Every now and then the world of Instagram brings someone into your life that is, well, seemingly meant to be. That’s how it happened with Alitzah, founder and CEO of Ivory Paper Co. We saw how her minis, Eleanor age 2 and Evelyn (Evie for short) age 3 months were loving our Pops, we reached out and a bonafide mutual admiration club was formed. So we couldn’t think of a better person to ask about balancing work, life and motherhood—and the hacks that help her get it done—than her.
tell us about your company, how did you start ivory paper company?
Ivory Paper Co is a premium stationery brand focused on planners—it’s designed for the modern, multi-faceted woman. Our planner is the first planner to have monthly, weekly and daily layouts all in one—and I started it when Eleanor was just under a year old. I was at a point in my career where I was so busy and between work and home, I couldn’t find a planner that helped me keep track of it all. So I thought, why not just make my own? The next night, I sat my husband down and said “I think I want to start a planner company. Here’s how I’m going to do it.” Two months later, Ivory Paper Co launched!
and how has it been now as the mama to two girls and an entrepreneur?
It’s a circus! But in all seriousness, life as an entrepreneur, mother, and wife is so hard but so rewarding. By the end of the day, which can sometimes wrap up at 1 or 2 in the morning, I feel like I have either been hit by a bus or just finished a marathon. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love Ivory Paper Co and I love my family—and I am determined to find ways to make it all work.
what's the hardest part?
All of it is hard. Leaving my daughters every morning. Being introverted and managing a rapidly growing team. There isn’t a single day that doesn’t have its challenges. I am trying to do a better job of giving myself grace and roll with the punches. I am not perfect, so I can’t keep expecting myself to be. I’m never going to be the best mom, boss, wife, friend, housekeeper, you name it. So instead of trying to be perfect, I am simply choosing to be present and try my best.
"So instead of trying to be perfect, I am simply choosing to be present and try my best."
what's the most rewarding?
When I hear feedback from our Ivory Paper Co customers about how this planner has helped them be more efficient and stay organized, it fills me with so much joy. I know it may seem simple, but that is what keeps me going. At Ivory Paper Co we constantly say the phrase “make plans”. We want to encourage women to “make plans” for all of their passions and goals. Whether it’s your goal to make partner at your firm, or to simply get your kids to bed on time this week, we hope to give you the tools to map it all out. Don’t dream it, plan it! Knowing that a company I have put so much of me into is having a positive effect on women all across the country is humbling.
how did you start your line and what were you doing before?
Before I started Ivory Paper Co, I was running my blog full time and working as a social media influencer. I had a lot of fun but it wasn’t my passion.
what are your personal parenting hacks? anything you do/use/practice to survive the grind?
Parenting hack #1 - drink more coffee! Haha, joking… Kind of! ;) I don’t know if this counts as a “hack” but my number one piece of advice is to ask for help. I feel that sometimes us women can struggle to reach out for help but it’s so essential. I ask for help with my kids DAILY. There is no way I could successfully scale a startup while raising two girls two and under without enormous amounts of help. And that's okay! It’s totally okay to ask for help!
There is no way I could successfully scale a startup while raising two girls two and under without enormous amounts of help.
what are biggest parenting wins? big or small, both qualify!
Ahh, this makes me so happy. So my husband and I focus heavily on what we sum up to be emotion based parenting. Basically, we really try to help our daughters identify and work through their thoughts and feelings. We never get mad at our daughter, Eleanor, for expressing herself even if it's the 10th tantrum of the day.
While this sounds all good and dandy it’s really hard. Our two year old has a lot of feelings—AKA a lot of tantrums—and it can be exhausting. Sometimes it feels like what we are trying just isn’t working.
Well, the other day I was buckling her into her carseat and she was sobbing. I said “Eleanor what’s going on? Why are you crying?” she kept crying and didn’t respond. I was about to shut the door when she grabbed my hand, placed it on her cheek and said “Mama, I’m just a little bit sad.'' I responded, “why honey?!” and she said “I want pup pup”. Long story short, she wanted to bring our dog, Nibbles, in the car with us and she couldn’t. I was freaking out when this happened because 1. Not only did she recognize that she was feeling sad, but 2. She reached out to tell me what was going on! Ahh, it fueled my mama tank for days!
tell me a story about when SH*T GOT REAL with two kids and a business and what happened—the good and the bad!
Back in July of 2018, we were moving the business into a new office space. It was such an exciting, yet crazy time. I had a hard deadline that my entire team needed to be into the new space by July 7th. June and July are really busy months for the business, so I was traveling a ton while still overseeing the construction of the new space and trying to juggle mom life.
For about two weeks straight there wasn’t a single day that I made it home before midnight. There was one point during all of this that I didn’t see my daughter for 3 days simply because I would leave the house before she would wake up and come home after she went to bed. One night I couldn’t take it anymore. I got home from setting up the new office at about 2:30am, I snuck into my daughters room and slept with her all night because I missed her so much.
I felt so much guilt about this. I couldn’t believe that I was living in the same home as my daughter and working 10 minutes away but still was “too busy” to make it home to see her for days straight. This was kind of a breaking point for me. I became so burnt out, and had to really reevaluate my priorities. I took some time to find a way to create more balance and be a better mom.
how did you discover the pop and the pop & go?
I received the Pop from my friend at my baby shower and started using it once Evelyn was born and it's the only pacifier she likes now! I follow Doddle & Co on Instagram and was so excited when they announced the Pop & Go and knew I needed to get my hands on it!
what do you like about them?
I am not going to lie, I’m super chill about germs when it comes to my daughters. However, my husband is the exact opposite!
what do you like about the pop?
Evelyn is only three months old and I love how the pacifier is a little firmer and seems stays out a bit better! That way the nipple stays out when she spits it out and only goes back in if it drops! Makes it super easy to just pop it back in her mouth while also trying to wrangle a 2 year old! ;)
thank you alitzah!