A Note from Whitney:
I met Natalie just as she was opening ACADEMIC lash & beauty. We bonded instantly over our mutual desire to help people find and claim their beauty. Natalie applies lash extensions and performs lash lifts and tints while I photograph people and help them look and feel confident. We often talked about the nervous energy our clients feel before working with us. They are taking a risk, stepping out of their comfort zone and choosing to see themselves in the most positive light. After leaping into our respective services, our clients reflect on how amazing, beautiful and confident they feel.
In addition to being business buddies, we are both huge fans of each other's talents. I get my lashes done every 3 weeks with Natalie and look forward to seeing my face as it's fully brightened by her beautiful work. Natalie has done headshots and a family shoot with me - and we both loved every second of collaborating to create moments she'll cherish forever.
I asked Natalie to share her story of starting a business in the midst of motherhood. I know her struggle is so familiar to so many, and I greatly admire the courage she displays every day as she moves her business and family forward.
Here's the truth: I was not thriving as a stay-at-home mom. With three kids 5 and under, I was struggling to find fulfillment from an existence where I never felt I could achieve success. I worked hard to be disciplined enough to create good days but there was always another load of laundry, another load of dishes, another meal to create, another diaper to change. It felt as if there was no end in sight - no end of the workday and no break in sight.
Taking the leap and opening ACADEMIC lash & beauty changed everything for me. Having a full-time career forces me to be more disciplined. I now thrive on the variety of my workday and in turn, this has made me a more fulfilled person. Now that I work outside the home, my family's world has delightfully expanded as well. My children have more friends, caring teachers, new experiences, time away from their parents to gain autonomy, and a bigger world. This has proven to be a very happy experience for the whole family.
Don't let me fool you, I don't do it all. Its crazy to attempt to! I am still figuring out how to delegate my old duties to ensure that I thrive in my workday and still enjoy my family time when I’m home. I have a great husband who stepped up to the challenge. He is an incredible dad and partner and his flexible work schedule allows him to pick up the slack when I can't. We sometimes hire the amazing ladies at my local laundry mat. Their “fluff and fold” services help me tackle the ever-mounting piles of laundry. We have cleaners every two weeks which take the edge off the house maintenance. With these decisions, I've given myself the freedom to focus on how I'm best suited to serve my family and community. Leaning on the strengths and services of other businesses has proven to be a good philosophy for us as we navigate the terrain of our daily life.
I often think of the legacy I am creating, for my family and community. I am always striving to better myself, to help as many people as I can and have the biggest, positive impact possible. Being a business owner allows me so many new and exciting opportunities, challenges, and friendships. Growing a business allows me to miss my family a little and come home to them at the end of the day, excited to hear their stories and reconnect. It has given me the opportunity to be a larger part of my community and has allowed me to positively impact the lives of others.
The biggest change I've seen is within myself. This amazing adventure has given me the opportunity to grow into a better version of myself. The long days, missed family meals and stressful challenges of entrepreneurship don't always seem worth it in the moment, but I know that by striving to be the best version of myself, I am also becoming a better wife, mom, community member, friend and ultimately, someone I truly like, when I look in the mirror.