Meet 9 Mom-Entrepreneurs Sparking Change On The Main Line
By Ana Welsh, Business Editor
What’s tougher: being a mom or an entrepreneur? How about doing both at the same time – in the middle of a pandemic? None of that stopped these nine mom-entrepreneurs, each of whom started or expanded businesses since 2020. But it wasn’t easy.
Ali Kahan started Charming Garlands, her balloon décor company, as a side hustle in 2020. By March 2021, she was ready to leave her day job with King of Prussia District. “I was being pulled from both points and both were suffering,” said the mom of two. “I knew I had to make a choice and the safe choice was to keep my corporate job.” But she chose Charming Garlands, which now creates balloon installations for parties and corporate events in Philadelphia, the Main Line and its suburbs. “I was willing to do whatever it takes to do something great,” Kahan said.
Rosa Zeibari turned her side hustle into a thriving business. When the pandemic hit, Zeibari realized that everyone was trying to create special celebration moments in their homes. The mother of three and long-time pharmacist funneled her creativity into Bash Kits, customized celebration boxes that include items from local bakeries, cheese shops and other delicacies. “I saw the need for people to want to do something unique and special and different for their families,” Zeibari said. “My greatest joy comes from seeing the smiles when I deliver my packages.”
The pandemic also convinced Malvern mom Kristin Melchior to follow her dream. A long time Main Line real estate executive, Melchior resigned from her high-powered job and launched a house flipping business in October 2020. “I didn’t realize how hard and how rewarding it was going to be,” said Melchior. Melchior broke her foot in the midst of the huge project. While sidelined, Melchior opened Eliman Realty brokerage firm and earned her personal coaching certification. That led to the business Melchior is currently starting: a wellness center in Malvern.
The pandemic didn’t pause Kim Wright’s business. In the past two years, Wright opened two of her four Nothing Bundt Cake shops. Four is a lucky number for Wright; she also has four kids. But Wright’s shops in Wynnewood, Wayne, Springfield and Collegeville require approximately 15-30 employees, and the recent labor shortage means that hiring can be a challenge. “If my employees need a day off to go to prom, they get it, even if that means I have to work for them,” says Wright. “I want my own employees to be treated as my own sons with their first job.”
Tessa Jenkins opened The Works, her yoga and wellness studio, in Malvern in September 2022. The mother of two became a certified holistic health coach during the pandemic, then combined her expertise into The Works, which offers meditation, yoga and coaching. Juggling motherhood with running The Works isn’t easy, but Jenkins is thrilled that her kids are watching her following her dream. “To see my kids’ excitement is max level awesome,” Jenkins said. “The pandemic made me understand that life is short. I knew I had to say yes or else I would regret it.”
Erica Adams felt the same way. The mother of three opened her Brooke Alexandria Spa in Haverford in June 2022. A nurse for more than 20 years, Adams knew the ins and outs of medicine, but wanted to give personalized attention to clients’ medical and aesthetic needs. “I worked in Philadelphia hospitals for many years, but now I get to work one-on-one with people to improve their health, wellness and beauty,” Adams said.
Lauren Anrig Addis knows what it’s like to have your own space. The longtime art curator has worked with corporate and residential clients on their private art collections. For several years, Addis also shared space at Main Line Co-Op in Wayne. Wanting to stretch her creative wings, Addis opened her first art gallery in September 2022. Located in New Hope, LAA Collective’s gallery is quite a drive from Addis’s Wayne home. But she loves being immersed in New Hope’s creative vibe. “To see the artists I work with flourish is such a high for me,” she shares.
Addis believes she is demonstrating to her kids that women can be entrepreneurs and moms. Veronica Fitzgerald feels the same way. “It’s to show my children that I’m committed so they learn what grit, hard work and passion really means,” says Fitzgerald. In 2022, the mom of three opened V Empanadas in Wayne’s Lancaster Farmer’s Market. “I feel so proud to be a Latin food vendor at the market. It’s an opportunity to show and educate people about our Latin culture.”
Main Line real estate expert Nicole Klein has taught her two kids that taking calculated risks can be rewarding. In 2022, Klein transitioned her Nicole Klein Team real estate business to a new brokerage focused on operating from a virtual platform. “One of my greatest joys was realizing it’s okay to take a risk, push through negative opinions and see that trusting your gut is the right thing to do,” said Klein. “Turns out, you can have a successful business and still enjoy time with your family. You can almost have it all.”
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