I had the pleasure of interview the Mompreneur behind Non Toxic Source, Founder Elisabeth Stephenson. Non-Toxic Source is a Dubai based company dedicated to importing eco-friendly, renewable and non-toxic products to the Middle East.
Elisabeth is a mother of 4 and has been in the UAE for the past 7 years. She imports & distributes Life Factory glass bottles and Jack n Jill natural toothpaste and eco-friendly toothbrushes in the UAE.
Tell us something people don’t know about Elisabeth?
I had 4 children in under three and a half years. It was almost the end of me but I made it through those early years and now my youngest is three and a half years old.
What are the 5 most important things to you?
- The health and wellbeing of myself and my family
- Genuine friendships and being as un-judgmental as humanly possible.
- Taking time out of my busy schedule to focus on myself and my spiritual/mental health – yoga, meditation etc
- Teaching my kids good values. My parenting is not perfect, it never has been and it probably never will be, but I do try hard to instill good values in my children that will help them through their lives. I do believe as parents we can either make or break them.
- Having fun. I never want to lose the ability to just drop everything and have some fun once in a while. It is quite easy to get caught up in this non-stop society that we live in. I think we all need to take a step back, breath, be in the moment and enjoy ourselves wholeheartedly as much as we can.
What was your main inspiration?
I have always been very passionate about health. As soon as I had children it felt like this magnified and it became even more important to me. I became acutely aware of all of the toxins in our society (in foods, in toys, in pillows in the air, in everything!) and I wanted to protect my babies as much as I possibly could.
With such a busy schedule, how do you manage to stay in shape?
My busy schedule seems to keep me in shape!
Any quick tips for getting ready on the go?
Make sure you are organized the night before so that you are off on the right foot when you wake up in the morning. I usually know the night before what I will be wearing the next day. I have lists, I love lists and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I get through them. It is important to have a plan.
I am very low maintenance appearance-wise which helps me get ready quickly in the morning. In addition I am a great multi-tasker! I don’t stand around in the morning waiting for the toast to pop up, put it that way.
How do you maintain work life and time with your kids? Do you set hours per week dedicated to Non Toxic Source/Life Factory UAE?
This can be tricky and honestly it’s a work in progress. I sometimes turn my phone and laptop off and just dedicate my time to the kids. I am trying to do this more and more. They are young and still need me a lot.
Lifefactory is a full time job. I am putting a great deal of energy into the business at this early stage. Fortunately, because I am running the show my hours are very flexible so I can mostly work when the kids are at school and late at night.
What are the main challenges you come across as a Mompreneur?
My children are all still young (under 7) and two of them are at school while the other two are at Nursery. That equates to a lot of running around, which I am sure that a lot of mums can relate to!
I sometimes find it hard to strike the ideal balance between work and play. I know this is a common issue with all working parents, especially those with their own business.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
It’s all about the recovery. It’s not a question as to whether we will fall down or not, that is a given, the question is how many times will we get back up? I have had some setbacks in business but I have to push myself through them and just soldier on. It is very important not to get hung up on things otherwise you just can’t move forward and grow.
What’s your advice to mothers who want to start their own businesses?
Owning and running your own business is extremely satisfying, more than I could have imagined.
I have four children and so the flexibility of owning my own business is quite essential.
My advice to anyone starting out would be to do as much research as you can first. Have a business plan in place and look at the big picture often.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Meditation, – I go to a lovely gong bath meditation as often as I can. It is great for releasing stress. I would be a mess if I didn’t take time out for myself.
And finally take me through a day in Elisabeth’s life
From the moment I open my eyes it’s full on. The first thing I do is make my way to the kitchen and drink a couple of glasses of water and take my vitamins and supplements. My naturopath suggested I do this first thing as it shows me that I am honoring myself, taking care of my health and putting myself first by making this a morning ritual just for me. Then it quickly becomes all about my kids and husband!
By 8am everyone is either at school or nursery and so it is my time to be productive. I always have a list of things I need to get through each day but I do try and schedule some social things with my friends a couple of times a week. In the afternoon I tend to feel like a taxi service and by 5pm it is all hands on deck to get my four little munchkins ready for 7pm bedtime. Then my husband and I have a chance to have an adult conversation, some dinner (if we didn’t eat earlier with the kids) and I usually work through until about 10pm.
You can follow Elisabeth on Instagram @lifefactoryuae or her website www.nontoxicsource.com