Chatbooks Co-Founder Vanessa Quigley Shares Her Mom Hacks
byRachel WarrickJun 08, 2017
As an author, app creator and mother of seven, Vanessa
Quigley needs to be smart with her time in order to tackle her busy schedule. One
of the ways she saves time is Chatbooks, an app Quigley co-founded that
automatically creates quality photo books from your phone.
“One day, I became painfully aware that not only did I not
have baby books for my youngest three children, but I didn’t even have any
printed photos of my youngest," Quigley says. "I needed to create an automatic way to get my
photos off my phone and into my hands and the hands of my children.”
Chatbooks, which launched in 2014, is Quigley’s solution to
this problem. The convenient app creates and ships a photo book to you every
time you add 60 photos to Facebook, Instagram or your iPhone favorites. “It’s like getting a subscription to your own
life.” Quigley says. The app’s stats speak volumes—their launch video
has more than 70 million views, and the app has been downloaded over a million times
with 3,000-plus five-star reviews. At only $8 a book, it’s a
no-brainer for any busy mom.
Quigley calls Chatbooks her “ultimate life hack,” but it
certainly isn’t the only trick she uses to get by. You can read about the rest
of them in her new book, “Real Moms, Real Hacks,” which chronicles the tips
she has found most helpful throughout her years as a parent.
Quigley tells Mom.me how she makes time for her huge family
and busy career.
Describe the moment when you were inspired to write “Real
Moms, Real Hacks."
Chatbooks has a Facebook group called
#momforce where moms can ask questions and get advice and inspiration. One day
we asked: “What is your favorite mom hack?” and we were flooded with so many
great tips that I wish I had known as a younger mom. It got me thinking about
all my mom tricks and the great hacks I’ve learned from my sisters and friends,
and I decided a book must be written!
As a mother as well as an author and entrepreneur, how do
you make it all work?
Instead of chasing an imaginary point
of “balance,” I embrace the idea of my “life’s work.” I’ve accepted that I’m
always working—whether it’s at Chatbooks, home, the kids’ schools, church, the
gym or in my community. My life’s work is to be my best self so I can help
others and make the world a better place. I’m happiest when I stay focused on
that goal, even if that means my to-do list is never complete!
When did you first feel successful?
As an entrepreneur, I first felt
successful when I hand-delivered Chatbooks to a friend and then watched the
tears flow. There is something very special about physically holding photos
that had been stuck on your phone. That emotional reaction was proof that we
were on to something!
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are some ways
that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
I hope that as my girls watch me chasing my
dream, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and learning to do hard
things, they will feel empowered and brave enough to think big and go after their
own big dreams. I hope my boys learn that when a woman sets her mind to
something, amazing things will happen—and that there’s no such thing as
Has there been anything about writing “Real Moms, Real
Hacks” that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
As I asked my sisters and friends for
their favorite mom hacks, I was surprised by how many said they didn’t have any!
Every mom has a trick up their sleeve, and once I’d start sharing mine with
them the floodgates opened. We moms need to give ourselves more credit for our
What's your advice for moms who are looking to write
their own book?
Write about something you know! As
the oldest of 12 children and a busy mom of seven of my own, I’ve learned first
hand how to hack your way through this crazy adventure of motherhood, so the
ideas and words came easily. I’d also advise aspiring authors to find a great
editor. Fresh eyes are always a good idea!
What sacrifices have you made as a mom, author and
entrepreneur to keep everything in balance?
There was a time when I volunteered
for every committee and field trip at my kids’ schools and cooked dinner from
scratch every night. But this is a different season in my life. As a busy
entrepreneur, I keep reminding myself of that and try to stay focused on what’s
essential to my family and business. And that just might mean more takeout!
If you could have lunch with any business person/founder
living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would love to chat with Jessica Alba,
founder of The Honest Company. I was an actress in my younger days and I’m
fascinated by her transition from actress to entrepreneur, as well as her
vision for helping families by providing safer consumer products. Our mission
at Chatbooks is to strengthen families, and I’d love to find a way for Chatbooks
and Honest Company to work together one day!
What hacks have been most useful in your own life?
Time flies and kids grow up so fast,
so for me the best hacks help me make the most of the time I have with them. By
cooking double batches of our dinners and only washing my hair every four (or five!)
days, I have more time to connect with my kids by snuggling them, reading a
good book together, or going for a quick hike to watch the sunset.