Out and about
Jessica Kim made her first million before she was 21. The Brown University student, who wore braces and preferred bare feet to business suits, started a baked-goods company with signs made out of construction paper and markers, a winning business plan and tasty recipes that hooked people all along the East Coast.
Fast forward a few years and Kim is on another winning track, this time following a passion ignited by her daughter Kayla, 2. Kim is the brains and brawn behind Chicago-based BabbaCo (www.babbaco.com), a company she expects will grow into a leader of innovative products that make moms’ and dads’ lives easier.
How do you balance starting a business with a baby? While she works more than in corporate life, she likes choosing when she works. That means she and Kayla eat breakfast and watch Elmo together in the mornings and have playtime at night. "For me, when I’m at work, I’m at work and I try to be as efficient as possible. When I am with her, I am totally the happy mom because I feel like I have that balance."
Your biggest lesson as a mom, as a businesswoman: "It’s somewhat similar because there’s a lot of unexpected. I feel like every mom is entrepreneurial because you have to change things at the spur of the moment, you have to deal with what you are given, you have to make things out of nothing. I always try to think of the big picture of things, but then seizing the moment and enjoying the moment. It’s my approach with everything."
Your best advice to other parent entrepreneurs: "I think a lot of people think it’s all or nothing. In terms of your vision and what you want to do, you have to take the leap of faith. … I think that the biggest struggle with parents is feeling guilty working, not being with your kid, and I feel like if you believe in the purpose, then that deeper purpose will kind of drive you."
What is one thing people should know about you: "Faith is a big part of my life so when I think of everything that I do, whether it is being a mom or a wife or a business person or a citizen, I feel like I approach life, seize every moment, make the most of it, but with the ultimate purpose of having a positive impact."