“Mompreneurship”. It’s a relatively new term for a long-held tradition –– mothers who run their own companies. With the advent of social media, mompreneurs are making themselves more known. Outlets like Instagram show power moms taking power calls with their newborns on their laps, or strutting down the street matching tutus with their toddlers. But what is it like to run a full-time business while being a full-time mommy? BlackLove.com asked millennial mompreneur, jewelry designer, and business strategist Mel R. White.
Black Love: What is your definition of a mompreneur?
Mel R. White: A mompreneur is a mother and entrepreneur dealing with all aspects of balancing being a savvy entrepreneur in a male-dominated world while being a loving, attentive mother –– perhaps all in the same breath.
BL: Tell us a bit about your business.
MRW: I started my first business in 2009. It’s a jewelry line called Melanie Marie. After I had my daughter I created a baby jewelry line named for her –– AnnDrew Marie Accessories.
BL: Why did you choose to start your own business?
MRW: I started my business because I wanted to create my own success. I wanted to have something that I can call my own and build on, rather than build something for someone else. Starting my business wasn’t as hard as most think. Just starting is what holds a lot of people back because of the fear they have. I was confident with my self-determination, so I went for it! Since this was my first business, I did make a few mistakes and I learned from them.
A lot of people are scared to fail, but failure is the best teacher. Now, I have many valuable lessons that I can pass down to my daughter.
BL: Your daughter seems to be your muse. Tell us more about her and AnnDrew Marie Accessories.
MRW: After a lot of years in business, I had my daughter. I wanted to create a business that I can pass down to her (if she wanted it). I wanted to start it while she was a baby and build it up, so it would be ready to take over when she was old enough.
When I am working, I say everything I am doing out loud and show her everything so she can learn early. I have always talked out loud to her since she was a little baby just so she can pick up on things quick. I never spoke to her in a baby voice. I spoke to her like I spoke to everyone else, so she learned the right way. She is two now, and she knows so much, because we teach her all days, always.
A lot of women say it is hard to transition to a “mompreneur,” but I found it to be seamless. Kind of like, I was made to do this. My focus shifted tremendously after I had my daughter. Before I had her, I was just focusing on getting money so I can be rich. After having her, my focus shifted to generational wealth and making sure she was going to be prepared for the world.
BL: It seems that much of what you are doing with your daughter now is exposing her to every aspect of your life. Why is this important to you?
MRW: Children learn what they live. So why not let them learn something worthwhile? I expose and involve my daughter in a lot of what I do –– whether it be one of my panels, traveling the world, events, packaging orders or shipping orders out. She is exposed to it all. When she sees me typing on my laptop, she grabs her “laptop” and begins to type as well. She literally loves to do everything I do, so I want to make sure I am teaching her the best way I can.
She is only two now, but, trust me, they pick up things quick. She will get used to seeing me work first, then, when work is done, getting to enjoy my free time. She will see how hard I work to be able to do things we love to do –– whether it is traveling, shopping, or any other activities.
I want to be able to provide my daughter with all opportunities so she can do anything she wants to do. Exposing her to everything will help make that happen.
Just imagine the difference in someone that is not provided with opportunities vs. someone that is. The person that is will be more equipped in life to go after what he/she wants. That person will know anything is attainable with hard work. That person will be able to source the resources to achieve all goals and dreams.
BL: You are so ambitious. Where do you get that from?
MRW: I owe my ambitious attitude to my family. A lot of women in my family are strong and hard working. My mother and my grandmother are very strong and ambitious. I have had great examples. There is a saying that I love:
“Children learn what they live.”
I am living proof of this, and this is why I make sure to be an amazing example to my daughter.
BL: You have a saying: “Your network is your net-worth.” How did you build your network?
MRW: I am a very personable person, so meeting people is natural to me. I never went out “looking” for a network, it happened organically. Whether it is meeting people through friends, out at events, or people reaching out to me. I hope to be able to make things easier for my daughter with my network, but not so easy that she doesn’t appreciate the hustle.
BL: What do you love most about including your daughter in your business?
MRW: I love including my daughter in my business because she will gain a level of confidence at an early age that isn’t seen in most kids her age. She will have advanced communication and writing skills and amazing leadership qualities.
I want to make sure I am the best role model for my daughter and provide her with as much hands-on preparation as possible.
If she decides to start a lemonade stand, she will have already learned valuable lessons. She will know how to plan ahead to ensure she has enough product to sell, to budget her time and the art of delegation. Most importantly, she will have learned the value of money and how to manage it.
BL: What do you hope to nurture and instill in your daughter?
MRW: It has never been so important to express women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship as it is today.
As a woman that has built her business from the ground up, I will make it my mission to see that daughter is encouraged to live out her passions as well and to create opportunities for other women around the world.
Because part of my job is to be a creative, I want to nurture my daughter’s creativity and get it going from a young age.
Thank you, Mel R. White! And if you would like to see pictures of Mel R. White and her adorable daughter, check them out on Instagram @melrwhite.