International Women’s Day is celebrated every day with Team Rebby
When you look around the Team Rebby offices across two countries you see many similarities. A high paced energy and genuine excitement of a growing start-up. Everyone working and supporting each other trying to build an internal community and culture that encourages diversity, inclusivity and celebrates all the differences we have. When Emily created Rebelstork, she knew that without “culture” being top of mind for every employee the business would not thrive. Culture would have to be something every employee does every day. “Culture takes a lot of work, time and over communication by every teammate (we are operating two separate businesses in two different countries across three offices!). At a startup, the wins are extremely thrilling but lows knock the wind out of you- culture is what we lean on as a team to remain balanced, positive, and productive. Emily says. “We are in a constant state of change, and this has its challenges.” Creating space and a mindset that we all have built and can believe in is key to our success as we further grow and scale.
International Women’s Day is celebrated always with Team Rebby and we wanted to take today to share how Emily, our founder, CEO and millennial mom to Hunter (4.5) and Piper (2.5) thinks about forging change, building a workforce where women thrive, and building the first tech-driven marketplace created for parents that creates a mindset to Parenting Lighter™ for our Flock. Whether you are working away from home, doing some part-time project work, or taking time to be the CEO of your family International Women’s Day is about all of us!
Last week Emily rebooked herself on a 2 PM flight after her 7 PM flight was cancelled out of Toronto to get to New York, where she had packed in 12 meetings over 2 days. She waited 5 hours at the airport when her flight was cancelled again. During that 5-hour delay, we were able to chat about International Women’s Day and she was able to share what it means to be the CEO of Rebelstork, a mom and her passion to support other women.
Is it true you closed your first round of funding just a few hours after you had your daughter?
Yes! In hindsight, it looks absolutely crazy but at the time it was the only way the company would survive- we were in the heart of the global pandemic lockdowns, a very strange time to be raising capital to begin with. I had Hunter in November of 2017 and 6 months later I had written the Rebelstork business plan raised seed capital and began building the website. The brand launched in the summer of 2019 and I had Piper in December of 2020. My water broke while on the pitch which ended up leading our first substantial round of capital. I signed the paperwork a few hours later from my recovery bed. I have never felt so powerful having just birthed my beautiful girl, exhausted, overwhelmed, and excited, all at the same time. At that moment I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Women are truly amazing.
What did you dream of doing when you were a little girl?
My parents took a real interest in my education, hobbies and gave me experiences. I was raised on their motto “Give your children enough to do something, never enough to do nothing”. I was exposed to fabulous experiences. I was obsessed with fashion, went to school for Journalism with the dream to be Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. Working for Anna Wintour was on the top of my list. As we all know, the world works in mysterious ways, and I ended up working for a luxury retailer as a buyer, the retail industry was was perfect for me! It kept me in fashion, brought me to New York, working with some of the biggest brands globally and making decisions for the best retailers in the world. Most importantly it gave me exposure to all sorts of company cultures and top leaders.
The skills I learned while growing in my career all of those years are what I lean on daily as I learn to be a parent alongside our Flock community, while at the same time a great CEO.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The flow of each day is so different, but the day-to-day framework remains the same. I feel like every woman, whether they work or stay at home says the exact same thing because it’s so true. Craig and I alternate the AM routine of getting up with the kids while the other heads off to the gym. I am usually the one who does morning school drop-off with Hunter. I then head to Starbucks, for my refresher and into the office. I love going into the office and I need the separation from my family to get work done. In the office, it’s always a busy day. We try as a company to not have too many meetings so people can get work done and enjoy balance when they get home but, having three offices across two countries we do have weekly standing ones to ensure alignment. Craig does the mid-day pick-up from school and then we all try to be home together for the evening routine as a family. Once the kids go to bed, I start to work again for a few hours. This is truly my time to be inspired, to learn about something new and often some of my best thinking comes to life. I don’t require a lot of sleep so while I love the mornings I can also get into some great zones in the evenings.
I have built a team of leaders who are experts in what they do, I am surrounded by women and men who are smarter than me and it I find it very inspiring to be learning always. It’s been extraordinary to go from a team of 10 to over 32 in such a short period of time. Every day no matter what, I am reminded that the commitment to an inclusive and diverse team is what truly makes Rebelstork special.
There is never an easy day when running your own business, but I know that is why I love about building Rebelstork so much.
What does International Women’s Day Mean to you?
I have a huge appreciation for all the incredible female mentors I’ve had along the way especially on this journey to launch and build Rebelstork. Both our board and staff are 75% female, which is important to me. I am the next generation of Entrepreneurs and disrupting an industry to build a better world through sustainability, inclusion, and diversity. I value the lessons they shared, the importance of supporting one another and the honesty of valuing self. Our work is not done, but we have plenty to be proud of. Because my brand educates and celebrates parents – I am obsessed with inspiring other moms to follow their dreams and join me to forge females ahead.
What has been your greatest success and your greatest challenge?
Starting your own business is challenging, demanding, and rewarding all at the same time. It’s a lot like having children. Ironically the last 3 years have been this juggle of enjoying the amazing moments and wins across many aspects of my life when they happen and moving quickly to pivot when challenges arise. I have had a lot of success and a lot of challenges – some personal and some in business. I continue to remain constantly curious so I can keep learning.
What is the most important piece of advice you have ever been given?
Be thankful for the closed doors, bad vibes, and stuff that falls apart. It’ll protect you from things not meant for you.
Which woman in the public sphere do you admire and why?
Fundamentally, I admire all women who support other women. As an entrepreneur I think the cards are stacked against women a bit, we are expected to prove ourselves as business drivers more. If only .05% of all startups in North America receive Venture funding imagine how tiny the funded startups owned by women make up! So I truly admire all the women who are just going for it!
Many women feel they must "work as if they don't have children, but also be a mother as if they don't have a career". What advice would you give to young women feeling this societal pressure?
I think every mother is a “working mom” and I really dislike the term and find it dated. It is a full-time job keeping a child or multiple children healthy, happy, and thriving. It’s up to each mom to decide what is best for them. Ignoring the societal pressures and aligning yourself with a community and support system that aligns to your core beliefs can be extremely helpful to navigate life. Kristy, my head of marketing and I talk about this a lot. If you just do you, love yourself fully it is remarkable how your life will become the life you always wanted. I feel proud to share that I would not have been able to build Rebelstork while also doing it all as a mom. I am happy with my reality. I do rely on help from others and conveniences so that I can take advantage of the opportunities that matter to me.
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
I love this quote by Michelle Obama “Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” I hope my daughter and all daughters around the world will have equal access, pay, support and live in a world that gives them the freedom to choose what is best for them.
Kristy is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rebelstork and a mom to 3-year-old Ruby living in Brooklyn. She joined Team Rebby in November of 2021. She has spent her career working with founder lead companies and enjoys building brands and talking to women about beauty, fashion, retail as well as what it means to Parent Lighter™.