The Sassiest Mama Awards 2015
Full moon yoga, the perfect cappuccino and a little dark chocolate – a few of the little pleasures this mama of 2 indulges in every now and then. With a background in brand building combined with a passion for female targeted brands, she now owns an impressive boutique branding and design consultancy, believes in making lists and taking video clips of the littles – and loves a big family breakfast outing at the weekends.
Who’s The Mama?
Full Name: Jennifer Watson
Occupation: Founder, Bloom Brand Styling
Children: Nathaniel, 3 years old; Isabella, 7 months
How long have you lived in Dubai? Nine years
1) Tell us about your business/businesses and why you started them.
I am the owner of Bloom, a boutique branding and design consultancy based in Dubai. We operate in an inspiring and relevant niche, as we specialize in crafting, transforming and guiding brands targeted towards women. Our clients are women, and they are the owners of small to mid-sized businesses with big brand ambitions. I had the idea to start this business shortly after having my first baby and joining in mum & baby groups. I was meeting a lot of women like myself, who were toying with the idea of starting their own business, rather than returning to the corporate workforce. Many had amazing ideas, solid business plans and tremendous passion to spur them onto taking this plunge while continuing to navigate motherhood, family life, etc. (women are exceptional multi-taskers!). At the same time, I was meeting women who already had existing businesses here – though in many cases, their brands had outgrown their long-term business ambitions, ultimately preventing them from growing, expanding and experiencing greater success.
With a background in strategic brand-building and a personal passion for smart and sophisticated female-targeted brands in the beauty, fashion, food and lifestyle space, the idea for Bloom was born!
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
Without a doubt, my biggest achievement is that I have two happy and healthy children who bring infinite love and joy into my life every day. Being able nurture these beautiful little people and watch them grow into their own amazing personalities is a blessing. I also have a supportive husband who is my best friend.
I’m proud of Bloom and all that we have set out to achieve by working specifically with women business owners and brands that target women. In a relatively short span of time, we have established ourselves as true brand-building partners with an array of fabulous multi-faceted women who are smart, switched-on and driven by passion to make a positive difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. I count myself so fortunate to consider many of our clients friends now. We always seem to have a lot in common.
3) As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
I always knew I wanted to work in a creative environment where each day would be different – where an amazing array of personalities, talents and perspectives would rally together to create something inspiring and remarkable. I also remember watching the movie, “What Women Want” with Helen Hunt, the savvy top advertising exec who was brought into an agency to broaden its appeal to women. I wanted to be her! Even back then, I loved the idea of ‘sisterhood’ and communicating with women on a different level to truly connect with them and impact their lives in a positive and meaningful way.
4) If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
- For my family and friends to live long lives filled with good health and happiness.
- For Dubai to be a shorter distance from family.
- For my children to grow up being polite, compassionate and self-aware individuals.
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
Firstly, thank you so much for this honour of being considered a Sassy Mama! There’s definitely a feel-good factor from the support you receive from other women. To me, being a Sassy Mama means being able to work at all aspects of your life on your own terms. At the end of the (long) day, it’s about feeling happy and fulfilled.
6) What’s a typical day in your life like?
We are typically woken up around 6.30am by our toddler (he’s our alarm clock), who bursts into our room with energy and excitement, ready to seize the day. I immediately check my phone (a force of habit that can’t be helped!), which instantly helps me to focus on the day and tasks ahead. For the next hour or so, my husband and I navigate the morning routine with an all-hands-on-deck approach that is a flurry of breakfast, caffeine, bottle feeding, getting all four of us ready for nursery, work and babysitter for my daughter. It’s usually my husband who does the nursery drop-off for our son shortly after 8am which is great, since I work from home and can then jump straight into my day.
I’m an avid list-maker and plan out my To Do’s the night before.
Mornings for me tend to be a mix of emails, client/supplier phone calls, project research, brand strategy development, reviewing creative progress from my amazing Creative Director Marie, visits to the printer for quality-control press approvals and often face-to-face client meetings (the majority of our clients are mums, so mornings tend to be the best time for everyone to meet).
Since Marie has recently relocated to Belgium with her family, we completely embrace digital technology in our working methods every day. From our routinely scheduled Skype meetings for brainstorming new concepts, to our habitual “screen sharing” to review creative progress, to the quick What’s App messages for short updates, we’re efficient, enthusiastic and always avid supporters of finding ways to “work smarter”.
I’m fortunate that I have until 3pm before I need to pick Nathaniel up from nursery, so I tend to work straight through, taking a quick break for lunch and feeding and playing with Isabella briefly before the two of us head out to pick him up. Whenever possible, the remaining hours of the afternoon are spent with my little ones – either in the home, at the park or at short playdates with friends. I do my best to make dinner most nights and it’s typically around 6.30pm when the children eat, and then starts the bedtime routine. My husband is great at being home from work for this and is always happy to jump in and take on the role together, so that we can have our own dinner around 8pm. The remainder of the night is for a bit of TV, Skyping with family when we can, but it most always involves the laptop and mobiles coming back out for a couple of hours before it’s time for bed.
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Luxe travel to Pinterest-worthy destinations (though in the past few years I’ve mainly been living vicariously through my Pins!), spa indulgences, dark chocolate and the perfect cappuccino.
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
Measure your success by your happiness. Surround yourself with positive people. Do what you love – there’s no substitute for passion.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
We love waking up early on the weekend and going out for breakfast together. It’s such a great way to reconnect, catch up on all that’s happened over the week and enjoy the terrific range of family-friendly spots that Dubai has to offer. We are always trying something new, but heading to The Beach at JBR remains a favourite – especially in the cooler months when we tend to linger for longer (read: race after my son while he tears up and down the beach).
10) What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, something fellow mamas should know about?
I absolutely love the monthly Full Moon yoga at Talise Spa – Madinat Jumeirah. The entire experience is such a quiet luxury and it’s right on our doorstep. Setting foot onto the beach in front of the illuminated Burj Al Arab, looking up at the full moon and hearing the gentle waves lapping up on the shore…one instantly unwinds. It always makes me appreciate Dubai and all that we have here even more.
11) Which three words best describe your personality?
Kind, Focused, Committed
12) What advice would you have for a new mama?
Enjoy every minute, time passes so quickly. Photos are great, but taking short video clips whenever you think of it is even better. Looking back on them, you won’t believe how much your child has grown and changed, and you’ll be so grateful for having a way to hold onto those moments forever.
13) What advice would you give to a mama who wants to go back to work or start her own business but is worried about juggling family and career?
Go for it! Focus on your priorities for work and family, and always try to take a bigger-picture approach when you’re evaluating how things are going. Nothing is easy and “balance” is a tricky concept for everyone. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll get there!
14) If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
My mobile with wifi (sorry, can’t help it!), sunscreen, my passport.
15) Top 3 books?
These days, I tend to be interested in books that have been written by my favourite bloggers across the lifestyle category. It’s amazing to witness the success that some of these content creators are experiencing after their years of dedication and fostering connections with readers. I love the back-stories of their personal journeys and two on my nightstand right now are Elements of Style by Erin Gates and Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward. Another book that I’ve connected with and referred back to over the years is The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte; it’s a soulful and practical guide to creating success on your own terms.
16) Describe your style.
I have a Modern Classic style sensibility. Whether it be in fashion, my home or my approach to design, I gravitate towards clean lines, balance and symmetry, neutral palettes with pops of colour, tailored shapes and silhouettes, quality materials, thoughtful details and a touch of trend.
17) If there was a movie produced about your life, who would you choose to play you and why?
Tough question! I’d like to say Julia Roberts. She always displays the right combination of class, style and substance, and her smile seems genuine.
18) Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done.
With my 7-month daughter, it’s the range of facial expressions we’re witnessing as she progresses with solid foods and different tastes & textures. It’s so interesting how each child is different in what they do or don’t like! With my toddler son, we’re laughing all the time! His main obsession these days is anything related to transportation (especially emergency rescue vehicles), so with the smallest mishap or incident around the home he quickly jumps into his make-believe car with the greatest enthusiasm, fastens his imaginary seatbelt, pretends to lock the doors and turn on the radio before excitedly urging us to, “Quick! Call an ambulance! Call the police! Call the fire truck! We’re going to an emergency!” Cue the pitch-perfect siren sound effects that he’s mastered thanks to daily practice wherever we go!
Thanks to The Studio for the gorgeous pics! Book your photography experience on (+971) (0)4 347 1745.
Special thanks also to Sassy Mama Dani for coordinating mamas and photographers while juggling 3 little ones too!