Co-founders and BFF’s Amri Kibbler & Katya Libin created Heymama to bring modern moms together to talk about the juggle between work and motherhood...something Monica Botkier knows well. VERY well.
Read on as Monica chats balance and mom life with the lovely ladies behind this community of empowered women. Cause we’re ALL about the girl power.
How did Heymama come about? Tell us the origin story.
Katya: Heymama started because Amri and I met as new mamas and were so hungry to connect with another mom who understood us. We started heymama after years of friendship and wanting to meet more women like us who were passionate about things outside of motherhood (as awesome as our kids are!).
What is it like to work with your bestie, creating a dynamic community for entrepreneurial women and mom bosses? Sounds like a dream come true!
Katya: It really is. We feel really lucky to know we always have each other’s back and can rely on each other and that goes way beyond work. There are also times that we pinch ourselves because what we get to do has such a great feel-good energy to it and sharing that with someone you love so much is a privilege. It’s like having a work sister. For sure.
What's the most important thing to both of you right now?
Katya: For me, it’s balance. I love re-centering myself to face the day and bring my best self and be a great mama to my little girl who needs more and more the older she gets. It’s definitely top of mind for me on a personal level. On a professional level, it’s to continue to work with highly creative and passionate women who dream big.
Amri: I’m really working on being present and in the moment, as things get busier and busier. It’s been a real struggle for me, to focus where I am right then and not get swept into what “needs to be happening next”. Making sure the people in my life feel that I’m there with them and really a part of what’s happening. Professionally, the people are really important to me right now too, making sure we’re really making a difference for how women feel on the daily. That’s important to me. That’s why we started this and as the business grows, there are so many things to take care of, but the women are why we do this.
What is your advice to other women starting businesses, or embarking on new ones (post becoming moms)? Is there such thing as balance?
Katya: Yes, there really is. I think everything we do is a choice and how and what we spend our energy on is one too. Although it may seem tempting to work until the last minute of every day on your computer, and from the first minute you wake up (or are woken up by little chirping munchkins), sometimes for me at least, I get more done and feel way happier when I don’t do that. So, my advice is, don’t overwork yourself. There is no second chance on life. The emails will be there. The to-do’s will be there. But that 30 minutes with your daughter or husband or really yourself, might not.
Amri: I agree with what Katya said, but I think that recognizing that sometimes there isn’t “balance” and forgiving yourself when that happens is important too. Balance isn’t about “having it all”, it’s about being content and grateful for what you have while feeling motivated to achieve goals.
What would you say is the main mission of Heymama?
Katya: To connect and inspire working moms everywhere.
Why do you think women and community are center stage right now? What are the highlights and challenges you’ve experienced in creating this space?
Katya: I think women and community have always been a part of society, going back thousands of years. It’s the oldest concept in the book as we are gatherers, but right now we are speaking up more. We are not competing, we fight together. We don’t step over, we step in harmony. It’s this radical shift in the past century as looking at women as enablers instead of stifles’ that will allow us to break ceilings. Of course, our current administration has also woken us up to the injustices that women and people of color face. The transgressions of some of Hollywood’s most notable is a part of this chapter in history, where we didn’t close our eyes to what we always thought was just the way it is.
The highlights in this space are that the women are incredibly warm and loving and giving. We’ve encountered so few bad eggs. In terms of challenges, I think women still face challenges securing funding and going that route, I think that will change, but it is still a predominantly male dominated industry.
Amri: Well of course politically for so many reason women’s rights and the way we are being treated has come to the forefront of the media. The challenge to our rights by the current administration's less than stellar support has caused women to band together even tighter and realize we need to support each other and make changes happen on our own and that we can do that, that we have that power.
I do believe that mothers have always had that kind of support for each other. There is something about meeting another mother and wanting her to achieve and shine! You really see each other, the challenges every mother faces as they try to build a business with their relationships, kids, financial and looking for support. From the start we’ve had such an outpouring of women wanting to give us advice and get involved in heymama and that’s really what we are all about.
How do you define the term “influencer”?
Katya: A women whose style and suggestions you trust, because she has wonderful taste.
Amri: Hmmm… that term gets used so much right now. For me a real influencer is someone whose personal style is so strong it imprints on you. You pin her, book mark her, take her picture, ask her for her decor tips.
How does fashion play into your busy lives? Have a favorite Botkier accessory?
Katya: I wear my backpack everywhere, all day, every day, so something that can fit my laptop and a bunch of other stuff is KEY. The Jagger tote is timeless, and can fit my 13’ MacBook air, and probably a pair of flats.
Fashion is a fun creative outlet in my daily life, I’ve discovered my style in my 30’s and it’s great to not stress out about what you’re going to wear because you know what works for you.
Amri: Fashion is fun for me! I love playing with colors and layering things. To be honest, it’s not something I think too much about anymore. I spent years as an editor tracking trends and now I buy what I like and trust my instincts to wear it how I feel at the moment. Fashion for me now is about personal style more than what’s hot at the moment.
I love the new Cobble Hill Crossbody in the seafoam colorblock. It’s the perfect thing to add a kick to a basic outfit and pull it all together.