The Modern Mumpreneur - How to Balance Motherhood and Business

This week, I sat down with the founder of Zantika, Denyse, and discussed all things motherhood and business, and how to balance the two. I am always in awe of parents who are running businesses, so I was excited to find out how it's done!

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My kids have a beautiful influence on my creativity. 


Having children allowed me to break down my artistic barriers. Watching them create, draw, paint, write and build without inhibition or expectation, and without thinking of the outcome or audience, is truly inspiring. They create in the moment. Through their open-mindedness they’ve taught me to let go and trust the process of design. 


There’s so much pressure these days to achieve perfection, but once you step into your artistic self, it all dissipates and the outcome is real and raw, and made with love. 

To foster their creativity, my kids don’t have screen time. This means all their free time is filled with role play, games, imagination, creation, jumping on the trampoline and just being kids! Through these moments, I learn so much from them. 


I felt suffocated by the corporate world. 


I was in recruitment prior to having kids. That particular role always made me feel uninspired. I felt as though I was just a small piece of a bigger puzzle, and I couldn’t possibly have an impact in the world. I craved the opportunity to build something from the ground up and watch it flourish. 


Additionally, I wanted to run my own hours. This meant that my kids would always be my priority. I didn’t want to have to explain that my child was sick or why I had to leave work early. Whilst corporate environments are certainly becoming more flexible, the stigma still exists around being seated at your desk for a certain amount of hours. In this way, input is more rewarded than output which seems so archaic to me. For these reasons, I knew it was time for me to literally exit the building and build my own company and my own hours. 


Business hours are not what they seem..


I’m still astonished by what a mother can achieve before 8am. For me, I wake up an hour before the kids do so I can exercise, clean, make breakfast for the family, prepare lunches and answer emails. At the moment, my little one is waking at 5am because she’s excited to see Elf on the Shelf! So my wake up time is 4am but I’m ok with that. 


During ‘business hours’, every day at Zantika looks different, whether I’m door knocking or cold calling stockists, planning a social media strategy, speaking with suppliers or designing the next collection. Once the kids have gone to bed at 7:30, I get three more hours of work in before I turn out the lights - this is my most productive time, and I really value these hours! 


Gwyneth Paltrow said, “I hire working mums because that bitch will get things done.” 


There’s so much that needs to get done when raising a family. So when you add work or a business on top of that, you have no option but to be productive. There’s no time for social media, watercooler chat, indecision, perfectionism or overplanning. Each day I have a certain window of work hours. The truth is, if I want to pick up my kids from school on time, I have to work smarter. 


I started Zantika when I was eight months pregnant with my third child!


Having travelled the world, I'd been inspired by so many beautiful places, including exquisite beaches and tropical waterfalls. However, during my travels, my suitcase always seemed to be lacking the items I needed - clothing that was versatile and easy to care for. I longed for something that I could roll up in my bag with no fuss and no thought. I had always wanted to start the business and it seemed like now was as good a time as any. From then on, I was all in. 


With my nine-month pregnant belly and two preschool kids in tow, I went door knocking on boutiques to sell clothing. 


Just two days after giving birth to my daughter I was cold calling stockists to gain new buyers. It sounds insane now, but I didn’t really think it was unusual at the time; it’s just what I had to do to get Zantika off the ground. 


There will be times when I’m answering emails whilst feeding my three-year-old. Having said that, I make sure that I block out times of the day in which I solely focus on the kids. 


For us, it’s the simple things. When they get home from school every day, we lay out a picnic rug outside on the grass and share a fruit platter. 


During that time, we chat about our day and what happened. Even just 20 minutes of this connection gives them the space to play independently. 


My older children immediately fell in love with my youngest. They have such a beautiful bond. Whilst having three kids seems like a nightmare to some, I actually find it easier because they are so helpful with each other and they love playtime together. In turn, this gives me freedom to work if I need to! 

 

 

My husband and I split the home and childcare duties down the middle. 


It’s full on having three kids. The three-year-old is sitting on my lap she whilst I’m ordering fabrics. In this way, I’m constantly switching conversations, from business to motherhood. For women, it’s all merged into one. For men, they are able to separate the office and the home a more than we can. 


Society doesn’t ask men, “How do you juggle that?!”


That said, I do think we need to meet men in the middle. They are also adjusting to wives who are becoming more independent or work-focused. Our husbands are working out how their role fits into the family too. 


For me, I’m really lucky because my husband and I are 50/50 when it comes to household chores. Not only that, he’s really hands-on with the kids; he will take them to the playground on the weekend so that I can get a few hours of work in. We make a pretty good team and I’m very grateful for that. 

 

I can’t get through the day if I don’t exercise in the morning. 


Whether that’s a run outside or lifting weights at home, I am so much more energised afterwards. Additionally, being active gives me so much more clarity and efficiency. On the other hand, when I don’t make the time for it, I find that the day is harder to conquer. Exercise releases any anxiety and gives me perspective; a simple walk is enough to do that. 


My favourite pieces in the latest Salt Infusion collection are…


The Zephyr Sleeveless Topand the Zephyr Shortsworn together as a set are my top picks. I wear these with slides for lunch or heels for dinner; I just find myself wearing them everywhere! The pieces are so lightweight, versatile and comfortable. The Daphne Sundress is also a favourite; it’s free-flowing, flattering, long-lasting and perfect for all occasions! 


The future of Zantika excites me! 


I just want people to love the clothes and feel good in them. I’m already having a great response to the collections, which is really exciting to see. I have regular customers who keep coming back because the comfort and versatility of the pieces. They’ll buy a dress in one print, then purchase the same dress in four more prints because they love it so much. 

I want my kids to see me create something from nothing and I want them to be proud of me. I want to inspire them to do their best and also be proud of their mum. Ultimately, I love watching Zantika grow and I’m so excited by the impact it’s having on women.


I just want people to feel good! 


View the Salt Infusion Collection here. 

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