Motherhood may be less than glamorous (cue snotty noses and dirty laundry), but Lele Sadoughi’s jewelry would have you think otherwise. Dramatic and finely detailed, her accessories instantly elevate a basic t-shirt and jeans and add whimsical finish to eveningwear. A former jewelry design director of J. Crew and Tory Burch, Lele first launched her eponymous line five years ago. In that short time, her designs earned solid fans at Saks, Neiman Marcus, Intermix and dozens of other boutiques and Lele welcomed two adorable children with her husband. So how does she run a successful business while keeping a household afloat? Here she shares her secrets, including her trick for dealing with restless kids.
Lisa (Lele) Sadoughi, 40
Mom to Asher (4.5) and Ivy (3)
The place you call home: NYC (West Chelsea)
Walk us through your typical day as a working mom.
Now that school has just begun, I’m getting back to a routine. I have tried to make my life as easy as possible for owning my own company and taking care of our two children. Our school is across the street from our townhouse, and I have moved our office to the top floor of the building. I’m able to take my kids to school (my son is in pre-k and my daughter in nursery school) and pick them up everyday because it is a two-minute walk from work. I try to get as much done as possible in the morning before the kids get out, and then on days I do not have a work lunch, I have lunch with my daughter. You’ll find me constantly running downstairs and upstairs where we have market appointments, graphic design meetings, strategy discussions with our director of business development, and work on samples and merchandising the collection. After the kids are in bed, I typically end up back at the office doing design work since I have no interruptions at night.
How has becoming a mother changed your approach to work as a designer? Has it affected your creativity?
I am so lucky I can take my kids to the park in the middle of the day. On the other hand, I end up working later hours to make up for the flexible timing. I want to be around to take my kids to school and make time for my business.
What part of motherhood do you find most challenging?
It is most challenging to separate my work from my life as a mother since our office is above the house. It takes discipline to focus and get the work done to make time to be with the kids.
What’s your favorite parenting hack that makes life a little easier?
We’re so close to many great parks and buildings in NYC. If the kids get restless, I can always put them in the double stroller and they just sit back and marvel at all the people, signs, noises, and action on every corner in the city. It gives me time to breathe and get the blood flowing.
Who do you look up to as a parent and how has that person’s influence affected the way you parent?
Well, I appreciate what my own mother did raising three girls. Only when you have children do you appreciate how much your mother cares for you.
What do you hope is different about work and the workplace when your kids are your age?
I want my kids to have the opportunity to do whatever they want. I hope they have a passion early in life like I did so I can foster it and encourage them to follow their interests. When I entered the workplace, we were using fax machines for sending resumes. My kids will be able to seek out opportunities that I did not even know existed.
Share your best career-related advice in a single sentence:
Work for a large company and learn from their successes and mistakes before you go out on your own.
Share your best motherhood advice in a single sentence:
Be patient with your kids and teach them to be confident about finding a solution.
Do you have any favorite Monica + Andy products?
The M + A muslin blanket that Ivy received for her layette was slightly bigger than a baby blanket, so it was perfect for the crib and the transition to a bed. Plus it’s super soft with a cute pattern.