Six Mom Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories

Meet the mom entrepreneurs behind some of our favorite beauty and fashion brands. Get a sneak peak inside their world—and their handbags.

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The Design Duo


Jessica Herrin / 43/ CEO and founder, Stella & Dot Family Brands / mom of Charlotte, 12, and Tatum, 9

Bythe Harris / 43/ cocreator and chief creative officer, Stella & Dot and Keep Collective / mom of Olive, 7, and Freddie, 5

Believe it: Jessica began designing jewelry in her living room! She sold it at trunk shows under the company name Luxe Jewels in 2004. Her vision: helping women become successful mom entrepreneurs with a flexible career that could be tailored to their own lifestyle. In 2006 she met Blythe Harris at a Stanford alumni event; they realized that by blending Jessica's original idea with Blythe's creativity and accessories expertise, they'd have something unique. A year later Luxe Jewels was officially rebranded as the social selling company Stella & Dot, named after their grandmothers. Employees were given the option to work part-time or full-time, selling jewelry through in-home trunk shows, online or person-to-person. After much success, the company expanded its offerings and earnings opportunities for women by launching sister companies Keep Collective (customizable accessories) and Ever Skincare. This year Stella & Dot released two more categories: sunglasses and tunics. We can't wait to see what's coming next.

"The best part of being a mom: the love explosion you feel every day when you see their joy. It's mind-blowing." —Jessica

"Time with my kids is as important as any executive meeting. Family dinners are not penciled in—they are inked in." —Blythe

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In Jessica's Bag


Ever Color Therapy Lip Infusion in Zanzibar "Moisturizing with just a hint of color—meet my new favorite lipstick!

Ever Skincare Daylight Moisturizer "This cream feels so good, provides SPF and coverage, and gives a little insta-glow."

Stella & Dot Parker Sunglasses "I feel completely put together when I slip these on."

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In Blythe's Bag


Kind Bars In Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt "These protein bars are the perfect snacks when I'm on the go."

Moleskine Sketchbook and Staedtler Markers "Always in my bag in case inspiration hits—and I love drawing with my kids!"

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The Innovator


Sarah Potempa / 35/ celebrity hairstylist and creator of the Beachwaver / mom of Grayson, 5, and Lauder, 2

Sarah can easily recall her aha moment, six years ago. "I was explaining to a beauty editor how to create perfect beachy waves, and she kept asking me for an easier and simpler way. That night I sketched out an idea for a rotating curling iron that does all the work for you." After two intense years of research and development, the Beachwaver was born. In 2015 it was the official tool of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Sarah works alongside her two sisters, Emily and Erin, creating new hair tools, including irons, brushes and accessories. To stay energized, she relies on a healthy lifestyle, including eating clean, spending time outdoors and getting a good night's sleep whenever she can.

"My daughter is a constant source of inspiration. Every day she directs me to what type of style she wants, always changing it up."

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In Sarah's Bag


S'well Bottle "My goal this year is to drink more water. I don't leave home without a full bottle, and I refill throughout the day."

Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Tint in Charmed "I love to swap my makeup seasonally, and this pretty pink is my go-to spring shade."

Sarah Potempa Mini Brush "The perfect touch-up tool when you're out and about."

Kai Perfume Oil "My favorite scent. It reminds me of the beach and nature."

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The Natural Wonder


Jean Sim / 39/ cofounder of Fresh Monster / mom of Calvin, 7, Penelope, 4, and Lucas, 2

After years as a brand manager for Unilever's top hair products, Jean was well-versed in the endless shampoo and styler choices for women. But once she became a mom, she saw there were few safe, natural and affordable options for kids. Enter Fresh Monster, a toxin-free kids' hair care line, sold at Target, that Jean created with cofounder (and mom of two) Irena Todd. While Jean values structure at work and at home, she doesn't strive for perfect balance. "Most days are terribly imbalanced," she says, "depending on what fires I need to put out." Her motto: Change the things you can, let go of those you can't, and create more time for what really matters. For Jean, that includes playing with her kids and cooking Korean soul food from her mother's recipes.

"When starting a business, find a cofounder who shares your values and ambition—someone who will shed just as much blood, sweat and tears as you do to grow the 'baby' together."

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In Jean's Bag


Mac Cosmetics Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved "My absolute makeup must, top and bottom, day and night."

Smith's Rosebud Salve "A longtime favorite—no other balm moisturizes the same way."

Little Secrets Chocolates "How I indulge my sweet tooth—and make my kids happy before any public meltdowns."

Vapur Reflex Anti-Bottle "Keeps me hydrated and it's good for the environment."

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The Makeup Guru


Jackie Gomez / 33/ celebrity makeup artist / mom of Mason, 3, and Madison, 2 months

One of the youngest of 10 girls in a big family, Jackie developed a love of makeup early. In high school she worked as a nanny for a music industry veteran, who later introduced Jackie to a few top makeup artists. She spent three years as a makeup assistant, accepting every job that came her way. A decade later Jackie is recognized globally as one of the best in the biz, thanks to her work with celebrities like Kerry Washington and Zoe Saldana, numerous fashion magazines and top designers. Her husband, Anthony, and family are her biggest supporters. "They encourage me to do it all," she says, "even when that requires a little juggling." Between photo shoots, celebrity events and two young kids, Jackie definitely has her (artistic) hands full.

"No matter how tired (or lazy!) I am, I never forget to wash my face. I know firsthand how important healthy, clean skin is when creating a gorgeous makeup look, so I practice what I preach."

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In Jackie's Bag


Motives I Do Palette "I call this the “I do-it-all” compact. It has eye shadow, blush, bronzer and eyeliner."

L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Mascara "No matter how many new formulas come out, I always come back to this classic for full, defined lashes."

Kate Somerville Resurfacing Peel Pads "The perfect way to “take off the day” and deeply cleanse my skin at the same time."

Mam Start Pacifier "One thing I’d never leave home without. It’s my key to peace and quiet!"

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The Sleeping Beauty


Ashley Merrill / 32 / CEO, Lunya Company / mom of Linken, 3, and Vesper, 18 months

One fateful night in 2012, Ashley caught a glimpse of herself in her husband's oversize T-shirt and boxer briefs as she was about to hop into bed. From then on, she made it her mission to find a middle ground between sexy lingerie and old-fashioned PJs. In 2014 Lunya—sleepwear for the modern woman—was born. The line features incredibly soft fabrics and chic, flattering pieces. "Lunya is an empowering company at its very essence," says Ashley. "It offers women a chance to be comfortable and stylish on their own terms." She's learned a few things along the way—like there will always be naysayers, and the importance of letting negative comments roll off. She knows sometimes she can't do it all, and tries hard not to feel guilty about it. Amen to that!

"My kids force me to be in the moment. Music comes on and my little girls start dancing, and suddenly emails can wait because I'm needed for a dance party."

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In Ashley's Bag


Skinclinical Extreme Healing Repair Concentrate "Number one beauty rule: moisturize. I use lotion that is so thick it's one step away from petroleum jelly."

Lancôme Definicils High Definition Amplifying Mascara and Honest Beauty Lip Gloss in Generous Kiss "As a mom, I've had to pare down my makeup regimen to the bare essentials. Tinted lip gloss and a swipe of mascara is all I need."

Hot Wheels Bus "You never know when the little ones will need a few minutes of entertainment."

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The Purist


Tata Harper / 40 CEO and founder, Tata Harper Natural Beauty / mom of Hunter Harper, 7, Grace, 6, and Tata Mia, 4

In 2005 Colombian-born Tata was searching for natural anti-aging skin care and couldn't find anything that truly worked. So she recruited a team of green chemists, herbalists, skin biologists and aromatherapists and set out to find the solution. Eight years and 35 products later, the line (sold at Sephora) has a huge celebrity following, including Julianne Moore, Lake Bell and Christy Turlington. Tata's company sources active ingredients from across the globe and creates all its skin care and makeup on her 1,500-acre certified-organic farm in Vermont, where her family also lives. "My goal is for everyone to be able to experience the products. The luxurious textures and scents draw people in, but the age-reversing results keep them coming back."

"Setting boundaries is the key to having a successful business and a happy family. Once I'm home with my kids for the evening, I'm back in mom mode until the morning."

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In Tata's Bag


Kikkerland Pearl Earbuds "Not only is their sound quality awesome, but these headphones go perfectly with every outfit."

Eccolo "Busy Bee" Flexi Journal "I like to be ready when inspiration hits!"

Tata Harper Blush in Very Naughty "It's hard to play favorites, but this shade is high on the list. It makes both my lips and cheeks pop."

Comme Des Garçons Crazy Stripe Wallet "Keeps my bag a little more organized, and I love the fun striped print."