#startupmom: Sonali Lamba

#startupmom Sonali Lamba, co-founder of Brideside

Hey, mama! Tell us about your startup!

Brideside is a concierge driven ecommerce experience in the wedding industry. We’ve started by recreating the traditional shopping experience for groups of bridesmaids dispersed all over the country. What we uncovered early on is that bringing the process online and having a person behind the scenes to support these women not only helps brides realize their wedding vision with ease but helps bridesmaids enjoy the honor without the drama.

And how about your spirited little toddler?

Ameeta. Who she was when she was first born, a calm and peaceful baby, is completely different from who she’s now become as a toddler. Ameeta has grown into an incredibly spirited child. I remember reading in Dr. Harvey Karp’s book “Happiest Baby on the Block,” that to figure out what kind of child you have, you go to a crowded mall, put them down, turn your back for three seconds, and turn back around…where are they? Ameeta has sprinted off, never turning back to see if I’m there, the sign of a truly adventurous child.

What do you love most about being a #startupmom?

I love the way that (I think) I’m managing to do both. I actually don’t subscribe my role to being a “#startupmom” necessarily, but instead I focus on living the life I want and am meant to lead and being at peace with it.

What’s your mom style?

Learning by doing. Also, I’ve adopted the “it takes a village” approach to raising my daughter, Ameeta, and that means not just at home but taking with open arms all the help we can get from the community around us. I grew up in a large Indian family who all lived within one hour and spent every weekend together; I was raised and nurtured by aunts, uncles and grandparents. As much as possible, I’d like to replicate this collective approach with Ameeta.

How did you launch and what’s new and next for Brideside?

Brideside got its start out of DreamIt Ventures in early 2013. At first it was all about testing and getting feedback from the market and in 2014 we went for a full-blown launch. The motto for this year has been pedal to the metal growth and making a big splash in Chicago and nationally. We’re also introducing some new product categories to Brideside in 2015, like accessories for groomsmen. Our goal is to become a one-stop shop for our bridal customers.

Brideside

Three words that describe your family?

Silly. Sleepy. Happy.

What inspires your work?

Never in a million years did I think I’d be selling bridesmaids dresses for a living but I’m inspired by the problem we’re solving and how we’re innovating to do it; to see the Brideside culture evolve both wows and inspires me; and when people stop what they are doing to come join Brideside because they believe in our purpose, I am more inspired than ever to continue my work.

What’s one thing you wish you knew but nobody told you before you had your daughter?

I honestly didn’t know much before I had Ameeta. Between incubating Brideside and a small person, I never had a chance to think about what type of mother I wanted to be. As a new mother, I learned as I went and something that surprised me was that your child’s level of comprehension starts at zero and it’s important to not take it personally when you can’t connect with what’s upsetting them right away or to assume that something is wrong if they don’t “behave.” It’s a learning curve for both the parent and child.

What does a typical day look like in your world?

Breakfast and play with Ameeta. Office. Home, dinner and bedtime for Ameeta. Plug back in for a bit. Try to sneak in a workout (the most challenging part has been to stay motivated to do this after a long day). Rinse and repeat. My husband loves to cook (I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made dinner in my household), so thankfully I can always count on a beautiful meal paired with the appropriate adult beverage.

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

In mundane moments when it’s just the two of us, often around Ameeta’s bedtime. We connect and bond in quiet moments reading books, going through the wind down routine, and the experience feels almost serene to me. I walk out of there like, “I got this.”

How did you manage the newborn weeks? Were you able to take any time off after your daughter’s birth?

I don’t think I would have been able to do both Brideside and have my baby were it not for the support of my business partner, Nicole. I formally took two weeks off but I was still trying to be involved and checking email. When I went back to the office, I was commuting back and forth to nurse Ameeta between meetings. The company was so young I had to be there but my team was incredibly gracious in stepping up to give me the space to really be present as a mom in the early days. My mom also came out to live with us temporarily, giving me support and the mental clarity to focus on Brideside.

What’s hard about being a #startupmom?

I’m able to manage my time and my day because I can compartmentalize my time and my day, but I’ve admittedly lost my knack for enjoying and reflection… I operate by checking boxes and moving to the next thing.

Though I’m terrible at relaxing, I’m a big fan of stolen opportunities to unplug on a Saturday or to take a long weekend with just my husband. Deliberate breaks from both business and baby are so important.

Any parting advice on first time motherhood and entrepreneurship?

Don’t overthink it. Sometimes you just have to do it and see what happens. And also, in both realms, know your limits, what you know and don’t know and when to ask for help.

Know a bride? Send her to Brideside.com and link up below.

Brideside on Instagram  Brideside on Pinterest  Brideside on Facebook  Brideside on Twitter



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