“I’m the ultimate problem-solver and painfully persistent and dedicated,” says Rachel Blumenthal, mother of two, and founder and CEO of Rockets of Awesome, an up-and-coming children’s clothing company. “The biggest challenge was knowing that if I didn’t make it happen every day, nobody else would.”
While she’s talking about the challenges she’s faced as an entrepreneur, the sentiment holds true when it comes to her quest for work-life balance. It’s no easy feat to launch three unique business ventures, and it’s exponentially harder when you’re also raising two children. But with her problem-solving mentality and unwavering dedication, Blumenthal is making it work—even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes—and proving that women can have the best of both worlds.
An Unexpected Career
Some are born into greatness, some achieve it, and others have it thrust upon them. Well, the same is true about entrepreneurship, and contrary to what you might think, Blumenthal was firmly in the latter group. “If you had asked me 15 years ago, I would have told you that I was risk averse,” she says.
Her first venture, a jewelry brand called Rachel Leigh, was quite literally thrust upon her when she was 23. “As a publicist at YSL, I worked closely with editors at every major fashion publication. I was wearing a [homemade] ring at work one day, and the editors from Lucky magazine asked to feature [it].”
“That was how it all started,” she explains. “I had customers and interest in my product before I really had a business—it was that initial interest that gave me the confidence to further explore the opportunity. I realized that I could test the waters with very little investment or risk.”
Blumenthal grew Rachel Leigh slowly and organically by working full-time in public relations and creating jewelry on the side. She scaled up the business until it was time to bet big on herself.
“After I was picked up by Shopbop and was doing trunk shows at Henri Bendel, I knew I was onto something, so I decided to take the leap. I left YSL and set up shop in my living room, figuring I would probably beg for them to take me back in six months when it didn’t work out. Fortunately, it did work out and six months turned into eight years.”
The Next Adventure
However, after close to a decade, Blumenthal was ready for a new challenge. She decided to leave Rachel Leigh and license the brand to GlamHouse. “I felt as though I had hit a learning plateau and wanted to be further challenged,” she says.
That next challenge was helping her husband, Neil, with his company, online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker, and then launching Cricket’s Circle, an educational site for new moms that curated the best baby products on the market. Blumenthal’s knack for creating efficient processes lent itself nicely to addressing the needs of new mothers. “I love problem solving, building, and creating,” she says. “I love finding the smarter, simpler way to do things, and I’m obsessed with building authentic, multidimensional brands.”
However, there was an extra piece to the entrepreneurship equation this time around: her son Griffin. Blumenthal’s own experience as a new mother was invaluable in terms of helping her understand the needs of Cricket’s audience, but as any working mom will tell you, balancing a full plate of responsibilities can be tough.
“I live by life hacks—FreshDirect, recurring Soap.com deliveries, weekly lunch routine—to eliminate as many decisions and tasks from my to-do list, leaving room for the important things like dates with my son or date night with my husband,” she explains. “I think the necessity to simplify and streamline my life as a working mom has driven my passion for building businesses that simplify other people’s lives.”
Ready for Takeoff: Rockets of Awesome
Blumenthal’s experience with Cricket’s Circle segued nicely into her latest project. “It was the insights and learnings from the Cricket’s Circle community, in addition to my own experience as a mother, that inspired the idea for Rockets of Awesome.”
Rockets of Awesome is an innovative children’s clothing company that strives to take the hassle out of shopping for kids. The company automatically delivers new clothes to you each season—four times a year—and every batch is personalized for your child.
“Parents complete a style profile, indicating their kids’ preferences—from style and color to obsessions and dislikes,” Blumenthal says. “The Rockets of Awesome team combines behavioral patterns (what shoppers are buying) with kids’ preferences (based on the profile) to deliver a curated delivery of outfits each season … We get smarter every time you shop, learning more and more about what you and your kids love.”
The company only launched this summer, but Blumenthal is enthusiastic about everything the team has accomplished in a few short months. “I’m incredibly proud of our insanely obsessed, dedicated team, as well as how awesome the product is—it’s an amazing combination of style, quality, and value,” she says.
The Elusive Goal: Work-Life Balance
While Blumenthal dreams of Rockets of Awesome becoming a household name, she also has ambitious goals for her family life. Her daughter, Gemma, was born in June 2015, and Blumenthal wants to show her daughter that women are capable of anything. “I hope that I’m teaching my children work ethic—that if they put their minds to something, they can accomplish anything.”
When asked how she balances running her budding business with raising her two children, Blumenthal’s honest answer is: “Not that well, but I keep trying.”
“It’s all about prioritizing and giving yourself a break,” she says. “I am pretty strict about a schedule—balancing work, time with my kids and husband, and some personal time in between.”
A proud mom, accomplished entrepreneur, and inspiring female role model, Rachel Blumenthal is proving that today’s women can have it all.