I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. In fact, I never imagined myself not being a mother. I married my high school sweetheart at 23 and had my kids at 27, 29 and 32. As much as I had dreamt about and planned for motherhood, I really had no idea what it would really be like. How magical pregnancy would be, how powerful I would feel giving birth and how anxious I would feel about caring for and protecting a real human being. Becoming a mother, changed me. Not once, but all 3 times.
After the birth of my first son, I knew in the hospital that I could never go back to my 9-5 corporate job. Suddenly my life had a new purpose. And it was my son. I know everyone’s birth stories are different, but for me childbirth was incredibly empowering. I couldn’t believe that my body just knew what to do. In the hospital, my nurses were my heroes. I thought they had the best job; getting to support new mothers and help take care of them during such a monumental time in their lives. Breastfeeding was not at all easy and I struggled. But the compassionate lactation consultants and brilliant nurses helped me to finally work through it. It was a roller coaster of emotions, from overwhelm to elation as each day held something new. It was during this time that something shifted in me and I knew that I needed to create a life that didn’t require me to be separate from my son. I also wanted to share my journey with other women and found myself working at South Coast Midwifery in Irvine, CA supporting women before, during and after childbirth, as a doula.
In 2008, I graduated with an MBA and had my second son. During my business program, I wrote my first business plan from a place of love for motherhood and supporting new moms during this life-changing season and beyond. I wanted to start a day spa that focused on prenatal and postpartum services. I would develop an organic product line for the spa and we would use our own products for our services. This was 2008 during a recession, and I look back at my young energy and naivete and feel really grateful that I didn’t take that leap.
However, in May, 2010 - (ten years ago!), I started Zoe Organics. I had 3 year and 1 year old boys, with sensitive skin. I had been reading food labels for years, but had begun a relatively new journey in discovering and researching ingredients in personal care products. I wanted a product line that was spa worthy, but was unlike any of the conventional products on the market. It had to be gentle, effective, safe, made with sustainable, organic ingredients and it had to look really pretty and have modern, functional packaging. This was before “green beauty” was popular, and the products that were on the market just didn’t feel relevant to me. Even “natural” products I used on my kids would often cause reactions - including a natural children’s sunscreen that landed us in the pediatricians office.
My kitchen became my lab and my children my product testers. The results kept me going. I created the product line that my community of friends, clients, midwives and pediatricians wanted.
I got pregnant with my daughter 4 months after I launched Zoe Organics and used that time to develop the pregnancy collection. Looking back at these early years, I feel incredibly grateful that I was able to keep my babies home with me, but it was anything but easy. I would make products between naps, and pack boxes with my newborn in a carrier against my chest. My hormones would have me bursting into tears without notice and I experienced some intense postpartum anxiety. I would question my ability for running a business and my sanity on a daily basis.
Zoe Organics soon became a platform that was about more than great organic skincare products. It became a place to connect with other moms and share our stories and experiences. A community of women going through the same things and realizing that they weren’t alone on the journey. These relationships kept this business, and me, going.
And here we are at our 10th anniversary, and I’m not a new mom anymore. My eldest will be 14 in June and is graduating from 8th grade. My middle child is already smarter than me and my baby girl is 8 years old and ready to run the business for me. I often find myself feeling like as soon as I get the hang of this stage of motherhood or the business, things change again! It definitely keeps me on my toes. My version of motherhood is different than what it was when I started Zoe Organics, but my mission has never changed. It has just expanded along with my experience as a mother.
This new experience and expansion will naturally propel Zoe Organics into new arenas. I will continue to nurture my human children and this growing business with all of the love and courage I can muster.
Cheers to motherhood and growth, community and dreams.