Last week at the Spring release party for Harts & Pearls I fell head over heels for the custom-made accessory line and the inspiring story behind it. Harts & Pearls is the brainchild of Desiree Burgess, a thirty-something, single mama who was determined to follow her dreams of being a successful business woman AND stay-at-home mom.
Intrigued by her journey, I caught up with Burgess to find out how she does it all. What follows is not only an insight into what it takes to run a business as an independent woman, but inspirational advice for aspiring MOMtrepreneurs and single mothers everywhere.
How did H&P get started?
I had previously studied fashion merchandising at FIDM in LA and obtained a business degree at San Diego Christian College, but it wasn’t until eight years later that my two educations came together. I was on a three-month maternity leave, and started to create things for my daughter to wear. Before I knew it people all over were asking me where I got them.
Instead of going back to work, I made a faith decision to sacrifice materialistic and superficial things to be home with my baby. I had such a strong desire to be by her side, and right away I could see the choice to start my own business was one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made.
How do you manage the work-life balance of running a business and being a single mom?
I have to admit my work-life balance is very unbalanced, but I see this as a temporary thing. The busy-ness of my life is best managed with prayer. I have very few minutes of downtime but if I am spiritually fit I can handle anything.
Do you still have time for a social life?
To be successful at what I do, I have to take care of myself. I know at times I am deprived of “girl time” or “me time” but I evaluate my need and if I can see it is a must, I make sure I take a break.
What’s the most difficult part of running your own company? What’s the most rewarding?
The most difficult part is having to care for the parts of my business I am not passionate about. One of my goals is to start delegating each business task I am not passionate about so I can put all my energy into my passions of designing and creating.
The most rewarding is by far seeing or hearing from a happy customer. Knowing anything I did had any kind of positive impact on anyone. I feel completely blessed that I get to do something I am passionate about every day, and if that passion provides for my family, even better!
If you had one piece of advice for aspiring MOMtrepreneurs what would it be?
Fear is your greatest enemy. Don’t allow fear to stop you.
When I see fear, a part of me likes it because it is a personal challenge to feel that fear and proceed in faith anyway. This doesn’t mean I don’t evaluate decisions and go into them blindly believing it will be “OK”. It’s the opposite; I evaluate, pray, get help from others, and if fear is the only thing holding me back, I proceed.
Any advice for fellow single mamas?
I will never be able to give my daughter what she can only get from a father figure. All I can do is my best. Don’t let an ounce of guilt reside in you.
I think single mothers are some of the strongest and most courageous women in this world. We all had a way out if we wanted to give up (abortion, adoption). I chose to take on the role knowing I would be doing it solo. I wouldn’t have a successful business without the life of my daughter, and I wouldn’t be half the woman I am. She awoke my soul and softened my heart in a way no one else ever could. That is enough purpose for me.