Inspirational women are all around us, teaching, motivating and leading others by example through the way they live their lives and inspire others. The Spark Your Life Series connects you to thought-provoking female leaders whose stories can help you achieve life balance, a health and fitness goal or a better state of mind.
This month, we talked to Nicole Feliciano, founder and CEO of Momtrends and author of "Mom Boss," about how to maintain a healthy work/life balance in today's hectic world. Click here for a printable checklist that will help you make the most of your work day!
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
I've loved clothes since birth. I played with Barbie incessantly. As a teen, I worked in all sorts of retail stores to earn money for clothes. When I graduated from Vanderbilt with an English degree, I got a job in advertising for The May Department Stores Company, working closely with the creative buying teams. I was hooked on the creativity surrounding fashion.
How did you make the leap from fashion to Momtrends?
After nearly a decade at Ralph Lauren, I was ready for a career that offered a bit more breathing room. My husband and I were getting ready to start a family and I wanted more flexible hours and the ability to travel. I transitioned by first freelance writing for other blogs and then launched my own in 2007. This year, I celebrate 10 years in business. Blogging gives me the ability to "play" with clothes every day and I love it.
From what areas of your work or home do you receive the most satisfaction?
Storytelling is my favorite thing. I used to tell stories via words; now photos are becoming more important. I love bringing clothes, beauty products and travel locations to life. I want to inspire other moms to look and feel their best. When a mom comments and tells me she tried something I recommended and loved it, I swoon. I also love helping brands achieve their goals. We are really picky about advertising partners—I must believe in the message. If we sign on to work with them, we aim to make them shine.
Who has inspired you as either an entrepreneur or a mother?
I'm inspired by the moms I see every day who give their very best to their families. I know we are all trying so hard to not mess up this motherhood gig. I truly believe there are a million ways to be a great mom. I try to make Momtrends a judgement-free zone.
When it comes to business, I love what Mariam Naficy has built with Minted. That company knocks my socks off with their customer service and creativity.
What are the three most important qualities for a mom boss to possess?
1. A sense of humor! Some days are going to be rough. You need to be able to laugh.
2. Determination. No one is going to hand success to you. You have to work through the rough patches without anyone cheering you on.
3. Creativity. You'll need to be able to find the 25th hour of the day. You will learn to master your schedule, multi-task and blend work and life. When creativity flows, nothing feels better. Is it possible for a mom to "have it all"? I think you can have two things in life: a great, connected family and work you love. After that, all bets are off. I don't have a lot of time for my girlfriends or pursuing hobbies. I've come to terms with that. I do what I can to keep the friendships going and take care of my health, but "me time" [sometimes] takes a back seat.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
"It'll all look better in the morning"—that's from my mom. On the rough days of parenting or work, I try not to stay up late and obsess. Really, things do look better after a good night of sleep.
What are your top three tips for staying motivated?
1. Track your goals. If you don't know where you've been, how do you know where you're going?
2. Network. When you connect with other women in your field or industry, you can make sure to keep pace.
3. Read. I am always digging into a new business book. Right now I'm reading "Hug Your Customers."
What do you enjoy most about helping other moms?
I love knowing that I'm helping them create better relationships with their kids.
How does physical activity help you unwind?
I'm a runner—unplugged miles help me exhale.
How can a busy mom find time for innovation?
You've got to build it into the calendar. Time won't magically appear. Build in a day or two each month to go to conferences or attend seminars.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to strike that perfect balance between work and home life?
There's never enough time in the day. Get comfortable saying "no." You have to get really good at building boundaries.
About Vionic Shoes
Feet were designed to walk on soft, natural elements like soil and sand, not the hard, flat man-made surfaces that make up so much of our modern world. Vionic shoes hug your arches like a natural footprint, giving you all-day support and promoting a more active lifestyle. Many Vionic shoes, sandals and orthotic shoe inserts have earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance, which certifies they are beneficial in promoting foot health. For additional information about Vionic, please visit VionicShoes.com.