Meet and Love: Erin Condren
First things first, tell us a bit about yourself and your business.My name is Erin Condren and I am the Founder and Chief Style Officer of Erin Condren Design. I founded the company out of my children's playroom, designing holiday cards and baby announcements for family and friends. I launched the first version of the website in 2005, released the LifePlanner in 2007 and the rest is history! Though the logistics of the operation have changed and I'm no longer packing each box myself, the intention behind the brand hasn't...I'm still on a mission to fuse function with fun and add a dose of pretty to the practical, through colorful & stylish planners and organization essentials.
What was your biggest inspiration for starting your business?Motherhood changed everything for me. After years of working in the manufacturing business, I launched my own line of clothing in 2001, the same year I delivered my twins! Tragically, only six weeks after my twins were born, on September 11, 2011, I watched the twin towers collapse in New York. The economic uncertainty that followed, compounded by delays in the production of my line resulted in canceled orders and my lightbulb moment: my priority had to be the tiny babies who were counting on me. After just a few weeks of being at home full-time, I started to get cabin fever and really missed the energy and thrill of manufacturing. My babies were napping much of the day, so I started designing their birth announcements and thank-you notes to send out for all the gifts.
What is your favorite part about being your own boss?Now that executives are in place and we have incredible teams in L.A. and Austin, I love that I can focus on new products and listen to our community to see what they want. It’s so gratifying to hear stories of success from using our LifePlanner and other products; I just love that we can truly help people plan for tomorrow and celebrate today.
What is the most challenging aspect of being your own boss?I have to be honest; it's not easy! There's a lot at stake when it's your name on the door! Juggling work and family is something I've struggled with in the past. What's worked best for me, is to really set clear boundaries and timelines for when I'm "off limits." By clearly delineating when I put my "mom" hat on, I can really go all in on that role, as opposed to trying to do both simultaneously. Setting those boundaries and accepting that you can't do it all, at least not at once, is crucial.
Please take us through an average day in the life of Erin Condren.There truly is no "average" day and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way! I make breakfast for my kids each morning (they're driving now, so no school drop offs for me!), and try to squeeze in a workout before I head to the office. Once I get in, I go through a jam-packed series of exciting meetings from marketing to new product development to video shoots and more. After work, I race home to catch our son's water polo game and have dinner with my family. My husband is in the restaurant business, so if he's not cooking dinner for us, we love to go to his new Italian spot and enjoy the sunset on the patio. Every day is action packed with very little down time, but it's all I've every known and wouldn't change a thing.
What are your everyday essentials for when you’re on-the-go?I rely on my LifePlanner. My girlfriends laugh at me when I whip it out at dinner to plan our next girls night, but it truly is the cornerstone of my chaotic life. I zip my LifePlanner into my Folio with my Dual-Tip Markers and slide the whole folio into my bag; it's a foolproof way to make sure I'm always prepared! From a college counselor meeting for one of my kids, to a marketing campaign brief at work or even dinner with the girls, my LifePlanner comes with me!
What are your professional and personal goals for 2019?We have so much to look forward to in 2019! Professionally, I'm so excited to open our second retail store, look into future brick & mortar expansions, navigate how to better reach our European audience and continue to innovate on our product line. We have some exciting brand partnerships and collaborations in the works and I can't wait to see what else we can achieve! Personally, I'm focused on committing to staying strong and healthy through regular exercise and clean eating.
What is your favorite way to spend your free time?With my kids battling junior year of high school, I relish any time we get to spend as a family! I know the days and hours are truly precious so I savor every water polo meet and family dinner we share before I'm an "empty nester."
What have been your most significant obstacles and how have you overcome them?The biggest challenge in any business is rapid growth and scalability. Don't get me wrong...it's a great problem to have too many orders, but incredibly stressful to let down customers while trying to improve the engine. Just like you can’t fix a train going full speed, it was tough trying to fix the problems while the business grew 100% year over year.
What is your greatest piece of advice for new boss women? As women, we’re multitaskers by nature. However, sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves and get overextended. I believe we’re truly capable of anything, but perhaps not all at once. I encourage people to ask for help; there’s definitely strength in numbers. Create a squad that can help with kids, housework, and all the other commitments so that you can carve out alone time to be focused and productive.
Lastly, what does ‘love’ mean to you?Love is showing up and being there for the people you care about. Love is supporting someone both personally and professionally. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the love of my husband and the rest of my family. He took our twins to “mommy and me” so that I could spend time printing, collating and designing my initial product. He has always supported my ideas and dreams and for that I am eternally grateful.