Heidi (who is somewhere under a pile of moving boxes this week. Go, Heidi, go!) kept telling me how much I was going to love Mary Phan. Heidi knows that I dig someone you meet and instantly feel comfortable with. Like, slumber party let’s-get-real with. When we all had the chance to meet up at the Pinterest after party at Alt Summit last month in San Francisco, it was about 20 seconds before we were digging in to all the challenges of work, parenthood, and the blending of the two.
Mary is as awesome as Heidi promised and her work is too. She’s lead designer and planner for Very Merry Events, a boutique celebration studio based in Alameda, CA. She’s also the mother of two amazing little boys, Noah and Elijah. Mary says she’s fortunate to live with her in laws who also own their own businesses, which allows for flexibility when she has client meetings or needs to head out on a whim. Having lots of family nearby in addition to the in laws, in case they need extra pairs of hands, makes things easier too. Still, her workweek can be a little sporadic – emails late into the night, weekend events. To plan for that, she sets office hours and takes Mondays off.
Here’s what Mary had to say about being a SpitfireMom.
How does being a mom influence your work?
I think being a mom of two has taught be to be more efficient with my time since there’s less of it these days. It’s challenging to need to make quicker decisions and sticking to them.
We know a SpitfireMom like Mary has tips to share, so we asked for her best time saving trick:
I’m not sure if I have a time saving trick, but I have quickly learned that I have to run a tighter ship with two kids. I try to prep everything the night before, from meals to clothes, and writing down schedules so my husband and I are both on the same page. We’re good at tag-teaming the do-list and getting better at managing time. Sometimes, I’ll have a top three goal list of what needs to be accomplished in X amount of time and then we both work on getting them done together.
Do you talk about your kids with clients or potential clients?
I am pretty open about my kids, but I don’t let that overpower our conversations. At my studio, I have small toys and family photos that I keep around. It’s interesting to see how new clients react and also a way for me to test out if they are kid friendly. It’s important to me that the clients I work with also know that I’m a mom. My clients are a priority, but my family and kids are #1.
What’s one thing you haven’t figured out?
How to get more sleep!
I’m sure as the kids get older, I’ll figure out how to do that. (We’re all crossing our fingers!)
And, if you’re a mom entrepreneur and just found out your expecting, Mary says:
Embrace it and ALL of it. It’s a huge adjustment, and you’ll have moments of doubt and fear, but it does work out somehow. Success to me is being able to spend time with my family while still being able to maintain my business. I truly believe you can have it all, family and having a business I enjoy. The best thing about owning your own business is that you have the flexibility to put in as much work or as little work as you want. I started my business because I wanted to pursue my passion in events and design, but I always knew that I wanted to be a mom, too. It was definitely a scary decision at first, but once we decided to go for it we never looked back. Priorities do change, and I haven’t figured all of it out, but that’s the fun part!
Mary, thank you for your words of wisdom and for sharing how you integrate your personal life and business life. Here’s to enjoying what we haven’t yet figured out!
Heidi & Julie
Know a fabulous, creative mompreneur? We want to hear about her (or YOU)!
Very Merry Events