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Monday Motivation: Momtrepreneur launches Canadian e-shop for kids

26/06/2017 Jennifer Braun

Women across Canada are kicking butt in the workforce, all while maintaining their cool and doing the things in life they enjoy. “Monday Motivation: How she does it” is a news series where we profile notable women working in various fields to find out how they juggle work-life, balance. For this installment, we spoke with Minna Vahtola - a mom and founder of When We Wear Young - a new Canadian e-shop offering childrenswear.

Following six months of planning, Minna officially launched on June 2. Read on to discover how she does it all:

Michelle Little Photography

You recently launched your own online store at Can you tell me a bit about it?

I launched an online store, which offers kids clothes and accessories for kids ages 0 to 4-years-old. I couldn’t find any clothes on the market for my daughter that didn’t have any slogans or that didn’t come in typical gendered styles like pink. So I wanted to curate a selection of brands from around the world, but mostly from Canada because I believe in supporting local that are functional and focused on minimal design. The items selected are basics and essentials that you can mix and match. Basically, I wanted to dress my daughter in items that reflect my style and I thought that other moms would also like the same thing. We carry brands like Kid’s Stuff, Mad About Mini, Mingo and more, that are all made to last.

Michelle Little Photography

A lot of people think of launching a business, but they don’t actually do it! What gave you the motivation to launch?

I’m definitely one of those people who always said that they would launch their own business one day, but never did. I always have ideas and have even gone as far as writing a few business plans, but it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave that the inspiration and timing felt right to really do something. I’ve worked in retail for the last decade, so I do have experience in this field, and I felt that that was the safest option to launch a business in. The whole business is very recent, but I have received a lot of love and support.

So what does a typical day look like for you starting from the moment you wake up?

I’m a full-time mom right now, so really my day starts when my 14 month old daughter Alice wakes me up hungry (laughs). I do all the mommy business until she goes down for her first nap, and then I try to get as much work done as I can. Then, it’s back to doing mommy things most of the day. After she goes to bed at night, I get back to work again. It’s pretty hectic at the moment and it will probably be even more hectic when I go back to work in September (laughs).

What are some of the challenges you face as a business woman?

I’ve had to learn a lot of new things from scratch. Just things that I didn’t know like different programs, social media, marketing and working with a budget, and doing it all, while raising a baby (laughs). Half of the time I’m thinking about what I have to do, but actually feeding Alice and taking her to the park (laughs). I do a lot of multitasking all day long.

How do you overcome these challenges?

I reached out to a lot of friends and they have all supported me and shared skills that I can learn from. I’ve also taken a few classes on the weekend, when my husband can watch our daughter.

Michelle Little Photography

Do you have any tips to share on how you juggle work-life balance?

I say you have to put down your phone and really enjoy the moment that you’re in sometimes. That's the best way to enjoy your family. Also, make the time to do what you want to do for yourself. I have a routine where every Saturday I go spinning and at that time my husband gets to spend some time with Alice. Also, don’t forget about your friends (laughs). You really need to keep in touch, so I also do weekly friend dates.

So sounds like you follow quite the routine?

Oh yes, having a routine really helps keep me calm. I like to have those certain things that I know I can do everyday.

When you do have free time, how do you like to unwind?

Spinning definitely helps me unwind. I also like to be social and go out for brunches on the weekend, and getting together with friends.

Michelle Little Photography

Choose one: wine or cocktails?

That’s a hard one (laughs)! I have to say wine for sure, because my husband and I love to do wine trips. We love to learn about wines together and of course taste wines. But I also love to go explore different cocktail bars with my friends and there’s a lot of them in Montreal!

Do you have a favourite Montreal cocktail bar?

I really like Le 4e Mur. It’s a secret spot where they don’t give you the address and there’s no sign outside, so you kind of have to find the entrance and the brick that opens the door (laughs). It might be a little pretentious, but the cocktails are really really amazing!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Be patient. With an online business especially, you’re just sort of lost on the internet so you really have to be patient before people know about you. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the other piece of advice I’ve received is stick to your vision and people will come.

How would you define success?

My definition has changed over the years, but now success to me is just doing what I love and also having a balanced lifestyle.

Minna will be at the Night Market in Montreal on July 1 where you can shop her curated selection of kids clothes from When We Wear Young.

This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Do you know someone we should feature in this segment? Send an email to [email protected]