Emily Schuman, founder-turned-fashion boss at Cupcakes & Cashmere, wants you to know that the work/life balance myth is exactly that... a myth. Since launching her wildly popular lifestyle blog in 2008, Schuman has parlayed her unparalleled instinct for fashion, food, beauty and interiors into two books, as well as successful clothing, home, and lighting lines by the same name. Couple that with being a wife and new mom, it’s no wonder the elusive “balance” isn’t exactly in the cards for this blogger-cum-business maven.
“In a lot of ways, it really is a myth for me, which is why it's so important to have times when I'm not ‘on,’” explains the multi-tasking mama. She’s as effortless at DIY-ing marbled napkin rings and ombre picnic utensils as she is throwing together an impromptu-yet-festive holiday look or whipping up some home-baked, namesake cupcakes to satisfy those pregnancy cravings. At least, that’s what Instagram would have you believe.
Despite Schuman’s impeccably curated existence, she’s not afraid to get real and tell it like it is. She describes the chaos of her early career and the stress of planning a wedding with managing a blog as a team of one, all while penning her first book. On one particularly high-strung occasion, she recalls being physically peeled away from her desk to get some much-needed rest by her then-fiance, now-husband Geoffrey. “I remember insisting that I still had things to finish and he sweetly reassured me that it would be good to get some sleep and that I could get to things in the morning. He couldn't have been more right.”
These days, the budding business tycoon is inching closer to some semblance of time management, although it’s still a work in progres. “I'll set aside my phone on weekends for large chunks of time and disconnect anytime I'm with my family or friends so that I can enjoy their company and not feel dependent on social media,” says the two-time author, who still struggles with work/life separation. “I also put a lot of importance on spending time with my husband and daughter in the mornings and at night, so I won't be checking email or responding to calls during those periods. As much as possible I try to keep regular working hours so that I'm not on-call 24 hours a day.”
At just 33, Schuman has already created a mini empire, boasting books, brands, and bag designs for Coach as well as a capsule collection with Club Monaco. In a notoriously flighty and easily distracted industry, she’s built a beloved blog with mass appeal and trend-defying relevance. And as the business has grown and evolved, so has the powerhouse behind it.
“When I first started my career, I felt almost embarrassed by my success and would try to downplay certain achievements. Now, as a 33-year-old business woman, I embrace it in a way that’s empowered and am proud of my accomplishments,” she explains. “I’m a lot kinder to myself in my 30s than I was in my 20s.”
With this newfound sense of empowerment and wisdom comes a desire to pay it forward — to inspire future generations of female entrepreneurs and create the kinds of opportunities for them that she was fortunate enough to receive. “I've been able to forge my own path and largely avoid the prejudices my closest girlfriends have encountered in the workforce, but having a one-year-old daughter has really put things into perspective for me,” says Schuman. “I’m raising her to be a strong woman who will fight for gender equality, but I only hope that by the time she is my age, she won’t have to fight quite as hard as previous generations.”
That said, she maintains that the best piece of real talk advice she’s ever received is that it’s okay to cry in the workplace. “Obviously you don’t want to be a blubbering mess on a weekly basis, but it’s okay to get emotional sometimes if you’re passionate about what you do.”
Let it out, ladies. A *little blubbering* might be good for biz.