This week's Spotlight Mom makes moms and even caregivers of young children everyone stop and be reminded that we need to take time for ourselves, to regroup, refresh and recharge our batteries. I, for one, find myself going going going, oftentimes forgetting to take a few minutes out of the time for just me -- let it be having a hot cup of coffee, reading a few pages in a book, or simply sitting down to relax and enjoy some piece and quiet. We need to treat ourselves to this "me time" break to keep sane and to keep healthy. But, it is easier said than done, right? Well, hopefully after you see this week's mom entrepreneur care packages/subscription boxes of all natural and organic spa and beauty products created with you in mind, you will find yourself making time to relax and pamper yourself, like you need and deserve.
I am excited to introduce you to Christina Monk, owner and founder of Mia Tempo ("my time" in Italian). Not only is she a busy mom to 3 children, a full-time volunteer, but she is also a mom entrepreneur, who came up with a great subscription service that offers wondering skincare and beauty products for you to try and pamper yourself with, as you time some much needed "Mia Tempo."
In addition to taking time out of her busy work/life schedule, Christina was also kind enough to send along a sample quarterly box for me to enjoy. And, I have to say that I am loving all the full-size goodies that were included in this pampering box, for my own at home spa treatment. :-) Stay tuned on Friday when i will be sharing more about Christina's Mia Tempo boxes, including the one she sent me to review. But, in the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with Christina Monk of Mia Tempo LLC.
And, please remember to take a "me time" break for yourself each day --- you DESERVE IT and NEED IT! :-)
Name: Christina Monk
Company Name/Product/Service: Mia Tempo LLC - Spa-at-home subscription boxes featuring all-natural & organic products
Company Location: Lake Oswego, OR
Company Website: www.MiaTempo.com
Facebook URL: Www.facebook.com/MiaTempoMeTime
Pinterest URL: Www.pinterest.com/miatempo
Age of Company: 1 yr.
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: "Be yourself everyone else is already taken" - Oscar Wilde and "The most courageous act is to think for yourself - aloud." - Coco Chanel
Favorite Book: The Color Purple / Pride and Prejudice.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How many children do you have? What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I was born in London and I've moved around many times in my life as my dad is a career Air Force officer. After high school, I attended DePaul University in Chicago and met my husband. Soon after our second daughter was born our home felt too small and we realized we needed more space. We ended moving out west where I fell in love with Oregon and we've been here for over a decade.
I have three amazing kids - Madeleine 15, Lauren, 13 and Danny who just turned 10. We all have busy schedules but I’m a big believer in family dinners so at least 4 times a week we all come to the table together and share a meal and talk about our day. We also try and set aside time as a family to do things we enjoy – art projects, cooking, traveling and gardening.
When I get a free moment I enjoy painting, walking, riding bikes, going to farmer’s markets and teaching art literacy at the school. I’ve published two books on traveling with children and sell photography and my paintings as well. Unfortunately, free moments aren’t as plentiful as I’d like!
Briefly explain your business. How did it come about?
I have always been interested in products with natural ingredients. My family is French, so many of the things we enjoy came from my Grandmother’s garden. I have always been fairly cautious and careful about the foods I prepared for my family meals, but I never gave much thought to lotions and sunscreens and their effect on our bodies and our health.
A while ago on vacation, however, my daughter Lauren suffered a nasty allergic reaction to a popular sunscreen. After reading the ingredients and learning what was in many lotions and SPFs I was honestly horrified! I found the lotions we are slathering on ourselves (for protection!) often contain formaldehyde, hormones and chemicals among other scary ingredients.
So I started searching for organic and all natural lotions for our family to use and never looked back. My friends would ask me for my skincare recommendations and for birthdays I’d put together little packages for them. I also love to go to day spas but never seem to have the time to get to one as often as I’d like. So I thought “wouldn’t it be great if there was an all-natural Spa At Home treatment I could enjoy.” When I wasn’t able to find something with all-natural products and an easy way to enjoy a little ‘Me Time’ I decided to try and do it myself!
What is a typical work day like?
After I get the 3 kids out the door (to three different schools) I’m on the phone to various companies researching all types of products to see what we will feature. I meet with a small group of women on a regular basis and we share ideas about products that work. One thing is I never put a product in a Mia Tempo box that I haven’t personally tried and loved.
I also spend a lot of time researching and putting together Spa At Home treatments that help women relax and recharge. I’m a huge believer that taking just a few moments to myself makes me a better mom, wife, daughter, sister friend and person. I hope to help other women enjoy a little Me Time as well!
What has been a struggle while starting up your company?
Letting people know we’re out there and that Me Time is so important to woman today, especially. As women, we run around in some many directions and the expectations to be a chef, chauffeur, maid, nurse, etc. can be overwhelming at times. Reminding women of how important it is to take a little time to themselves without feeling guilty is essential to our well-being.
Also, organic products are more expensive than mass produced products. As a result, people at first think that using them is a little spendy. As such, I spend a lot educating women on the benefits and value of organic skin care and beauty products and how much better they are for you. The challenge is to get women to realize they are worth a little extra money to look and feel amazing. As hard as we work, we should really treat ourselves once in a while!
What did you do in your past work life?
In Chicago I worked at a large advertising agency right off Michigan Avenue and that was really a lot of fun. I worked with a strong female supervisor and it was pretty much an all women department. We supported each other and laughed a lot and I learned then that women can do anything! The hours were insane since I worked on new business pitches so leaving at 3am and returning at 8am was not unusual. It taught me the importance of teamwork and how to think outside the box and allow my creativity to flourish.
What have been some of your major successes?
I always say my family first, and although there are days when I feel like I don’t do anything right it always picks up my spirits when I see how well behaved and how hard working our kids are (at least at school! )
With regards to Mia Tempo, anytime I hear from a customer about how much they enjoyed one of our boxes and love a product that I helped them discover – that helps me know I’m doing something good. Also, it make me feel amazing when we donate a portion of our proceeds to charities that I know will help empower and inspire women to be better – as if all the hard work in some small way makes the world a better place.
Finally, the ability to support other women-run business always makes me feel great. Companies like Wild Carrot Herbals, Rinse Soap, Buffalo Gal Organics and LaLicious are really fabulous companies run by amazing women.
What have been some of your major challenges?
Sourcing fantastic products that perform well and our organic takes a lot of time and research. Often products will say ‘natural’ but not meet our strict guidelines for being free of dangerous chemicals. I’ve even worked with companies to have them remove ingredients that, while approved by the FDA, don’t meet our criteria.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
The fact that I know my company, Mia Tempo has something important to offer women – I see it every day when I talk to women and they tell me how stressed they are and how they need more time. I get this way too and just knowing everyone is going through the same thing somehow makes it more sane.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Set limits – and separate time for work and for family. We plan a family movie and pizza night every Friday and I really look forward to that! Also, I try and get my kids involved in the business is small ways – they get so excited about it!
What is next for your business?
One of the biggest requests I always receive is for Spa At Home boxes that can be ordered anytime. Over the next few months, we will be rolling out our ‘Me Time, Anytime’ boxes so you never have to wait to enjoy some Me Time!
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?
Yes - Just do it! I live in the land of Nike and a lot of my neighbors work for Nike and it’s a great slogan. True, it takes hard work, a lot of sacrifice and diligent planning. But mostly it takes the courage to make the jump and give it a chance.
Many people will give you many reasons not to start a business, but I always believe you shouldn’t be talked out of pursuing your own dreams by people who have given up on theirs. Pursuing our dreams and working hard to achieve them is what Mia Tempo women are all about!