We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Horcasitas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My work life balance has had many variations over the years. I’ve worked while single, in a relationship and then while married with kids. I’ve also held full-time positions, part-time jobs, worked from home, endured long commutes, left the work force, and been self-employed. Each one of these combinations require a unique work life balance mindset and I’ve always done my best to find a way to give the most possible to my work, my family and myself. This doesn’t mean I’ve always succeeded, however. Currently, I am in one of my most challenging moments of finding work life balance to date. I started my own business last year and within months of launching, Covid hit. This not only meant that I was struggling to keep my brand new business afloat, but it also meant I was suddenly doing it from home…alongside my husband and three kids who were also suddenly working and studying from home. Being in the same physical space as my kids all day – especially as they navigate the same overwhelming and oftentimes scary reality of Covid – has forced me to be very deliberate and vocal when I need time and space to focus solely on work. It would be very easy to spend my entire day fulfilling their needs. Honestly, when thinking about this balance I now frequently think of the quote many have heard from Nora Roberts, “When juggling as much as you are, remember that some balls are glass and some are rubber. You can’t drop the glass balls.” Everything feels heightened right now so when one of my kids is having a hard time or needs more support, that’s where the majority of my energy goes. When I have an opportunity for momentum with my business, I try to focus my attention on Pom Vida so that it can grow to be the business I know it can be. This definitely means that when I am focused on one area, the other is not receiving the attention it truly deserves. So it isn’t as much balancing everything evenly all at once, as it is knowing when to redirect focus and energy depending on which balls are glass or rubber in that moment. Of course, you may have noticed I originally said I’ve always done my best to give the most possible to my work, my family and myself, yet didn’t follow up on that whole ‘self’ part. I think many working moms may resonate with the fact that including self-care in my balancing act is often the ball that gets dropped – yes, even when I literally own a business full of incredible self-care items. My methods of self-care have changed over the years but currently, I do try to fit in two or more walks a week while calling a friend, listening to music or a podcast. I also squeeze in a face mask and bath combo whenever possible, especially because the closed bathroom door (sometimes at least – IYKYK) means alone time for a few minutes. All in all, being a mother and entrepreneur means I know for certain that there is no magical one size fits all method for finding work life balance. It’s ever-changing, constantly evolving and often means some aspect of our life is being ignored temporarily while we nurture whichever area is the most desperate for our care in that exact moment.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am so proud of Pom Vida and the ethos it has maintained as it grows. Our process for ensuring that every ingredient in every product is safe and transparency with customers about which exact ingredients we deem to be unsafe is very thorough. I also spent over a year personally trialing thousands of products and having trialists rate those same products to make sure that the clean products we ultimately chose for the website were not only effective, but fantastically effective. While curating a small collection of the best of the best clean and safe self care products is the main goal of Pom Vida, I am also proud of our additional values. Because I believe strongly in taking care of the environment, we pay extra for pre-recycled shipping boxes, tape, filler and labels. Inclusivity is also extremely important to me so we have made sure that people of any age, gender, race, skin type and hair type can find products that work for them on pomvida.com. As part of our mission to be inclusive in a market that can often be seen as exclusive or elitist, we also make sure to have approachable price points for products found on Pom Vida. How can anyone deem clean personal care products to be so important for everyone’s health and then exclude so many groups of people when selling it? Safer products for ALL is a mindset I find vital and one that I do feel sets Pom Vida apart. To be honest, Covid hitting the globe about 6 months after we launched really did a number on our path and growth. However, after spending the last 11 months pretty much focused on staying afloat, we feel ready and reenergized to begin working more toward growth and expansion again. Starting a business has been much more challenging than I anticipated. I had many, many steep learning curve periods in the first year especially – some that even included embarrassing moments in my naïveté. I’ve learned that you can’t trust everyone, you can’t rely on just anyone and if you think you’ve done enough research on how something works, do a little more. However, I’ve also learned that many people are willing to reach out and help pull you up, that putting yourself out there won’t break you, and that the rewards of attempting scary things – like starting your own business – far outweigh the challenges.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, first we’d hit up my kitchen for a glass of champagne and then maybe we’d sit on the back patio for dinner and end the night binge watching Ted Lasso in our living room or ‘borrowing’ my kids’ karaoke microphones while playing Let’s Dance. Kidding. During non-Covid times, it would be extra fun to show my best friend around Miami because honestly, it’s somewhat new to me as well and I feel like there is still so much to explore. We live within walking distance of downtown Coconut Grove so we would definitely spend an afternoon walking around, maybe grabbing tacos and a Jarritos from El Taquito before a slice of pie from Fireman Derek’s. I love walking or jogging down by the nearby Diner Key Marina and would take her on a long walk in that area, which is especially beautiful at sunset, before heading back into town for dinner at Sapore di Mare so we could get the branzino carpaccio and cacio e pepe served in a huge parmesan wheel and topped with truffles. I’d love to say we’d go clubbing afterward since it’s Miami, but I’m a mom of three and she’s a mom of four- each running our own businesses – so, the most we could probably handle after that is a fun cocktail at Ariete or some karaoke at Barracuda. The next day I’d bring her to El Brazo Fuerte Bakery for pastelitos and cafe colada that we could bring with us to the beach. Our favorite beach is near the Cape Florida Lighthouse in Key Biscayne because it is so serene. I’d definitely ask her to come visit during Art Basel so we could check out some of the art tents in South Beach one day. That morning, we could head to Salty Donut in Wynwood for a breakfast of fancy donuts and lemonade iced coffee before checking out the murals of Wynwood Walls and all of the artsy shopping nearby. After Art Basel (and a stroll along Lincoln Road if she wanted – although shopping is really neither of our ‘thing’) I’d make sure we had reservations for Chotto Matte that night for amazing sushi. And honestly, as much as I joked about moving all around different areas of our own home while she visited due to Covid, it would be so nice just hanging out in our pool at home in the sunshine and catching up.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to say that I dedicate a lot of my current success with Pom Vida to my husband. He didn’t really get mentioned in my long explanation about work life balance, but that’s because he’s right beside me also trying his best to balance building his own business, while being a present and helpful husband and dad. He is actually the one who encouraged me to create Pom Vida and has remained supportive and enthusiastic about my business ever since. He’s constantly coming up with creative suggestions or sitting down with me when I have business questions. It sounds cheesy but he has been my biggest cheerleader with Pom Vida and definitely deserves a shout out within my shoutout.
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