I met Lindsay Knaak-Stuart on a business cold call in NYC. I was working as a sales director, and she was in Marketing at Gap Inc. My call was patched through and bam! We found we had a lot in common; I mean, she's married to an Australian, and I'm Australian (enough said). She soon came to meet me, and we bonded even further over Polo Ralph Lauren models, prosecco, NYC restaurants and the recent planning and execution of her destination wedding. She was refreshingly cool, and we've been great mates ever since.
Lindsay is smart, driven, and wildly inappropriate (when you get to know her). She has a dry sense of humor that could only be compared to the funniest of the British. She's honest and tells it how it is. She's worked for some of the best corporate fashion and retail companies including Kate Spade and Rag and Bone. She's the real deal.
When I caught up with her in 2016, she told me she was rarely seeing her family and was finally done with working in the grueling space of the corporate fashion world. Lindsay was busy interviewing at start-ups; her goal to spend more time with her growing family or at least the ability to enjoy them more. Six months later, like the smart woman she is, she had come to the realization, if she was going to work her butt off for a start-up, it might as well be her own. And that's how Meant was born. An organic brand that aims to make our lives a little more straightforward with hard-working products that can multi-task, like the DO-ALL WASH, a 3-in-1 wash that works as an indulgent shampoo, hydrating body wash, and gentle face wash.
I caught up with Lindsay over email and managed to snag her for a few moments:
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Colorado but have been living in NYC for close to 15 years which sounds crazy even typing it because I never thought I’d move to NYC and stay here for 15 YEARS!
Who are your small folk?
Ellie, age 6 1/2 and Hugo, age 5
What’s your thing?
I am the CEO & Founder of Meant, a do-all body care brand. Prior to founding Meant I worked as an executive in fashion and retail for close to 20 years.
What do you find most challenging about motherhood?
Balance. Balancing myself, my husband, my business, my kids and our household. There are not enough hours in the day.
What are your most favorite things to do with your kids?
Anything outside. Living in a small NYC apartment with two kids is tough so I’m always planning things to do that get us out of the house and moving. Our favorite activity is taking the ferry to Governor’s Island and spending the day bike riding, playing soccer, eating oysters and drinking (the adults, not the kids!).
Do you feel like you need to be more present?
Always. Because I run my own business and I’m the only employee my job never stops. I’m either thinking about the million things I need to do or doing the million things I need to get done. But I have enormous flexibility and working for myself allows me to take my kids to school, pick them up and attend school events in the middle of the day. So it’s the trade off I suppose, because when I worked in the corporate world I only saw my kids in the morning and evening.
How do you practice being present with your children in a time when there are so many distractions?
On the walk to school each morning and when I pick them up after school I use this time for little heart-to-heart chats. I ask what they’re excited about, what’s bugging them, or what they’re learning at school. You’d be surprised how chatty kids are and how much they’ll actually tell you about their day if you can catch them early.
Do you have technology free time?
Not really for the entrepreneur reasons noted above, but when we’re on a family vacation I’m pretty good about disconnecting and leaving my phone back at the hotel room. As for the kids, I do try and limit them to an hour a day of TV but sometimes it’s less and sometimes it’s more. I try to not beat myself up over it because let’s be real, I grew up in the 70’s/80’s and I watched A LOT of TV and I think I turned out okay?!
Any tips for the moms out there?
Be kind…to yourself. I’m a perfectionist and classic type A personality and I’m super hard on myself and how I’m doing as a parent. But then my kids do something really kind or show so much empathy for someone and I think, “okay, maybe I’m not doing so bad after all.”
Any good books you can recommend us PDMs?
I recently read the book Raising Lions by Joe Newman and I found it really interesting and a new perspective on kids and challenging behaviors. He talks about “the cultural shift that has reinforced anxiety and behavior disorders in children by negating parental authority. Current childrearing techniques seek to develop children who are confident, self-assured and unafraid to speak their minds - lions instead of lambs. Although largely positive, this shift has brought with it some very serious problems in our children's behavior.”