Entrepreneur Learns to Say No
Baby Einstein founder and cancer survivor Aigner Clark no longer sweats the small stuff.
In motherhood and business, you often feel like the days are long but the years go by so fast. In fact, I can't believe it's been five years since I did my first interview with the queen of mompreneurs, Julie Aigner Clark, the founder of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side .
My business has changed so much over the past five years, and I've learned so much. I figured hers has, too, so I thought I'd check in to see how her experience has evolved.
I found Aigner Clark just as kind and gracious as she was during our first interview. I was as inspired as ever. Aigner Clark has gone on a tremendous journey in recent years. She has experienced challenges and triumphs but still comes out on top because she puts motherhood first. Aigner Clark's success with her first business, Baby Einstein, has allowed her to go from mompreneur to philanthropist. She now uses the skills, passion and creativity that drove her in business to help others.
Last time we spoke, Aigner Clark was launching The Safe Side, a company that offers resources for families and schools to help teach kids to make smart decisions. It is dedicated to making kids safer. In addition to publishing programs for kids and parents, the company donates 10 percent of gross proceeds to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children . To date, The Safe Side has donated a quarter of a million dollars to the center.
But life hasn't been just easy street for Aigner Clark. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor. The first time Aigner Clark got breast cancer, she went back to "normal" life. In other words, a fast-paced life filled with stress, full days and too much juggling of work and family. So when Aigner Clark faced cancer a second time, she realized that something needed to change.
She believes stress feeds cancer, and she didn't want that to happen again. This time around, Aigner Clark has slowed down. She spends more quality time with her kids, takes time for herself and is very selective about the work she takes on. Cancer has taught Aigner Clark to say no more and not to get stressed over the "small stuff."
Aigner Clark's latest labor of passion is her new book, You Are The Best Medicine , which will be published by Harper Collins this fall. It's an honest and tender picture book that offers hope and comfort to moms with cancer and their children. Watching a parent go through cancer treatment is scary. Aigner Clark helps children understand how they can help moms most with love and nurturing.
Aigner Clark's children have always been the inspiration for her greatest work. They are not babies anymore at 15 and 12, but they are still very much a part of their family's business. They are both happy to let people know that she started her business because of them. They are getting involved more and even writing poems and playing music for new versions of the books and videos. I believe that part of being a mompreneur is being a role model to your children. From her, Aigner Clark's children have learned tenacity, strength, working hard for what you believe in and always doing your best.
When I asked Aigner Clark about the biggest business challenge, she said it was stepping back from the company after she sold it. "We fall in love with what we do, and no one can do it the way you do," Aigner Clark says. However, she does not regret the decision and is now getting involved again. Aigner Clark and her husband, Bill Clark, are getting involved in the Baby Einstein brand as consultants.
Success has brought the Clark family tremendous opportunity to travel, to be together and to choose projects that inspire them. Success has brought them peace of mind in the knowledge that they don't have to worry about retirement or college funds. So when you are having a day where you want to throw in the towel, think about this ultimate reward that awaits you if you stick with it.
When all is said and done, Aigner Clark considers being a mom the best job. She is proud of her children, and I venture to say they are proud of their mom.
Lisa Druxman is Entrepreneur.com's "Mompreneur" columnist and the founder and CEO of fitness franchise Stroller Strides. Druxman is also a nationally recognized speaker and author, and is considered an expert in the field of fitness, particularly pre- and postnatal fitness. She hosts a free monthly webinar during which she answers questions from fellow mompreneurs. If you are interested in participating, contact her at email@example.com.