When designers Stephanie Wynne Lalin and Jenny Klatt of Jemma Wynne met in 2005, they never could have predicted how interwoven their lives would become. After establishing Jemma Wynne in 2008, the dynamic duo has created a reputation for creating jewelry that embodies their personal style of relaxed femininity, while also establishing families of their own! Jenny has a toddler-age daughter and Stephanie is expecting a little one of her own any day, and yet they still carved out some time to sit down and answer some of Couture’s questions about how they’ve managed to grow both their businesses and their personal lives.
Couture: Do you have any stories that illustrate some of the challenges of being a mom in this business?
Jenny: Every once in a while there will be a day I have planned to spend with my daughter Livia, which I really look forward to, and unexpectedly something will come up for work.I’ll have to quickly switch gears and head into the office. Or vice versa, there have been times when I have a day full of business meetings, but she is not feeling well and I’ll have to rush home to be with her. These are the types of things that are challenging with managing both components of my life, but I somehow always find a way to figure it all out. When you own and run your own business, you are never really not working.It is a huge, full-time responsibility, as is motherhood. I might leave the office early to get home to my daughter, but on the flip side, I’ll be up all night finishing a project.
Couture: Do you think owning a small business makes having a family easier or more difficult than if you worked as an employee for someone else?
Stephanie:I think it will be easier.Being your own boss provides flexibility, which is crucial when you’re juggling a full schedule. During my pregnancy, if I wasn’t feeling well or had a doctor’s appointment, I could work from home or go into the office late and not worry about having to run something by an HR department or track my personal or sick days, as I might in another more corporate environment.I can take care of the personal things I need to and still manage my time appropriately to make sure my work gets done as well.
Jenny: I agree with Stephanie that the flexibility is amazing and is something I do not take for granted.
Couture: You have an all-female team at Jemma Wynne, what are some of the benefits to this as it relates to your personal lives?
We have a very open and comfortable environment in our office.Maybe sometimes even too much personal info is shared that no one wants to hear!
Couture: Do you have any tips for establishing and maintaining a sense of balance in your lives?
Stephanie: Someone once gave me some really great advice that I often refer to, “You can only do as much as you can do in a single day.’” While my baby has yet to arrive, I hope I will be able to remember this, and just take things one day at a time. I have learned how to prioritize in order to get things done, and I’m sure this will come in handy as life gets more complicated with a child.
Jenny: I never realized how important balance was before becoming a parent. Striking the right balance between work and family time is essential, but at times it can be a bit difficult to plan for.I try to make sure that on a daily basis I am prioritizing in the right way. It’s really important to me that I get to spend time with Livia before I leave for work each morning and again at night before she goes to sleep.It is equally important to find time for yourself and do what you love. Oh, and also…don’t forget about your husband!
Couture: Do you have any tips for traveling with children/while pregnant?
Stephanie:My husband and I took one big trip to Italy during my pregnancy.If you’re going to plan a getaway, do it in the second trimester if you can, that’s when I felt my best!
Jenny: Don’t be scared to travel! Bring lots of snacks and activities for the flight. And a redeye with a 16 month old is not such a great idea!
Couture: Jenny, do you have any tips for the soon to be mom Stephanie?
1. Listen to your instincts. You know your baby better than anyone else.You will get lots of unsolicited advice, but just remember everyone has their own experience and every baby is different.
2. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or scared, don’t panic because you are going to be a great mom!Life with a baby is definitely an adjustment, but things get easier!
3. You have my number…I know you won’t hesitate to use it if you ever need anything. Support from friends and other moms can be very helpful.
Couture: You both live in New York City, what’s it like navigating the city with a child/pregnant?
Stephanie: I was surprised with how nice New Yorkers are; people getting up on the bus to give me a seat, cab drivers excited to talk about their pregnant wives.I just discovered the Uber app on my iPhone and it has changed my life.I can get anywhere I need to go, without the risk of being unable to find a taxi.
Jenny: I really love it, getting around is much easier than imagined, but it did take some getting used to.I wish I had a picture of the first time I ventured out on my own with my daughter.I was lugging her, a stroller, car seat, and a diaper bag filled with tons of things I didn’t even need.I was a major mess, but so proud I made it crosstown in one piece!Now we just pick up and go with basically nothing.We take Livia all around the city, she even puts out her hand to hail a taxi!
Couture: Now that you’ve had a child/are pregnant, is there any product you can’t live without?
Jenny: Aquaphor, for EVERYTHING!
Couture: As a mom/expectant mom, have you discovered any new restaurants, museums or other fun activities in the city?
Jenny: I have been living on the Upper West Side for almost 8 years and never knew the Children’s Museum of Manhattan was only three blocks away from my apartment! We have also spent much more time in every park within a 20-block radius of our apartment.
Couture: Many people see having children as something that can hold a woman back, but in fact, your business has grown over the past few years….what do you say to all of those people who claim a woman can’t “have it all?”
Jenny: I think the phrase “having it all” can mean different things to different people.To me it is the ability to maintain a successful career, a family and a sense of happiness.By these standards, I am fortunate enough to have this, but it didn’t come without hard work, dedication and support. My family and husband are amazing and are my biggest cheerleaders.I love being a mom. I spend a lot of quality time with my family. I still get to travel. I had the opportunity to follow my passion and start my own jewelry company, which is growing before my eyes. From the outside it might look easy, but ‘having it all’ is not something that just happens. I have definitely faced challenges along the way, but if you work hard and you dedicate yourself to making it work, it will.
Couture: Jenny, does your daughter like jewelry yet?!
Livia LOVES jewelry, which is so interesting to see at such a young age! She discovered this plastic bin I have under my dresser in my bedroom filled with old necklaces and sunglasses. Every morning she runs into my room and goes straight for the jewels…she layers on the necklaces like you’ve never seen!
Couture: Stephanie, have you set up your nursery yet? How does your sense of style extend to the nursery?
Stephanie: Decorating the nursery was a project I was really looking forward to.I took the same approach as I do when designing jewelry, and let it mold into something beautiful over time.I started with a neutral base of grey and cream and then added pops of color with magentas and turquoise. I found this beautiful magenta and turquoise watercolor that covers the wall behind the crib…it truly makes the room!