Going Wild | Starting a Business while Raising a Baby
We are here today with Regina Schoenberger. She is here with us, talking everything regarding how to start a business while raising a baby. So, Regina, welcome to our podcast we are so happy to have you with us today.
Hi, thanks for having me.
So, again Regina is the founder of Wild Woman Underwear, a sustainable and ethical underwear brand for wild women and we can't wait to hear more about that. She is designing underwear that makes women comfortable and beautiful at the same time, while having a positive impact on planet Earth. She'll be launching her business in 2022. Beyond her business, she's also a new mama of a 10 month old little rock star, whom she's raising together with her husband in Bucharest. So yeah welcome also from my side Regina so good to have you.
Thanks, thanks for having me.
So we're really. really curious why don't you_We've told a little bit of your background, but why don't you tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got to where you are today?
Okay, yeah, that's a big question right from the start. I yeah I don't know where to start exactly, but I think what has you know been really on my mind for a lot of years was this idea that I would like to do business, and I think it would be a lot of fun for me and I would love to provide a product or a service that people actually need. And this other thought in my mind, where, you know, I will look at most businesses around and think well you know there's so much stuff that we don't need a lot of, you know, pushing products and services down people's throats and kind of pushing even more and trying to you know find all sorts of marketing tactics and techniques to make their product or their service stand out even though it really doesn't by looking at it, factually? And then also this idea that you know most businesses, at least from looking at it as an outsider, don't seem to really care much about, you know the planet with the environment and the people and everything that isn't directly related to profit.
It's such a huge topic at the moment. Yes, yes, huge.
And I know that by now, it's really almost become mainstream, that you know even like bigger businesses they have a sustainability policy or they have like a sustainable collection like especially fashion brands, but I think deep down this was just something that has never really clicked in my head, like I studied business in Germany, and all we spoke about was profit, you know, like all the equations that you make in economics are all about profit and I was like, man, like, why don't we ever speak about something else?
And I think only when I went to the US, where things are just a bit more modern, I'd say and like the curriculum is more adapted, I sort of found that, you know, there's something called social entrepreneurship, there's something that you can do without really putting profit at the heart of everything you do and I was like oh my god this is amazing. This is something that makes a bit more sense, you know,
And it resonated with you
Right, yes. And I think that is something that at least I in my business, university degree, never really came across, you know this, like, wow, this is great. I want to know more about this, I want to do this. I was like oh my God, yet another marketing book, yet another like Supply Chain Management guy. I just didn't feel like it was sparking any like excitement in me. Yeah, and then I just went on to like study Development Studies which was which is also part of the reason why I was in Indonesia I was trying to explore the non-profit development agency fields. And I was thinking ‘ha, these people, they have so much like internal motivation and mission and there's so much better ‘you know_ obviously I was just a bit younger, and getting there I realized, ‘oh it's not all that true.’ People are just as I would say, guided by making money, building their career
So money driven. Just business, business, business money rules the world. Yeah,
And how about another project on hygiene for women or education in the villages of Sumatra, or something else, that sounds really catchy and isn't really demanded by the people there, you know?
Yeah, and that got me a bit upsets I guess about the industry as such. I still went on to study development in Oxford and I really loved it. I just love being kind of exposed to anthropological literature, sociology, politics, history, like if you do business, that's so plain, and then you do something that engages more with, I don't know, 100 years of things that happened, colonialism and all these things,, and really I had that moment of spark again.
And somehow, then I still decided to go into management consulting afterwards so I guess what I'm trying to say the ups and downs and going back and forth between, should I just be part of the system and join the corporate world? Or join the business world as is? Or should I just try to make it differently?
But sometimes it's really the journey that you need to go on sometimes, to be entirely sure unless you've been there, you've done that and you then it convinces you even more that ‘nope, this is just not the route I want to follow.’ So how did you feel when you were in this management consulting role then?
I, you know, I think I just wasn't joining this industry with the right mindset from the get go. It was really something that I did because I felt I would learn the tools, and then I could apply that elsewhere. I knew from the start, you know I wouldn't really get hooked on pharmaceutical companies and their strategies to expand in X, Y, Z country or, you know a regional bank, and how they could cut costs, like that's all beneficial to that company at the moment where they’re in. Yeah, for me it just doesn't spark any excitement, similar to how I felt in my studies I guess so.
It was a good place to start out with, I'd say just because at the moment when I graduated I didn't know what I should do and how I could put that great mindset that I had into place for something that's a bit more useful, you know, so I was like oh let me just do consulting because that leaves your doors open. I think that's the thinking that a lot of young graduates go through.
Yeah, it's to keep that exploration and energy, open of what might be coming your way.
So, Regina what was the catalyst that really drove you to say, ‘you know what, I want to make business fun, and I also wanted something that helps the environment that is sustainable long term because you have this very clear and strong sense of social responsibility within you, and how did the women underwear idea came about? What was the catalyst for this combination?
Yeah, you know, interestingly so I would have never expected that, but having a baby was what really pushed me over the edge, because the idea of having a business, and even the idea with the underwear, had been on my mind for, I'd say two years at the very least, two -three years.
And then I was still doing consulting and I just decided that I just want to have a baby because I didn't want to wait until I was older and kind of already established my business. I was too afraid of becoming a very like close minded mom I guess I just I wanted to remain young and open and grow with my child I guess not to say that it's bad to be an older mom. That's not what I'm trying to say I just, I think I saw with my own family. My mom was quite old when she had me- in her generational context.
And I just wanted to stay like the young person that I am and then kind of do the professional side afterwards I thought. And I was yeah, six months in with my child- he's just turned 10 months- I was ‘there's no way I can go back to consulting full time as in really doing 100% traveling Monday to Thursday’ you know it's quite a, I'd say almost impossible job with a child, unless you find the caretaking system that either takes your child with you, or you know your child is somewhere else for four days a week. Didn't sound like something I would want to do and then I was like oh my god you know this is the moment this is the time I just have to decide this this is the station and I was like, ‘I'll do it,’ and it almost felt like there was no other alternative, you know, I didn't want to start another corporate job that maybe had a better timing for myself or like a better traveling policy. I didn't really feel like joining a startup, I didn't really feel like going back into the development area. So there was not much less than so I felt this is the moment I have been thinking about, I'll just do it now, and I'll see how it goes.
And, and sometimes those are the sort of like great ways to arrive at this point in the road, so to speak, right? Sometimes it's oh, I want this and I'm very clear, or sometimes it's by elimination: it's not this, it's not this, it's definitely not this, not this, so what is left there might be very well that the answer that you're looking for. So, there's many different ways to arrive to that to that fork in the road and making that left or right turn, depending on what you want.
And now that we're on the baby topic it's personally for me also really interesting because I'm currently six months pregnant with my second one so I did the whole corporate career first in the hospitality industry and then also realized okay now we want to start a family, it's impossible to go back to this operational line of work. Once you have a baby that was also my catalyst and saying, I'm going to start my own business, I'm going to do something for myself so, and now I have the second one on the way. And that's why I'm so interested to hear about what are your strategies to manage a business while raising a baby?
So, I don't think that this is necessarily something that only, you know, pertains to having a child and a business, but I found that this actually helped me in the last three months or so when I was really getting going with that idea. And I think the first one is really to invest in yourself, in something that helps you to grow the business, which you might have not invested in otherwise because you'd think, well, I'll just do it myself or I don't really need that right now, or investing in something that on the other side helps you with the baby, you know and that can mean day-care or a nanny or whatever it is that you know helps you in your context or something that helps you in the household, you know, because there's only so much time in the day and depending on how you're structuring all of this, whatever time you want to invest in your business, either you're then okay with like letting something else go or you need to take some, some investment and, you know, feed that other part in another way and what I decided to do was to invest in a business accelerator program.
It's called Factory 45 And it's for sustainable fashion brands, and they basically almost take you by the hand and like tell you, okay, in your launching journey, this is the first step that you should do, this is the second step, here are some resources here and mentors, and it's really great because I never really consider doing something like this. I always feel like this is, you know, why would I invest so much in myself and I can just do that on my own and I realized that doing it on your own sometimes is great and sometimes it just really holds back your progress.
Well, the learning curve can be pretty, pretty long. If you go the route of doing it yourself. It could require a lot of trial and error,
Yes, yes, and a lot of search you know, on Google for free resources. I don't know, I felt like this was something that I really learned, and I really did that before and I think this is something that I could have also done even before the baby arrived, you know, Just to invest in something that, for example, would help us with the household and then I feel like I could have had the courage to start earlier. Before it just always felt like, oh my god there's just so much that you need to do, so many things, I can't possibly now start a business.
Yeah, but that is really the key of what we always talk about being a mompreneur, which is possible for us to have it all, do it all and have fun along the way is, but first we never do it alone. We do need a support network whatever it may look like in your own circle, but that's definitely something. I mean that you've done the first step of obviously identifying you want to do something more of it's something that you've studied, something you've discovered about yourself, your passion and bringing that to life, and a baby's not going to stop you from doing that, rather you're going to work your way around it. And if you're getting that support around you that's fantastic because then in the end, you can absolutely have it all. Yeah, so how I've been having a baby also means that schedules are completely unpredictable.
It's not like okay your nap time is from 12 to 1:30pm and do not wake up at 12, or like 1:25pm because I won't be ready by then. But, you know, how do you, especially in that in that very important part of your journey of setting up this business now before a launch, how do you stay productive on this kind of unpredictable schedule?
Well, so before I started the business and before I invested in this program, I really felt like as you just said, I have no time, I cannot manage and plan for anything- this guy wakes up, sleeps, eats whenever he wants. He doesn't care what I need to do and what I would like to do!
Yes they don't care so much. No.
But I think what I discovered is that, you know, he does sleep at some point, and he has downtime at some point, so what really helps me is to just break up tasks and be ‘okay, I don't need to wait now for him to, for example, be with my husband for an hour before I can start this particular task.’ I'll just break it up in like three mini tasks. Obviously, this should be coherent but for example if I do an Instagram post, I can write a caption, while he's sleeping. And if that only takes 15 minutes, which happens often. I can then, you know, put that to a pause and perhaps then try to look for the image or the creative work, when he goes to bed again, or he goes out with my husband for a walk or you know something where I know okay, I can just restart the task but basically, the idea is to use the time when you have it, even for like a smaller task and not wait until you get them big chunk of time because that really rarely happens. Unless you stay up all night. But even like my baby at 10 months still doesn't sleep through the night. So, it's a big change to just you know do tasks in a in a mini task chain, you know,
Yeah, keep them bite size, but I think that at the end of the day, that is what it all comes down to, isn't it? Because if what you have, I don't know (I’m using a very broad example), if what you have is saying, ‘Okay, I want to aim to do a content calendar for the week,’ I need either seven or five posts. So then I need seven or five images and then seven or five captions and then a group of hashtags and you break it down in such a way that you're like okay if I have 15 minutes, maybe right now I just work on all the titles of all the posts and then that's done. Then in another 20 minutes, I just get the seven images that I need to use, and so forth, until the whole thing is completed, but it’s the only way if you only wait and if you have a very, very unpredictable schedule, which is the case with small kids.
Yeah, exactly. And I think another thing that helped me in the past few weeks is also to use that dead time-I would call it- I don't know how else to put it, which sometimes happens when for example for me, I put the little baby to sleep. He just loves to stay on the breast, but of course I mean he doesn't even know whether I'm awake or I'm asleep he just needs me to be physically there but I can then for example, use the time and listen to some workshop recording from the program that I'm in, or I can look through some things that I wanted to research where I don't need to sit on my laptop, I can just do that off of my phone and I feel like again before, I would then maybe just read the news, or maybe just doze off, which is also not bad, obviously everyone should have some downtime at some point you don't have to be productive all the time. This is something that can be quite useful as well because I feel like I have these times, fairly often at least everyday once or twice.
Exactly, I mean we always call them pockets of time as well. And as an entrepreneur you, you need that, I mean there is a time for resting but when, especially when you're like gearing up for a launch of some sort, you need to take all of these pockets of times that you have. That's why we love podcasts, that's why we chose that as our main channel of communication as well because we literally do that while we're washing the dishes or while we're folding laundry or while we're commuting from A to B, you know, it's a good use these little moments to be productive. Iva and I were speaking about this the other day, it's like when you're in this zone of productivity, you can accomplish so much but if you're in this time like, you know, I'm going to relax a little bit and someone throws a task at your it'll take you much longer. Whereas when you're so busy and have so many things to do and then someone says ‘oh can you please do this for me?’ and you're like, ‘Sure. Give it to me,’ you know, let's you can get that done too. It's quite amazing what this period does to you.
That's very true. It's very true. I feel like that's how the past, or like the first six months went where I didn't do much. I was just focusing on the baby, which is also fine. That was my conscious choice. But I guess in my mind I was always blocked myself thinking that he's just yet too young, he's not regularly sleeping yet, he's not sleeping through. He's not happy without me for like more than 10 minutes you know all these things were but like it's not possible, but if I think about all these times that you were just mentioning those pockets of time, I feel like I could have at least ramped up one or two things. And that's great that you can get it going, obviously so then if you just had like 10 hours at once a day, but you know that's the whole point of doing it by tasks
That's not going to happen for a while
What is it that you can share with us that for you it was like, ‘Okay, this is what was on my mind before the starting my business’, and how does it look in reality for you?
Yeah, well I I'd say that I was quite realistic if not even pessimistic to think I'll just get it started now because I felt so much pressure of just getting started so that I have an alternative to the corporate job that I did before. But I thought well I'll be lucky if I get like a couple of hours in a week. And then I was thinking ooof launch in 2022? Let's see, I'll just say next year. And then I'll go from there. But I think I'm just amazed at how much as we were just talking, you really get done by just using the pockets of time and the bits and pieces that you have flying around, but also by just dedicating some time properly to the business. For example, we say, like my husband and I we split the day and he takes time in the morning, because he's also not working a corporate job, and then I take time in the afternoon and obviously we stay flexible if there's something that you know it doesn't work out with our baby or something else comes in between, but to have that dedicated time, I didn't expect that it would work, and it worked so well, and it's so great, to see that you can just get started and do something every day. I don't know even an Instagram post, and then the next day, you can try to write a bigger piece if you have more time for that.
And I really wasn't expecting that. I thought that time-wise, is just not going to work out, I'll be super frustrated and disappointed, and maybe that's why I invested in this program because I was thinking, Okay, if there's something I put my money on I'll have a bit more pressure
It’s accountability right?
Yes, and then, on the other hand, what I had also thought about is, you know this inner voice that keeps on telling you ‘well you know you really, really haven't done this for years, why, why would you be good at this because maybe you're just not yet an entrepreneur because you just are not made for this Maybe you do belong to the corporate world.’ And I, again, am really excited to see that, you know, working every day on what you think you want to do, actually sort of confirms that idea or it confirms this plan of yours, and that's amazing, like it's so much better than just thinking about it and thinking about it and not doing anything and feel like well, ‘Could I do it? but I'm not.’
Yeah, and there's no other way to find out than to actually do it. And even if it doesn't pan out the way that you that you had expected. At least you learn something about yourself, right, and, for the most part, I think that yes we all tend to lean towards that self-doubt and wondering ‘well, what if I fall flat on my face?’ But at the end of the day, I think just starting the journey and taking that intentionality with you, carries so much power because along the way, you will naturally start meeting the people that are going to help you out in your journey, or you're going to come across the resources and the help that you need to continue through it if you really have that motivation and that drive so. So yeah, it's quite interesting because I resonate with what you're saying sometimes we doubt ourselves so much, but then taking that first step is what really allows us to claim that reality for ourselves and there's no other way around it, than just taking action.
So tell us now, about your business, Wild Woman Underwear.
I think my whole reasoning for starting this business was that I was incredibly unhappy with the underwear that I had and I could buy. And I was unhappy because I felt most underwear is really designed to sort of have this sexy look you know. It's either super see through and parts that really shouldn't be seen through. At least I felt incredibly uncomfortable with them being see through or it's made of material that isn't moisture absorbing and you sweat a lot in it, or you just then realize at some point actually synthetics aren't that great for your body and it shouldn't be close to one of the most sensitive parts of your skin that you have.
And yeah, I was really frustrated I was always thinking ‘man, like why is this such a big deal it couldn't be that hard to just you know make underwear that protects the female parts the way they should.’ And it's made of materials that are good for you and your body, and of course the cherry on top would be to make it in a way that is sustainable, both to the environment and also the people that are in involved in making that garment. Then this is how Wild Woman Underwear was born, I just decided, I'll try it on my own.
And to me the core of all of this is really to make it in a way that I can feel proud of how these how these pieces of underwear were made. Because I think a lot of the fast fashion industry has really created a mindset of people where, you know clothes are not really appreciated for what they should be. Everybody just pans for the next cheapest t shirt, or like another trend that they need to fulfil and every summer and every winter and even several times within a season, you’re buying new things because now this is in and that isn't and it's so destructive to be environment and also the way people are used in the fashion industry it's just something that I do not want to be part of. So the idea is to you know, build underwear that that ticks the other boxes.
And kudos to you for taking that that brave direction of going against the grain and really making sure that you are helping across the whole supply chain, everybody's helping everybody along the way.
And that's how the best products are born out of a need- you're looking for it, and you can’t find it, so why not take it into your own hands and do it yourself. Because if you are looking for it and can’t find it, many, many other women are probably feeling the same. So this is really, really exciting. And we'll definitely put a link in our show notes as well to your website. It's a wildwomanunderwear.com And if you're listening to this, sign up to Regina’s, email list to stay up to date on her path to launch in 2022. We'll definitely be keeping a very close eye on it as well, for sure.
And also you can get a freebie, right? Regina, you have a freebie for us today, it's called Five Strategies to Connect with your Inner Wild Woman and I can't wait to check it out myself.
I want to hear all about this freebie that you have in store for us.
Yeah, I'm, I'm also curious to see how, how it will resonate. I think that's one of the reasons why it's called Wild Woman Underwear just to capture this idea of a wild woman in the sense that you know, you're authentic to your own self, and to your own ideas and you're like free from society's expectations, and beliefs and values and that all sounds really grand, but to me it really means a lot and I feel that a lot of us sometimes don't have this time or don't have the right way of getting to that connection to your wild woman and really knowing okay what is it that I want and I need. So I just listed five things and hope that they help. And I think it all goes about trying out and finding out for yourself.
That's awesome. Thank you so much for Gina for chatting with us today. Yeah, if you want to connect with Regina, you can find her on Instagram @wildwomanunderwear, and check out her Facebook page. We’ll also share her links to her freebie, and her website, in our show notes. So Regina, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Thank you. It was really fun. Thanks for having me.
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Regina is the founder of Wild Woman Underwear - a sustainable and ethical underwear brand for wild women. She is designing underwear that makes women comfortable and beautiful at the same time, while having a positive impact on planet Earth. She'll be launching her business in 2022. Beyond her business, she is also a new mama of a 10-month old little rockstar whom she's raising together with her husband in Bucharest.