We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Mancuso and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jill, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance – holy smokes, I feel like I could write an entire series of books on this and still have more to tell about. Even still, I am no expert on this topic, by any means. Work life balance, what it means to me, and how I achieve it has changed SO much for me over the years. My balance has really changed significantly over time due to two factors: the business growing and getting busier, and me growing my family as well. When the business first started I obviously had minimal orders so it was easy to keep up. I also only had two kids at the time. Fast forward to today and my business has many more orders including wholesale orders and I have four kids all seven and under. Over time I have shifted my work life balance. There are times when I am able to give a lot more energy to the business and times where I am able to give little to no energy (hello, newborn baby!). The thing with this is just knowing everything is a season. It was hard for me to compare myself to other businesses who were killing it and putting out so much product and getting a ton of sales when I had just had a baby and couldn’t even sit down to process one order. I always have to remind myself that there will be a time when I can bust my butt and produce and sell, too. On the flip side, when I do have a chunk of time to dedicate to work I have to remind myself that I won’t always have a ton of time, and I want to allow time for family time, so I work as hard as I can during those work hours. When I think about work life balance, life or family always comes first. I started this business in order to provide more for my family, not so that I could spend less time with my family. I always remind myself during stressful times that things will get finished and everything will end up how its meant to be, but certain things need more time. On the other hand, when I am in that work flow and missing one of my kids games, or a fun day at the zoo with the, etc. I remind myself that it’s just a small moment in time and the end goal makes it all worth it. Work also brings me a sense of peace and calming and is a de-stresser for me, so my time working makes me better for my time as a mom.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what sets Modern Roots Kids Co. apart from others is the fact that almost all of the items are handmade. It’s hard to come by handmade clothing these days that is trendy and well made. I put so much effort and love into each piece and want to make sure I’m making clothing that not only moms and parent love, but that their kids love as well. I am most proud about the fact that after all the years in business I still am the one sewing the items, packaging the items and communicating with the customers. I always want customers to know the person and face behind the business they are supporting and I want to be able to always put my personal touch on every order. How I got here business-wise: lots of tears and coffee. Ha ha, somewhat kidding! Honestly though it has been LOTS of late nights, lots of trial and error, lots of networking and learning from my peers and LOTS of hard work. Owning a business is absolutely incredible and has so many perks but it is by no means easy. There have been many challenges along the way. I think all business owners can relate to this. The only way to overcome the challenge is to keep going. With every challenge I’ve faced in my business I just told myself not to give up. There have been times when things didn’t always work how I planned, but I found a plan B and make it work – sometimes plan B turns out better than plan A! Lessons I have learned along the way – it isn’t always easy, but it IS always worth it. I would encourage anyone and everyone who has every thought about starting a business to do it. I would just tell them that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, or what Instagram or social media makes it out to be. I’ve learned that it’s OK to make mistakes, it’s OK to “go” before you are ready, and it’s ok if things don’t turn out like you planned – JUST KEEP GOING. If I could tell people just one thing about my brand or company it’s that Modern Roots Kids Co. makes trendy, handmade clothing that will last for years to come. I never send or sell anything that I wouldn’t put on one of my four kids. Every single item is made with so much attention to detail and so much love and pride.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Three places that I would take some one visiting Arizona would be: L’Auberge De Sedona (MUST VISIT!), Camelback Mountain and Old Town Scottsdale. All three of these are must sees/dos in my opinion. L’Auberge has the most breath taking views in all of the state, and killer food. OK, I may be biased because we got married there, but still! Camelback Mountain is just iconic and such a fun hike and great way to enjoy our weather. I would have to show my friend a good time and Old Town Scottsdale does just that – s0 many fun shops and restaurants! Top three places to eat for anyone staying here: – Chelseas Kitchen – Philly cheesesteak Co – Mastros In regards to the restaurants – there is literally something for everyone at each of these places!! TO DIE FOR GOOD!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband deserves the biggest shout out. This business would be nothing without him. He helps me with all different aspects from giving me feedback on designs, helping me package products, setting up displays, and always, always killing it in the parenting department when I am not around… (and when I’m around, too! haha) Also would love to shout out to Maribeth and Cody at Made with Love Market – they do a phinominal job of supporting small businesses like mine and have helped me grow my business and support my family for several years. Finally, Aimee at Joss + J Boutique in Gilbert has been an amazing support of my business and has helped make a name for my company and helped me grow!
Donna Dudley with Wildlings Photo Co.