Episode 11: Leaving Law to Become a Gluten Free Baker, with Ilana Eck.

I continue to be impressed with the women who have taken time to come on this show, open up and give an in-depth look to some of the craziest times in their lives. Every guest has given me something new to take into my motherhood and career worlds and it’s something I can’t thank them enough for! Speaking of tips and tricks, this episode with Ilana Eck from Stylish Spoon is PACKED with honesty about the obstacles she has faced (personally and professionally) as well as one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard in a very long time! Ilana tells us how she transitioned to gluten free baker after being an attorney for over 12 years, how her friends and family have helped in unexpected ways and how she has navigated through COVID. One of the best parts, she gives our listeners an exclusive code to get 15% off any purchase (including subscriptions)!

I know you will find lots of action items and self confidence tips throughout this conversation! Make sure to follow Ilana and Stylish Spoon on Instagram, Facebook and check out their website!!

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11. Leaving Law to Become a Gluten Free Baker, with Ilana Eck

I continue to be impressed with the women who have taken time to come on this show, open up and give an in-depth look to some of the craziest times in their lives. Every guest has given me something new to take into my motherhood and career worlds and it’s something I can’t thank them enough for!

Full Transcript:

Dana:

Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your baby’s first I would have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings.

My name is Dana Graham and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 Hour Workweek cycle either until I did, as the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans made the terrifying and totally bizarre leap from health insurance broker to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and the newborn in tow. But I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds life doing it all amidst the chaos. All right, well, Ilana thank you so much for being here. I’m so excited to be chatting with you today and hear all about your business. So thanks for coming on.

Ilana:

Thank you so much for having me.

Dana:

Yeah, so okay we’re gonna start I just want you to give me a really quick overview of what stylish spoon is all about, just so that when we back up, we know where the end goal is right so give me an idea of where your business is right now and what you all do.

Ilana:

Okay so stylish spoon is a gluten free, dairy free, soy free bakery. All of our baked goods are made with super clean ingredients and what makes us different than other gluten free or dairy free bakeries is that we’re very thoughtful about what ingredients we add in, not just what we keep out so all of our baked goods are nutrient dense and that’s really important to me because being health conscious is one of my top priorities and pillars of my business.

Dana:

Awesome. So tell us about the actual store is everything online are you brick and mortar,

Ilana:

so everything is online. We’re an online subscription based company. And when we talk later about how I got started, it was sort of an accidental subscription based company but that’s what we have a lot of moms that are customers and they want really healthy. Easy foods breakfast snacks and all those things they want subscriptions so that they can order them and have them really easily delivered to their door, you and I are moms, it can be easy to forget to reorder something or make sure that you’re always fully stocked. So that’s what we have subscriptions online, and we’re most well known for our baked oatmeal cups, those are our signature. It’s like your favorite bowl of oatmeal, you can eat with one hand, and you can put them in your freezer and you pop them in the microwave or pop them in their kids lunches and they defrost by the time they get to school. And so that’s what we’re most well known for most of our subscriptions are for but we also have cookies and muffins and other healthy baked goods and different things that we’re adding to our product lines all the time. Perfect. Well, I

Dana: Obviously I knew that but I wanted listeners to know that so you can go and google her while you’re listening to this and order these because I feel like if you, you know, look at her website and see what she has going on as you’re listening, it gives you a really good picture of her company now and how you’ve gotten there so quickly. So walk me through what you were doing before you had any plans to become an entrepreneur, what did your life look like what was your day to day, how many kids do you have all the things,

Ilana:

so I’m a mom of two girls, I have a 10 year old and a five year old and five years ago, I was still practicing law as an appellate attorney, I practiced for a total of about 10 years. But 12 years, including, you know, time off for maternity leave, and all of that. And so, I was on maternity leave with my second daughter, and I had as a nursing mom, I couldn’t eat gluten, dairy, or soy, because I normally can’t eat gluten, but both of my girls actually when I was nursing couldn’t tolerate the protein and dairy or soy as infants, and not only that there were so many other things they couldn’t eat, I couldn’t eat anything that was too acidic like tomatoes or citrus like I had to cut so many things out of my diet, I felt like because they would have really bad reflux, and I felt like there was nothing I could eat my diet felt really joyless, and I used to joke that it was like the brown rice and banana diet because it was like I knew I could eat brown rice and bananas, and my kids would get sick but it was like there wasn’t much that much fun to eat right, and I tried to be mostly plant based, I do have some protein animal protein sometimes but it’s hard like you’re a mom, you know, it’s hard when you’re eating with one hand, to get a healthy snack, or breakfast or lunch or whatever other meal you’re trying to get in. And so I had this dilemma. And I was thinking, what could I eat, what can I make for myself that I can eat, and I thought back to when I was a kid and my mom used to make like these healthy baked oatmeal cookies, and I was alright well, I had been practicing law full time, right, but I was also feeling like I needed an outlet on the side and so I had been a recipe developer. And so I took that recipe development knowledge and I reverse engineered a recipe for baked oatmeal cups, and I put all the things in my diet that I wanted to get in I wanted to get coconut oil and because that’s really great for baby’s brain development and it’s really great for helping moms lose the baby weight because it helps speed up your metabolism, it’s really great for preventing dementia, I wanted to get oats or oats into my diet because it’s really great for naturally boosting your milk supply and as a nursing mom, it was really important. I wanted to get cinnamon in because it regulates your blood sugar but also it’s one of my favorite flavors in the entire world. I feel like cinnamon and maple syrup are the two things that feel like someone’s giving me a warm hug. And then it takes us to every dairy free, soy free chocolate but there was, and found the best one and I put that in, and I made these baked oatmeal cups and anytime someone was over I had one around that could hold the baby, and I had a few minutes, I would make a batch at my batch at the time was 34 I would then put them in the freezer and then every single weekday morning I would take two out, put them in the microwave for 60 seconds, and breakfast was done and I felt like it was like my moment of joy and the day, it brought the joy back into eating for me. Yeah, and I started giving them to my older daughter and I started bringing them to different breastfeeding groups, and mom groups that I was in anytime any of my friends had a baby or moved or anything I would bring them some and people started asking to order them, and they’re like, You should start selling these, and I took it as a really nice compliment and then I went back to work full time, right, when he was over, and I was sitting in the back of a storage room pumping like I’m sure you and so many other people when you’re back at work, and I was thinking, I don’t know maybe I should try to list them and just say how they helped me because one of the other things too is, they helped naturally boost my milk supply. They helped me get easily get nutrients in with one hand quick and easy than tasted great. But I also lost 45 pounds of baby wave in six months eating to every weekday morning, and I felt like I lost the weight a lot faster than I did with my first. And yeah, it was portion controlled and it was a way to get the nutrients in and keep my milk supply up, and still lose weight at the same time no of course I was walking as much as I could and I tried to plan my other meals for the rest of the day but they said that breakfast is really important to starting your day off on the right foot and I felt like that really set the tone for my day. So I was thinking like, what if I just told my story about how they helped me and listed them on a Facebook moms group and so that’s what I did that night I went home I snapped a picture in my kitchen of one on a plate, and then I listed them in a Facebook moms group, and the next day, my phone was blowing up but I was at work, I started getting all these DMS and messages about, you know, how could people order and delivery schedules and all the things that I hadn’t really totally thought out. and so then I you know I was really excited and I made it happen. And within two weeks I had orders for over 250 of them. Oh my gosh, I was making them from my home kitchen at the time so I would come home from work, sanitize my, you know, put my kids to bed, have a quick dinner sanitize my entire kitchen, and then I’d start baking and again my batch size then was 34 So it was pretty interesting to try to bake package, yeah and then put together everything in my own home kitchen that didn’t last for too long I soon moved to a commercial kitchen within a couple of months but that was really how I got started.

Dana:

Wow okay so a bunch of things here, and I want to back up just a little bit for two interesting points that I really want to touch on. So, first off, you casually just dropped in that you are a recipe developer, WHAT?! tell me a little bit about that because that clearly provides a little bit of background for what you do now. 

Ilana

Definitely. Yeah, so my mom died when I was really little. She was an amazing Baker so I’ve always had baking like in my DNA. I feel like that was, I’m the youngest of four, I felt like where I could get attention from my mom was being biocide in the kitchen and no one else was interested in it but me. And so I learned to bake from her, and I had that all and I felt like after she died, I baked even more because I felt like that was like my connection to her still where I found comfort, and then I went on a tour abroad, when I was in college, and it brought me back to baking like I was really lonely where I was I was in Israel in the desert, I didn’t have many friends around and I just started baking again, and I started eating healthier at the same time because I realized like how fragile life is when I was there in a country that has so much turmoil, and it really made me think about what I wanted to put into my body and it also, the way they eat, they’re so different than how they eat here and so I naturally started taking different cooking classes when I was there reading everything I could on health and nutrition, and then when I got back here. I started taking recreational classes so I’m not a classically trained chef, I’m self taught, but I have taken classes on how to make macaroons how to cook with, You know, macrobiotic ingredients and you see we need to replace, you know, different things, um arrow roots and, and a lot of different ingredients that gluten free bakers now use right and so I had that and then, when I was practicing law I, my sister in law actually encouraged me because I was so interested in food and health and wellness and entertaining and cooking, she was like, You should start a blog so I started a blog, and it was just this thing I had on the side and then I decided one day that I was going to pitch the magazines and I pitch magazines and I started getting hits and I developed a whole bunch of recipes for vegetarian times, which was on and, you know, they’re a publication I love and they’re super healthy, and so that was a really fun one, and so I had been doing that on the side so I already had this platform, online, where I had a blog, so it made it a lot easier for me to then sell because then you know I was on WordPress so then I could just ran a plug in WooCommerce and I could start selling when I sold oatmeal cups on there, I’m no longer on that, you know, but that was how I got started and that made it easy to transition into that from blogging to then selling something online.

Dana:

Well it’s interesting because this is clearly, you know so many people that start to become an entrepreneur like oh yeah like I didn’t even know that that was really a job until I saw the need and it became, you know my business and ran this huge thing but this is clearly such a passion project for you and something that’s been in your life for so long and I think sounds like it took you a little bit to realize that hey I want to make a business out of it. I mean, did you have a hard time kind of justifying like this has been my hobby. This is my connection to my mom this is something that I do for fun, too then transitioning into a business and your livelihood because I feel like that could be a difficult decision to make, especially you know having an emotional connection to this hobby.

Ilana:

Yes, it was but it sort of naturally happened, you know, after I decided to take that jump into start making and selling something, I let it grow naturally, it was very organic and so people started, you know, people would buy them and then they said loved them. I want to order them again and then I would take feedback from anyone that I could get ask everyone about them you know about the ordering process the packaging like, you know, any market research, I could do from people who were ordering, I took all that in. And I use that to grow and to learn and to evolve over the next year, but to when I transitioned to not practicing law anymore and deciding I was going to give that up. It got to the point where it was big enough that I couldn’t do both anymore. Right. It got to the point where, you know, I told you like what my process was when I would come home early days, right, but in the later days when I had a lot more orders. I would go to work all day I would bring my lunch I would bring my dinner. I would eat dinner at the office before I left to then go up to my kitchen in Harlem, I would have a babysitter put my kids to bed and I would bake until two in the morning after work. And then, you know, maybe one or two in the morning and then I would get home and a lot of what you don’t realize when you’re starting a business is that like okay there’s the baking and making the product and the packaging the product but then you have to get the product to everyone and it was in New York City. I hadn’t been shipping yet right now we ship everything so everything goes, yes and everyone gets it in one to two days. There’s ups pickups, it’s much easier in those early days, I hand delivered or messenger and everything. And so there was like a whole schedule that had to be made about like where to deliver and, You know, and if you’re in New York City, there’s obviously, you know, can you deliver to this building to the doorman or what, you know, like, some logistics, and so I would then go out before work and deliver the Upper West Side ones, I would hire hired a TaskRabbit, to deliver the downtown and the Upper East Side ones. And so it was like this coordination or I would bring them to work and then have a TaskRabbit pick them up, and I did that for a long time, about a year and a half I did both and oh

Dana:

my gosh,

Ilana:

and it was exhausting and then there was this day where you know I started getting into some smaller stores and I would have to do demos and sample the products, so I would take a half day off of work, or rather, on my lunch hour and do it, or 45 minutes. And, you know, there were all these things that took a lot of energy, obviously, but then there came a time when there was this buyer showcase and I knew Whole Foods and the buyers were going to be there, and I had felt like I took off a lot of time from work and it wasn’t inappropriate time but just as someone who doesn’t normally take time off other than two vacations a year maybe when I was working in the legal world and it was like you know coordinated with my husbands and just to take some random days even though I had that I felt not indulgent, but you know I was worried about how it’d be perceived. And so, I was going to skip this buyer showcase and my husband was like what are you doing, you have to go and just hear the feedback that they’re going to give you so that you even know what direction you should be going in and maybe you want to maybe you don’t. But that’s definitely people in the industry, where you know that know at Whole Foods and you want to see what they have to say and meet them. And so I took the day off from work, and I went and I got amazing feedback from Whole Foods, and they really liked my product and I had pre pandemic we had been talking about getting my product and, to some of their stores, things have obviously changed a little. Yeah, but to get that feedback from them about the taste and the ingredients and everything else was really validating for me, as a company, and I felt like that gave me the push that I needed to then say, okay, now I have to choose because there are going to be these opportunities like this coming up, and I need to be available for them.

Dana:

Yeah. And so, you know, as you’re moving through this Your days are long, like over 18 hour days. Every day, I mean, when did you see your kids like how did you justify missing time like in the evenings when you’re going straight from work to going to bake. How did you justify that, was there an end goal here of quitting, of not being a lawyer anymore. Did you know like, hey, if I put in this time now. I’m gonna be able to run my own business and control my schedule at the end of the rainbow.

Ilana:

I mean, that was the vision, but also it wasn’t every night so it was two nights a week that I did that and the other guys per week, I could do things from home after my kids went to bed like some good things like that so it was two days a week that I baked. I’ve always made it so that there’s boundaries set up so that I won’t lose my mind. Yeah, I feel like as mom, and people in general, it’s really important to have boundaries in life, and I tried to do that for my business and of course, I worked many many hours, but some of the boundaries were that, you know, I didn’t see my girlfriend’s for dinners, I didn’t go to social gatherings, nearly as much as I wanted to for the, for the year and a half that I was doing both, especially because I wasn’t going to have someone else put my kids to bed so many nights and there were I knew there were already two nights that was happening, so maybe it would be that pre growing my business, maybe I would have gone out to dinner with someone, or gone to a show or done something else, I wasn’t doing those things because I knew that I wanted to be home in the nights that I was not going to be at the kitchen.

Dana:

I like that tangible way to create a boundary right there, that’s the thing you gave up and you decided to give up because I feel like, you know, you hear all kinds of moms were like oh well you know you have to make a lot of sacrifices and you have to be able to pick and choose and blah blah blah but they don’t really say how they did that, I like that you know exactly what it was that made you be able to kind of take a step back and say hey this is what I need to do to make sure that my balance is where I wanted to be with, you know, raising my kids, and in starting this business. So speaking of your family like what do they think about this. You said your husband clearly was really supportive, what are your girls think out as you know, your parents like what’s the whole family picture of you being an entrepreneur.

Ilana:

So my daughters are so in to my company. I mean, not only do they love my product, like my 10 year old is the chief taste tester of the company. She has this remarkable palette, she can tell if there’s like, you know, five extra grams of salt in a batch of cookies like she remarkable pear palette, she can taste nuanced flavors in different things so I have replaced everything and that’s why I say everything by our company is mom made and Kid approved, because it’s like truly she is the kid approving Yes, and my little one just, she likes whatever her sister likes and so they love having, like, you know, stylish doing T shirts and carrying the bags and my girls will be at lunch being like look I have an oatmeal cup my mom makes these they’re really good you should order them they’re like my little people. Hilarious. I’ve actually gotten orders because other moms will say like oh my kids came home to asking for these because your kids have them it’s

Dana:

so fun 

Ilana:

and it’s so funny, you know, they’ll tell them that they play tennis, they’ll tell their tennis coach like oh you’re eating a bar, you shouldn’t open a cup, it’s so much better than a bar topic that is amazing. It’s amazing. Yeah, they’re like better salespeople than i am

Dana:

that’s so cool like they have all these, I mean they already have all these skills and they’re building all these things that they don’t even realize it’s going to serve them so well later in life and, you know, seeing you do this. Oh, I feel like I want to cry like that’s so exciting for you that you have something that you know your kids can, first off, be involved in, but those are tangible skills that they’re building already, you know, five and 10 So I think that’s so cool.

Ilana:

I know this wasn’t totally relevant to what you just asked me in terms of how does my family feel and I’ll tell you about the rest of my family because they’re all orders except for my dad and took a little while to come around, but there’s a story of one time there was something that was totally botched I ordered packaging for this, these new cookies that we were launching last March, and the packaging came in, completely wrong, it didn’t fit on the machine, it wouldn’t go around the cookies, and I had an event where I needed to hand out 2400 packages of cookies, and I was like, What am I going to do I have 48 hours to solve this problem. So, I ended up having a designer quickly create a sticker for me the label for every package. I found a company in New York City that can print labels in 24 hours. I ordered them by messenger them to myself, but then someone had to put them on right so I called my best girlfriends, I was on a wellness committee at my daughter’s school, and three of the moms from the committee became my best friends, and they were all wellness healthy Mama’s, and I’m like, I will make you green juice, I will make you tea I will make a new cocktail whatever you’d like where you come over and help me sticker these, and my girls were still awake. And, you know, my three friends came over, and we’re spread out across my huge kitchen counter that we were all set up at and my girls were awake and all of us, all five of us were stickering, mostly because we’re stickering all of the packages 2400 And we got them, we had at this FedEx deadline we had to get it to FedEx by 8pm and have the boxes filled, it was just this event where all the samples had to be there before we got there, right, and everyone did it and I remember I have some pictures and I remember looking around the table, and I was like, you know, my girls aren’t having a night room reading to them right now they aren’t having a night where they’re doing normal kid things but they’re seeing that I needed help and I called my friends and my friends came through for me. And not only my friends, my kids and we all sat there stickering things together like It’s like one of the highlights of my business in my memory, even though it was such a hard day, because so many things went wrong, because that was like, oh my god look at all these amazing people that I have in my life that are supporting me and helping me and also what I’m showing my girls can happen if you all band together because you can’t always do everything yourself.

Dana:

That is the just the greatest story I’ve ever heard ever I’m. First off appreciative that you recognize that and you took the time to take a couple of pictures and be like, Hey, this is really cool, and recognize it in the moment because I think so many times, you know, you could have easily been so stressed in that moment that you didn’t even realize what was really happening, right, you didn’t even know that your girls were picking up on so many cool life lessons, and you just miss the moment because you were so stressed and so I love that you kind of were able to take a breath and and see how impactful that’s going to be for them and I just, I think that’s amazing. So, yes, that is, I’m so glad that you shared that.

Ilana:

There’s plenty of moments I didn’t catch that I’m like I’m thankful that I did, yeah as well good. So

Dana:

you mentioned your dad took a while to come around, I like that. Obviously we don’t like to highlight you know people not being on board and gung ho from the beginning, but it’s important because a lot of times, people aren’t necessarily so tell me the story there.

Ilana:

So, I’m a first generation American, both my parents, parents, and so they had very specific ideas in their head about how you could be successful and the path to success in America, and in my dad’s, it was being a professional, it was being a doctor, or being a lawyer or, you know, obviously there were lots of other ways to be successful but to my dad, that was an easier path, even though it was hard in terms of studying, it wasn’t like you had to be an entrepreneur who had connections or who was great at networking or good at sales or different things like that, it was like you could study hard, you could get good grades, you could have mentors and you could follow this path, and so that’s what he wanted for us, right, as all the kids in my family and I went to law school. And I did that. And when I was not happy practicing law and I’ll tell you the main reason I wasn’t happy practicing law is because I’m a collaborative person by nature. Unfortunately, by its very nature law has is adversarial. And so you’re fighting with people all day, and you know you’re doing it obviously in a mannered organized way, and some of what I liked was, you know, brief writing and persuasive writing and all of that. But my job ended up being fighting with other attorneys on the phone for a good portion of the day, and I hate it, it

Dana:

 I mean that’s got to be so draining

Ilana:

and it’s not that I wasn’t good at it, I want to talk to one of my friends that and we had, I was, I worked for the government so we had cubes not our own offices and she heard me on Monday and she was like, you’re really good at it and I was like, but I get off the phone and I feel so depleted, and I feel like anxious and it like shook my core, you know, I, I felt agitated after every time I had to have an argument or a call like that, and I don’t want to build things, I don’t want to tear them down and tear people apart, and I felt like that’s what I had to do every day and I hated. And, you know, my dad was like, Oh, just try a different area of law and I tried lots of different areas of law, like I tried four different areas. And my goodness, you know, I finally ended up in appeals and I liked that the most because it was, it was more writing. But when I decided to do this, my dad was like, you know, That’s it. That’s it after law school after all that you’ve built after you know where you’ve gotten in your career and promoted and all of that like you’re just going to give it up. And, to him it wasn’t like he was a different generation where it was like, but I’m not happy. You know every day I’m not happy, and I don’t know if I admit this to a lot of people other than like, You know my sister and my husband but there were days when I was practicing law, especially as a new mom and I was like, kind of wish that like I got sick, and I could be home. And I think that’s like one of the worst things in the world that you could possibly think especially as someone who’s like health is so important to me. Like I knew I had hit such a low point when I was hoping that I had like some sort of mild illness that would make me not have to go into work anymore.

Dana:

Yes, I know for a fact i There are people who have felt the exact same way. And I think that’s a really good kind of starting point and sign to see and recognize that like, especially for you as you know, health and so important to you, it’s, it’s, that’s, that’s bad news, right, that’s bad news if you’re the narrative that your, your mind is telling yourself so I’m glad that you’re about So did you kind of pitch it to your dad that way or did he just wait until this is kind of taken off and now he’s come around or

Ilana:

so, it didn’t. So, how it shook down was my dad is a man of science because he was a doctor, and so a few months after I left and he was really cranky about it and everything he was like cookies you know he was like really crotchety old man. He passed away about two years ago, but he was funny, but he was cranky like we used to call him like Grumpy Perry, like, a few months after I left the law to do this full time and to grow the stylish spoon brand. I stopped taking my anxiety meds which I had been on since I had been in law school, and I needed very much when I was at school I was having panic attacks, because I was putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, and to be in, you know, when you’re in law school and you have to be in the top 10% of your class in order to get a job or to order to get on law review or all these different things that you’re aiming towards, and it was just a lot of pressure for me. And so, when I stopped practicing law I was like let me see if I can go off of that and so I went off of my meds, and I actually took a few months of not putting any pressure on myself, to grow my business and to just adjust to this life and this new normal of, you know, not being in in the legal world anymore. And I made sure that I went to bed and fed myself well I went for long walks, because I knew that if I was going to go off the meds I needed to come up with other self care, words. Yes. And so I did that, and I was able to go off my meds, I haven’t had a panic attack since that’s been several years but I called my dad and this was like the pivotal conversation that I had was, you know, I told him, I’ve been off my meds for two months and I’m fine. I haven’t had any. And he was like, wow, and then every time I would call my dad after that he would like repeat that to me for like the next month, he’d be like, so like that’s it, no anxiety no panic attacks and like, Of course I have anxiety in my life, anxiety in their life, but it was a normal manageable level, yet I didn’t need medication to handle and it was because I was living life more in alignment with my purpose and what I liked doing. And so I just had that and that’s what made him come around to it.

Dana:

Well, I’m so sorry to hear about, about your dad’s passing but I do feel really happy for you that you had this arc of him not being in line with what you’re wanting and then finally seeing that hey this is the best decision for you because I feel like, you know, having that closure, but a little bit of closure for you, mental health wise I feel like that has to make a huge difference in what you’re doing day to day and knowing that he was totally on board, so that’s fantastic. Yeah.

Ilana:

A few years later, we know when when I started to grow the business a lot and my dad was actually really interested in both things. So, definitely. In the end,

Dana:

that’s so great and you know the support from family and friends does make a huge difference in keeping you going, especially if you have setbacks or things that change and to know that they’re on board and are the ones that kind of lift you up even when you’re like, Oh, what am I doing, you know, they’re the ones that kind of pull you out is so important and so nice that you had a network of, you know, girls and your husband and your dad to do that for you. Okay, so I want to rewind to one more thing that you talked about at the very beginning so when you were bringing them to your like your breastfeeding groups and these moms were taking them, like hey you should sell these. And you said you took it as a compliment, but didn’t think anything of it. What did they say back where they like no serious you need to do this, was there anybody that really made you think, okay, maybe I’ll give it a shot like was there one person that kind of made you realize that this was something you should just try.

Ilana:

 There were three or four people that were like, No, I’m serious. And not only do I think you should sell them I will be your first customers. So it was like, if you make them and put this out there, You won’t be a total flop right away because you’ll already have four people who are looking for me right, and there were four people who were in different places in different groups, it’s not four in one group. All right. And so that was really persuasive to me. So when I was sitting there thinking about doing it because when you put this thing out into the universe, you’re like oh my god flops and no one hears that, but I was like okay well I already put this out there, I know I have some people who are going to be buying this and want it, and it would help them. So, I’ll give it a try.

Dana:

Yeah, and I asked I don’t want it to come back to it because I think it’s really important to hear, as that friend, right, so anybody that’s listening to this podcast, you can be that friend for somebody. Yeah. So much of what I wanted to do when starting this podcast was to make sure that everybody knows that you can start something, it doesn’t have to be a replacement for your nine to five, if you don’t want it to be, it could be something just on the side, or it could turn into a huge company like what you’ve built, but there has to be somebody that believes in you and kind of pushes you to make that happen and look how much your life has changed, you know from working in a job that you weren’t satisfied in and something that you didn’t like doing every day. Two now doing something that totally aligns with you from since you were a tiny, little girl, and I think it’s so important to remember that those people that kind of encouraged you and said No really, hey, I mean it, sell these. Anybody can be that person, right, anybody can support their friend in that way and say Hey, I recognize that you have this abi. You should see what it could do for your life. All it takes is one conversation, it doesn’t take. I mean, in their case it did take money because they paid, but that encouragement doesn’t cost anything except for one conversation and you don’t have to be any kind of special person to have that conversation with somebody else if, you know, if you see somebody posting something really cool that helped you on their Instagram story. Maybe it was, you know, a mom hack or something like that. Encourage them say hey this helped me like you should consider telling more people about it, I think so often we absorb so much information especially on social media that does help you I mean, social media can be a dark place, but a lot of times if you find the right people, it’s really encouraging but if they don’t know that they’re encouraging someone they’re not going to keep doing it so I just wanted to come back to that because I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately and I, and I’m so glad that you had those women tell you that this was something that you could do.

Ilana:

I love that you pointed that out and highlighted it, and my sister often does that like she someone else. My sister’s one of my biggest supporters, but she will often send me articles of different things that people do and there’s lots of different ways that you could take it, someone could take it like, oh my god, like the way that you said social media can be a dark place. I tried to think of it as a really inspirational place like instead of things comparing myself because going to person is the thief of joy. I always quote. Instead, be inspired by people see other women doing things and be like, I could do that too. Wow, look at what they’re doing. Look at what they’re building look at what they’re growing look at, you know how they’re marketing something or advertising something or taking these photos and just be curious and inspired by it but my sister sends me articles all the time of different things that people are doing or different crafty ways they grew their company. There was someone you know my cookies were supposed to launch and all these different stores, pre pandemic, Right, a big supermarket chain, but people weren’t sampling things during the pandemic and so a lot of stores canceled course, and my sister sent me this article on these people who had a cereal company that was funded and so they had to launch it and they couldn’t sample in stores. So in Westchester they started handing out samples in their driveway and they got some sort of like long contraption that dropped into people’s windows and it was like Oracle steel during the pandemic, reading about people doing creative things like that, it’s like, oh my god they figured it out, you know, it wasn’t perfect, the best but like my sister always sends me amazing things like that. That just gives me an inspiration or something to think about and encouragement. And so, you can also be that to someone else in their life, and share that when you have different articles that people give you or when you see different things that are inspiring on social media.

Dana:

Yeah, and that’s, that’s amazing that you have her and I think, too, as the person that’s receiving that information. Early in my business me, I was a very defensive business owner, right, I was like no, this is what I have. This is my plan. This is what I know I want to do and this is how I’m going to succeed. And when people really close to me, especially my husband would be like hey why don’t you try this but what I’d be like, no, no, my idea is just fine, you know, and I got I would get defensive about it but I think being really open and saying like hey that’s a great idea, how can I pivot it to make it work for me and my business, if you have the time and capability to do so, instead of saying like, I have my own way that I’m going to do it and it’s gonna be just fine like why do you think you know I need to do something better. I think early on I felt very defensive and and as a business owner you kind of have to be defensive of your brand and your company in some regards, and I think I took that a little bit too far, the beginning. And so I think now it’s reined in and a little bit more controllable but you have to kind of make sure that you’re keeping an open mind when people are just trying to help do.

Ilana:

Yes, I agree, but I also think that what you’ve done is also important because a lot of times you do need to keep the blinders on and there is so much coming at you, that to be able to filter it out, and you can’t say yes to everything you have to notice some things you have to say, You know I can’t do, every, I can do some things very well I can’t do everything very well like when I was talking before about giving up certain things like in my social life, especially for that year and a half, I used to be someone that loved buying kids birthday gifts and making them like the perfect birthday gift not just for my kid for other people’s gifts and then wrapping them in really beautiful ways and it was like a since you know starting my company, I do a lot of wrapping like I buy from stores that wrap really nicely. I make sure I put lots of thought and care into my own kids gifts I want them to give nice gifts to other kids too, but like it’s not going to be like the most elaborate wrapping job for someone else’s, you know differ just another kid in my kids class, it’s going to be a nice gift that my kid helps pick out of the store wraps. It’s a fast sacrifice that I’m having

Dana: right yeah and I think being realistic about your time and what you need to be spending it on is super important too. Yes. Okay, so my only real last question here is, can you walk me through kind of the biggest struggle you’ve had since starting styler spoon. Was it something, you know, working through mental blocks was it, time management, was it, learning about marketing and the product like was probably the most difficult thing to overcome or that you’re still working on overcoming as a business owner,

Ilana:

I feel like there are so many, and you didn’t give me this. And so, like I already have something thought out, this is totally going to be straight from the heart, I will say there’s so many things that I’ve had to learn, and especially since I didn’t go to business school, but I’m growing. And I’ve had to learn marketing, I’ve had to learn social media I’ve had to learn all these different things, but I will tell you that. The thing I will, I think would be most helpful for me to share is, I had to overcome the way I thought about myself, instead of thinking about myself as someone who was limited by not having these educational pieces I instead thought about myself, as what I am now which is I am a CEO, and I’m very good at solving problems. And so there are going to be problems, there’s going to be packaging mishaps there’s going to be marketing mishaps there’s going to be bad hires there’s going to be bad consultants that I work with, there’s going to be great ones too, but there’s going to be things that happen. And I have to have the confidence in myself to know that whatever happens, I will handle it. And once I started thinking of myself like that, I started being like that, and I really think that thoughts become things, and believe. I do a lot of self work with meditation and staying calm in my mind and it’s helped me so much in my business that I feel like that’s the best thing that I could share with anyone else is think of yourself, exactly as you want to be. And then you will be more like that. It may take, you know, smaller steps. And day by day, where you say that to yourself, the more your subconscious will act in that manner and you will be that.

Dana:

I love that. And so how, how did you get really involved with that is that something you, you know, read about was it somebody online that you saw that was teaching something like that. How did you get started with that.

Ilana:

So, one of my friends and I, she’s also an entrepreneur, and this is another tip that I have is, find other entrepreneurial women, and I love to go for power walks, I like to be a multitasker she and I go for power walks pre pandemic every Wednesday morning. Now we do it on the phone, and we both in time and we take an hour and we talk about our kids and motherhood and entrepreneurship and what we’re reading and what we’re doing, and one day she said to me, this was two years ago, someone said that if you don’t have time to meditate for 10 minutes a day that you should be meditating for 15 minutes a day. And she’s like I read that quote, it was in one of the books she had read, because we always share like what are you reading right now, and I was like, Maybe we should start meditating and then I started researching a little bit and I was like, let’s be each other’s accountability partners, and we’ll start meditating and we each did our own and we each had separate apps we were doing, I was using headspace she was using calm, I’ve seen lots of different things, but we started meditating, and we’ve been doing it for almost two years now, and I feel like that is something that has made such a huge difference and it’ll be different things that I need at different times during this pandemic especially, I found that sometimes I need more positive affirmations in the morning and that’s my meditation, sometimes I just need quiet time and that’s my meditation, but every single day after I meditate, I screenshot a picture of my window, or a candle or whatever I was looking at I send it to her, she sends me her screenshot of her app, and we’re accountability partners and I feel like that has helped me so much, to have someone to keep me on that track, just that idea that she threw to the table one day kind of, and that I grabbed on to was clearly something we both needed and we both made huge gains in our business because of it.

Dana:

Yeah and I think it’s a Really good point to say that you have an accountability partner because I feel like I have definitely tried to like, maybe not necessarily meditate, I’ll take the time to sit and reflect and like my brain is just racing that’s what goes out the window first. And if I had somebody that was keeping on me about me sure I’m doing that every week I think it would be it would be really crucial, so maybe that’ll be my homework after this, after this conversation to get on it. 

Ilana:

Also, my advice is don’t judge yourself for it there’s days when my head isn’t clear during my job, and there’s some days when you know she and I will both text each other that we had a really crappy meditations that day and then there’s sometimes we have like pure bliss and complete clarity on something or complete silence. And so, you know, it’s just going to ebb and flow like everything else in your life right so just do it, and then see where it gets you.

Dana:

That’s amazing. Well, thank you so much for coming on. I am such a powerful conversation and I feel like we touched on so many things are so many topics to unpack here so I’m really excited for everybody to hear it so tell everybody where they can find you on the line.

Ilana:

You can find us online at stylishspoon.com, you can spoon with us on Instagram @stylishspoon, And you can place orders, stylishspoon.com/order, and that’s where you can find us.

Dana:

Yeah, so we are so excited to share this with everybody and if you have any questions please make sure to reach out to me all the show notes will be here you can go and find her information all in the show notes on the blog and Ilana also has a promo code for everybody listening today, so a lot of why don’t you give us that and where we can enter it in on your website.

Ilana:

Yes, absolutely you can use the code, amidstthechaos15 for 15% off any order on our website, including our subscriptions, which means that you would get 20% off plus free shipping. If you sign up for one of our subscriptions online on stylishspoon.com .

Dana:

So I am so pumped I know so many listeners are going to be taking advantage of this I can think of three breastfeeding mamas off the top of my head that are looking for ways to boost their milk supply so I know all those oatmeal cups are going to come in handy so thank you so much again for joining me and we will talk to you soon.

Ilana:

Thank you so much for having me, it was great chatting with you.

Dana:

I am so honored you spent any minutes of your day listening to me babble about living this entrepreneurial life amidst the chaos in any mom’s normal day to day. If you love what you’ve heard and read more snippets of knowledge about this mob boss life, head over to our website at amidstthechaospodcast.com for show notes and links to anything mentioned in today’s episode. If you’re really feeling inspired, it would mean the world to me and my family if you take the time to rate and review. Thanks for joining me, amidst the chaos.

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