Former full-time social media influencer Alitzah Stinson began to wrestle with, what looked like, a glamorous gig promoting Fortune 500 brands. Her feelings compounded when a debilitating pregnancy put the future with her daughters into perspective.
“I was on home healthcare, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t bathe myself, I had tubes going into my chest to feed me,” she says, describing her experience with hyperemesis gravidarum.
Suddenly she couldn’t shake the sense that “when I posted a picture on Instagram, I knew there was someone else on the other side of that feeling like they weren’t good enough and I couldn’t be a part of that anymore.”
“I’m portraying this image of perfection that isn’t real…to make them think this skincare cream is going to solve their problems, or this $300 pair of jeans–that I can’t even afford but were sent to me–means something,” she says.
Alitzah also felt like she would set a better example as a mother by staying true to herself, rather than hiring stylists to come to her home under the watchful eye of her 18-month-old daughter.
“For four years there wasn’t a single day where my hair was naturally curly,” she says. “How am I supposed to tell her that her natural self, and her curly hair, is beautiful?”
“Someday she’s going to be looking at people just like me and they’re going to make her feel like she’s not enough,” she feared.
During her inevitable break from blogging, Alitzah realized she was more passionate about charting a course for her premium stationary business, Ivory Paper Co, which she had recently launched after searching for an organizer to meet the demands of her role as an influencer.
So she shifted her focus to helping people take charge of their future–rather than lust over someone else’s curated lifestyle–by providing them with tools “to make plans for everything they’re passionate about–their goals and their life.”
How this Mompreneur Makes it Work
To say Alitzah is driven is an understatement. She wakes up every morning at 6:00, is out the door by 7:00, works straight until 3:00, spends two hours with her girls, goes back to work for another 3 hours, tucks them into bed and then does one last night shift.
Her mantra to “find planner peace” after carrying around a 15-pound bag to manage her family’s schedule led her to build a local manufacturing operation from scratch. It’s also allowed her to maintain quality control and a family-oriented culture, which includes her husband heading up marketing and her kids running around the office.
While the company is growing 10x month over month, Alitzah says she’s “the least qualified person in the entire world to be running this company.”
“But that makes me happy. I don’t have some fancy degree from Harvard Business School, and I’m an African American, 22-year-old,” she says.
“I always told my husband that I wanted to be what I wanted to see.”
She encourages others to do the same, adding “if I can build a business, anyone can build a business.”
It’s no accident that Alitzah has carried around a planner most of her life and yet, she takes goal-setting in stride.
“I break down my plans to the most miniscule level, because that makes it feel accomplishable.”
In other words, Alitzah has realized that by taking small actions towards our larger aspirations, we are enough.