Breegan Jane is an entrepreneur, interior designer, radio show host and, most importantly, mom to two adorable boys ages 2 and 4. Mom.me sat down with Breegan to learn more about how she makes it all work and her advice for mamas looking to start their own business.
You are one busy mama! Tell us how you launched your design career and your podcast, "Mom Life Yo."
To be honest, my design career isn’t something I launched, per se. Instead, it sort of deliberately evolved. Design has always been a part of my life, just in different aspects and facets of it. It started as working for someone else, which gave me the opportunity to explore my ability to manage teams and build-outs. From there, I was able to move into the entrepreneurial side: investing in residential projects, and now into commercial spaces and working for developers. I have been creating and working within the design world for the last eight years in some shape or form. The Breegan Jane brand is the new evolution of what that means for my product development and the continuation of all I love to do.
Mom Life Yo was born out of two brand-new moms who needed support but couldn’t find it. T. Lopez and I were already close friends, and we talked constantly about all the experiences that accompany motherhood. We couldn’t help but notice that no one else seemed to want to have the icky, uncomfortable conversations, so we decided to become the solution to the problem. We talked about how we could fill in that gap, how we could advocate for women. Radio was the perfect outlet.
As a mother, how do you make it all work?
The only secret I have is not a secret at all. It’s all about delegation and asking for help. I like to remind moms that it’s OK to not take on everything ourselves. I’m only one person, so that often means that the path to advancement is to assemble teams to assist me in various areas. Whether that’s a design team for the Breegan Jane brand, a nanny at home or a partnership with the radio show, I support myself by seeking help.
You recently documented your inspiring philanthropic efforts in Africa. Please share what took you there and any life lessons you received from the trip.
The process of growing a brand and reaching the height of success for me has always been deeply rooted in giving back and inspiring others who may not have similar opportunities. World Vision has been an organization I have admired since I was a little girl. I’ve been gradually gaining more and more awareness about certain issues for awhile now, and the ones pertaining to girls and women and their lack of value and rights resonated with me in a unique way. It felt like the perfect heart match for me to give back, so I made a promise to donate ten percent of my income to go directly to a particular project. That motivates me to continue working hard—the more successful I am, the more I can help.
I don’t know if I could ever adequately sum up the lessons I brought back, but if I had to select a few from many, I’d say this: strength, perseverance and empowerment are not dictated by opportunity. I saw strength in these girls. The fire in their eyes was there, in spite of all they’d endured. They didn’t wait for opportunity. They rose up against injustice. It reminds me that it doesn’t matter how much or little you possess—it’s what you do with it.
What advice would you give to friends considering starting a business together?
Think about your individual wants, and have honest conversations about that from day one. It will eliminate any future complications and misunderstandings with the inevitable flow of business and all that goes along with it. T. Lopez and I discussed how to secure that our partnership would help both of us in ways we preferred. Have solid conversations about what the end goal is, so that you can support each other in something that’s bigger than the both of you individually.
When did you first feel successful?
Some days, I still don’t feel successful, and I think that’s OK to say. When I got the LA Parent cover, so many people said, “You must be so proud!” The truth is, I always feel like I’m just getting started. It isn’t that I don’t consider my success an accomplishment; it’s just that I have so much more to give to this world and to strive for, to bring my dreams to fruition. I want to celebrate my hard work and be proud of what I’ve done while also letting the world know that there’s more to come!
Has there been anything about creating your brands that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
Yes. One of the biggest was realizing that part of the brand was my personality. That might sound strange, seeing as how I named it after myself, but I was shocked to learn that who I am and where my heart is will always be a part of my brand. It isn’t just what I do; it’s also who I am.
What's your advice for moms who are looking to start their own businesses?
Start anywhere! I’ve worked in several industries, and not all of them were directly related to what I’m doing now. Many of the opportunities I explored turned out to not be a great fit for me, but I was always willing to take the risk in order to find where my passion could be fulfilled. The fear of starting holds people back. Just start! You’re going to grow and change, but you have to begin somewhere.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and business owner to keep everything in balance?
I pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom before learning that the entrepreneur inside me flourished. I needed to find ways to build support teams around me to help achieve my goals and be a great mom simultaneously. Unfortunately, that comes with many sacrifices. Not being able to make every one of my sons’ lunches, tuck them in for nap time each day or missing moments because of very important meetings are all parts of my reality. Often it means turning down jobs because I have to weigh the work with the time away from my kids. It’s a working-mom life and it’s challenging, but it’s worth it.
If you could have lunch with any business person/mogul/entrepreneur/nonprofit founder, living or dead, who would it be, and why?
Probably Martha Stewart, Jeff Bezos and Richard Bronson. These people are inspiring to me because of different reasons, but they all have set lofty goals and found extremely creative ways to reach them. I love the way they continually refresh and reset their brand strategies to build empires. The details of their personal stories are also quite inspirational. I find myself moved overall by the ingenuity that guides their businesses and endeavors. All of them have given much to emulate for the aspiring business woman or man.
Are there any new initiatives or products on the horizon?
Yes! BreeganJane.com is relaunching and will feature products I’ve curated over the last year as well as items for sale with all proceeds going to humanitarian causes. I’m also beginning development of my own products that will debut on the Breegan Jane website.
What is your favorite time-saving app or service you use regularly?
Instacart. I’m a mom who is often working long hours, so it’s nice to go grocery shopping in the car on the way to a meeting, and know that the items will be at home when I get there. It allows me the opportunity to still select everything we want and need for our household without spending hours walking around the store. It also cuts down on all the cleverly placed goodies that weren’t on the list but somehow make it into my cart when I’m browsing in the store while hungry! My bill is lower with Instacart, and my time is well-used. It’s a lifesaver for busy moms!