Menu

Overcoming work challenges: How the co-founders of Project Nursery maintain a thriving business

We already loved Project Nursery for the decor. Now we want the co-founders to be our BFFs.

Overcoming work challenges: How the co-founders of Project Nursery maintain a thriving business

Project Nursery is a powerhouse. Manned by two stylish, savvy mamas (with six children between them), it is an online community with active members that number into the millions.


Project Nursery gives expecting parents sneak peeks into celebrity nurseries, easy pieces of DIY inspiration and the resources to turn their imagined space into a reality. Recognized by Parents Magazine as “experts in all things related to baby’s room,” among dozens of other accolades, the duo behind Project Nursery is consistently delivering fresh content and new products—while being all-around mom bosses.

But it hasn’t always been roses: Melisa Fluhr lives with her family just outside of New York, while Pam Ginoccio lives in San Francisco with her family. It’s truly a coast-to-coast business.

We caught up with the two of them and dug into the challenges that faced them as they started and grew the company. Specifically, how did they deal with the very real miles that separated them?

Challenge #1: The literal distance

Melisa: While we launched our business on the same coast, family life sent me to the east coast less than 18 months in. With different time zones and family schedules, it's safe to say we were not completely prepared for the challenges with me living in New York and Pam living in San Francisco would pose. But we got uber creative—as per usual—used technology and were flexible enough to make it work.

Google Hangouts has been just about the best thing ever. We literally feel like we are working in the same room and are so much more in tune with each other by being able to see each other’s faces. Our families are so accustomed to us talking through our devices. If I’m not virtually in Pam’s kitchen when the kids come home from school, they’ll wonder if something is wrong.

Challenge #2: Our different styles

Pam: We didn’t go into our partnership realizing this, but over the years, our interests in the business have evolved and today we each gravitate towards different aspects of running our company. This gives us that “divide and conquer” mentality, allowing us to get more done, faster.

Challenge #3: Going into business with a friend

Melisa: This challenge ended up not being a challenge at all! What is sometimes businesses’ biggest weakness was in fact our biggest strength.

One of the best parts of running a business as long-time friends is that we always have each other’s back. With six kids between the both of us, there are often days when one of our lives goes a bit sideways—like a sick kid, a school play or a snow day—and knowing we can count on one another has been instrumental in growing our business over the past nine years.

We also have an acute understanding of one another’s personalities, as well as likes and dislikes, which in our book is an advantage between business partners. At the end of the day, we’re proud to say we value our years of friendship and unconditional support of one another above all else.

Challenge #4: Deciding what’s next

Pam: We both feel so incredibly proud that we’ve taken a blog, evolved it into a community and developed a genuine brand. Our passion for the beautiful and functional has now launched a popular line of electronics, bedding and more to come.

The best part of our jobs? We love what we do and are grateful for our awesome team as well as the flexibility to do it all while still being able to raise our kids. Not sure we’d change a thing right now so let’s keep the momentum going!

Want more from the founders of Project Nursery. Look no further!

Here are five “Motherly” insights from these two epic mamas.

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Pam: You know that graphic tee that says, “But first, coffee”? That one was made for me. The coffee is brewing before I even get out of bed; that’s how serious I am about it. Most mornings aren’t exactly what I’d call our most “zen” time of the day but I can honestly say no kid has missed the school bus or gone off without a lunch on my watch!

Melisa: Honestly, I do my best to take care of me first before I can take care of everyone else. That means getting up at 5:30am and taking a 3-4 mile walk/run. Feeling incredibly energized, I come home to shower, take the dogs out and make my bed. Then it’s on to getting everyone up, fed and out of the house stat! It doesn’t always go as smoothly as I wish for—‘cause that’s life with kids—but it’s efficient.

The life hack or tip that has changed my life…

Pam: A very wise woman (with fabulous hair!) once said, ”Let it Go, Let it Go”. That’s basically a motto I’ve integrated into my daily life and I really do try to stick to it. I’ve learned that if something isn’t super-duper important and worth pushing back on, roll with it and move on.

Melisa: Forgo the top sheet mamas. I can make my kids beds in less than two minutes and looking picture ready! It’s small, and not everyday but I’ve learned that when working from home, I need to have my surroundings highly organized so I am not constantly thinking of that unfolded pile of laundry. I am much more productive throughout the day for it.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Pam: Super sonic hearing! Who knew that would happen? Often I wish I didn’t have this special skill but it basically started the day I brought my first baby home from the hospital. My ability to hear even the quietest of mischief from one of my littles is still going strong.

Melisa: Juggling. Once becoming a mom, there’s a lot to handle and keeping all the “balls in the air” so to speak—family, work, life—all happy and productive is the world’s greatest juggling act in my book.

This quote inspires me…

Pam: I find so many hilarious quotes that put a smile on my face and inspire on Instagram these days. A recent favorite is, “To be honest I’m just winging it. Life, motherhood, my eyeliner, everything.”

Melisa: “The struggle is real.” So I know it’s not poetic whatsoever, but it’s my reality. Life and parenting are not easy, don’t fool yourself. But when I’m honest and can laugh at myself, that’s the person I want to be. And now that I am a mother of three, I know oh-so well that the reward is tenfold the struggle!

To me "motherly" means...

Pam: Unconditional love, nurturing, kindness with the right amount of James Bond-ness.

Melisa: Caring for another being with your whole heart!

Join Motherly

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less
News