When I first came across Elizabeth, she was honeymooning on a 38-foot catamaran in the pre-Instagram, pre-GoPro era. My husband stumbled across the Hynes Honeymoon sailing blog, and we read all the way through their 18-month cross-Pacific sailing chronicles in a couple of nights.
Fast forward 10 years later, and back on Northern California soil, Elizabeth has raised three young boys and built an American-made apparel business inspired by her travels.
In 2015 she jumped ship from her corporate job and launched Vacay Style, a nautically inspired capsule wardrobe collection for fashionable (yet practical) seafarers. She’s been enjoying a more fluid schedule ever since.
“Since I work for myself and do not have a commute, I can easily walk my young children to school in the morning and volunteer every so often in the classroom,” she says.
“It is a luxury that I really appreciate after working for a big corporation in the City for many years. I actually think the ‘all in’ or ‘you’re out’ mentality of today’s workplace is unfortunate and unfair.”
How Motherhood Inspired a Business
“I have always wanted to have my own business and quite frankly (for a lot of the reasons I already talked about) I got over working for a big corporation,” Elizabeth says.
“In addition, I love actually doing the design, sourcing, marketing, etc — not managing other people to do it,” she says.
Like so many of the mompreneurs I’ve met, Elizabeth rekindled her creativity by building her wardrobe collection from the ground up and staying hands on.
“As you move up the ladder, it all becomes having a team of people. I just want to be the one creating, not managing.”
Because each Vacay Style piece will be worn frequently in rotation, Elizabeth keeps the manufacturing local so she can personally ensure the quality of every garment that’s made.
“I hand select every fabric and road test every style before putting it on the site. Everything is manufactured at an ethical factory in San Francisco and made in travel-friendly fabrications.”
Elizabeth knows firsthand what women need while traveling — whether that’s from her sailing adventures, or her experience in merchandising.
“Packing is horrible and planning outfits is really difficult for some people. I love pulling together these capsule wardrobes that create 15 outfits from 5 items.”
“When I get a thank you email or a 5-star review, I know I have really helped that woman have an amazing vacation.”
How This Mompreneur Makes it Work
“I have an amazing husband and a multitasking full-time nanny. We all work together and share the load,” says Elizabeth.
“Often my nanny will do other types of household things for me so I can do the good stuff — hang out with my kids!”
She acknowledges how fortunate she is to have this support, and wants to pay it forward to her future “Dream Team” as she calls it.
“I hope one day to bring more parents on my team who have a lot to contribute but want more of a work-life balance than typical corporate America is willing to offer,” says Elizabeth.
Women Helping Women Succeed
Her advice to aspiring mompreneurs who also have big dreams, but don’t know how to start?
“Go for it! But, don’t expect to make money right away. It takes time to build a business.”
Elizabeth takes the waves of entrepreneurship in stride — a lesson that comes pretty quickly with the constant swells of sailing and motherhood.
“I have high expectations for Vacay but it has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. However, if you do it for the right reasons there is no failure,” she says.
“Not trying is the failure in my mind.”
Elizabeth and her family share a spirit of adventure, and there’s plenty more to come –on both land and sea — in their future.