By Samantha Lande, BCB Editorial Director
Welcome to Wonder Woman Wednesday, a weekly feature that will attempt to tackle the question we are frequently asked— “how do moms really do it all?” Each week we will feature an amazing mom with extraordinary abilities. From founders of some of the most successful companies to philanthropists who are changing the world, these women are true heroines. To thank them for lifting the cape on some of their super powers, we will make a donation to the charity of their choice.
NAME: Monica Royer
KIDS: I have one daughter who is 4
OCCUPATION: Founder/CEO of Monica + Andy
LIVE: Chicago, IL
FAVORITE CHARITY: More than Milk
If you’ve had a baby in the last year or so, you’ve probably come across the adorable blankets, cuddle boxes and outfits from Monica + Andy. The founder, Monica Royer, started the brand to provide soft, chemical free and fashionable duds, something she felt was lacking when her daughter was born. From there she’s built a whole line of adorable outfits—think pastel ballerina outfits and sear sucker short suits for toddlers — and a brand that celebrates moms and parenthood. (As you’ve seen in our pictures, we are a big fan here at BCB. ) Her Guideshop in Chicago just turned one and has become a hub for kids classes and events for parents. Monica gives us the scoop on the chaos of being a full-time mom and entrepreneur and why sometimes you just need to “Shake it Off.”
What is your backstory?
I had a job I loved previous to this in the corporate world. After having my daughter I started to be concerned about baby fabrics. What was in them. How soft they were. I have always love fashion and design and while on maternity leave I started to sketch out my own designs. When it time to go back to work I decided it was a “now or never” moment for me in terms of taking the leap to do something I truly loved and felt passionate about. It has been fun building a company and trying to make it the best we possibly can for our customers. I have loved every minute of it (Even the really stressful ones)
Tell us about a “save the day moment…
This one is actually a bit funny. I’m not sure if it is my biggest accomplishment. I was on an investor call when my daughter was still in diapers. While on the call I was getting a lot of rapid fire questions from the potential investors. Simultaneously my daughter woke up early from her nap with a blow out diaper that had gotten all over her sleep sack. I had to give my investor presentation over the phone while cleaning her up and changing her. This story sums up what being a founder and a mom is all about. You sometimes just have to give it your best and laugh when your child changes the plans on you.
Tell us about your typical weekday:
It starts with waking up early and drinking as much coffee as I can before my daughter wakes up. I also like to get some work done before she wakes up so we can have some fun reading time when she does. After dropping her off at school it is usually a crazy day at the “office” No two days are the same and my favorite days are when I get a chance to meet with other founders and hear about their endeavors. I really look forward to when I get to pick her up from school and spend a few more hours reading and having fun with her. Then it is email time until I go to sleep.
Who is your Wonder Woman?
The wonder woman I admire most is my mom. She always amazes me. To this day there is no woman on this planet that I look up to more.
What is your super power?
I have learned to exist in the chaos. I don’t get it all done. I just give it my best try every day and try to get as much done as I can.
If you could have a secret identity what would it be and what would you use it for?
I would love to go back in time and see my mom and dad as kids. They both are so amazing to me and had difficult childhoods in their own ways. I would love to see them as kids and know what they were like.
Who is your Sidekick/Partner in Crime?
My daughter is really my partner in crime. we have so much fun hanging out and doing silly things together. She is what makes the work so worthwhile. She is my inspiration.
What would you consider your theme song?
It would have to be “Shake it Off” as my daughter and I listen to it over and over again in the car. Taylor Swift is her favorite and she asks me to play it over and over again. When I look back on this time in my life years from now I know this will be the theme song I remember.
Which Superhero do you most identify with and why?
Wonder Woman. When I was a little girl I always loved dressing up as her for Halloween. She was the best. She had incredible powers but was always so kind and empathetic. Over time kindness and empathy are the two traits I have come to value most.
Who is your supporting cast of characters that helps you to achieve Wonder Woman status?
My husband Rob (founder of Interior Define), my daughter, of course, My mom and dad who are such an enormous help to me and my brother Andy.
How do you protect (and give back to) your community? I love working with a lot of other mommy founders who have incredible charitable organizations. We love working with More Than Milk and Share our Spare.
Not only do we adore Monica, but we LOVE Monica + Andy! This week for our Five Years of Favorites feature we will be giving away FIVE M+A Hospital Cuddle Boxes! Get in on the excitement early and ENTER TO WIN one of these here!
To thank Monica for her time we will be making a donation to More Than Milk.