A self-admitted workaholic, Victoria Wise juggles multiple online businesses with her full-time position as mom to four kids: Rowan, 4; Charlotte, 2; and 10-month-old twins Griffin and Graham. This children’s clothing designer loves every minute of it.
How did you get into the design business? I started my first jewelry company in the fall of 1999. I made my own beaded jewelry and sold to 40 boutiques through the Dallas Apparel Mart. After having my first son, I started my own kids’ clothing company, Henry St. James. I designed and either imported or used a domestic contractor to make knit and woven clothing. I continue to manufacture clothing for four private-label lines, and I design clothing and motifs that will be hand-smocked for Smockadot Kids. I’ve also launched my own Facebook boutique, Jewelry Nut Auctions.
How do you juggle motherhood and running your own business? That’s a good question. My children come first. Their needs are addressed, and then I sneak in time for my businesses. If they are at a morning activity, I block that period of time to get sketching done or a trip to Dallas to meet with clients or my manufacturer. Then I get to work again during naptime, or after they go to sleep at night. There is no way I could accomplish all of this without my nanny, who comes during the day, and my husband, who is the best daddy these kids could ever want.
You work out of home with little “co-workers” running around … what’s that like? It’s been interesting. They don’t care if you’re on an important business call, they will scream, whine or babble throughout your entire conversation. It’s been fun talking to customers of mine that are also dealing with their children in the background. We can all relate to each other! It seems to me that kids’ play dates are to business people of today what golf courses were to business people yesterday. So much is driven by their schedule that we find time to mix in business while at play dates, soccer practices and birthday parties.
Why do you love your job? I’ve always loved product development and design. I like watching something being made and sold that started with a late-night idea.
Motherhood philosophy? Do what you need to do to be happy and sane. Kids can wear you out, but as long as everyone is fed, clothed, bathed and loved, you are going to make it. Oh, and as Dory says in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
What do you find challenging about motherhood? Trying to figure out what activities my children should be a part of. We have so many fun programs in Fort Worth to choose from, but I also don’t want them to be over-scheduled. Kids need down time too.
Most memorable motherhood moment so far? When the nurse said, “Well, there are two!”
Most helpful mommy advice either given or received? Received – to take time for yourself. Given – to let the baby or toddler figure things out for themselves. They also need to make mistakes so they can learn from them.
What’s the most important thing when it comes to being a mom? That my children are well behaved, energetic and outgoing. I’ve found that in life if you are engaged and nice to people, you will do well in life. I would like my children to have a good role model, and I try to be that for them.
Who inspires you? Martha Stewart. She has such an eye for beautiful things and great talent. Mark Zuckerberg and the inventor of Etsy.com, Rob Kalin.
In your purse and diaper bag? Money and diapers. I travel light – I have four kids.
Perfect-day outing? My birthday was not too long ago, and my husband met me for lunch, we saw a movie, then he took me shopping at Anthropologie. It was just about the perfect little afternoon. But of course we thought and talked about the kids!
Home pantry essentials? Graham crackers, cereal bars, pasta. I like to do most of my cooking with fresh meats, vegetables and fruit, so the pantry is pretty bare.
Biggest splurge on yourself? I love freshly painted toes, so a pedicure is how I treat myself.
What completes your look? Earrings. Usually gold hoops.
Favorite part of the day? Right after dinnertime when the big kids get a bath by Dad and I take the babies out for their evening walk. It’s refreshing and time for just the babies and me.
What’s your proudest achievement? This may be small, but to me it made me proud. My mom and I took my oldest two to Target, and as I shopped she took them to the toy aisle to keep them busy. When I was ready to go, I found them and they put their toys down and followed my mom and me out to the checkout counter. She told me she was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t ask that I buy the toys. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it, but since she pointed it out it gave me affirmation that I was doing something right.