What is it like to be a Mother
and a Businesswoman?

With Stephanie Manganelli

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Stephanie Manganelli and I’m the co-founder of Stowaway Collection Maternity, a maternity apparel line that my mom and I founded together in 2016. We create fashion-forward, flattering maternity clothes that show off a pregnant bump instead of hiding it beneath a tent and only produce in the USA. I get to put my creative thinking and my passion to use!

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
My close friends know out of survival purposes, but I have anaphylaxis. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Take a breath 

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Timing is everything. I have a habit of speaking my mind, and sharing my beliefs and opinions but I have learned with age, that waiting until the right time to share those opinions can make more of an impact and be better received. 

What is your greatest fear?
Not being successful, by my own definition of success.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
When someone doubts me, it motivates me more. I’m lucky because the people closest to me don’t doubt me, but support me in every way. 

What message do you think every woman should hear?
Just do it. Stop thinking, stop toiling, just do it.

What is it like to be a mother and a businesswoman?
A lot of times, being a mom and being a small business owner require the same skill set. Patience, care, thoughtfulness, the ability to put fear behind you, and to take leap with your eyes closed. But in all honesty- it’s a lot of balancing. I often have to determine which role requires more of me at that very moment. 

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
I live in Hoboken, New Jersey and it is the best small-town-feeling city. It’s the perfect place to raise a family but also only a 7 minute ferry ride across the Hudson River to Manhattan. Its location makes balancing motherhood and a career a little bit easier.

What do you love most about yourself?
My perseverance and positivity.

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I feel like every day in small ways I overcome adversity. There is a small percentage of women business owners who actually can grow their business and make it. Every day I work, I feel like I’m going to beat those odds.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
You can’t do it all. Hire someone who can help you.

What motivates you most?
Success. My definition of success is being happy and healthy in all areas of my life. In my family life I’m currently successful because I’m raising a beautiful boy with my wonderful husband. In my career and in Stowaway Collection Maternity’s sense, I want to grow the business where I meet certain metrics (not necessarily dollars). Then I’ll be successful in that area as well.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
Not have set hours for anything. When my son needs me, I’m there. When work needs me, I focus on that. Often times that means focusing on my career during the day, taking a break to enjoy family dinner time, playtime, bedtime, and then returning to my computer to work at night. 

What is your favorite meal?
Authentic Mexican. Hands down.

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I love listening to inspiring entrepreneur podcasts. I always have a brainstorming session after each one because they get my mind turning. My favorite is NPR’s How I Built This hosted by Guy Raz. The founders he interviews spans industries so I gain a new perspective from all areas.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I have many mentors. Each one offers a different perspective so I call them all my “board”. One teaches me about relationship building, another teaches me about the numbers portion of my business and the way to look at internal retail problems.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I am very organized at work but my office at home is a disaster.

Why did you start your company?
When I was pregnant the first time, my mom took me shopping for maternity clothes. We couldn’t find anything that was appropriate for a fashion-forward work environment at a decent price point. We decided to fill that void. Everything from Stowaway Collection Maternity is made in the US, designed to show off and celebrate a pregnant bump (instead of hiding it beneath a tent). We offer free shipping and returns on all orders to make the shopping process simple and stress free for mamas-to-be.

Were you scared to start your business? 
I think I’m more scared now because we have two years under our belt and I am more than 1000% invested in it. At the beginning, you just jump head first not knowing what will happen but now I’m fully aware of what’s at stake.

What is the best thing about being a founder of a company? What is the worst thing?
The best and worst thing about being a founder is that you can control what you focus on. I’m a marketer by trade so I’d love to focus on marketing but because there’s no one else besides my business partner (my mom!), we’re forced to focus on all things we may or may not like depending on what’s needed most. 

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
I feel like I’m living my dream- I always pictured starting a small business and with Stowaway Collection Maternity, I get to share some of the most exciting moments in a woman’s life. Whether she wants to show off her new curves, or needs a little help boosting confidence, we can help. It is a very empowering feeling.

What is something on your bucket list?
To go skydiving- although I’m unsure if I’d ever actually be able to do it. 

Who is your biggest role model? Why?
My sister, Alissa. She’s a pediatrician and she’s so tough, strong, and really has overcome so much. I hope to be like her.

Where do you find inspiration?
The women around Hoboken and NYC. 

What are your biggest passions?
Traveling!

Stowaway Collection Maternity latest Look Book

More About Stephanie

Stephanie Manganelli is the co-founder of Stowaway Collection Maternity, a maternity apparel line that she and her mom founded together in 2016. They create fashion-forward, flattering maternity clothes that show off a pregnant bump instead of hiding it beneath a tent and only produce in the USA. Stephanie gets to put her creative thinking and her passion to use!

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