: husband, Emmett, and sons, Joey, 11, and Riggs, 9
Profession: Personal shopper; co-owner of LB Personal Shopping

Bri Cohen

Lives in: Laguna Beach
With: husband, Jonathon, sons, Kayden, 8, and Wesley, 7, and daughter, Abigail, 5
Profession: Personal shopper; co-owner of LB Personal Shopping
Connect: @lbpersonalshopping on Instagram, lbpersonalshopping.com

Mission: (Laura Williams) “Spreading joy. When we set out it was chasing that feeling of joy for us whilst finding the perfect fashion items at a discount. And then the joy escalated when we delivered the item to our client. When they feel fabulous and receive compliments: mission complete.”

Background: (LW) “We started out by taking our friends and family on shopping adventures for fun. It was such a blast. They loved their new looks, the prices and especially the ease of the whole process. We realized pretty quickly that people hated shopping, got overwhelmed with what to buy or simply didn’t have time. We adore it. It’s like a puzzle for us, finding the right vintage, recycled or on-sale clothing piece and pairing it with a specific client. Friends kept saying, ‘You guys should do this.’”

How does the service work? (LW) “Have you heard of Stitch Fix? We’re like a more personalized version of that. In our boxes we offer high-end items on sale. Your pieces will be a mix of vintage, slightly used and new fashion items always at a discount (we love a deal). We’re kind of like a shopping concierge. You fill out a survey, we meet for a 30-minute complimentary fashion consultation and then we hit the shops for you. In two to three weeks we deliver you a box of personalized fun fashion items to your home. We really keep in mind your personality, your lifestyle and your style.”

How has the business evolved since opening?
(Bri Cohen) “Our website and Instagram launched January 2019, when our online presence was announced. We had been shopping for local friends and family before the grand opening but as word spread, we happily opened our doors to clients all across the states.”

Do you feel like you’re helping other moms?
(LW) “Absolutely. We get text messages every day from moms relaying what their spouse said about their outfit that morning or how many people stopped to comment on their new yellow, chunky-knit sweater. People chat to us at after-school pick-up and say, ‘I saw so and so at the park. She was wearing this boho dress and she told me it was $300 but you scored it for only $25!’”

Do you have any advice for other moms wanting to start their own business?
(LW) “Oh yes, just start. If you have a passion or an idea and the time feels even a little bit right, go for it. Talk to people, start writing down ideas and test these ideas with friends. Don’t be afraid of failure, instead be excited and encouraged by the what if.”

By Jessica Peralta

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