Entrepreneurial parents who can teach us all a lesson in work-life balance

By Emily Remaklus

Being a mom can be tough, and being a mom who also owns her own business is even tougher. We found ten awesome entrepreneurial moms who somehow manage to do it all, not only raising a family, but also starting their own businesses in the Toledo area. The following women shared their tips and tricks for balancing family life and work, all while finding success and happiness within both pursuits.

Taylor Holloway
Callisto Terra Candles

What is Callisto Terra? Callisto Terra is a locally owned and homemade candle shop. These candles are made to provide some peace and relaxation to buyers. With varied scents, customers can find a candle to create a moment of nostalgia or a new scent to create new memories. The hope of Callisto Terra Candles is to provide pockets of peace during the busyness of our everyday lives.

What motivated Taylor? Curiosity was what made Taylor interested in candle making. She simply wanted to try to make a candle on her own at first, and then she kept creating and learning. And continues creating and learning today.

Her tricks for balancing work life and parenting: Taylor is a single mom to four kids (9, 7, 5, and 2 years old) and has raised them to be very independent. They work as a team alongside her to keep the house clean, make dinner, make candles, and enjoy one another.

Taylor gives her kids the opportunity and responsibility to make their own age-appropriate decisions, and then speaks with them about those decisions. By releasing the reins and letting her kids grow into their own, she frees them up to accomplish things beyond traditional expectations. The family has open communication, which gives Taylor’s kids the chance to form their own opinions on most things, but they also have clear boundaries and respect for one another. She stated, “Our systems are as unique as each of us are individually. We work together and apart, but are moving in the same direction. I’m so, so freaking proud of them!”

“Because I am not raising my kids in a typical way, I think it’s important that I’ve given them a safe place to speak with an unrelated adult outside of our home,” adds Taylor. “Therapy is very important to me as an entrepreneur. I saw a need I couldn’t fill for my kids and connected them with Marlene, who specializes in Play Therapy. It has changed the trajectory of our lives. She has given us the tools to grow, thrive, and communicate with each other. Owning a business is no easy feat. There are great highs, but those lows will get you if you’re not careful. Take good care of yourself as a mamma and business owner! Those kids only get to go through this life with you once.”

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? Definitely Sidon Lebanese Grille & Bakery. Easily the best food I’ve had in the entire city. My kids & I LOVE getting any meal from there!

Your life in 5 words or less? I’ll wear black again today.

Favorite place to go as a family? ANY metropark in the city. We have so many, and those walking trails and playgrounds are just good for the soul.

Krystal Rosser
A Clean Experience, LLC

Tell us more about your business. A Clean Experience, LLC is a Black-owned cleaning business located here in Toledo that specializes in commercial and residential cleaning services.

What was the inspiration behind A Clean Experience? As a single mom, Krystal relied solely on daycares to look after her son while she worked. Her son was diagnosed with ADHD, and not many daycares accepted him. The places where he was accepted were not always equipped to help a child with ADHD; he would often get kicked out, which resulted in her losing her job. “It got to the point where it felt normal to keep losing, but I knew I didn’t deserve this type of life,” says Krystal. “I took the necessary steps to better myself. I had to find myself! I knew I wanted independence and freedom from relying on daycare for support. I had to sacrifice a lot to get to this point in life. I found myself through God!”

Krystal’s tricks for balancing work life and parenting: Krystal explained that being present in the moment and not dwelling on what she might miss out on is how she finds balance. Enjoying every moment she can with her son is the most important thing.

Her motto: “Treat people with kindness because you never know what someone is going through.”

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? Right now it’s LongHorn for their Porterhouse steak!

Your life in 5 words or less? Blessed and highly favored.

Favorite place to go as a family? Going on adventures to explore new things.


Elizabeth Richardson
Fangboner Farms
1179 S. Crissey Rd., Holland

What is Fangboner Farms? Fangboner Farms is a sustainable destination farm located in Holland. One of the main goals of the Farm is to repurpose materials and promote living a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the Farm offers tours and is an event venue.

How Elizabeth took on the business: Fangboner Farms began with growing herbs to create home-cooked dishes with spiced blends, meat rubs, and other recipes that used the farm’s harvest. The business has since evolved and now includes hosting weddings, parties, reunions, and other gatherings. Additionally, the house on site is rented out as an Airbnb for short and long-term stays. The farm also has a market shop— open by appointment— where visitors can purchase spices, teas, jams, candles, coffee, and so much more.

Her tricks for balancing family life and career: “I’m a full-circle entrepreneur,” says Elizabeth. “I eat, sleep, and breathe farm life, and I am passionate about sustainability, home-cooking, family life, and going on adventures. I also love being a public figure/influencer to women who look like me and who strive to achieve similar goals with work and parenting. For me, it’s all about organizing my time and limiting distractions. Time management and setting boundaries are the tricks that have worked for me.”

What she wants you to check out: Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly farm updates, promos, and local blog on area eats that are Richardson family approved. Find it at fangbonerfarms.com.

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? J’mae’s
Your life in 5 words or less? A soul happily free.
Favorite place to go as a family? Hocking Hills.

Dr. Jena Hinds
Hinds Educational Learning & Preparedness

What is Hinds Educational Learning & Preparedness? Hinds Educational Learning & Preparedness— or HELP Center— is an alternative educational center that helps kids, teens, and adults reduce stress and anxiety in order to create a healthier lifestyle, better educational experience, and improved academics and test scores. The center provides tutoring with certified teachers in reading, writing, and math. Additionally, consultant services are provided to help parents and schools with special education services. The center hosts author visits.

How she got interested in the business: Dr. Hinds worked in the education field for 21 years as an intervention specialist. Her job was to help students with special needs who had a difficult time learning. With testing being such a big focus in schools, she worked to help her students reduce their anxiety and stress which then helped them have better academic and testing experiences. In 2020 she earned her Ph.D., which focused on studying how to reduce test anxiety and to increase academics. Additionally, Dr. Hinds’ son struggles with academics due to ADD, so along with starting the center, she started writing children’s books. The two books that she has published are This is ME and Little Brown Puppy with Big Paws which focus on diversity and inclusion.

Her tips for balancing work and parenting: “The trick as a parent, professor, and owner of a center is to structure my days and leave time for family activities and self-care.”

Other advice from Dr. Hinds: “My biggest advice for parents is to advocate for their child. If you do not know how, please connect with centers like the HELP center to help you better understand your child and their needs while also communicating with their teachers and school.” More information about the center can be found on Facebook at Hinds Educational Learning & Preparedness and at myhelpcenter.org.

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? As a family, we love going to The Beirut Restaurant and our favorite pizza place, Pizza Cat.

Your life in 5 words or less? Living a prosperous life.

Favorite place to go as a family? We love going to the lights at the Zoo and the Mud Hens games.

Becky Ohm
The Flying Joe
2130 Preston Pkwy., Perrysburg

Tell us about The Flying Joe. Located in Perrysburg, The Flying Joe is a coffee shop operated and run by veterans. The Flying Joe serves made-from-scratch breakfast sandwiches, housemade pastries, organic teas, and roasted coffee. They also have housemade cocktails, as well as beer and wine. Depending on the season, you may find a new special food item, coffee, or cocktail.

How Becky started the business: Becky’s husband was stationed in Oklahoma as an active duty member of the Air Force. She was stationed in Toledo, so they would fly back and forth to see one another. When she’d go to Oklahoma, they visited a local coffee shop and soon fell in love with the atmosphere and how it brought the community together. Five years later, they settled down in Toledo and wanted to create a coffee shop of their own that would help them get to know the community.

Becky’s tricks for a work-life balance: “I am still learning how to do this everyday! I have tricks as I am sure everyone does. The hard part is sticking to these. It’s definitely not easy and I have to remind myself on occasion why I do what I do. Boundaries are very important. Yes, we take our work home with us and need to address some issues after business hours, but you can control certain aspects of that.” She explained that setting aside a specific time for responding to texts, emails, and phone calls helps create those boundaries.

Other pointers from Becky: Although it isn’t always easy wearing so many hats and owning a business, Becky says, “We are passionate about the work we do. I love to serve people and create a fun and comfortable environment for our guests. When you see someone’s reaction after they take a sip or a bite of something that you created, it’s pretty amazing! When I hear how a guest had a wonderful experience at The Flying Joe, it makes me very proud. When my customers know each other because they met at The Joe, that is community.”

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? That is a tough one! I will have to pick a few. We loved our experience at Souk in Downtown Toledo. The food and drinks were amazing and the service was outstanding. Benchmark is another outstanding restaurant. Right next to Benchmark is Basil. Both have great service and food. I love Mexican food and would eat it everyday if my kids would let me. Cocina De Carlos or Tekela would be my restaurants of choice. I better stop before I run out of room!

Your life in 5 words or less? Every day is an adventure.

Favorite place to go as a family? Favorite Spot in Toledo: The Toledo Zoo. Disney World is our favorite place outside of Toledo. We also love Cedar Point!

Lindsey Mahoney
Building Bluebird and real estate agent

What is Building Bluebird? Building Bluebird is Lindsey’s home decor blog with do-it-yourself tips to create a functional and happy home. The blog features a variety of information including complete room makeovers, affordable DIY projects, and tips on investing in real estate.

How she became interested in the business: Building Bluebird started five years ago when Lindsey and her family were still living in Denver. On the weekends, she and her husband Chris would work on home projects with any spare time they had. Lindsey explained, “After living through and managing three home renovations, I realized that my heart was completely in real estate and home renovation.” She and her family decided to move back to their hometown, Toledo, and she turned her passion of “all-things-home” into a career. She has been a licensed real estate agent with Danberry Realtors for the last three years and continues to share tips and tricks on Building Bluebird.

Lindsey’s tips and tricks for work-life balance: “One thing I always try to remember when I feel overwhelmed with balancing work, life and parenting is that it takes a village! No one can do it all, and I am grateful that, along with having an extremely supportive spouse, I also have wonderful family members and friends who are willing to help out when I call. I also like to include the kids when tackling home projects and even taking them to the office every once and a while. Understanding real estate as well as tackling home projects are valuable life skills that we try to teach our kids.”

Learn more about Lindsey’s work: Check out Building Bluebird at buildingbluebird.com, and visit Lindsey’s real estate site at lindseymahoney.danberry.com.

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? Kengo.

Your life in 5 words or less? Living life to the fullest.

Favorite place to go as a family? We love visiting the metroparks around Toledo. Our favorite at the moment is Wildwood.

Maareya Hejazi
Le Petit Macaron
1002 Bedford Woods Dr.

What is Le Petit Macaron? Le Petit Macaron is a licensed home bakery in Toledo with a specialty in French macarons. Maareya Hejazi said that the business started out of her and her husband’s first apartment, and now they operate out of the family home. Along with French macarons, Le Petit Macaron features cupcakes, cakes, dessert cups, and more. More information can be found on Facebook and Instagram @lepetitmacarontoledo.

How Maareya got into the business: Maareya has always loved baking. As a kid, she had an Easy-Bake oven and grew up baking everything her heart desired, which ranged from Middle Eastern sweets to French macarons. She stated, “I became interested in selling after I perfected some of the hardest sweets to make. Family and friends encouraged me, and I took the plunge in 2018 to start only selling to family, friends, and acquaintances, working under Ohio Cottage Food Laws. Years later, I now have a licensed home bakery, a registered business and have recently begun attending small markets and events as a vendor! I love the challenge!”

Her tricks for balancing work, life and parenting: Maareya explained that balancing her home life and work life hasn’t always been difficult. When she first started baking during the summer of 2018, she would bake while her husband was at work. But it was when she decided to start her Master of Public Health degree at The University of Toledo that baking was only possible on holiday breaks.

In August 2019, Maareya found out she was pregnant with her son. Soon after that many events were cancelled due to COVID, which meant less baking. Now that things have opened back up, and with the birth of her son, she’s had to find ways to bake while her son naps, eats lunch, or plays in the kitchen. After he goes to bed, she can usually do more baking, decorating, and admin work.
Her motto: “I enjoy collaborating with other local bakers and makers. I strongly believe that we aren’t competition— we are here to lift and encourage each other.”

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? Tougen Japanese Restaurant is my absolute favorite hidden gem.

Your life in 5 words or less? Bake, eat, sleep, repeat.

Favorite place to go as a family? Any of the Metroparks!

Tera Johnson
Sweet Experience
2111 N. Reynolds Rd.

What is Sweet Experience? Sweet Experience is an ice cream and gourmet treat shop.

How Tera became interested in the business: “My interest in this business comes from my childhood of baking and spending time with my mother.”

Her tricks for balancing work and family: Tera explained that the trick is to make the business a family affair. It becomes a family bonding experience to help customers have the best experience possible at Sweet Experience.

“At Sweet Experience, we love to see the smile on our customers’ faces when they taste any of our treats,” adds Tera. “We look forward to serving our old and new customers this holiday season.”

What are your favorite Toledo restaurants? Old Henry’s food truck, J’maes Home Cooking, and PizzaPapalis

Your life in 5 words or less: Busy, exciting, unpredictable, adventurous, full

Favorite place to go as a family? Our backyard with the grill going.

Donnetta Carter
The Social Butterfly Events

What are The Social Butterfly events? The Social Butterfly events are expos for small business owners where vendors are able to display their products or service for purchase. This helps business owners increase their customer base and their revenue. The Social Butterfly events are located in the Northwest Ohio area, including the Lucas County Fairgrounds, Metroparks Toledo, and St. Clements Hall in West Toledo. Additionally, The Social Butterfly Brand Company does fundraising for nonprofits in the area, and helps promote and market concerts, festivals, workshops, and small businesses on social media.

Her inspiration: Donnetta noticed there was a demand to help small business owners to share their goods, which led to The Social Butterfly.

Donnetta’s tips for work-life balance: She finds that having a balance between work, family, and self-care is very important. “I avoid and eliminate things that do not uplift me or inspire me to grow and do better as a human being,” Donnetta explains. “Overall, creating a balanced life means making time for things you have and things you want to do. I have the power to create harmony and bring pleasure and personal fulfillment and sometimes learn to say no. Schedule time for yourself and live with a purpose.”

Donnetta’s motto: As a very transparent, accountable, and consistent person, Donnetta gives 150 percent of her time and energy. She is a very positive person that feels truly blessed to have the support from the great people in her life. She said that her motto is “Enjoy your life and live your best life.”

Upcoming events for The Social Butterfly include The 10th Annual Christmas Bazaar on December 11 from 10am-4pm at St. Clements Hall. For an online vendor form, please contact Donnetta at thesocialbutterflyevents@yahoo.com or 419-367-9765. To find out more about The Social Butterfly, you can find The Social Butterfly Public Figure – Donnetta Carter on Facebook and IG under @asocialbutterfly.

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? J Alexander’s and Bravo.

Your life in 5 words or less? Blessed, exciting, transparent, world traveler, and go-getter.

Favorite place to go as a family? Metroparks, Toledo Zoo, Toledo Museum of Art, and vacations at the beach.

Sherelle Gaston
Greatest in the Kingdom

What is Greatest in the Kingdom? It’s a publishing company that Sherelle started in 2019. She said that she couldn’t find any books that represented characters that looked like her children, so decided to create them herself. Additionally, she explained that one of her children struggles with reading, and she couldn’t find content to interest him. In 2019, she began working for a children’s ministry and she used the lessons that she created for her ministry to create The Greatest of the Kingdom book series. The first book, Jesus is my Best Friend, was published in May 2020.

Her inspiration: Sherelle wanted to create books that were more diverse. “Statistically, there are more animals in children’s books than there are children of color, and I wanted to change that narrative one book at a time,” explains Sherelle. “29 percent of illustrations are animals in children’s books, 8 percent are African Americans, 5 percent are Latino, and the rest of the ethnicities are smaller, single-digit numbers according to statistics of 2018. If we want more children to read, they need to see themselves represented in books. All of my books represent not only children of color, but also children with special needs.”

Her tips for work-life balance: Sherelle is glued to her phone and uses it for everything. Not only is it needed for downloading books, but also to download illustrations.

“I know it is such a cliché to say that self-care is the best care, but finding that time to go for that walk or just have a cup of Joe at some of my favorite coffee houses— like the Onyx downtown— is one of my favorite pastimes. I spend hours there just typing out the many books that I have on my mind just for this upcoming year.” Currently, Sherelle is working on a nativity book, as well as a cookbook to inspire parents and kids to cook together.

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant? The Onyx is my favorite coffee house and Bombay Kitchen! I’m friends with the owner Rita, and she’s amazing.

Your life in 5 words or less? Family, faith, fitness, football, and food!

Favorite place to go as a family? Florida.