Is it possible to run a successful business, while being pregnant, and even expand the business further in the meantime? It is!
How do you manage your schedule and make it all work? Toronto-based entrepreneur, Bojana Sentaler, shares her secrets with FAJO‘s readers.
By Bojana Sentaler
Photography by Aleyah Solomon and Mike Lewis
“Since I founded Sentaler four-and-half years ago, I’ve been committing most of my time and energy to designing innovative products year after year, developing the Sentaler brand and continuously expanding the business both nationally and internationally.
“In 2012, I have had a couple of significant personal events, which made me change my managing role in the company. I got married, and my husband and I decided to have a baby. After finding out I was pregnant, I was thrilled and so excited for such a blessing! It is truly a miracle.
“But then I thought ‘What about Sentaler?’ How will I manage the business? How will I travel? Will I be able to keep the momentum and continue the growth of my company?
“In the last couple of months, I’ve been particularly focused on developing a strategy for growing my business to the level where it can operate without my continuous physical involvement. I hired a director of sales, who took a huge responsibility of managing and growing sales. I also brought on board a talented Toronto-based stylist, who will be assisting my clients at the Sentaler showroom. So business will continue as usual. The store will still operate on a ‘by appointment’ basis, and clients will still be able to shop at their convenience. My designs for fall 2014/15 season are already in their final stages. I’m also hiring an operations manager, who will be overseeing the production, quality control and distribution. I will continue to manage the overall business.
“With baby’s arrival approaching, I had to prepare for my fall 2013/14 season in advance. This included a new collection design and launch, marketing plan, PR and event schedule.
“The key is really planning ahead. In fashion, you have to plan early, and when you are expecting, you have to particularly plan what tasks you will delegate, as well as what tasks you can execute in advance, or leave for later. I hope that I will prove to women entrepreneurs that we can do it all. We can continue to run successful businesses and have a family life. It is possible.
“Here are the things I’ve learnt that I wanted to share with FAJO‘s readers. These are my 5 Juggling Tips!
- Planning, planning, planning. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is (plan how your business will sustain itself if you had to step out).
- Hiring people who are the most suitable for the job. It is extremely important to hire the ‘right’ people, because you invest so much time in training them and you also put your business in their hands. Trust is also very important.
- Having a really good support team. I’m lucky to have an amazing and supportive husband and family. They help out in every way they can, especially with all the things I can’t do now while pregnant.
- Arming yourself with pregnancy and baby information. The more information you have, the more prepared you will be, and the less stress you will have.
- Stay active and take yoga! My favourite phrase is ‘Free your mind.’ As an entrepreneur, your brain is constantly working and thinking about the business, even when you leave work or while sleeping. In order to be efficient and effective at what you do, free your mind first. For me, yoga is the best for this. It recharges my mind and body, so that I’m able to focus and stay creative.
“This month, I was excited to launch the new Sentaler fall/winter 2013/14 collection. This collection was inspired by the 1920s era, but modernized and created to fit the Sentaler brand values: timeless, elegant and sophisticated. I also have some more bohemian flowy coats, capes and ponchos in this collection, which you can get away with wearing if expecting.
“And one of the newest projects for this fall will be the launch of Sentaler Kids line! Inspired by my pregnancy, I will be doing a soft launch of a couple of kids’ coats for girls, offered for ages two to 14. The full collection for both girls and boys will arrive in fall 2014/15.
“I’m so excited to meet my baby, and at the same time, face new adventures that will come with Sentaler. I can’t wait to be an entrepreneurial Mom!”
The SENTALER brand was established in 2009 by Bojana Sentaler Nikolic, whose own international lifestyle and keen sense of aesthetics are reflected in her collection. After obtaining her business degree from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, and gaining corporate experience in the beauty industry and marketing field, Bojana began a journey around the world to explore her passion for design and fashion. Throughout those years, she admired fashion trends and lifestyle in different countries that she visited or resided in, from Europe to Middle East, Asia and South America. Inspired by the diverse vibrancy and beauty of her journeys, Bojana created SENTALER, a luxury outerwear brand that symbolizes elegance and sophistication.
Each SENTALER coat is precisely crafted with hand finishing, using the world’s finest and rare fabric, alpaca, which is warm, lightweight and exceptionally soft. The first SENTALER showroom opened in 2010 in the Fashion District in Toronto, where clients can enjoy private and personalized shopping.
Bojana in Sentaler’s showroom
Photography by Aleyah Solomon
Sentaler, fall/winter 2013-14 campaign
Photography by Mike Lewis