Q&A: Erin Condren
Meet Erin Condren, the Founder & Chief Creative Officer of ErinCondren.com. She’s a successful entrepreneur, mother of two and all around inspiring woman! We asked Erin some questions about entrepreneurship and how she balances work with family life.
Tell us about your booming company, ErinCondren.com.
In an age where technology and social media have infiltrated every aspect of life, I took a chance on “old-school” paper products that help make every day just a bit more organized, stylish and colorful. Back in 2005, I found myself a stay-at-home mom with a fluctuating sleep schedule and cabin fever. Fueled by endless coffee and a strong background in the fashion industry, I designed a line of note cards and birthday gifts that I hoped would bring joy to my friends and family. What has transpired since then is truly amazing.
I started this company out of my children’s playroom, writing a personal thank you note to each customer and packing every box myself. Since then, Erincondren.com has evolved into a dynamic company that ships thousands of happy packages across the world. A state-of-the-art printing center in Los Angeles, CA allows us to explore endless possibilities, printing our bold designs and fun color combos on life planners, notebooks, stationery, canvases, acrylics and so much more. I am so excited to be able to continue to expand our collections; we love to collaborate with customers to produce truly original pieces that promise to infuse each day with color and coordinate the chaos of daily life.
Amazing! What does a normal work day look like for you?
Some days at work are what I call, Presidential. As the President of a company with more than 100 employees, I find that a scripted schedule in my Life Planner helps me stay on track.
My company occupies 40,000 square feet of a state of the art printing/production facility and my office is on the second floor. Some days I am literally running through the halls and up & down stairs to connect with the many departments.
Sounds busy and exciting! How do you dress for work?
If I’m not seeing clients or having meetings outside the office, I like to dress comfortably in fabrics that don’t restrict me in any way, but always stylish. I discovered the Beyond Yoga collection at Anthropologie one day and was drawn to the unbelievably soft fabrics and casual, yet fashionable flair. I love to add a bit of bling with accessories and then I am BEYOND happy and inspired when I’m dressed to tackle the day!
How do you balance being a mother and a business owner?
It really is a juggling act, and sometimes the balls drop. The key for me is having an incredibly supportive husband and close family & friends nearby. At first I had guilt about not being the “room mom,” but my kids are very proud of what I do and understand that I can’t always be everywhere. My own mother always worked and was a Professor of Early Childhood Development. I was so lucky to have her advice, assistance and inspiration during the early days of my business when it was really soooo hard to “do it all.”
What was the biggest challenge you faced when you started your company?
Scalability has always been our biggest challenge, especially in the beginning. I started this business from my home office and now we are gaining more than 1,000 purchasing customers everyday! This means adding new equipment, training more designers, upgrading technology and everything else it takes to grow a business at this rate. My business partner has always focused on long-term goals and company changes, while I focus on more of the day-to-day marketing & design. We have been layering in management roles and key decision makers, that have really helped our growing pains this year.
What advice do you have for busy moms who want to start their own business?
The life of an entrepreneur can be grueling. I remember my business partner telling me that “many people can be entrepreneurs, but not everyone can make the jump to becoming a successful business person.” I’ve had to make tough decisions and make many sacrifices along the way. The growing pains have sometimes been unbearable, especially when customers are disappointed and we can’t meet the demands. I always advise to stay true to yourself and don’t ever lose sight of that. Most days I wish I could just clone myself, but instead I surround myself with the other hard working-talented-passionate people that are on this journey with me.
What quote or motto do you live by?
“Let’s get it done so we can have some fun!”
Who inspires you?
My mom. Hands down. Impossible to explain in a few words what an incredible role model and inspiration she has been my entire life. Her positive energy is infectious, and I was always told as a kid, “you have the best mom!” As a Professor of Early Childhood Development, she has been a plethora of knowledge raising my own children, but also a continuous stream of inspiration in my business, my marriage, and everything I do.