Meet Kysa: Smart Mama who owns a decorating and organizing company. She became mom to a beautiful daughter Ellie only one month after she graduated New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology where she studied interior design. Ellie is now 11 and Kysa has since developed her business while balancing motherhood. It’s important to note that she does this while loving her work! As rewarding as entrepreneurship combined with mom life is though, there are still challenges along the way.
SM: Can you tell us what it is that you do exactly?
My company is ARTON INTERIORS, and I enjoy decorating, staging and throwing a good party. I help my clients move into their new homes while also helping them figure out where everything goes. I don’t really have a theme for my decor. I listen to my client to see what their needs are. I turn their home into a space that is usable and appealing to the eye. I organize and design your house so that everything has a home. All my clients are referral based.
SM: Did you start your business right away?
No, once Ellie was born I was at home taking care of her in New York City where I had no friends or family. I joined some mommy & me groups and started doing volunteer work to meet new people. My house was always very structured and organized. One of my new friends, who noticed this, and said I should help other people organize their homes. She referred me to two friends and from one organizing job came another. It was really my first clients who started referring me. That’s when a small business started growing. After a while I got an organizing job with one of my clients in their house in the Hamptons. My client knew about my interior design background and asked my opinion about some interior design in her house. And that landed me my first designing job! After that more requests came in and I transformed from an organizer to an interior designer. At first, I would grab any job I could get. But once more requests came in I became pickier about what I would take on.
SM: When you started working with your first clients Ellie was only a year old. How did you manage?
I didn’t have help so I took Ellie along to the Container store and all the other stores where I needed to buy my supplies to organize. Basically, I booked a babysitter for the hours I worked at my client’s home. Once she went to preschool, I was really able to grow my clientele. I would work the hours she was in school, which wasn’t a lot and have some help from a babysitter. It required some good planning.
SM: Even though Ellie is now at school full days your schedule still requires quite some planning. How do you plan?
The nice thing about owning your own business is being able to decide which hours you work and which you spend on your family. That sounds easier than it is. Because of course there are weeks that I really don’t have time to pick Ellie up from school at all and there are weeks that I can pick her up two days in a row. But I try to plan most work during the school day and then I plan phone calls or product pick ups during the time when Ellie has after school activities. I do have a sitter who is around three afternoons a week, so if I can’t make it she’s my back up. Some of Ellie’s after school activities are straight after school so I don’t need to be there on time. I also try to make sure I can occasionally join a field trip or help out in class.
SM: Even though you have planned well, what makes you still feel “Mommy Guilt”?
Most kids at Ellie’s school always get picked up by their mothers. For those moments, I’m often not around because of work. And these are moments where I would like to be there.
SM: What is a disadvantage of owning your own business?
Honestly there are not a lot of disadvantages. The only one I can really think of is the unknown. You’re never sure if work will keep coming in. If there’s a month with less work it scares me that the next will be the same. But honestly, I have never, since I started been without work, just better months than others. But that really is part of owning your own business.
SM: How do you manage your mornings?
My husband is my help in the morning. He wakes up before Ellie and myself and makes Ellie’s lunch for school and her breakfast. Then he makes me coffee, wakes me up and just before he leaves he makes the bed and leaves at 7. I prep my stuff for the day and Ellie gets dressed and eats her breakfast, and then we leave at 7:40 am when I bring Ellie to school. After dropping her off I’m off to work!
SM: What do you feel is your biggest challenge?
The scheduling is the biggest challenge workwise. And personally, I realize that I need a hobby, something that is not work and not family related. I need something for myself. I need to be able to shut off work and family stuff from time to time, and find something that relaxes me.
SM: What advice would you have given yourself as a young mom?
Enjoy the moment you’re in! The crying stops, and soon they are off to sleepovers and all you want is for them to stay with you.
SM: Do you have words of wisdom for the moms out there who want to go back to work or want to change their jobs?
Find something you enjoy that will grow you into being a better person for yourself and your children.
Thank you Kysa for sharing your experiences! Moms if you have questions about what Kysa does, write them in the comments below, or send us an email. (firstname.lastname@example.org) We will reach out to you!