Entrepreneurial Moms: Lauren Baker, Owner of LAB Consignment

Lauren Baker is the owner of LAB Consignment, our favourite online destination for high-end, luxury consignment. Looking for a Burberry Quilted Spring Jacket? Take a gander.

Her are her tips for new moms:

Be honest with yourself.

When Ellis was born in January 2013, I felt very torn between my new son and my other baby—i.e., my store, LAB Consignment. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of responsibility, yet also bored staying at home all day with an infant. And my three-month mat leave coincided with the slowest time of year for my business, which was earning less the longer I was away. It was very stressful, and I felt guilty that I wanted to be working and not with my baby for every waking moment. But I shouldn’t have been so hard on myself, as I learned through speaking the truth to my mom, other mothers who run businesses, and stay-at-home parent friends. They all appreciated my honesty and offered kind words of support that I was feeling wasn’t unusual. I strongly believe that new moms need to be honest with other women about how hard it is to be a mom, and how it’s not always the magical, gratifying experience it’s often made it out to be. There are so many things about it that you just can’t grasp prior to birthing your little person.

Be organized.

I am, by nature, an extremely organized person—when I’m not making lists, I’m making lists of the lists I need to make. That said, after I had Ellis, I had a very hard time reconnecting with my usual organized self as a result of hormones running amok, low iron, depression, and overall stress. It took me almost 14 months to get back to my old self. I have some tips that helped me:

– Relax and let the ride take you
– Know what you are capable of and what you’re not
– Don’t be afraid to say “no” sometimes to commitments and outings
– Spend a few hours on Sunday to plan the week’s meals, make your grocery list, shop, and cook. Make baby food in batches in ice cube trays with lids. (Forget the Baby Bullet—a blender and some ice cube trays from Dollarama are all you need.)
– Download the Wunderlist app. This is a list-making app that can be synced to your partner’s phone—this way, everyone in your household knows when it’s time to get more milk or bananas.
– Use a shared calendar program. My Google calendar is hardcore: I have my staff schedule, consignor and shopping appointments, social events, childcare schedule, and personal plans all on there. My studio manager, husband, and caregivers are all linked to the calendars that are relevant to them. And it’s synced to all of my devices and Desktop iCal. I would be lost without it.

Surround yourself with great people.

As the old cliché goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and in this case, it’s cliché because it’s totally true. I was so lucky to have found a man who complements my personality and balances my life, and, as such, he’s proven to be an amazing partner to have a baby with. We split household and parenting tasks 50/50; I couldn’t have it any other way. And we’re extremely fortunate to have parents who live within an hour of us and are always eager to help out with Ellis. There are no words for how thankful I am for them. My business would be over if it wasn’t for our parents and their love for Ellis (and us).

Trustworthy and dependable staff is also crucial to our sanity. My employee at LAB, Mere, is another essential part of our team: she not only manages our private shopping studio and works behind the scenes at www.labconsignment.com, she also helps as a caregiver for Ellis. (And she’s also a professional yoga teacher! She has a very full plate, but is always happy to help our family, and I can’t imagine life without her.)

And, last but not least, a mama sidekick is essential. I have a handful of mamas who are so dear to me—like my great friend Nicole Manek, who also owns a shop, Life Of Manek, and has a little guy who is just 4 months younger than Ellis (and those boys just adore each other). We spend our time talking about business and babies alike. Being a mother and business-owner can be very isolating, and it’s so reassuring to know there’s someone else out there facing the same battles as I am.

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