September 16th is National Working Parents Day honoring those who work to provide for their family! We are excited to give a shoutout to all of our working parents that keep the Old Whaling Co. ship sailing! Heather Philipp, our VP of Sales and Marketing has four daughters, most of whom have moved out of the house. One of her daughters is me! (A working cat mom!) Kelly Waldren, our VP of Operations has a toddler at home; Dominique, a member of our Retail Team, is a busy mom with a dance & fitness party business in addition to her full time schedule with us. Shavon, a member of our Production Team, has a son who just started high school. Shavon balances work and home with art! She’s an incredible artist who often makes paintings for her co-workers!
Shout out to our team members that are pet parents too; Noelle & Phil, Jessie, Cam, Savannah, Jenna, Lizzy, Bunny, Brittanie, and Catie!
Our founder and owner, April Budney has five children and runs Old Whaling Co. smoothly and gracefully! I sat down with April to get some perspective as a working parent!
Q: April, you’re the ultimate working mom. Did you ever think that when you started this business you’d be this kind of working parent, one that’s so successful and busy?
A: When I first started OWC, my kids were so little, and I only had three! When my youngest child Charlotte Rose was born, that’s when we started at the City Market full time. I have absolutely no idea how I did it! It’s one of those things I look back on and am very grateful to not be in that place anymore. Success at that time was keeping all the lights on and still having money to buy ingredients and food to eat. I try to never take for granted all those hard times. It makes problems now seem not so big.
Q: What does a normal parenting day look like for you?
A: This year is very different than last. Last year all the kids were in school full time so when they went to school is when I went to work. This year we have decided to homeschool them, so we have no routine at the moment, which isn’t ideal for any of us but we’re getting there. I’m grateful to be able to homeschool them and set my own schedule for when I need to work.
Q: How do you balance your work life and personal life?
A: I’ve learned not to get caught up in the idea of a work life balance. I think sometimes people, especially women, beat themselves up over this idea. It’s all the same to me and that’s how it’s been since I started this business. I love what I do so there’s not a big internal conflict. If I didn’t love it, that would be a different story.
Q: I know that you bring your kids into the office to help out occasionally, how do they like being a part of OWC?
A: I would ask them! It depends which child - my step son Dustin is 13 and enjoys coming in to work and make money. He helps out in our shipping and seems to like it. The other kids only come to work when I make them, like when we have a big sale. They like the money but not so much the work. They’re still fairly young, so I haven’t lost all hope yet.
Q: Old Whaling Co. uses language like “OWC Family” in our notes to our customers. What does “the OWC family” mean to you?
A: When we first started out, it was just me, my husband Mike, and the kids. Old Whaling Co was just an extension of us - another member of the family. We try and pass that on to our customers purchasing our products - we want them to know we are a family owned and operated business and we do not take their business for granted.
When I first started to think about hiring people, and honestly I dislike the word employee because it feels so lifeless and sterile, it felt like we were just adding to our family - a work family. Everyone who came into the business, especially early on before we had a warehouse or offices or stores - I had to be comfortable enough with them to have them working in our home. In such an intimate setting you naturally become very tight knit just like real family.
We do have lots of family working here - for instance our VP of Operations Kelly and VP of Production Celia are sisters. Noelle, our Wholesale Accounts Manager, and Phil, our Data Analyst, are husband and wife. Lauren is the daughter of Heather Phillip, our VP of Sales and Marketing. Catie, our Retail Manager, is Kelly’s best friend from college.
Q: What are some of your parenting secrets? You run such a successful company and must be incredibly busy!
A: I wish I had magical parenting secrets to share. The truth is I really do not have it all figured out. I’m not the perfect mom or business owner and I’m ok with that.
Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for expecting parents?
A: Be flexible and don’t be too hard on yourself. Things usually don’t go like you think they will.