#startupmom: Catalina Gonzales

On motherhood

Another mom once told me, “children are a loan from God, prepare them to be great leaders of their family and community...and don't forget about your spouse!” I think that's some of the best advice I've gotten, that and "If they're not eating it's because they aren't hungry. No child with food in front him him will die from hunger."  

I like to think of myself as relaxed and loving and I try to encourage my boys (18 months and four years) to be independent. They are both crazy - total boys - but they have little hearts of gold. I've always wanted six children, but my husband says five is enough for him…in any case, we have a growing family!

What was a time you felt like you were doing this mom thing really well?

I love to encourage my 4 year old to think outside the box, solve problems, and think about his actions. Recently, my son asked me about where he was before he was in my belly… I said, "You where with God." For me it sounded like the right answer and I thought he would be ok with it, but he went further and asked, “So, if I was with God, then was I dead?" I am completely puzzled… and he keeps going, "You told me my grandpa is with God, and since he is dead, then I was dead…?" I was so overwhelmed by his thinking… but also by the spirituality and deepness of his comment. I felt something inside me telling me I have done “this mom thing really well.”

On business 

My company, Dondolo, is my other baby. We sell beautiful, classic, 100% pima cotton baby and children's clothing manufactured and sold by moms and every sale gives a piece of clothing to a child in need.

For me, Dondolo it is a way to both give back to my native country, Colombia, and to empower women around the world. We employ single moms in Colombia for all of our manufacturing (hand smocking, shadow embroidery, everything), which has enabled them to raise their children and provide them with a better future. And my whole sales team is made up of full time moms! Working for Dondolo helps them have a creative outlet and a sense of personal achievement.

Dondolo Logo

We love that you give one item of clothing for each item sold! Can you tell us about your most recent "give"?

Three weeks ago we did two clothing drops in Colombia and gave almost 500 pieces of clothing to children in need. It was one of the most touching and amazing experiences of my life!

The first drop was in an island called Tierra Bomba near the city Cartagena, Colombia. They don’t have running water and there were almost 300 children of all ages waiting for us! We gave out bodysuits and footies and milk and pound cake.

The second drop was in an island called Mucura, where the houses have dirt floors and are held up by sticks. The babies were all naked and it was poverty at its maximum expression, but we were able to clothe 100 babies that day. 

Dondolo is committed to clothing babies in need around the world and every purchase helps us continue this mission.

Dondolo Girl's Dress

Did you take time off or scale back when you had your babies?

My business started after I had my first baby… since then I have not stopped! 

What’s the hardest part about being a #startupmom?

TIME. Startups need all the time in the world and when you have babies your time is the most precious asset of all.

What would you never leave home without?

My planner! I need to write everything down.

You do a lot of international travel, what's the key to a successful flight with babies?

Always bring snacks. I have been traveling with my babies since they were just one month old! The first trip is always Mexico City, the second trip Spain, and the third trip Colombia. As a parent you have to be relaxed, uncomplicated, it's not as big of a deal as you think. I take my double stroller, one backpack with the essentials and lots of food… that's really all you need!

Walk us through your morning routine

Monday Morning (…after 5 hours of sleep next to my 4 year old…)

4am: wake up

5am: work (I’m in the office getting my most pressing work done way before my boys wake up)

9:30-2:30pm: work with my amazing Dondolo team!

MOMMY TIME BEGINS!

2:30pm: pick up my four-year-old at school

4:00pm: Karate or swim class followed by a trip to the park with babies!

6:30pm: family dinner

7:30pm: babies to sleep

9:00pm: relax and spend quality time with my husband

11:00pm: go to bed!

Between running Dondolo and raising your boys, you're a busy #startupmom! What do you do for “me time”?

An hour with a good book and a mani/pedi.

Show some love to your people, your team, the Catalina Gonzales village that keeps you sane and in love with your #startupmom life:

My husband, Santiago…my everything, my soulmate, my love, my supporter, my rock, my architect. Without him, I wouldn’t be whole and Dondolo would not exist.

My business partner, Nicol. She lit the fire to grow Dondolo so I attribute the success of our growth and expansion to Nicol.

My sales team manager and her team! Without them Dondolo wouldn’t be what it is. (Thank you for believing in the cause and staying with us through growing pains!)

My parents. I am always thankful for their support.

Catalina Gonzales family

Your family in three words:

Everything. Blessed. Love. 

Parting advice on first time motherhood/entrepreneurship?

Hang in there…it will get better...and better!

NOW THAT YOU'VE MET HER, MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW CATALINA'S #STARTUPMOM STORY ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, TWITTER AND AT DONDOLO

**Top photo originally appeared in Vaunte - check out that feature on Catalina here! 



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