Tarah Smith Evans is a mother of two adorable twins, Jackson and Parker, and she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she runs her business, Hey sugarSNAP with her awesome mommy friend and partner, Stacy Cooper Dent who has twins as well.
Hey sugarSNAP is a smart, stylish, solution for moms to get organized– amen! I fell in love with Tarah and Stacy’s sugarSNAP files, a set of innovative designer bags, that puts the mother’s needs first by helping her organize family gear. The sugarSNAP files are well-designed bags that are appropriately labeled and fit easily into any bag you may use to tote around your kids necessities and random doodads. You can find about more about the product here where we having an awesome sugarSNAP giveaway, so make sure to enter!
I got to take a peak into the life of mompreneur Tarah Smith Evans and asked her to share how she balances raising twins and running a start-up business…
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself, your interests, your family?
My background is actually in the non-profit sector. For the last 20 years I’ve worked for organizations that serve high-risk youth, both as a program manager and now, as a foundation executive director. My current position has me working closely with entrepreneurs of all types, and I think that (as well as being based in Silicon Valley) had a huge impact on me. I love hearing new ideas and seeing entrepreneurs start their companies and follow their dreams, and I wanted to do the same.
My background is very different from designing products for moms! I still have that full time job. My business partner (who also works full time) and I started and now run sugarSNAP in our ‘spare’ time. But the challenge it provides is awesome, I’m learning something new every day. And the creative side of it, designing the bags and selecting patterns and colors is also something I love doing.
Personally, I love spending time with my boy/girl twins who are four. When I get a chance, I like to take a yoga class, meditate or seek out a beautiful Bay Area location for a walk or hike. I also love having friends over, even though I can never manage to be organized enough to cook, I always get take-out and make a strong cocktail.
And, I have a terrible reality-TV addiction! It’s really, really bad.
A lot of mamas, try to do it all with little support. What made you decide to partner up on this endeavor with another mommy friend?
I never could have done this without Stacy, nor would I have wanted to! We met while pregnant, she has twin boys the same age as my kids, and we spent a lot of time together after our babies were born sharing both the joys and the challenges of being new mommies. We’re both entrepreneurs-at-heart and always talked about starting a company. Once we started chatting about our challenges organizing all of the baby items, we came upon the idea of innovating the way parents organized stuff in their diaper bags – and the sugarSNAP Files were born. It was truly a team effort!
Since Day One it’s been a 50/50 effort. Or, more accurately, a 100/100 effort! I’m in awe of mompreneurs who do this on their own, that never would have fit my style or personality at all. Stacy and I support each other every step of the way, we bounce ideas off each other and that’s where our creativity comes from, that collaboration. We also have very different skill sets and compliment each other well. We both understand the challenges facing new parents and our passion to help parents get and stay organized motivates us to do this work each and every day.
I am in awe of mamas with multiples. Could you talk a little bit about raising twins?
For better or worse, having twins is all I know! I can’t speak to having one baby at a time. It’s all hard at certain times, though, for every parent.
I will tell you, it was incredibly hard for me. Not all twin moms have that experience, but my feeling of being overwhelmed began the minute they were born. There were two babies to bring home from the hospital and get settled at home, two babies to get to nurse. When that was a total disaster, two babies to bottle feed and then change and then feed again. And then before I knew it, time to do it all over again! It felt like I barely had a second to breathe for those first few months! And the stuff, oh my goodness, there was so much stuff. I never thought, “Oh, I’ll need two of everything!” but in reality, I DID need two of almost everything! That really got me thinking about the ways I could stay organized and ahead of the chaos. Before becoming a twin mom, I felt pretty organized at home and at work. But once I brought those beautiful babies home, there was just an incredible amount of things in my diaper bag, my car, all over my house and I just couldn’t find great products to help me manage all of that.
Now my twins are four, it’s still about trying to stay (somewhat) sane and mostly organized. Since I have a boy and a girl, I really notice the differences in their development. I try hard to parent each one individually, because although they’re twins, they’re very different people! They need very different parenting.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life and make time for “me” time?
I don’t really believe in “balance” in the sense that each aspect of your life should get equal attention. I can’t see how that’s possible with small kids and a busy life! I think for me it’s more about priorities. For example, my priorities right now are my family, my job, my close friends and, of course, sugarSNAP. “Me time,” unfortunately, isn’t high enough on that list, but I realize that and can admit I’m a work in progress. I try to carve out some time for yoga and meditation. And I try to not feel guilty when I don’t get to it. Stacy and I like to say “good enough is good enough” and I believe in that. If my house isn’t spotless when guests come over, that’s okay. If I only make it to yoga once a week, I did the best I could.
I also work with a fabulous life coach who helps me focus on my goals, and it allows me time every other week to be reflective and mindful.
“We wanted to build something more than just a business selling products. Our goal is to create a community around the idea that being a parent can be super challenging and it’s okay to say so.”
Do you have a favorite organization tip that you could share with Family Sponge readers?
I am a big fan of labeling, that’s why we designed the sugarSNAP Files to have file-tab labels on the top. I used to use tons of plastic bags (which I felt guilty about, even when I re-used them) but now I use the Files instead. When you can sort the items you need, and have them pre-packed, it makes your life so much easier. I also have a File called Trinkets+Toys (which is in our Car-Go product) where I store items to bring with me when we all go to dinner or have a long wait someplace. I carry crayons, paper, stickers and other small toys to keep the twins entertained and give my husband and me the chance to have a conversation!
Lastly, I love those giant canvas totes, LOVE them! I have one that goes back and forth to school. In the morning, I put the kids’ lunches, jackets etc. in the tote labeled “J&P” (my twins’ initials). Then, my husband (who does the drop-off most days) leaves the tote in the back of my daughter’s cubby. When I pick them up at the end of the day, I grab the tote, put their lunch boxes, art work, school papers, etc. back in there and we’re ready to go! I recommend having a school tote and one for the weekends, they are so useful and convenient!
Tell me more about The Car-Go System. Seems like the perfect solution for parents managing the never-ending mess when you have kids and a car.
Our next product is a really innovative, beautiful car organizer that will help parents maintain order when it comes to extra supplies that we all carry in our cars. There’s nothing on the market like it and we’re really excited to go into production. We also have two other products in the works.
Any mompreneur lessons you have learned along the way?
Some of the lessons we’ve learned are:
- Play to your strengths: we each bring a different skill set, and we divide up the tasks based on this
- Divide and conquer: We’re both incredibly busy and control freaks. We’ve learned to let the other one take the reins on specific projects and focus on what we can do
- Work smarter, not harder: When we meet, even if it’s over a glass of wine, we get right down to business and get tons done. We always leave with clear to-dos. And even though we live 3 minutes from one another, sometimes a phone call is easier and more manageable than getting together, and that’s okay
- Multi-task but only to a certain extent: We call it “sugar snapping” when we’re doing a few different things at once, but we avoid overdoing it to the point of feeling overwhelmed or unproductive.
- Ask for and receive help: this has been a struggle for both of us, but sometimes there just are not enough hours in the day and we need to rely on the other
I just adore Hey sugarSNAP, and the motto they created is super fun too: “Hey, Sugar it’s just stuff. Let’s organize it. Now go. Play!” Tarah and Stacy chose this tag line to reflect their values and underscore their mission of helping parents take a new, less-stressful approach to their gear management. I think they are doing a great job so far!
The sugarSNAP files is an organization system that will rock your world! What I love most is how you can grab just one or two bags and leave the rest in your car.
The interlocking bags also make it super easy for daddy or a caregiver to know exactly what to take with them for a park play date. And they can put it in their own backpack, so you no longer have to compromise and get the neutral colored diaper bag. Hello Petunia Pickle Bottom!
And can I say, I cannot wait until the release of sugarSNAP Car-Go System. My car is a zoo, and I have a feeling this is just the solution my car needs. You can support this mommy-run business and check out their Kickstarter project here. you have until May 3, so don’t wait a minute longer to show some love!
Make sure to enter the sugarSNAP giveaway while you are here! Good luck!