My Why

The response I usually get when I tell people I’ve left the corporate world to “stay at home” and become a Stella & Dot Stylist is, “Oh. Really.” I understand it can be a difficult concept for people to wrap their heads around, especially since my style was (is?) probably best described “backpack chic”, emphasis on the backpack. But I’m just crazy enough to think that staying home AND making money at something I love are not mutually exclusive.


I started doing this because I want to have more time for the girls. I want to volunteer at the school and have time to pack more than a cheese whiz sandwich and a bag of chips for lunch. I want Daren to be able to focus on his job while I hold down the fort. (And by the way, if you’d told me 10 years ago that I would eventually settle into such a traditional division of marital roles I’d have kicked you right in your Leave It To Beaver. But here we are. It’s working and I love it.)


I also fell deeply in love with the product. I think looking great makes us feel great, and when we feel great we do great things. So when my favourite t-shirt is stained with olive oil and the ass of my yoga pants is smeared with peanut butter, I can still put on a rocking necklace and feel like a million bucks. Or when I have failed at creating a sexy topknot and my hair looks like a cat’s been chewing on it, I’ll throw a great bag over my shoulder and not get arrested for ugly.


This weekend I attended Stella & Dot’s annual conference in Las Vegas. It’s called Hoopla and Hoopla is equal parts conference, training, boondoggle and religious experience. Sitting in the ballroom of Mandalay Bay, watching women and company executives tear up when other Stylists talk about what this opportunity has done for them and their families, visions of sweltering chapels in the deep south and cries of “you are SAVED!” did admittedly cross my mind. But that’s before I was encouraged to really think about “my why.”


Your “why” is why you joined Stella & Dot. Why are you doing this, what is your motivation? For some it’s extra money for a vacation, a home reno or post-secondary education. Some are supporting their families after a husband’s injury or job loss. Many are single moms who need a second income to survive. “I want my kids to see me doing more than laundry”, one woman told me. And another, a 69-year old retired University professor, just wanted to prove to herself she could do something else. And she loves the bags and scarves. Some are making a few hundred extra dollars, many are making six figures annually and a tiny handful are making seven figures. Yup, seven. And by the way, this is what our office parties look like.


CEO Jessica Herrin and VP Training Danielle Redner rock out at the annual Friday night dance party.

CEO Jessica Herrin and VP Training Danielle Redner rock out at the annual Friday night dance party.

When setting my goals, I documented my why like this: “Make enough money to stay home with my kids.” Many women shared that same motivation this weekend but eventually we started peeling back the layers of why – WHY do you want to stay home. And that’s when shit got real. I could tell you dozens of stories I heard about the importance of family, of giving their kids everything they didn’t have, or of being home after school because no one was there for them. It was all very personal and very real.

When I started peeling back the layers of my own why they looked like this.

I want to make enough money to stay home with my kids.


Because I want to have more time with them. Because I missed four years of each of their lives already and I don’t want to miss another minute more than I have to. And because being a working mom is really fucking hard and I’d like a minimum of 60 God Damn minutes per day to read a book or clean myself.


Because I don’t want to have a boss anymore. Because I’m tired of someone else deciding when I work, how I work, how much money I make and when my services are no longer required. Because I felt like barfing every time I had to call and say “kids are sick, I can’t come in” (and because sending them to school or daycare when they’re sick is frowned upon).

-peel –

Because it’s hard when both parents have demanding jobs and there’s no nanny to pick up the slack. And because when I’m home I have the time to do it all and because that’s my contribution to the family, I don’t resent it. When we were both working full time and I still did all the shopping, the planning and the cleaning I walked around the house like a fire-breathing dragon. Did I mention I did all the cleaning? Because my husband is happier when I’m not bitching at him about housework and we argue less.


Because I swear there have been times when I thought my dogs’ legs had atrophied from lack of walking. Because feathering the nest, making sure appointments are made and kept, and ensuring we don’t eat out of a frozen box 5 of 7 nights is important to me. Because having a tidy house and an organized life is important to me.


Because our girls didn’t have that for the first few years of their lives. They came into a world where filth, chaos and neglect were the norm. Because they were born into circumstances where regular Doctors appointments, healthy meals, gymnastics at 5:00 and mommy holding their hand on the school trip were never going to be possible. Because this is what they deserve.

And there it was.

Doesn’t it always come back to the little people who rule our hearts with an iron fist?


My Why


I’ve chosen to share this not because I feel like I have to explain my choices to anyone but because I want people to understand the motivation behind the work I’m doing, my why. So when I post about a Flash Sale or a new bag, you know I’m not trying to sell you something. I’m just sharing what I love because this new adventure is about so much more than great jewelry. It’s about my why.


7 thoughts on “My Why

  1. For all of your why’s, I will only buy my Stella and Dot from you. I do believe you underestimate your own natural glamour – cat chewn bun or otherwise. Also, whatever years you missed, however pressed you are to perfectly compensate for a past you had no power over. . . The immense love and willingness to sacrifice and heal at whatever cost to your past sense of self is a gift to your children that makes your maternal kinship with them as stronger than any other ties one could claim. Many should be humbled not harrumphing over your choices. I don’t care what your selling, I’m buying.

  2. I enjoy your writing, I enjoy the humour and appreciate the insight.
    I’m thinking you should start making writing more frequently, or perhaps getting paid to write, another ‘my why’. Why? Cause your great at it.

  3. I admire you for taking this step. Looking after house and home and hearts is in itself a full time job and making sure it’s of the quality you want is obviously top priority. Too many moms burn out and end up resenting all they believed in at one time about having a family. Good on you Jen.
    I must admit that I’ve never looked into Stella and Dot but will head there soon to check it out.
    Love that photo of two happy My Whys!

  4. Can I stalk you? Because I totally admit that I’m going to! You have an amazing way with words and just as I was about to do a literal LOL, the last paragraph swept me away and brought forth the tears.

    Your little people, by the way, are not just lucky as hell to have such an awesome mother, but they’re pretty darn adorable!!

    PS…stay home moms are the coolest. Anytime you want to pretend to take the dogs for a walk and go for ice cream, call me 😉

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