Grace Lee, the Momtrepeneur Doing It All
Mitera got the chance to sit down and talk to the inspirational Grace Lee, founder of Nine Naturals. As mother of two, she has proven you truly can be a Momtrepreneur. Here, she tells us about her experience as a mother, executive, and woman.
Grace wears our Charlotte Dress above
Let us just start by saying, you look amazing in our Charlotte Dress - does it feel as good as it looks?
I love the Charlotte Dress! It is really well constructed with comfortable, high-quality stretch-material that holds you in without constricting (perfect for a postpartum body!). I love the professional, clean look that is stylish for a lunch meeting, convenient for pumping in a rush, and versatile for going from school pickup to after-work drinks.
Tell us a little bit about your pregnancy experience as a busy working woman in New York City.
The second pregnancy was tiring and busy. At the time, Nine Naturals was launching in Destination Maternity, so I was particularly overwhelmed. That said, it forced me to become more time-efficient at work and at home. I became better at prioritizing my workload and outsourcing domestic activities (special thanks to Fresh Direct, Plated and Instacart). Streamlining my life pre-baby #2 was tremendously helpful for when Frances arrived!
Grace nurses in the Charlotte Dress
You recently had your second daughter. How does it feel to be a mother of two?
Being a mother of two feels chaotic and crazy - to say the least! I have no down-time during the day or night - certainly not until after I put the two girls to sleep. I’m always being pulled in multiple directions, especially between family and my business, but I’m embracing the chaos and accepting that I am doing the best I can even when I’m not perfect!
Is the postpartum life with your second daughter any different from your first one?
I definitely had less time for recovery with a toddler already running around. I had a great support network between my mom, nanny and baby nurse to help me in the first few weeks. Frances is a champion feeder and I had a good milk supply, so nursing has been easy. But I ended up getting mastitis 3 times! Each time it happened was because I was pushing myself a little too hard and not getting enough rest. It’s been a tough but good reminder that as focused as I am about taking care of the family, I still need to take care of myself.
How do you and your husband juggle all the demands of work, raising kids and staying happily married?
It’s definitely not easy for my husband and I to give our relationship the time and focus it needs given how busy we both are. One thing that helps us is that we try not to over-schedule ourselves on the weekends so that we have quality family time and personal time together. We also take at least one trip a year without the kids.
You are the Founder and CEO of Nine Naturals. Tell us more about that journey!
I was inspired to start Nine Naturals when my friends and I were looking for safe beauty products to use during pregnancy. Pregnancy is the most critical developmental stage in a human life and environmental toxins can have long lasting effects on a person’s health even beyond the womb. As we searched for safe products to use, we kept running into the same two problems – 1) most products that claimed to be natural still contained harmful ingredients and 2) many natural products simply didn’t perform well; the shampoos didn’t lather well and the body products didn’t do much for their skin. When I developed Nine Naturals, I focused on using natural, pure ingredients safe for pregnancy while maintaining a high standard for beauty and performance. I wanted to create a line that women could be confident using without having to be a scientist to understand a label.
Pregnant women do have sensitivities and beauty needs that are different from non-pregnant women. We formulate from a standpoint of safety as well as performance. Women have sensitivities to smells during pregnancy so we’ve formulated a line using all-natural essential oils that are pleasing to pregnant noses and not too overpowering. We’ve also created products like our Vanilla + Geranium Regenerative Belly Butter that helps to minimize the chance of stretchmarks and our Natural Sunscreen SPF 32 that naturally protects pregnant women’s sensitive skin in the sun.
Work ready in the Charlotte Dress
Will you share with us what you have learned so far as a female CEO? What motivates you every day?
As a female founder and CEO, I think it is so important that women support other women and build networks to help each other become more successful. Some of Nine Naturals’ most impactful marketing initiatives have sprouted from partnering with other like-minded, female entrepreneurs and their businesses - like Mitera!
What’s next for Nine Naturals?
Due to our successes this past year, we were able to make many large transitions that will better support our greater growth vision to make our products more accessible to more women. Expect to see us on more store shelves in 2016!
Besides the need for high-quality products that guarantee the safety of you and baby, the needs of the modern mom is always changing, thus, so is Nine Naturals. Whether that means the introduction of new products or community engagement, there is much to expect from us in the future!