Nicole Feliciano is the Founder and CEO of Momtrends. Each month more than 500,000 moms check in with her site, live events, and social media channels looking for the scoop on what’s on-trend. In 2016 Nicole wrote her first book, Mom Boss. Find out how she was able to go from being a freelance writer and blogger to the CEO of a high-dollar boutique media brand.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I’ve always been interested in style—from fashioning my Barbie’s to taking a part-time job at the GAP in high school. Shopping and style have always intrigued me.
After graduating from Vanderbilt, I started an executive training program in retail management with Federated Department Stores. My retail career progressed rapidly eventually led to a position with Ralph Lauren.
I spent seven years with Polo Ralph Lauren—and landed the ultimate job, I was a buyer working directly with the design team and Ralph himself. While I loved the job and the creative energy, when motherhood called, I know I wasn’t going to be able to maintain the 70-hour workweeks and be the type of mom I wanted to be.
In 2004, when I was pregnant the first time, I left Polo Ralph Lauren and made the jump to becoming a freelance writer. At this time, blogs were just starting to explode. I quickly transitioned from print media to online assignments—most notably a freelance gig with Babble.com covering baby gear and style news. I was hooked on blogging and decided to start my own blog in 2007.
I took a huge leap of faith in 2009 and stopped freelancing and focused on building my own Momtrends brand—this was the best business decision I’ve ever made. The growth has been amazing. We went from 5,000 views a month to 30,000 and now have incredible marketing partners that make it possible for me to hire other freelance writers and cover more style news and reach a broader audience. I’m employing other moms and allowing them to work from home—what a dream!
How did you fund your business?
The checks from my freelance career got me started. I used some of my freelance money to hire an artist and create a logo. I believe in slow, incremental growth and avoiding debt. I couldn’t take on a big re-design until now. I’m lucky to have landed some strong marketing partnerships and have reinvested that money into Momtrends.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent in your home office?
Home office! How I would love a home office. I live in 1,400 square feet apartment with two little girls and a husband. I have a desk, and that’s about it. I carry my laptop everywhere—that is essentially my office. A laptop, phone, and camera and I’m all set.
I work about 25 hours a week on average. But from week to week the fluctuation is wild. Family comes first, so I’m always juggling work commitments around school schedules, doctor’s appointments, and the like.
How would you rate your success?
I love seeing the numbers grow and having brands that I believe in (Baby Bjorn, Kickboard USA, etc.) coming on board as paying sponsors. That leads me to believe I am relevant. That being said my favorite statistic to look at is “returning visitors”—each month I have thousands and thousands of the same moms coming back to check in—wow, that means a ton to me. I’m a part of the life of these moms, and I don’t want to let them down.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
Well, any working mom is going to tell you time is the biggest struggle. By that I mean, finding the 25th hour in the day. Beyond that classic conundrum, convincing brands that they need to support the blogosphere with marketing dollars is a struggle—but we are making progress as brands WISELY expand their marketing budgets.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but here it is again: Do what you love. Momtrends is a passion of mine. I truly believe is helping moms find the best fashion and gear for their families and I want to help them spend their time and money wisely. If I were in this for the money, I would have closed the shop long ago!
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
Life would be very challenging without a supportive spouse. And let’s not discount the help of an amazing babysitter. When it comes to technology, I rely on Google Calendar to keep my day-to-day life organized (I use it on my DROID phone), and I adore my Mac laptop. Lightweight and fast, this is my office. I can whip it out while the kids are at ballet practice and bang out emails on the fly.