From personal organizing to public relations careers, these Portland mamas prove that although running a business and raising kids is no easy feat, it’s totally worth it. We asked these eight enterprising entrepreneurs eight questions and got nothing but inspirational answers back. Click through our album to meet these fascinating women.
Beth Blenz-Clucas: Sugar Mountain PR
Share with us a little about your family.
My husband, Richard Clucas, is a Portland State University professor, and we have two sons, Nathaniel (age 27) and Alexander (age 24). We moved to Portland in 1995 when the kids were 8 and 4.
What neighborhood/suburb do you live in?
SW Portland, near Hayhurst Elementary School
Please give a description of your job/business … as you would describe it to a friend.
I’m a journalist by background, and since 1996, I’ve been a publicist specializing in children’s media. My company name is Sugar Mountain PR www.sugarmountainpr.com. I work with all kinds of children’s media creators across the U.S. and Canada. Most of my clients are indie musicians who make the most fantastic music for kids. My Portland area clients include Captain Bogg & Salty, Cat Doorman, the SS Bungalow crew and Aaron Nigel Smith, who runs the annual Rox in Sox music and books festival: www.roxinsox.com. I also handled publicity for the Portland Pirate Festival when it launched. I’m also on the board at Neighborhood House Portland – www.nhpdx.org
How long have you had this position, and what did you do previously?
Before I became an indie publicist, I worked as a book editor in California and as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.
Please describe one personal accomplishment that you are proud of.
I grew up playing piano, but I’m pretty bad at it. I’m now learning to play the ukulele. It’s so much easier! I’ve got a few chords and finger pickings down now. I’m pretty good at learning languages – on a recent trip to France, I was able to communicate fairly well.
Please describe one professional accomplishment that you are proud of.
All I can say is that I choose my clients well, and their success becomes mine. Several of my clients are nationally acclaimed, touring artists, and several have won GRAMMY awards. This year, three (of the five) GRAMMY nominees for children’s album are my clients: The Okee Dokee Brothers, The Pop Ups and Brady Rymer. The indie children’s music scene right now is very exciting, and I’m happy to be a part of an international community.
What is your favorite thing(s) to do with your kid(s)?
Well, since our sons and grown and out of the house, I asked them what their favorite things were to do when they were younger. Playing in the Turbine Hall and “earthquake house” at OMSI and visiting the animals (including the incredible bugs!) at Oregon Zoo are at the top of their lists. At Christmas and Easter, we liked walking over to Alpenrose Dairy to enjoy their holiday activities. Our older son mentions how much he still loves going to Voodoo Donuts, and our younger son moved up the levels as a student at the US Wushu Center until he could do some pretty amazing stunts. The owners of this school are internationally acclaimed Wushu champions: http://www.uswushu.com/. Our kids’ favorite shops were Thinker Toys, Annie Bloom’s Books and Powell’s Books. One of our favorite restaurants is still the funky Fat City in Multnomah Village. We all still love hiking and exploring the great outdoors activities available in our area – the Gorge, the coast, Mt. Hood, etc. Our younger son is a grad student at OSU, and we enjoy walking around downtown Corvallis and the riverbank areas there. DaVinci Days is a super fun, quirky science oriented family festival in Corvallis each July. A favorite brunch spot down there is at Gathering Together Farm in Philomath… not to be missed and very family friendly.
Any tips on work/life balance. (In other words, how do you DO it?)
If you want to be successful at a home-based business, you have to be disciplined. Ignore the dishes and the dust. Take yourself and your business seriously: carve out a special place and regular hours to do your work. If you’re lucky like me, your clients and customers won’t mind the occasional phone call interruption from your kids, but it’s a good idea to set up some childcare if you want to get some real work done. Also, remember that you are worth it! People need to compensate you for your time and skills. The tendency among freelancers is to offer to do too much for free, especially if you’re in a “people” business. Learn the industry rates for your kind of work or product, and be confident that you can deliver a competent result.
Sugar Mountain PR
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