This week, a couple of friends insisted that they will Marie-Kondo their kitchen for spring and it made me realize that there’s a surging culture developing for minimizing and organizing. In an age of overwhelming consumerism, over information, over nutrition and over subscription, all we simply need is simplifying and organizing our lives. In our efforts to welcome a path towards a simpler life, we’ve come across some fantastic products and their creators that help organize our visuals and maximize productivity- specifically in the kitchen.
Meet Lauren, a mama and a good-vibe hunter, from the suburbs of Chicago who founded a company that makes our kitchens neat. Made from hard and long life plastic, Youcopia products are durable enough to last years. Her cool and calm presence throughout our chat assured me that she’s figured out her inner zen, all while juggling a company, home and motherhood. Lauren takes up creativity from her parents and the love for hosting friends for dinner parties. Being organized in the kitchen while cooking and hosting is important for her- and YouCopia fits well with that formula!
About YouCopia and Lauren’s inspiration to create it
YouCopia is a feeling of happiness when things are going the way you want them to. We make storage and organization products that help people experience little wins as they move about their daily routines. We started selling a spice organizer called the SpiceStack in 2007 and were blown away by the response from customers. Not only were they satisfied with the product, but they were expressing the pride they felt from being more organized. So that inspired us to create more products that could deliver these good vibes.
Would Youcopia products fit perfectly for the OCD in us?
We have a running joke that YouCopia’s organizers are for the professionally disorganized. Martha Stewart already has a game plan. The rest of us need a little help.
How easy is it to run a business?
Entrepreneurship comes very naturally to some people, but it can also be strengthened with learning and experience. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be willing to tackle new challenges, expose yourself to risk and collaborate with other people. Running a business has its challenges and it’s not the easiest- so if you want stability, you should become an accountant (nothing against accountants, hi Mike!).
How long did it take to develop your brand and expand?
It’s funny because the goalposts keep changing. If you asked me 10 years ago, the ultimate dream was to get placement in a national retail chain. Today, YouCopia products can be found at The Container Store, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon (among others) and I’m like “yeah, but what’s next?”. It has taken some time to gThere have been many ups and downs along the way. What’s working for you one day may not work the next, so you learn to adapt quickly.
Women are having a moment in entrepreneurship. What are your views?
We need women entrepreneurs because we need better representation in business when it comes to solving everyday issues. Don’t like undergarments designed by men? Spanx and Third Love are killing it. I just read about Sephora Accelerate, an initiative to build a community of female founders in the beauty industry – totally cool. In housewares, we’re seeing a surge in women-owned companies and I think it’s because women make more houseware purchases. It makes sense. The current political and cultural climate is empowering women to not only have their voices heard, but also act as the strong leaders within companies.
You’ve recently become a mom, how’s that going?
Motherhood is one million times better than I expected it to be! I had a feeling I would enjoy it, but I didn’t understand the degree to which you love your baby. I used to be one of those people who secretly rolled their eyes during friend’s stories about their kids, but now I totally get it. Being a Mom changes your life’s trajectory and purpose.
Anything new you discovered about yourself with motherhood?
My 7-month-old daughter is not an employee. She doesn’t take direction, follow logic and or chat over coffee! All joking aside, my biggest parenting struggle is letting go of all the guilt I feel when I’m not with her, travel for work, don’t think of her during a busy day, or don’t know something about her daily routine. Obviously, I carry a lot of guilt! But that feeling doesn’t serve any good, so I try to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can (and that’s pretty darn good). My baby is happy and healthy. I derive so much joy from being with her.
How do you stay on top of your game and be a kick-ass mom?
I’m learning how to balance caring for myself, my baby, my husband and my company. It’s made me a more focused person because I don’t have time to waste. Work projects that used to take until 9 p.m. must be finished by 6 p.m. I try to go to bed as early as I can, so there’s less media consumption. I also try not to look at my phone around my daughter because I want to be in the moment when I’m with her. H
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day starts around 7 a.m. I get up and spend my first hour with my daughter, feeding, reading and playing. I get to the office by 9 a.m. and it’s usually a whirlwind of meetings and email until 5:30 p.m. Luckily, I live close to the office and my commute from Ravenswood to Southport is short. I try to leave business behind and keep 6 to 9 p.m. as our family time. My husband and I team-up for cooking; literally handing the baby back and forth to complete various tasks. Sometimes we’ll play music and dance around. It’s a fun time and my daughter seems to enjoy watching what we’re doing while hanging out. Then we all eat and it’s on to the bedtime routine. I take care of any shopping, reading or emails before getting into bed – goal time is 10 p.zkkwefv ghjk,da1qm. I’m still trying to figure out how parents exercise on weekdays (seriously, accepting suggestions!). Weekends are about recharging, relaxing and having fun.
What’s your beauty & skincare secrets?
I’m obsessed with skincare products. My husband jokes about my “10-step routine,” but it’s only like 8 or 9 steps, ha! I just added Avene Hydrance Serum to my winter lineup and it’s made a difference in my daytime glow. I like NUXE moisturizers and Dermalogica cleanser and toner. For makeup, my can’t-live-withouts are Anastasia eyebrow powder, Stila Smudge Stick eyeliners, Milk Makeup lip + cheek stain and Nars concealer and lip glosses. I wash my hair every four days and use Batiste Dry Shampoo in between – it’s the best!
“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg. … Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” James Allen, writer
Photos professionally taken by Brooke Montes @ Glimpses by Brooke Photography.