Proactively plan your career, self-promote and take more risks.”
Veronica Horner is a the co-founder and CEO of a maternity / breastfeeding clothing line, called Maia Moda, that provides quality, stylish and functional clothes to meet the needs of motherhood. Prior to Maia Moda, Veronica was a senior manager at Accenture working as a technology strategy consultant around the globe. She is passionate about supporting working mothers and has been published in Working Mother, Thrive and Mother.ly. Veronica holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University. On weekends she enjoys searching for the perfect cup of coffee in New York City with her husband and two young boys.
Where did the idea for Maia Moda come from?
The idea for Maia Moda, a maternity / nursing clothing line, was born at a friend’s wedding. I had made every effort to find a dress that I thought would work for nursing; it even had a convenient zipper down the front! However, once my baby started to cry, I quickly realized it was too tight and I ended up in the bathroom, dress off, and missing the wedding speeches (my favorite part of the event!). A lot of moms have been there and there is no reason for it. I decided at this time I wanted to design beautiful and functional clothing for maternity, nursing and beyond.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day starts the night before when I list and prioritize everything I want to accomplish the next day. I have two young kids so my mornings start with them, it’s usually a whirlwind but we manage to quickly get out the door in the double stroller! From there, my key to productivity is to stick to the to-do list. I’ll try not to get distracted with other demands and focus on what I had laid out the day before, unless it’s urgent I know that the unexpected task can be put on tomorrow’s to-do list.
How do you bring ideas to life?
There is nothing I love more than bouncing my ideas off other people to hear their perspective. I’ve worked hard to cultivate a solid and diverse network of people I can reach out to. They help me to think through my idea tod bring it to the next level [or not].
What’s one trend that excites you?
The rise of female entrepreneurship; women in 2012 owned 36% of all businesses, according to the 2012 U.S. Census ‒ a jump of 30% compared to 2007. With more women at the top, we can expect improved support for families. In addition, there are compounding benefits as these women can mentor and fund others. Finally, many of the products coming from these companies are designed with women’s unique needs in mind, filling a market need that has historically been ignored. As women are responsible for 70% of the major financial decisions for themselves and their families, it’s about time they have products and companies they can better relate to and stand behind.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
In addition to formulating a daily to-do list, I also put together a weekly round-up. The weekly round-up is used to reflect on the previous week and plan for the following. It allows me to take a step back and better evaluate how things are going and potential trends.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Proactively plan your career, self-promote and take more risks. When I started my career, I worked hard, kept my head down and too often allowed my company’s needs to define my path. It took me a long time to get comfortable taking risks and actively seeking out opportunities that aligned with my personal goals.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Marketing alone cannot drive demand. People are relying more and more on word of mouth, reviews and online communities to make decisions. Marketing won’t go away, however, in the future it will primarily serve as an amplifier of product reviews. Bad products will no longer be able to hide behind a great marketing campaign.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Meet someone new every week. Networking is an essential part of staying fresh and growing your business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Connecting with others in the community. Nothing can replace face-to-face interactions to find working synergies and new customers. Our best projects and most loyal customers have started there.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Threw money away on digital marketing. The social marketing tools out there can seem so easy – Facebook, AdWords, etc. They have created interfaces that are user friendly and it can be tempting to use them to quickly get something out there, which is what I did. I quickly burned through the budget without much to show for it. The competition for views online is fierce and I’ve realized that a solid, holistic data driven strategy is required to compete.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A transparent online Whitepages of influencers. It’s been difficult finding the right influencers for our business and the industry is opaque. There is a trend towards businesses becoming more transparent like in real estate, finance and retail, and I think this should extend to marketing influencers. A platform where influencers can post their categories, prices, engagement etc would greatly simplify the process.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Every quarter I spend a little over $100 to be a part of a women’s networking group. I was nervous about the investment, but it has paid for itself several times over through the connections and knowledge I’ve gained from these inspiring and wicked-smart women. In a startup, every penny is scrutinized, however, don’t forget to spend some money on your personal and professional growth.The better you are, the better your company will be.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Being a news junky, I love my subscription to Skimm and staying up to date on the latest viral trends. Skimm is a news based subscription service that provides a compact and entertaining daily report. It’s important to know what’s going on in the world and a bonus to have some fun tidbits to be able to connect with others on.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Never Eat Alone”by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s a must read book on the importance of providing value to others and how to network effectively.
What is your favorite quote?
“Be the Mom you want them to remember” – Unknown
Professionally, I want to have a career that inspires my children and leaves the world a better place for them. Personally, I think about this quote when spending time with my children. I try to create experiences for my family that will leave lasting memories and enrich our precious time on earth.
- Women deserve beautiful and functional clothing for maternity, nursing and beyond. Female-led companies like www.Maiamoda.com are here to help!
- Don’t forget to invest in yourself while building your business. The better you are, the better your company will be.
- Don’t let your company define your career path. Proactively plan your career, self-promote and take more risks that align with your personal goals.
- Meet someone new every week. It’s key to growing a business and staying on top of the market.
- The exciting rise of female entrepreneurship means women will have more products and companies they can better relate to and stand behind.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.