Chicago Mom and Wishcraft Workshop Owner Shares How She Does it All

Chicago Mom and Wishcraft Workshop Owner Shares How She Does it All

A couple months ago I was invited to join a group called Moms in Business.  Besides my own personal pride, I quickly found out that these women are smart, helpful, kind, honest, resourceful and supportive.

I struggle with balancing my marriage and my business (it still is hard for me to admit and believe I've created something) and reached out to the Moms in Business.  These successful ladies offer wonderful advice, suggestions and partnerships.

Luckily, I had the opportunity to talk with Candice Blansett-Cummins, owner of the unique Roscoe Village Wishcraft Workshop plus parent, wife, friend, artist, teacher, student and very concerned global citizen.  In 2007, after traveling the world, she decided what was important and traded Los Angeles for Chicago, CIO title and salary for the roller-coaster life of a creative entrepreneur and has never looked back. She lives (and so do I) with the simple aspiration of being a good person, caring for others, ourselves and our planet and helping others to grow their confidence and curiosity to do the same.

Meet Candice. 

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How long have you been married? 

"A total of 21 elapsed years (20 technically as we were accidentally divorced and then remarried in a Vegas drive-through during a period known as "The Realignment."

I think you have to expand a little on "The Realignment" period. 

"We were young and working through our first big round of deciding what we wanted to be when we grew up-- everything that preceded this period was young-love-inertia. Just when we thought it was over forever we discovered, with help, that our love for one another was stronger than a set of circumstances. "

What are three words to describe your marriage?

"Hilarious, inevitable, unbreakable"

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 I like unbreakable, that's a good one. Please describe your business and responsibilities. 

"I founded a workshop for kids and their families to explore their creativity and prevent or unlearn creative inhibition while weaving academics into the creative activities kids enjoy. We grow artists and creative problem solvers of character, confidence and curiosity. I wear lots of hats (literally) but mostly focus on strategic partnerships, marketing, growth and creative direction."

 What are three words to describe your business? 

"Hilarious, inevitable, meaningful"

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 How is your partner involved in your business? 

"We call ourselves the "tag team think tank"-- I overflow with ideas that come out partially formed and he lovingly allows me to bat them around with him until it clicks for me. He's a college English teacher and a more powerful search engine for the perfect word than I have found anywhere on the internet because he's a thesaurus that knows me so well. For our company he develops and leads academic programming for teens that analyze the big ideas of our time with the same curiosity as our art and STEM programs-- this year he is leading his first set of summer seminars (all of which I wish had the time to take as a student!)"

It appears that you work really well together. What is the number one topic you and your partner argue about? 

"We always seem to work it out, miraculously, but not communicating our calendars well adds a little fire-drill to most weeks. We use technology to help but with 4 people in the household all making their own plans (our kids are 12 and 16) there are many moving parts and we rely so heavily on each other to keep that machine working well. If one of us forgets to share a calendar commitment the entire family schedule goes through an emergency recalibration. "

Yes, we have calendar problems as well.  We each have our personal calendars, plus a family calendar on the wall.  But, somehow something inevitably gets overlooked. Do you think marriage or running a business is harder?

"Neither is harder but because one puts food on the table it by default gets more attention, thereby upsetting a balance that then needs to be corrected every so often."

Do you find any competition in your marriage?

"Not anymore. I grew up in an environment where success was measured with dollar signs. At a certain point I left that mindset behind and with it, I think causally, many of the traditional sources of marital friction. We each make our contributions, though very different, and it works because we both give 110% to our roles."

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Why do you think your marriage works?

"Because we want it to. We are both children of divorce (with very different stories) and made a commitment to understand and not perpetuate that cycle. And it works because we genuinely like each other-- we laugh with and at each other a lot. We know how and willingly apologize when one of us blows it. We married for love (none of that "The Rules" BS in our dating.)"

What are your future goals?

"We talk about this a lot. As a couple we are living our values. As a family we are living our values. Our kids are happy, responsible citizens with big plans of their own. We want to be healthy to see those plans take shape and to have the resources we need to live a simple, happy life with good food, friends, family, occasional travel and lots of trips to the library."

What advice do you have for the many moms that want to start a business? 

"Seek (or be open to) an opportunity that resonates fully with your values and goals and make sure you're in touch with the latter before making any commitments or decisions. When we believe in our work as meaningful we set a foundation to which we can return when the anxiety creeps in (and it will-- if it doesn't you might have room to aim higher.) Be sure any venture is something you would run toward in any scenario and not just a way to run away from a job you don't like. Know that not having a boss is make-believe: when we own a business every customer becomes our boss to an extent. Take these steps and then be brave and believe in your idea, ready to live and breathe it."
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Thank you, Candice, for sharing some of the secrets of your successful and happy life.  Learn more about Wishcraft Workshop helping kids and their families and Wishcraft Works helping adults, entrepreneurs and businesspersons. 

Other interviews you might enjoy reading: my nine-year old, my six-year old and my mom. 

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