Starting a Business and Having a Baby: The Boss Mom story behind Ogoouepalace
We mothers know that at that very moment when our children our born, everything changes forever. Almost instantly, the responsibility to ourselves and therefore our children becomes as clear as the vast, unmapped road ahead. I have often told people that Ogoouepalace was founded at “round about 4:05pm in late May of 2004, the moment my son Rohnin was born.”
I remember those first months as a new mother being really scared. I was scared that my life was over, that I no longer had my own time or that my dreams were going to be that much more difficult to achieve. Call it overdrive, call it mother’s instinct, whatever it was, I became driven like never before. I was able to take ten minutes and make it into twenty because I was so intent on getting my cashmere hat company off the ground, my focus was clear. I made Rohnin’s first cashmere baby blanket just a month before he was born.
It was a simultaneous rearing of Rohnin and Ogoouepalace. At first, it was slow and followed the rhythms of a blessed baby’s life-- a lot of starts and stops, steps forward and healthy growth. It was consistent, I stayed at it and we grew alongside each other. When I started this business, there weren’t ready-made web shopping carts; we had to build them. Those early years of owning a web business just at the time online shopping was brand new, was crazy. We literally had to make a new website every year for the first 6 years just to keep up with improved technology. Back then, you called me and I made your hat. If you were buying for a toddler, I knew exactly how fit sizes for growing little heads. Rohnin was always there, in the next room, the roar of knitting machines helping him doze to sleep; running around with various friends, stopping for the moment to let me catch a photo.
It hasn’t been “just me” since that very first year when you faxed me your orders and called me at home. Today, we're calling me Boss Mom and together we are a team of knitters and finishers, creatives and doers--we are our own family. We have two chocolate + cashmere stores in Santa fe and in Taos and a new production studio/marketing facility in the works. We are almost veritable teenagers. We are anxious and excited. Our growing pains can be awkward but gratefully, we are healthy.
When I asked Rohnin what he thought of the term “Boss Mom,” He said, well, “You are Bossy.”
“Of course,” I said, “All moms are bossy. What else?” I asked.
“Well there’s always papers around the house with your projects of things you’re working on. There’s always something in the car that’s cashmere or chocolate or something related to that.”
Initially, I thought to myself, ‘that was flat answer, perhaps he really doesn't know what I do in the day, how much of a responsibility it is be the queen of this village.’
But then I realized something that makes me feel content inside. He has been taken care of, I have been there for him. He hasn’t had to worry or wonder what his mom does all day. He knows-- he grew up alongside Ogoouepalace. And while it is sometimes uncool to remind him of this, it has been all of us at Ogoouepalace, and all of you, working for this, supporting us, and believing in our mission that has kept food on the table.
“We are making something useful, something with integrity, something beautiful; I feel proud.”
When I see these pictures Nicole made of us the other day, I think of how much fun it was to see him excited. He liked the idea of it and I think he may secretly like the term “boss mom.” In these images, we are at home and it’s after school. These days, as time is racing, when I am with Rohnin and he is truly giving me his time, I want to match it with mine. I don't want to be distracted. I want to really listen, to hear and to consider him. I feel that doing this deepens my ten minutes, making it more like twenty-- a secret weapon against the inevitable they grow way too fast factor-- something different from the intensity of focus I found 15 years ago. The quality is improving.
Sometimes, it is overwhelming to be the Boss, in some of the same ways it can be overwhelming to be a mom. I worry that it will all come crumbling down, that we will fail and it will hurt and it may be because I made a mistake. And then, I see what we have created together in the last 15 years. Wow. At Ogoouepalace, we are making something useful, something with integrity, something beautiful; I feel proud. At home, well, Rohnin is an incredible son and undoubtedly my greatest success story.
So with that, I want to thank you all for making me a Boss Mom. I really like my job. I really like my kid too. Happy Mother’s day to all of you working mothers. I hear you and I see you.
Happy 15th Birthday to Rohnin and Happy Birthday to you, Ogoouepalace. None of this would have happened without either of You.