Smart + Stylish Spotlight: Advice from a Shark Tank Mom
This week's Smart + Stylish Mom Spotlight is on Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Chief Mom of Zoobean and former head of K-12 Education Outreach at Google. She's 37 years old and lives in Washington, DC with her children, Cassius (5) and Florence (3), and her husband and business partner, Felix. In 2014, Jordan and Felix appeared on ABC's "Shark Tank" and won an impressive $250k investment from Mark Cuban to grow Zoobean.
I met Jordan during the first week of school last fall. My daughter ("toddler boss") was having a pretty rough time with separation anxiety and Jordan pulled me aside to tell me that she'd gone through the same thing with Florence and that everything would be okay...eventually. And she was right...eventually. I definitely need another post (maybe two) to tell you that story though.
Toward the end of the week, my husband and I stopped to talk to Jordan and Felix on our way to the local diner for breakfast (where we camped out during school hours that first week). When toddler boss's teacher learned that I'm a mompreneur, she told me that the Lloyds had been on "Shark Tank" (although I think she mistakenly called it "Fish Tank"...so cute) and that she thought we'd have a lot in common. She was right too.
The four of us ended up talking for at least 30 minutes on the steps of the school after the drop-off. I don't remember the details of the conversation, but I do remember that for the first time time that week, I didn't cry or feel like an awful parent for leaving my child as she called (screamed) out for me. I will always be grateful to Jordan and Felix for being such a much-needed and interesting distraction that day.
Since then, we've all become great friends. Jordan and I have girls' nights; Felix and my husband have their guy talks; and Florence and toddler boss are BFFs. Our families often meet for a casual dinner at the same local diner, which is always a fun way to end the week.
What I like about Jordan is that she's one of the smartest, most down-to-earth people you'll ever meet. She's so open to sharing her own experiences and I always gain so much from our conversations. In our interview, she talks candidly about motherhood, style and what it's like to co-manage a growing business and still be present for her children.
Riche: What's your favorite part about being a mom?
Jordan: With kids, I am able to almost experience the world through their lens. I get to be there as they take in the world around them each day. The endless curiosity, wonderment for the smallest things. More than anything, I enjoy being with them.
Riche: What's the smartest decision you've made since becoming a mom?
Jordan: I stick with the mantra, "Do what's next." Life can be very overwhelming, but if you remember to just take the next step, then eventually you'll get there. As parents, this is especially important because it grounds us and helps keep us in the moment with our family.
Riche: What's your favorite thing to do with your children?
Jordan: I love going on adventures with our family, but my truly favorite times are in our home, just enjoying the day without a real schedule on the weekends. We play out in the yard, read books and eat meals together as a family. It doesn't get better than that.
Riche: What's your favorite thing to do when you have some much-needed alone time?
Jordan: Go to yoga! I so appreciate that time alone to think and be still. During that time, I also try to connect with my sisters and girlfriends so we can speak in peace!
Riche: How would you describe your mommy style?
Jordan: Classic with a slight edge. I keep my basics dark and neutral and have tons of big, bright jewelry and scarves.
Riche: What's your secret to being a great mom and looking great too?
Jordan: I wear dark colors and forgiving clothes! And I always make time to get my hair done regularly.
Riche: Zoobean delights kids with books curated just for them. What's your best advice for moms who want to instill a love of reading in their children?
Jordan: Follow your child's interests and don't worry too much about when they will read independently. That part will happen. Focus less on the ABCs and more on the enjoyment of reading. The most important thing is that your kids love to read with you. Let them pick out books at the library, and when you discover an interest of theirs, look for books that on that topic. Then, when you read aloud with them, use your best dramatic voices to make the experience one that they look forward to each day. Also, be sure that your kids see YOU reading for pleasure!
Riche: What's your best advice for moms who want to run their own business and be involved in their children's lives too?
Jordan: Get ready for a crazy ride! While it's true that being an entrepreneur means more personal choice for me, it has not necessarily meant more flexibility. It is important to mentally prepare yourself for that reality. Remember that being involved in your children's lives might not always mean spending more than a few of hours with them each day on the weekdays, at least for some periods of time, and that is okay. But for the time that you do have, be very present. Put down your phone, ignore your emails, and just be with your kids.
Also, if you are lucky enough to be able to carve out more flexibility for yourself, then make sure to do it in a way that is both good for your family and your business. In my case, that means I am able top pick up my kids in the mid-afternoon, but I wake up at the crack of dawn to do work, and I work from home (rather than our office) a few days each week to get time back. I try to find one hour in the day that is just for me, usually doing yoga or reading....or watching "Scandal."
As long as I am able to commit a great deal of time to our business and get in at least one real and non-work related conversation with my husband on a given day, I feel comfortable with unplugging and being with our kids for much of the afternoon. It is all about trying little experiments with your routines to see what ultimately works for you.
Want to learn more about Jordan? Connect with her on social media here:
Web: Zoobean.comInstagram: @Zoobean
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
- Riche Holmes Grant