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Kelsey Bjelland | Photo: Angela Morris | April 22, 2014
A mompreneur masters the art of juggling business and family.
Being an entrepreneur with a startup company is an enormous job. Add three kids under age 7 to the mix and you’re approaching supermom status. Leslie Simmons Pierson has earned the title and wears it well.
A graduate of Stanford University, Pierson first went to work for Bain & Company in San Francisco, where she focused mainly on startups and growth equity. “[Attending] Stanford, combined with my experience at Bain, gave me the entrepreneurial bug,” admits Pierson. It was in the Bay Area at age 22 that she started her first company: Future Women Leaders, a nonprofit that provides professional leadership training for women and still exists today. Up next for Pierson was Harvard Business School, a corporate job and babies. When her first daughter was 16 months old, she began work on her latest project—Memi, an iPhone-compatible smartbracelet.
After some trial and error, she and her business partner, New York-based Margaux Guerard, found the right design, and the final product will start shipping this fall. Pierson and Guerard raised the startup capital for Memi with a successful crowdfunding campaign that appealed enough to other people (read: parents) wanting to see this product hit the market that Pierson and Guerard generated around $100,000 for its launch. Memi works by sending notifications to your bracelet from your phone. It syncs with an app that allows you to set which contacts will send alerts and which ones you can ignore. The phone never leaves your purse.
“I love to be in the moment with my kids, and I felt like my phone took away from those moments. I really wanted to be able to soak in [those experiences] and not have my phone near me,” explains Pierson. “I like to think of Memi as unplugging just enough.”
And even a few moments of disengaging from work to focus on her family is worth it to the entrepreneur who also sits on the board of 4moms, the innovative baby product company that created mamaRoo and Origami.
How does she balance it all? “I work very odd hours and take calls at 8pm [to make my life work],” she says about these multitude of pursuits. “[I feel like] I’m ‘on’ seven days a week”—which makes her wrist/reward ratio that much more significant.
Pierson’s Parental Picks
Best place for kids’ meals: Yeah! Burger, 1168 Howell Mill Road; 1017 N. Highland Ave.
Best allergy-friendly treats: Gluten Free Cutie, 45 Park Square Court, Roswell