Beauty Brand Founders And Parents On Juggling Work And School Schedules During The Pandemic


In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 12 founders and executives: With school getting underway, what’s your plan to operate your business while handling the coronavirus-era education arrangements?

MELISSA OBEID Founder, La Fervance

As we live in Paris, we experienced total lockdown from mid-March, with our children only returning to school for a few days at the end of June before the current long summer holidays, so it’s been a long and constant juggle. We’re optimistic about school returning to “normal” at La Rentrée in September and so too will the management of our business. In the unlikely case there’s another confinement, online learning will be our best friend once more, with Jamie [Arnold] and I taking turns to supervise the growing business and our growing tweens!

JAMILA POWELL Owner, Maggie Rose Salon

My daughter Magnolia is 8 years old and, though independent, she still requires a lot of assistance with her schoolwork. My goal is to create a structured schedule that allows me to put my daughter’s education first while simultaneously running my businesses. However, running a brick-and-mortar salon while launching a haircare brand can be a little tricky. 

All of these entities require a lot of time and energy. I plan to do the best I can for my daughter and the business while understanding there may be days I will fall short in both areas. Thankfully, my daughter has been a part of my entrepreneurial journey since she was 1 and gets it. She is very patient, understanding, and always reminds me to breathe in and breathe out.

LATOYA A. STIRRUP Founder, Kazmaleje

I have a 3 year old son who will turn 4 this fall, so we are literally looking for a virtual or pod learning solution for toddlers. The majority of the focus of this conversation has been on grade school students, but not pre-K. Yet, they need solid solutions as well to get them ready for school because these early-stage years are so important in their development. As for business operations, we are going to keep moving forward and remain as flexible as possible. Since we are a D2C/B2B company, not much has had to change for us in terms of daily operations due to COVID-19, which is a good thing.


The work-life balance has been an integral part of our teams. Being able to support our staff with flexible schedules to maintain family commitments as well as meeting the daily needs of the company has always been at the core of our hiring and scheduling models. Now, more than ever, being open and honest with our teams about their needs and how to best support them is crucial. We know that the decisions parents are making for September are scary, and there are a lot of unknowns.

Within our bi-weekly one-on-one check-ins, we’re including open and honest conversations surrounding employee schedules and what will work best for them individually. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. We offer modified daily and hourly schedules to best support each employee as every team member and family is different, and collaborating on the solutions is key. 

There isn’t a handbook or roadmap in navigating through a global pandemic, so we’re taking it in stride and doing what we can where we can to alleviate job-related fears. We will maintain our increased COVID sanitizing/cleaning protocols and ensure team members continue to socially distance within our space, and our workspaces will remain restricted to only employee access.

TONYA KIDD BEGGS Creative Director and Founder, Stories Parfums

I am mum to four children, the youngest being twins at 13 years old, so we have passed the primary school age, and they are now in senior school. Thankfully, my office is at home, and this is where my team is also based. It won’t be too different for me as the kids will be returning to school after lockdown. I have always juggled work and home life. Like every working mum, it is full-time mum, full-time work.

GARONNE DECOSSARD Founder, The Ronnie Shop

My 3 year old has been home with me since mid-March when her nursery school closed. I have tried, like most working parents, to make it work, and still continue to work on my business. This takes meticulous planning and writing down realistic goals and to-do’s, and glancing over the planner throughout the day whenever I have a free moment. This has meant clearly communicating to my customers on what to expect, e.g., you might hear her asking for snacks while I am on a conference call with you or to understand that shipping happens twice a week to limit our exposure to the interactions at the post office. 

For the most part, I often get help from family, but, on a day-to-day basis, I find a way to structure the hours so we both get what we need. I stop working at 4 p.m. to take her outside to play. I buy lots of puzzles, lots of paint and hands-on toys to keep her engaged. I enforce the nap schedule to give us both a break during the day. And I do my most detailed work at night while she sleeps like work on formulations, planning, answering emails and preparing shipments. I will continue the same in the fall as she will be going through pre-K 4 remotely. I trust that I will find a way. I always do.

EVELYN SUBRAMANIAM Founder, Bija Essence

It is always a privilege to have a plan A and plan B, especially during unprecedented times. Some schools are set to open while others plan on a hybrid program and a few on remote learning. Therefore, I am planning for all three scenarios. 

I am preparing to work from home this year to keep everyone safer and avoid the spread of the coronavirus. I am also planning to hire extra remote assistance to prepare for holiday sales and events. And, in the worst case scenario, if I get sick, I have to have a team in place to be able to operate the company without me. 

As for school, I am aware that my children have a very high chance of contracting the virus when they resume class along with students and teachers. So, I am mentally prepared to know that I may have to nurse infected kids at home while trying to run my business. The most likely scenario, after a few weeks of class, is for students to go back home and learn remotely for the rest of the year. 

This is a good opportunity to search for outside help to support your responsibilities such as, website designers, sales teams, social media managers and more. It is a time to share responsibilities while supporting employment. Overall, if there is a plan established for your business for the next six months, things will be brighter. Good luck to all.

AYANNA HENDERSON Founder, Ayanna Beauty

Locally, in California, a number of school districts have decided that school will not return for fall 2020 or this year at all. Schooling arrangements are now mostly homebound, which impacts my sales and operational plan which included in-person sales and increased online business. Homes with one computer or dedicated computers to students for online schooling were once computers used by potential customers surfing the web and social media where we advertise. More home schooling and use of computers means less opportunity for our ads to be seen which translates into less sales.

While I’m primarily an online business, my business and marketing plan included a formal launch party and pop-ups across Los Angeles. This was a large component of my sales plan. While online advertising gets awareness and traffic to your site, nothing compares to an in-person personal shopping and beauty experience. We’ve increased our online targeting campaigns to balance out the increased usage of computers by students for homeschooling. Beauty is cultural and my brand speaks to this experience. We’ve shifted to include more social media platform advertising to attract more customers.

HEATH WILSON Founder and Creator, Heathmade

Attending school in a virtual environment makes being a kid entrepreneur much easier because I am not away from my business operations for 8-10 hours a day.  When school starts—I’m in 5th grade—I will still be able to support parts of the business during breaks and right after class.

AVALON LUKACS Founder, Aura Inner Beauty

All families with young children have made adjustments to handle their own unique challenges due to COVID, especially when it comes to schooling arrangements, but, fortunately, our twin boys are just shy of preschool. They are back in daycare now, but we are monitoring the COVID situation closely, and evaluating our options as we look into preschool this coming year.

KENYATA GANT Founder, Pink Lipps Cosmetics

Once school starts, I plan to hire more sales associates so that it continues to run smoothly while I stay home and homeschool my children. My social media will continue to run as normal.

OLUFUNKE TONYE-PREGHAFI CEO and Founder, Blot Beauty Cosmetics LLC

As a mom of twin babies and two older kids, we have set up a workable routine, and we hope to continue with it. We have also structured the working schedules of the mums on our team to work so that they can be home for their kids when schools are back to regular programs.

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