A new series of posts presented by ThePhdMama blog to highlight the stories of moms who are like you and me, but just a little different. The moms showcased on ‘HerStory’ are your friends, your sisters, your next-door-neighbors, your PTA buddies, basically just good ol’ everyday women who mom like the boss that we are but who also work as their own bosses running a business, providing a service or product, or in general, engaging other aspects of their entreprenuerial selves with as much guts and glory as they do the rest of their lives.
HerStory is part of my mega-series, MomNMore (also new) which will feature women (and men) under different thematic contexts. All of the featured women, whether they are mothers or not, will be invited to share, either through narratives or interviews, first person accounts of life experiences, inspirational lessons, events that changed them or events that they made happen that changed others, and such other stories that will motivate us, make us laugh, shed tears of joy, sympathy, or empathy, and in general, warm us to feel a sense of oneness with the sisterhood of womanhood while also helping us learn important life lessons. Stay tuned for more information in future posts.
In our very first showcase of HerStory, I am proud to introduce Bail Ansari, who in addition to being a mom to her 3-year-old daughter, is also a mompreneur. Her business, ‘Just One More Project’ is Bail’s creative outlet where she designs beautiful hand-made bows and other hair accessories which she wants to develop into a one-stop-shop for busy moms and where she hopes to eventually sell nursery decor and other custom creations.
Born in the Middle East, and raised in Canada and the United States, Bail considers Texas home. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Bail went on to do a Master’s in Social Work. Soon after that and upon getting married, she moved to California and for six years, worked at a non-profit which supported adults with developmental disabilities. When her husband’s new job brought them to the San Jose Bay Area, she says, “I quit my awesome job and got an even better one (somedays) as a stay at home mom!” She reckons that ‘Just One More Project’ came about “because I really missed all the creativity in my life I had before I quit my job. My previous job constantly had me thinking outside the box, and planning new things. After leaving, I really just needed to do something”
Here are excerpts from my interview with Bail Ansari.
What would you like to call yourself? A mompreneur? A businesswoman? An artiste? Something else?
I haven’t really given this much thought. I would like to think of myself as a business woman, but in all honestly, my business is fairly new to me and I haven’t learned all the ends and outs of it yet. So for now, since I still call myself a social worker, I would consider myself a mompreneur – since this professional break in my life is to embrace being a mom 🙂
What inspired you to get started in this activity/business? How did you go about it?
The whole Just One More Project part of myself really started as a blog. I learned quickly that I preferred to do much more hands on type things, rather than compiling all my projects into blog entries. The bow business was really organic (a friend of mine described her starting her business as organic and this has really stuck with me because I believe it’s the same for me!). I started making bows for my 3 year old daughter, and wanted to find ways to speed up the process of making them (instant gratification!). I purchased some cutting tools and die cuts and went from there. Everything just sort of started moving after that.
What kind of support did you get (or not) from family?
I have an amazing husband. He has helped me so much with the nitty gritty pieces of this business. From keeping records for taxes, to helping me create inventory spreadsheets. He’s a champ and I really don’t think this would have come about without him. I also have super great friends that support me at events and help spread the word out for me. I’m blessed!
As a busy mom, how do you manage your time between your business and your mom duties?
Thankfully, my 3-year-old is in bed by 7:00 pm! That helps a lot. Although, I find myself taking care of lots of quick simple tasks that can be done while she’s playing right in front of me. It’s always a struggle but that’s the benefit of having your own business – you can work as much as you want/need.
Do you struggle with a work-life balance? If so, what is the nature of this struggle and how do you cope?
Honestly, I don’t. Like I mentioned, I have a great husband who helps out a lot on the weekends so I can get work/orders done when I need to. We always find time for family time so I haven’t struggled too much yet! But it’s just the beginning, so ask me again in a few months! 🙂
What keeps you motivated to continue?
I really really really enjoy seeing kiddos wearing my designs. It gives me a lot of joy.
What is your credo in life and in business?
Just One More Project’s credo is Simple Handmade Joy. I tend to be motivated by things that give me joy. (I really started thinking this way after reading the book The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up by Marie Kondo) I wouldn’t say I have adopted everything in this book (because seriously, I have a 3 year old), but I really try to live and think this way for the most part!
What advice would you give to other moms and dads who want to venture into their own business?
Make sure you have support! And time! Have a vision first, and then work out the small stuff as you go.
What are some lessons you have learned along the way in running a business and continuing to mom (yes, it’s a verb :))?