Motherly @ Work features the stories and insights of modern women growing their careers—and their families.
Xza Louise Higgins is one of those mamas.
She's mother, wife, and founder of MommyCon: a natural parenting boutique style conference, MILK : An infant feeding conference, and WEAR: A babywearing conference. She and her team have built a safe, supportive community of parents who are like-minded when it comes to raising their children. Xza works to empower these families on a daily basis by educating moms and dads on birth options, babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding—to name a few.
So how did MommyCon come to be? And how does Xza keep up with their fast growth and her growing family? We caught up with Xza to find out her secrets to success—in business and family.
Why did you believe you needed to create MommyCon?
Xza Louise Higgins: MommyCon started very organically. It was a result of my own personal parenting journey, which began with the birth of my first child.
I had a need to connect with other like-minded women who shared the same values and philosophy as me.
So I started a blog called the Mommy Dialogues, and organized informal meet-ups. The response I received from other women made me realize that I needed to create MommyCon.
What was the need in the market?
Xza Louise Higgins: There was a need for an event that united families, and built community around natural parenting advocates and enthusiasts. Community and extended families are a cultural norm in many countries. However, it seems to be increasingly lost in our urban, transient cities.
I look at MommyCon as a way of rebuilding the village.
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What inspires you to do this work?
Xza Louise Higgins: I want every parent to feel a sense of community. It is what drives me through every single day. I want parents to feel a part of something that will forever change their lives.
What did you learn from the first MommyCon, and how has MommyCon grown since then?
Xza Louise Higgins: The very first MommyCon took place at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. There was a lot of irony that went into the first event. I wanted to have an event in Las Vegas, because natural parenting isn't typically the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vegas.
We certainly made our mark as parents from around the country hit social media to see if we would then travel to their area. I restructured the business plan and we hit the road with what we called “MommyCon Mini." The original idea was to have one big event per year, but our audience wanted us to do more, and so we did!
We have had an average of 8 events per year for the last three years.
You work with a lot of baby/kids brands. How do you choose the best brands to work with?
Xza Louise Higgins: I look at whether I would use the product for my family. If my answer is “no," I consult a few people on my team and in our community. If it's not a product any of us would use then I kindly suggest they pursue another event.
It has to be an authentic connection.
At the end of the day we want our community to be happy about the offerings we share, and we want the brands we work with to be happy too.
Tell us about your career to this point—how did you get here?
Xza Louise Higgins: To cut a long story short: I started off in the music industry, then moved into the hospitality industry. When the recession hit, I migrated into small business branding, and then I became a mommy and started documenting that experience during my pregnancy.
I felt alone during pregnancy and needed to find like-minded mommies online.
Bringing them together in person seemed like a natural progression, and is how MommyCon was born.
What are your secrets for integrating work and family?
Xza Louise Higgins: Lots of coffee. Just kidding! Well sort of…I set personal and work boundaries so that I am not working 100+ hours per week. I am a workaholic so if I don't set a “stop point," I just keep going.
I try to plan tons of activities outside the home so that I can tune work out and get a change of scenery.
You're a busy woman—How do you recharge?
Xza Louise Higgins: I love taking bubble baths, practicing yoga, and planning adventures for my family.
Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to that's helped to shape you as a woman and a mother?
Xza Louise Higgins: I have quite a few wonderfully impactful women in my life, one of which is a fellow baby industry veteran. She has one of the largest cloth diapering brands in the world, and she offers me practical advice and encourages me on rough days. She created her business from $100, and that is very much the MommyCon story too. It started off with selling baby carriers to fund an event.
Tell us about your children. How have they transformed your career?
Xza Louise Higgins: I have two amazing children. Atticus who is 4, and Luella who just turned 1. They inspire me to be a good role model for them, and prove that anything can happen if you work hard and keep your head held high.
What gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you inspired and excited about life?
Xza Louise Higgins: MommyCon is a really exciting place to work. We have a beautiful office that is family-friendly, and my team is made up of super passionate people who care about happy and healthy babies. We do everything with a tremendous amount of heart, and being in the office and out in the field is pretty inspiring.
Tell us about a typical day in your life.
At 6: 30 am. . . Hope that I am still sleeping.
At 7:45 am. . . Making sure my kids are eating their breakfast, this is usually the first fight of the day.
At 10:00 am. . . This is usually my first pump break. I use the Ayla bra from the Dairy Fairy and can pump hands-free while I answer emails.
At 1:00 pm. . . I have usually had at least five calls by this point and am knee-deep in spread sheets. I focus on event execution, managing our budget, and creating original concepts to implement into each event.
At 3:00 pm. . . Snacking on popcorn and pushing to get through the day.
At 5:00 pm. . . I usually walk through the door at home at 5pm, and immediately get hugs from my amazing kids. I then start dinner or plan on ordering food.
At 9:00 pm. . . Hopefully my kids are sleeping and I can work a bit more or watch something on Amazon Prime. I am super into Transparent and Orphan Black.
What's one thing you do every day (or try to do every day!) to ensure that your work and home lives run more smoothly?
Xza Louise Higgins: I am a list maker. If I don't make a list, I feel like I am running in circles.
We'd love to hear—what would you tell other mamas who have a big idea? How did you make your dream a reality?
Xza Louise Higgins: Dream big, but have a business plan first. If you don't have a business plan you will be constantly playing catch-up on your great idea.
What are your big dreams for MommyCon?
Xza Louise Higgins: I would like to take the event global, or at least increase our national presence by traveling to more cities.
What do you hope your children learn from your career?
Xza Louise Higgins: That they can be anything they want to be. Particularly for my daughter; I want her to know that she can do anything she sets her mind to.
What's in your purse?
Xza Louise Higgins: Kate Spade polka dot wallet (changing to a bright wallet has helped me exponentially—no more digging to find my black wallet in my black purse), keys, Babyganics diapers, Water Wipes, EcoLips, headphones, Jackery battery pack, business cards and a KIND snack bar.
What does 'Motherly' mean to you?
Xza Louise Higgins: To nurture, to cherish, to hold, to love, to be loved.