One of the features we look forward to most here at SLP is our Inspiring Momma’s series! We love getting to know some of our favorite bloggers and business owners and learning more what life is like as a working momma for them. There is so much inspiration in the world and so much access to that inspiration. We adore hard working and creative women and Erin Ozer, owner of Knot & Bow, is that and so much more!
Erin launched Knot & Bow in July 2010, and what began as a part-time venture has evolved into a full-time business with products being sold in retail shops around the globe. We are completely smitten with their carefully curated collection of modern, nostalgic stationery goods including gift wrap and packaging, craft, office, and event supplies. Their products have been featured on the Martha Stewart Weddings blog, HGTV, Paper Crave, and Brides.com, to name just a few.
We are thrilled to introduce you to Erin and her two sweet little boys! Did we mention that Erin’s husband is a world famous photographer?! Chris Ozer was so sweet to capture these beautiful images for us!
1. Tell us the story of how Knot & Bow started.
I was just getting started in a career in arts administration, and then we decided to have our first son. When he was born, I didn’t want to leave him for so many hours a day, so we decided I would leave my job to raise him and try to think of a way to work on my own terms.
I had always admired working moms with successful online businesses, but never really thought I would have a more unconventional career. I spent the better part of a year testing business ideas — from jewelry to hand-dyed baby blankets to paper goods and what eventually became Knot & Bow. Once I settled on the concept and brand of Knot & Bow, things really clicked into place for me.
By the time I landed on that idea, we had been living off of one salary for a year and were pretty much broke. We pinched pennies to spend $200 on inventory, and I crossed my fingers I would make the money back to put back into the business. Now we have a studio space, 3 employees, and we’re expanding in exciting new ways. A dream come true.
2. What is one of your favorite parts of your job?
Oh gosh. I just feel so lucky every single day to be doing my job — I really love just about everything from the creative brainstorms down to the number crunching.
If I had to pick one thing, confetti testing is pretty high on the list. I mean, we actually sit there and pull tissue paper samples and cut things into different shapes and toss confetti until we find something we like. And it still makes us smile every time.
3. Motherhood alone is a full time job. How do you juggle your career, being a mommy and a wife?
The million dollar question. It’s been a progression for me. At first I ran the business out of my home with my son by my side, doing the heavy lifting during nap time and after he was in bed. When I started receiving wholesale orders and felt overwhelmed, we added some child care (we started with 6 hours a week, which I thought was a lot at the time!). Now we’ve found a really great balance between preschool, part-time babysitters, and alternating time off between my husband and I to watch the kids.
We are lucky in that my husband has been working freelance for about a year, so our flexible work schedules allow us to take time off as needed. Most of the time, I’m working a pretty traditional 9-5 schedule, but I can leave work early or take a day off if my husband is working. It’s all a big puzzle of child care and work hours, which can be stressful. But somehow we make it work!
Because our schedules are so flexible, I feel like I have it pretty good right now. My husband and I work out of the same space so we get to see each other a lot. My children stop by the studio after school to say hello. And I like my job, which is a big part of the equation. Life is good.
4. What inspires you?
I am so inspired by the city we live in. The bakeries near us wrap everything in baker’s twine, and our favorite sandwich shop uses butcher paper and string. These stood out to me as so charming and precious when we first moved here, and is some of the biggest inspiration behind Knot & Bow.
My husband and I have a new goal to carve out more time to spend with each other, getting inspired in the city. We’re aiming to take one or two days off each month to go to lunch, visit a museum, get refreshed and inspired together in this amazing city of ours. With kids, that personal creative time often lands on the cutting room floor, so we’re trying to enhance the creative input in our lives that we need to work creatively each day.
5. What is your philosophy as a mother?
I’m a pretty laid back mom. Our primary concern is the love and friendship we share with our kids. We try to keep an active lifestyle with the kids in New York, allowing them to experience all the city has to offer just as we love to. Chris and I work together to be on the same page with things like discipline and guidance — of course we still can’t get our children to share! 😉
6. What advice would you share with other mothers who want to have a career as well?
Give it a try. If you are hoping to start your own business, give yourself plenty of time to plan and get it right from the start. You only get one first impression. It is possible to balance a career with motherhood, and life with a new baby is an excellent time to kickstart something new in your life, whatever it may be.