The Working Mama

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[ So excited to introduce you all to our first guest post by blogger/mother/designer Kristen Luciani! You can check out her personal blog, Me and My Three and look for her book Accessorizing Failure, that will hopefully be hitting book stores soon!)

Guest Post By: Kristen Luciani

I am a full-time working mom, but sometimes I wonder if the money is worth the stress and aggravation.  I find that moms work for one or more of a few reasons – they have to work, they love their jobs, they love the lifestyles that their jobs provide them, or they really weren’t cut out for motherhood and need an escape.  I work primarily for reason number three; although sometimes reason number four applies…I am only human, after all.  And let me tell you, the lifestyle isn’t just something my husband and I are accustomed to; my kids are also quite comfortable with Mommy working and all of the benefits that provides, particularly my oldest.

Anyway, I think my biggest issue is that I don’t really thrive under someone else’s management.  I have very strong opinions about how things should be done, and I get frustrated when people do not accept and embrace my points of view.  This must be one of the reasons why I love motherhood – my kids may not embrace my views, but they have no choice but to accept them.  Fighting against them is really futile.  I am ALWAYS going to win,  at least while they live under my roof.

My husband calls me an “entrepreneurial spirit.”  He says that I don’t work well for anyone; that I need to be on my own to blossom.  I think that is partially code for me being difficult to deal with.  I mean, I have no delusions about myself – I know that I am not the most easy-going person on Earth, but I truly want to excel.  It’s just that I want to place focus on the things that matter most to me.  And my work is a necessity, not a passion.  Therefore, after a lot of soul-searching, I decided that I needed something more.

A few years back, I formed a handbag company.  I didn’t know anything about the fashion industry; I only knew I loved fashion.  It’s always been my thing – and more so as I have gotten older and made more money, enabling me to indulge more and at higher prices.  Unfortunately, I cannot seem to escape the lifestyle aspect.

My daughter was only a few months old when I took the plunge, and I very much wanted to set an example for her about how successful you can become if you focus and drive for results within your own personal business endeavors.  I wanted her to see me as a strong, independent business-minded woman whose passion catapulted her to become the next design icon.

Unfortunately, although I had a lot of aspirations and goals for the business, none of them really came to fruition.  It turns out that creating the next “IT” bag is not an easy feat, and that you actually need to take the time to understand the industry and learn about how to create a brand and presence for your handbags and then raise awareness within your target market.  It sounds simple enough, but in reality, simply having an “entrepreneurial spirit” does not always cut the mustard.  Creativity and perseverance can only get you so far.  As it turns out, these are not the primary drivers for creating and sustaining a successful business.

One of my flaws, which actually benefits me at times, is my very impulsive nature.  It was this quality that plummeted me into a debt-filled pit during the life of the business, and it will continue to plague me well beyond the dissolution of the company.  But it is also this quality that propels me into my next large (or so I hope) venture.  I jump before I think.  I rush to get ideas out, without thinking them all the way through.  And I do not like to do research.  I always do the minimum amount and then decide I have enough information to go on.  I am definitely one of those people who likes to “learn as I go.”  And I have always relied on my enthusiasm and creativity to compensate.

In a nutshell, this failed attempt at financial freedom was accompanied by a lot of harsh lessons, which I decided to present to others who are in the same position I was at the birth of my venture.  Starting a business from scratch with no knowledge or experience to draw upon is quite overwhelming, and some might say foolish.  However, if you understand the foundational building blocks, it will give you an advantage in the market.

Accessorizing Failure is my written attempt to communicate those building blocks by way of humorous anecdotes I experienced throughout the short-lived life of my company.  The fashion industry has such an aura about it….and being the star-gazer I am, I loved the thought of accessorizing red carpet looks with my own creations. I realized too late that while it is all well and fine to think and dream big, reality sets in very quickly when you need to keep writing checks from a dwindling bank account.

And although I did not achieve self-actualization with this particular business venture, it will not deter me from trying to find my next “big” thing.  This is the message I want to send to my kids….that you may not accomplish everything you set out to achieve, but if you are true to yourself and continually perform to the best of your ability, opportunity WILL find you.  I really believe that.

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