Behind the Scenes: Owning a Business and Being a Mom

Behind the Scenes: Owning a Business and Being a Mom

May 09, 2021
Brittany Viar

Being a mom is some kind of superpower. There’s no questioning that. We had the chance to sit down with Cartel Coffee Lab Co-Owner Amy Silberschlag to learn more about running a company while keeping up with her kiddos. Even as a child herself, Amy was interested in the business lifestyle, just from observing her own mom and dad.

“My parents were small business owners and I loved watching them work together to create a space for others,” said Amy. “When I was little, I used to tag along, and play ‘business’, using my dad’s (a CPA by trade) old business cards and carbon copy receipt books.”

The passion didn’t stop there. Later, in her adult life, she married Jason Silberschlag (now co-owner of Cartel), who shared a similar business-oriented, go-getter mindset.

“When we were newly married, our life centered around hanging out with people. We thought, ‘How could we do something together, where people can come hang out, and we can make a living?’ and that’s where the idea of a building and operating a coffee cart came from,” Amy said. 

This initial coffee cart plan blossomed into so much more. What was once a childhood pretend activity for Amy became the couples’ reality. Cartel Coffee Lab opened its doors, and continues to succeed 13 years later.

“Over the years, we’ve had many amazing people join our team and contribute to what it is today,” Amy said. “We have worked in nearly every role in the company, delegated tasks to more talented people than ourselves, and our roles today lie in our newfound passion of developing the vision for the future of the company, and developing the leaders from within to get there.”

Within that time of building a successful business, three kids came into the mix as well – or six, if you count the dogs. Amy admitted how challenging balancing both can be.

“Oftentimes, when I’m working on a project at Cartel, I feel like I should be home, and when I’m home with the kids, my mind is away, problem solving and dreaming about Cartel,” Amy said. “I’ve learned that if I stay clear about my current roles and responsibilities at Cartel, and stick to a schedule, it helps me to be present while at work.”

Organizational tools and to-do lists allow Amy to have peace of mind when she leaves work, knowing the importance of placing her full attention on her family while at home.

“I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice, but what I can say is look inward. You are the best person at solving your own problems if you will allow yourself time to sit with them and truly identify the root cause,” Amy said. “Stay curious and surround yourself with a team you trust who have strengths that complement your weaknesses. And read Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.”

Aside from some of the everyday challenges that may come with owning a business and having a family, COVID-19 has created obstacles for the couple as well.

Amy loves the community that comes along with the coffee industry. She explained that although many things have changed over the years, the people and desire for authentic connection has not, which is motivating in the difficult times COVID has presented.

“At the onset, shutting the doors of our business, and placing 90% of staff on furlough was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do. Then, navigating the ever-changing tide of information, risk, opportunity, emotions, safety, forecasting, and goal-setting to move forward from that point, has at times felt impossible,” Amy said. “But, you look to your right and left, and see your team right there next to you in the thick of it, making decisions without a road map, just leaning into integrity and doing the next right thing, and the end result is an incredible sense of trust and team-building. That makes us better today than we were yesterday.”

In celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re giving away free drip coffee and a mini Confetti Cookie to all the wonderful moms out there, so be sure to take advantage of it. If you love them as much as we know you will, you can get a box of these tasty cookies on our site.