Happy Mother's Day to all you fabulous mamas out there! We have a special treat for you as we sit down with our founders, Chelsea and Kirsten, to have a heart-to-heart about the wonderful adventure of being both moms and entrepreneurs, and what Philocaly truly means to them.
This topic is so close to our hearts, and we can't contain our excitement as we share their personal stories, nuggets of wisdom, and the joy they experience when they empower fellow moms through the magic of fabulous hair.
Mother's Day is a special occasion to celebrate the incredible journey of motherhood. How has being mothers influenced your approach to creating and running Philocaly Hair Extensions?
Chelsea: The moment you become a mother, everything changes – physically, mentally, and spiritually. There is nothing motherhood does not touch. The second I met my daughter, my entire being and perspective on life shifted. All of a sudden, the things I deemed to be the most important in the world didn't feel as big anymore. So long as my daughter is safe, happy and loved, everything else is secondary. Before Maeva, my business was my baby, and it still is, but I no longer give it the undivided attention and work the 14 hour days I once did. I've recognized that in order to be the best mother for my daughter and my best self in business, I need to find a balance between business and babe. Being a working mom is difficult as you feel like you're constantly being pulled in a million different directions. Sometimes I feel like my business isn't getting the best of me, and other days I feel like Maeva isn't getting the best of me. I'm still figuring out the balance, but I know that everything I am doing and everything I am achieving is for Maeva. I want her to see that if you believe in a dream, and put in the hard work to achieve your goals that you really can do anything. I want her to know that she can do and be anything.
Kirsten: There is no doubt that becoming a mother is a life-defining event. Your entire existence, from your schedule to your life plans, changes in the most drastic way. Nothing is ever the same again, in a good way, including your career. I welcomed my beautiful son Ashton when our business was just 9 months old itself. The business was just a baby as well and both Ashton and Philocaly needed major attention in the early stages. I was so fortunate that Ashton was an “easy” baby and would take a bottle, let my husband feed him in the middle of the night and also allow me to travel for work without much fuss. However, even though Ashton was relatively easy it didn’t make leaving him for work and putting him into daycare at a young age easy for me. I didn’t get mat leave with being a business owner and some days I envied the moms that had a year off to snuggle up closely with their babies (even though I know being a stay at home mom also has its set of challenges). Our breastfeeding journey also ended early on due to me travelling for work and my milk supply dwindling. The sleepless nights while running a business comes with its own set of challenges as I’m sure you can imagine.
I started asking myself the purpose of my work and why I felt so propelled to live the entrepreneur life. Wouldn’t a 9-5 job or being a stay at home mom be so much less complicated while growing a family?
The answer became clear. I was going to undoubtedly give up some precious moments in the beginning of Ashton’s life so that I could fully be there for him and have time freedom for him in the later stages of his life.
Motherhood is not a one size fits all and it changes you in the deepest ways imaginable, even in your career. The drive to give Ashton the life I wanted for him fuelled me to make this business as successful as possible. He was my reason for wanting to grow this business. The beginning stages of business definitely came with some give and take. However, the hard work that came from putting in the hours at the start undoubtedly have led to a life where I rarely have to miss an event of Ashton’s and I have time and freedom to be there for him due to my flexible schedule I have built for myself. There are still some challenges that come from being a working mom, however every type of mom has her own set of challenges. Throughout the years, I have ensured to add boundaries to my schedule. I rarely work evenings and weekends now like I did when Ashton was a baby. At 5 years old he now needs my full attention and I am so grateful to say that with a strong team we have built at Philocaly, I can give him my full attention during evenings and weekends.
Children can definitely add a difficult element to being a woman in business. However, I want to show my son that his mom is a hard working mama, and hopefully leave him a legacy one day. Something that he can be proud of and know that it was because of him for me that Philocaly is what it is today.
Many mothers experience postpartum hair loss. Could you share your personal experiences with postpartum hair loss?
Chelsea: I experienced some minor postpartum hair loss in the front sections of my hair that are still growing out two years later. I still have little baby hairs there. Fortunately, postpartum hair loss wasn't something that I experienced as much as I know some other women do. That's not saying I didn't experience other physical aftermath though. Snapping back to your pre baby self isn't a reality and should never be the goal. I hate that rhetoric. We are changed in every way after becoming mothers; it's beautiful and should be celebrated.
Kirsten: We hear from women daily at Philocaly who experience hair loss after baby and can firsthand relate to these women. Both myself and Chelsea experienced post partum hair loss ourselves. During pregnancy with Ashton my hair was healthier than it had ever been. After having Ashton I immediately started losing tons of hair. My hair also broke off. I was incredibly self conscious and my hair has never really been the same since Ashton.
Fortunately, extensions gave me back the confidence I desired with adding hand tied wefts throughout my hair and k tips in the front to help with my front pieces. Having a baby can certainly change many things in a woman’s body. I can honestly say post breastfeeding that my boobs will never look the same and my hair might not either. But, I got a beautiful healthy baby and as long as I have good extensions and a good push up bra, c’est la vie!
Philocaly Hair Extensions provide a way for moms to regain their confidence and feel fabulous. How does it feel to contribute to the self-care and empowerment of mothers through your products?
Chelsea: We started this company because we knew the added confidence that extensions can bring and how they can help a person feel like the best version of themselves. We don't want women to feel like they need to be fixed or changed, but if longer and fuller hair helps a woman feel more incredible than they already are and provides an extra pep in their step, we are all for that. As a mom, I no longer have the time to get ready like I once did. A shower is a luxury these days. To be able to jump out of bed, and have beautiful thick and long hair that only needs to be styled every 4 days, just makes my life easier. If I can't get ready, at least I have beautiful hair, right? My hair appointments also feel like a vacation, similar to grocery store runs (if you're a mom you'll understand).
Kirsten: I feel some people think that extensions are “just extensions”, when I strongly feel they are so much more. Us women go through so much with our bodies, careers, and entire lives changing during and after pregnancy. Losing hair after a baby can leave women feel like a piece of their “femininity” has been taken from them. It’s not vain to desire to have your hair back to the way it was before having a baby or maybe even better. We deserve to be the most confident versions of ourselves. Being confident and feeling beautiful from the inside out will make you a better version of yourself, and in return be the best version to others around you – including your baby. So, if extensions are going to make you feel better? I fully support women feeling beautiful and I am proud to be able to offer women something that can do this.
What advice do you have for moms who may be struggling with postpartum hair loss and are hesitant to try hair extensions?
Chelsea: We go through so many changes as moms. We are expected to just accept all of these changes and see them as beautiful because we got our babes from them. Sometimes acceptance isn't that easy, and that's okay! Just because we love our babes and are grateful to be moms, doesn't mean we have to love all the physical changes. It never hurts to explore something that could boost your confidence and make you feel like your best self!
Kirsten: I would say to not be scared and to book a consult with one of our verified salons! Extensions might not be for every mama out there but maybe they are exactly what you are looking for to get that pep back in your step! Many of our verified stylists do free consultations, and in my opinion, there is no harm on seeking if they would be a good fit for you. <3
Mother's Day is also about cherishing the bond between mothers and their children. How do you see Philocaly Hair Extensions helping moms feel more confident and beautiful during those precious moments with their little ones?
Chelsea: It's not often as mom's that we get to put ourselves first, so if your hair is one of the things that you get to do for you, enjoy it. There's enough mom guilt with everything else, give yourself permission to have fabulous hair if that's what you want, guilt free!
Kirsten: Philocaly Hair extensions can make you feel like the beautiful woman you are. Mom’s put everyone’s needs ahead of their own and I want mom’s to take some time for themselves at the salon and feel like the best version of themselves. Sometimes a makeover and a new hair do is just what you need to feel special, and I think all moms deserve that. Plus, little babes love to play with long hair so it’s like getting a new toy for your child too! Haha
As successful entrepreneurs and mothers, what message would you like to share with fellow moms on this Mother's Day?
Chelsea: That you're doing an incredible job! Being a mom is truly the hardest but most rewarding job in the world. On the days that you have self doubt, remember that you have a community of moms cheering you on.
Kirsten: I would like to share the message that “you are doing an amazing job mama”. Sometimes, we are our own worst critics and question if we are truly doing enough. I want to tell you that you are. Motherhood is not an easy journey but damn is it a rewarding one. When comparing my career with Philocaly to my job as a mom, I can hands down say being a mom takes the cake. It is the absolutely most rewarding job I have ever had and will ever have in my lifetime. So, to all the mom’s out there, just know you are enough, and you are doing phenomenal work raising phenomenal kids.
How do you celebrate Mother's Day with your own families?
Chelsea: Just like that, as a family! This year we'll be spending it on our bikes going park hopping lol, and out for ice cream. My husband always gets me flowers too which I look forward to.
Kirsten: Usually Ashton always brings me home a craft he made at school. He told me just last week that he spent so much time on mine and that he can’t wait to give it to me on mother’s day. His home made gifts are the most special thing to me and honestly bring tears to my eyes. I usually love to go for a brunch and love making my mom, mother in law, and grandma also feel special. These are the women who have shown me what it’s like to be a good mom and I like to show my appreciation to them in gifts and love.
How do you balance your time between being mothers and managing a growing business? Any tips or strategies you can share with other mothers who aspire to start their own businesses?
Chelsea: I don't want to sugar coat anything, being an entrepreneur and a mom is hard, but it is 100% worth it. Both of my babies (Philocaly and Maeva) are extremely demanding, so I'm still learning to find the proper balance between the two. I try to be as intentional as possible with the time I have in a day. The time I dedicate for work is purely for work, and the time I dedicate for Maeva is purely for Maeva. I'm not checking my phone after hours anymore unless it's an emergency.
I'd tell a mother who is inspired to start her own business to go for it if every piece of your being wants it AND the timing is right. Starting and running a business is extremely demanding. Especially in those first few years. It takes investments from every area of your life. I don't want to scare anyone away from starting a business, but I think people see the glamorous side of being an entrepreneur and sometimes don't see the blood, sweat, and tears in the background. I'm happy we started the business when we did as I think it personally would have been too much for me to have a newborn and a new business. That's not to say that it can't be done, but you really need to sit down with yourself and develop a plan, as in my opinion just going for something isn't the right way to do it. Go for it, with intention and with a thought-out business plan. If you think you've got an amazing idea, passion fuelling through your soul, support, and the timing is right for you and your family, then you can absolutely do anything!
1) In the beginning stages of business there is sadly no way that you can have boundaries with work in my opinion. You truly will need to work around the clock to get your business off the ground. I feel unless you want your business to be a hobby business you really do need to put in hours around the clock to make it a go. I feel it’s important to know this as a mom because it does come with giving up time with your children at the start. Ensuring that you have a supportive partner, family, friends, or nanny/daycare will be essential for the growth periods.
2) Even though the stress of being a mom and business owner will be hard, ensure you do not get to a place of burnout. Lean on important people in your life to ensure you are getting a mental and physical break when you can. I have been in burnout stage before myself and truly can say it is not beneficial for anyone (your business, your family, yourself) to get to this place. When you notice yourself on the brink of a burnout, you need to ensure you take the steps to step back and breathe. I know sometimes it is easier said than done, but mental clarity is essential to be successful.
3) Work smarter not harder. Ensure you are doing the tasks that will propel your business forward and offloading other tasks to employees or businesses you can outsource. I know financially sometimes start up companies can not do this. However, if it is possible ensure you are hiring out things you don’t like to do and that take up too much of your time. For example, accounting, marketing, sales calls, finance, etc. Determine what assets you bring that will propel your business forward and hire out other areas if you can.
4) Make a business plan. Ensure you have a strong business plan before you just go for it. You want to ensure you have a strong, sought out business plan before you dive in.
Could you share a memorable experience or story about juggling motherhood and running a business?
Chelsea: We had the flip up convention in Calgary this past year and Maeva was still nursing so I couldn't leave her in Regina. My husband came up with her and the balancing act began. I was juggling between the convention and running up to the room to nurse and be with Maeva. Everything went amazing but I remember seeing that I had milk on my shirt after presenting on stage and just had to laugh and smile and think, "wow, we really can do it all as mothers!"
Kirsten: We held a convention in Calgary to launch our flip up method. At this convention we had tons of stylists attend and it was a very glamorous event. I remember speaking in front of the audience and seeing my husband holding Ashton in the crowd. Out of everyone in that room who came, there was no eyes on me more important than my sons. He looked at me, his mama with such pride and I knew then that all the work that I put in truly was for him. He got to come up and say a few words on the mic (although he was four, so they weren’t anything of importance. I actually think he joked around and said something about a chicken). But the pride I felt with those around me seeing my son, was more than I can express. These are the moments that make being a working mom so worthwhile.