Picture yourself running after two growing toddler boys, managing a booming boutique by day, while running a successful blog and authoring children’s books by night. Tired? Inspired? Ready to do more? Allow us to introduce you to mompreneur Dominque Penn.
Four years ago, Penn realized she had a problem – she couldn’t find the right products from beauty to baby needs and was tired of spending money on items she ended up throwing out. Penn realized that many women have this same problem every single day and that is how her site Everything Mrs. Penn Loves came to be. Within six months of blogging in 2013, Dominque garnered over 100,000 active followers on Facebook. But blogging was just the start, after a year of amazing growth Penn turned her blog into a storefront and turned her little ones adventures into children’s books many learn from and enjoy.
Dominique Penn is married to NFL player Donald Penn II and is the mother of their two children, Donald Penn III and Dominick Penn a. She is ambitious, creative and an intelligent young woman that balances a career as a full-time mother, wife, mompreneur and philanthropist.
We talked to Penn about everything from entrepreneurship advice to creating quality time with her boys.
What have been some of your favorite products for both yourself and little ones featured on Everything Mrs. Penn Loves?
Penn: A beauty product right now that I’m just so in love with is my gold deposit by Mac, it’s a bronzer. It makes you look like a million bucks when you step outside and it’s for all skin tones. I also love the Chanel mascara.
Penn noted that as a true reviewer and in wanting to give her readers the best possible information, she typically wears a product for at least three months to see if her judgement changes.
“A baby line I would say, would be the Origami stroller by ForMoM – it’s just the best stroller on earth. It’s a huge seller at the boutique, it has an automatic folder where you press one button and it folds down, you press one button and it folds up. It has an iphone/ipad connection, you can track your mileage and it even tells you the temperature outside.”
Speaking of the kids, how did your Children’s books come about?
I started the Many Adventures of Donald after my first son Donald. Being in Tampa, Florida for six to seven years I just started to see his interaction with other people and I thought that if my son had an incident like this maybe another child has had an incident like this and we can help educate children by reading these books to overcome bullies and many other life situations.
The Many Adventures of Donald is a 10 book series with the first four being released this year. My Face is the first book in the series and takes a look at how Donald notices differences in the faces of many of his friends but realizes at the end of the day, we are all the same. My Face teaches your young reader about acceptance and inclusiveness.
But Dominique’s kids have inspired more than just tales, Penn went on to create her luxury children’s boutique, Everything Mrs. Penn loves in a part of California that was desperately needing a place that catered to children’s.
Everything Mrs.Penn Loves is mostly everything I blog about coming to life. I’m not just saying ‘oh here is a great product,’ but I actually have it in my store. And I chose the Encino, California area because there were not a lot of baby stores – everything is in Sherman Oaks or West Hollywood. There is nothing for the Encino community to gravitate to when it comes to children’s clothes, even for a quick baby shower gift or birthday gift. So, I wanted to be the person to do it.
What advice would you give other mothers venturing into entrepreneurship?
I would say don’t be so quick to jump into everything. I made that mistake before – I wanted to do this, I wanted to do that. But ultimately you have to do one thing first and execute that, because you’re going to be stuck with all these projects that you haven’t completed. So you just wanted to take baby steps, little by little, branching out to your social media as well to let them get involved in what you are trying to create. People want to be able to relate to someone and you have to put yourself out there because social media is big right now in creating your brand. You should be able to put yourself out there and start your business – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook – all the people tuning into what you’re doing. Start at social media, build a following and go from there. But I would definitely say start with one project and execute it first.
With your books, your taking a lot of lessons from your son’s life that others can benefit from. What lesson would you say motherhood has taught you?
I’ve learned patience. When you have kids you have to be a little more patient. You have to think outside the box if they don’t understand something and you cannot be quick to react. As a parent, you have to really see what the child’s mind frame is and work with them.
Penn noted that even with her busy schedule, she has created a ritual in the Penn home and it’s Friday night movie time.
I reserve Friday nights for movie nights. We have a home theater, so every Friday night my husband will pop popcorn and our son will come down stairs and they both waddle over. We turn on the Netflix, and Donald gets to chose whatever movie he wants to watch. And football is of course another family favorite. Our lives are surrounded by football, so we’re always prepping and getting ready for the next big game.
What are some of the key values you want to instill in your children?
I would definitely have to say to be a leader. I never want my sons to follow in anyone else’s footsteps, whether it’s mines or their father’s. I want him to be able to make the choices for himself – the right choices and I want him to lead by example instead of following someone else. That is one of the biggest things in our family and always to be nice and generous to other people. My sons are very fortunate, we are all very fortunate. But, I always teach them if someone gives you a gift of $5 or $2 make sure you call that person back and just say thank you, because they didn’t have to do it. I want to instill those values in him so he can become the man for his wife one day and he can carry on our legacy and instill them into his children.
Treat people how you want to be treated ultimately.
And how d0 you unwind from it all, from both the mommy and work duties?
Honestly my vice a couple of years ago would be wine, a great vacation is always nice – Jamaica is my favorite. But ultimately now it is my store, it’s my business, that’s where you’ll find me.
And we think thats a great place! Penn has found a way to marry both her passion and career. They say when work is doing what you love then it is no longer work, and Penn can certainly attest to this!