This Mompreneur Juggles Business and Baby— While Traveling the World
Founder of the Westside Collective Agency-a creative brand spanning products, content creation, branding, and events-Heather Roma knows there is no typical day in the life of a small business owner. From focusing on which ethically-made brands to sell in her shop or traveling all over Los Angeles for client meetings and photo shoots, Roma’s schedule changes every day- and that’s not even scratching the surface of daily duties once you’ve thrown in keeping up with toddler son, Hendrix.
We sat down with the mom of one to chat juggling business and baby, while traveling cross-country for work and play. Here’s what she had to say.
Tell us about the Westside Collective and how it came to be.
It’s been an organic ride as I’ve navigated through the stages of motherhood. I started The Westside Collective when I was seven months pregnant when I thought it would be a good idea to buy a vintage trailer, renovate it, and open it up as a pop-up shop. It was a good idea, just a lot to take on. There were so many things to think about, including things that it hadn’t crossed my mind I might need, like looking at the best business credit cards for startups, for example, that needed to be done before I was even able to open up. I intended to sell products from my clients at Westside Consulting and did so for a while. Then I watched the movie The True Cost and realized that what I was really focused on was selling ethically-made American brands, so my focus turned to sourcing brands that I liked that fell under that umbrella.
While raising Hendrix and having the shop go from pop-up events to full-time, I realized that being in a shop every day was really difficult and cramping the lifestyle I liked; my cousin calls it Retail Jail and I was definitely feeling that. I went back to doing only pop-ups while continuing to build Westside Consulting. Now everything is under the same umbrella. I’ve brought on some badass babes to help and it’s called The Westside Collective Agency. Currently, the bulk of our business is social media content creation and curation, websites, branding, and pop-ups. The trailer I originally started is turning into an Airbnb in Topanga where the retail aspect will still be present. You’ll be able purchase the homewares and perishables used during your experience, then order them new from our site, delivered free to your doorstep.
Give us a sneak peek into your schedule- What is a typical day like for you running your business and being a mom?
It changes every day, which I like. We live in Topanga so I try not to schedule meetings on the Westside or Downtown too early. Days can consist of meeting with clients, meeting with contractors, being on set at shoots or home working from my computer. I use a service like yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk/mail-forwarding-london/ to get my mail sent to an address that isn’t my actual home, so I can either go and pick it up as and when I have a moment to do so, or get it forwarded to me from the office it goes to, which is super-helpful. Wherever I go, Hendrix is almost always with me. Sometimes I’ll bring my laptop to the playground or beach. I never really get a full day off but I try to sneak in playtime and fun things to do whenever we have time. There are just so many different things that businesses need to do, so it can be difficult to take time off. If we’re not increasing our social media visibility, we’re using software like Qualtrics to scan the internet for reviews of our business online. There are so many little jobs that can make such a huge difference, so we need to find time to do them all.
In traveling with your little one, how do you maintain a sense of balance or routine for him?
We do lots of road trips. And even when we’re not on road trips, there is a lot of driving around in Los Angeles. I try to maintain a sense of balance with him by going to the same places for fun and to eat but it’s definitely not easy. We try to make it home for our bedtime routine, but sometimes he’ll fall asleep on the way home. When we are home, our bedtime routine is simple: dinner, bath if we have time, books, and lullaby.
What has been the most rewarding part of traveling with your son?
As Hendrix grows, and really throughout his life, I’ve noticed that all of the traveling and new experiences we have together has made him quite agreeable and open to change. He’s a go-with-the-flow kind of guy like his mama. I love when he brings travels up like, “remember when…” I’m looking forward to making more memories with him on all of our little trips.
What has been the most challenging?
I think juggling everything that I do and having him with me all the time. That’s why I try to make efficiencies wherever I can. Using invoicing software can really speed up my day so that I don’t have to waste time on writing out invoices, and it also helps me keep an eye on my finances too. Sometimes I feel so bad that I’m working all the time, but I do always try to take the time to do at least one fun experience with him a day. I remind myself that I’m doing the best that I can, but living in LA and being on the road so much takes up a lot of our time. Starting in June, I got a place where I can have an office in Santa Monica a couple days a week so hopefully that will cut own on a little bit of travel time.
How early did you begin traveling with your son?
I did my first pop up in Oakland when he was 2 months. It all began then!
Favorite place to travel?
So many places. I love exploring in Joshua Tree with Hendrix but we also love going to see our friends and family in Connecticut and Florida.
Where is home for you? What makes a place feel like home?
We live in Topanga Canyon but are in Venice many days of the week. Both places feel like home to me. Eventually I’d love to be half and half [and it] looks like that’s starting to happen! To me, the feeling of home just means us being together and we can make that anywhere.
You’ll also want to read 6 Things to Know About Home Birth, According to a Midwife, or Tour Wellness Guru Sophie Jaffe’s Ultimate Bohemian Nursery.