Recessionistas: Nakia Kelley and Victoria Molnar
If we could re-do what we were like at 14, we’ve decided that we would all want to be like Tori Molnar. She’s a CEO. Yup, and of a cool company at that. It’s called Utoria and it offers teenage girls a chance to be in business for themselves by selling fashion and jewelry products and taking a commission from the sales. (Just between us girls, we Recessionistas were a little bummed we were over the age-limit to sign up ourselves.) But, the idea that we even wanted to shows us that Tori is onto something. And her mom doesn’t just think so, too…she knows so. So much that she left her own job to work for her daughter — that’s right, for her daughter!
OK — hold up, wait a minute! You were a successful entrepreneur on your own. And you left your job to work for your 14-year-old daughter who had a start-up idea? I gotta ask, what’s that like??
I have to say that working with my 14 year old daughter is definitely more challenging than I realized it was going to be. It may be easier depending on the type of business and the situation I think. Unfortunately, my daughter decided to do a very challenging start-up business with a big budget and minimal capital. We are basically boot-strapping a large business and making it work. This creates a rather stressful environment to begin with. I am also a perfectionist about a lot of things that a 14 year old is often not. Whenever I provide constructive criticism and business advice, she has a hard time deciphering the advice from normal everyday parenting. My daughter often refers to me as “pageant Mom” because I expect her to be very good at what she is doing but that is what I typically expect of any business partner. Therefore, I would definitely say that drawing the line between business and parenting is often difficult. We basically added a little extra stress also because we are together almost constantly at this point. My daughter chose to forego public schooling and enroll in Cyber Charter school so that we could continue to travel and promote the company and her non-profit organization. This means that I also have to monitor her schooling and remind her when she is not completing enough of it on a daily basis. She basically just gets tired of hearing my voice.
But Tori — you probably need that voice of wisdom, right? What’s it like to work with mom?
It’s fun and a true blessing, but most of the time it’s exhausting. My mom and I eat, sleep, travel, and work together and we almost never get any time apart. Sometimes we just want to strangle each other, but luckily that has never happened. It’s like a new adventure every day; good or bad, you never really know what will happen before you go to sleep. Some days I love it, and then there are others where I loathe it. I think there are definitely some issues with our communication, something that I believe every mother/daughter pair will have to face when working together. I feel like the mother/daughter relationship and the business relationship tends to intersect and that is mainly where our problems occur. If you can separate the two, and find a good balance between those different personalities, things will go a lot smoother.
Thanks for keeping it real ladies…I think other women need to hear that before they try to emulate you. What advice would give another mother-daughter duo looking to get into business?
Mom: I would say “Good luck!” I would definitely not discourage anyone from trying. Just realize that it will not be easy and that you have to be willing to communicate a lot. I wouldn’t say that my daughter and I have perfected it yet but we are always improving. Learn from every disagreement and realize that you are two different people with two different perspectives. Don’t give up!
Daughter: Most of our fights happen because we don’t separate the mother/daughter and business partner relationships, though. Make boundaries. Without them things can get very chaotic and make everyone less productive.