We’re interviewing Power Parents who in our opinion, are killing it. From the board room to the changing room, these moms are filling us in on everyday life of how they juggle it all.
Today we chat with Maria Dueñas Jacobs, formerly at Elle and Stitchfix, this mom of 3 left her day job to start a kids jewelry line that has taken off! Read below her favorites picks for holiday and what it’s like launching a business right before a pandemic.
Congratulations on the success of Super Smalls! What was your vision you had in mind when starting this company?
Super Smalls came directly from an organic collaboration between me and my then 5-year old daughter. We set out to create something that we couldn’t find on the market, something as awe striking and design centric as the grown up stuff I collected. For me personally, I had a very simple vision and it was to “wow” my own daughter. I wanted to make things that she chose to play with above anything else and that would help set her imagination free. We are big into storytelling, pretend play and wonder. I wanted Super Smalls to be part of the tools that unlock more magic in my daughters’ lives.
As a busy entrepreneur and mother of 3 (including a set of twins), how do you juggle all of your roles in a day?
I think the word juggling is a misnomer. It makes us feel like we always have to be doing everything at once and sure that happens, often, but I’ve also worked particularly hard to allow myself space to sometimes focus on just one thing at a time. I once heard a podcast where Shonda Rhymes describes the value of ‘just playing’ with her kids- which was extremely hard given HER busy schedule. It stuck with me because sometimes it really is about the quality over the quantity. I try to put my phone down for chunks of time so I can surround myself with my girls and really dive into their world, their game, and immerse myself in whatever we are doing together- it’s not a long time, but it makes me feel really connected to them. It also gives me real insight into kids and their imagination which is at the center of the things we make at Super Smalls.
I also recognize that I am able to carve out these special times because I have help at home. That help also allows me to schedule important calls and work sessions that fuel our business. I guess the balance comes from a deliberate intention and organization, but also very honestly, through help.
What is the biggest thing being a mother of twins has taught you?
It’s like the meme says “You can’t make everyone happy all of the time- you aren’t a jar of Nutella.“
How has Covid affected being a small business owner?
Covid has been one looooong fire drill. We have had to do more with less and learn to collaborate at a distance. As a super small business, we work with many independent contractors. We have on-boarded and met many new people all virtually. It’s been a labor of love for sure, but also a leap of faith. Connecting with people and expressing ourselves all while distanced, is a new challenge and it has honed many skills for me as a leader. I have dug pretty deep to become a more effective communicator and to emote care and consideration over a screen. This is a place where my kids, also undergoing distanced learning, once again, showed me anything is possible if you really, really try.
If you could, what would you go back and tell your younger self about parenting?
I’d tell myself to expect a little turbulence, and expect vulnerability and insecurity because it comes with the joy and the job. If I could I would also tell myself I’m a good mom and that I will be a positive example for my daughters. I’d tell myself that they will enjoy my company and also drive me crazy but that it’s only normal!
You were the accessories editor at Elle, what is your favorite piece of jewelry you’ve ever worn?
My Monica Rich Kosann quadruple locket that has my girls + husband’s picture in it . My girls love to look at it and have all placed dibs on it when they are older!
Being a mom of girls and a business owner in the fashion industry- what are you top 5 must-haves that need to be on a little kid’s holiday list?
For starters, LOTS of Super Smalls :) but here are some of my girls favorite gifts ever….
Mermaid Pool Party
This set was dreamt up by Luna (my then 6 year old)! She was specific that it should be stretchy so she can take it off and on herself, be waterproof (because mermaids swim, duh) and lastly it should have magical powers (this I can not confirm or deny). All three of my daughters where this necklace everyday and take it off only right before bed!
Garden Party Set
This is a personal favorite of mine because it’s just the sweetest little set and if any of these were real pearls/gems I would be wearing and cherishing them as a grown up!
Power Lunch Ring Set
This is the first set I ever designed for Super Smalls and till this day a top seller! It has some major wow-power and makes the perfect stocking stuffer!
A set of these books were gifted to us and we all adore them. They are beautiful, calming and a great way to intro kids to classical music.
Kitty LED Nightlight
Before launching Super Smalls (now everyone gets gifted Super Smalls from my family when they have a bday!) this little light was my go-to gift for bdays. It’s so cute and likeable!
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