Being a mom is hard. Starting a business is HARD. Imagine doing them BOTH AT ONCE?? I can barely maintain my personal hygiene while working and parenting so as you can imagine, I have long admired moms who seem to do it all. That’s why we launched MOMPRENEUR MONDAYS on the New Mom, Who Dis? Page- so we could celebrate small businesses run by moms with big dreams and an even bigger drive to make those dreams a reality.
Motherhood changes everything- your perspective, your priorities, and often, your career path. Michelle Obama calls it ‘swerving’ – evolving and shifting your goals for what best suits your life. For any mom who is thinking about serving, about starting something on her own, about building something from the ground up, I hope this interview series with incredible mompreneurs helps inspire you. I truly believe that if you can grow a human in your body, push it out and raise it to be a good person- you can do ANYTHING- including make your business dreams a reality.
MOMPRENEUR: Michele Alter
BUSINESS: The Doodle Roll, personalized oversized coloring rolls for kids
JESSI: What inspired you to start this business?
I started The Doodle Roll during the first COVID-19 lockdown, when the world and my bespoke stationery business—came to a standstill. In searching for ways to entertain my kids, I wanted to create a product that would keep them engaged and entertained beyond 15 minutes. During lockdown, my kids were overloaded with screen time and The Doodle Roll was a great creative outlet that allowed them to come down at the end of the day.
JESSI: What was your biggest fear about starting something on your own?
When I launched The Doodle Roll my greatest fear was that people wouldn’t care for the product or find it useful.
JESSI: It’s one thing to have an idea or a dream, it’s another thing to go out and make it happen- what gave you that push you needed to say, F*CK IT, I’M DOING THIS!
I felt like I had nothing to lose. My own children were really the driving force in starting the business as I saw how much they loved the product. I wanted other kids to enjoy it as much as they did, and I also knew that The Doodle Roll provided a much-needed break for parents.
JESSI: I hate asking moms this question (because dads NEVER get asked) but how DO you balance it all? What does your day-to-day look like?
Some days I don’t even know! I get my girls to school (whether virtual or in person) and always try to get a workout in first thing. I spend much of the day on the computer—for the most part I am either designing, working on product development and social media, or answering emails while also overseeing my team. I am fortunate to have a great group of people (mostly female) working to keep the Doodle Roll running smoothly. Once my kids are finished school, I take some time to hang with them until bedtime and as soon as they are sleeping, I get back to work and put in a few more hours. As a momtrepreneur there are not enough hours in the day, but I have an amazing husband who helps a whole lot, and it is truly teamwork that gets me through.
JESSI: What has been the most challenging part?
Rapid growth and keeping up with demand have by far been the greatest challenges. I started off doing everything myself from designing each custom Doodle to rolling and packaging in my basement. The business grew quickly and assembling a team remotely, securing warehouse space during the pandemic, and making sure that we could design, print and ship orders fast enough have been our biggest hurdles, thankfully we have made it work.
JESSI: What has been the most rewarding part?
Nothing makes me happier than seeing pictures of children working on their Doodles! When customers share photos my heart is full knowing that I created a product that brings children so much joy.
JESSI: What advice would you give to a fellow mom who is thinking of starting her own business?
Just do it! You will never know unless you try. The sense of accomplishment in having a successful business, seeing people enjoy your product, and setting an example for your children is worth all the blood, sweat, and (many, many) tears.