#Powerwives is a bi-monthly column where we feature women who inspire us. Marital status is completely irrelevant. The title is inspired by our founders November 2013 Toronto Life cover story. This week’s #powerwife is Julie Cole.
Julie Cole is the co-founding vice-president of award-winning children’s label manufacturer Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular television contributor, an influential and syndicated blogger and a mother of six
Name: Julie Cole
Who is in your tribe? (family members, friends, partners) I literally created my own tribe. With six kids between the ages of 5 and 14, I’m surrounded by smart and sassy young people all the time. When I’m looking for my grown up tribe, I turn to my women folk: my neighbourhood mom friends, my business partners and other business minded women.
What does a typical day look like for you? There’s no such thing as typical when you’re running a business and raising a big happy family. It’s a real mix between sitting in the boardroom and sitting in a cold arena watching my kids play hockey. Most days hold a bit of everything!
What’s in your clutch? I only just gave up carrying around a diaper bag. I don’t carry a clutch, I carry a big ol’ bag. In it is my laptop, my other gadgets, barf bags stolen from an airplane (I pride myself in catching kid puke wherever I go. I don’t get caught off guard!) and probably the wrapper from a long ago devoured chocolate bar.
Five things you can’t live without? There are six of them and they are named: Maginnis, Posy, Spencer, Jessamy, Clancy and Finian.
Who is your hero? I don’t think I really have one. I have a lot of people who I look to and admire for different qualities, but there is no one I’d stand in line for more than 20 minutes to meet in person. Is that weird?
What are you reading? I have a child with autism and was recently sent The Rosie Project, so I do plan to read that. I just finished Unselling by my pals, Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer, which was a great read.
How did you get your start? We started Mabel’s Labels 12 years ago for two reasons. One reason was that we had a really good product idea. The second reason was that my son had just been diagnosed with autism and I needed to leave the traditional workforce. Having my own business provided me with professional stimulation, but with the flexibility I needed for my family.
Tell us about a time you were challenged and you learned a lesson. It’s pretty much a daily event, and I do learn. I think having many kids is challenging, but I really enjoy it. The best lesson I can share is for parents not to focus on things that are not important. Is a messy kitchen or piles of laundry really worth getting stressed and upset about? At the end of the day that stuff doesn’t matter.
What inspires you? I think motivated people find inspiration in many places: from within and from the people they surround themselves with. I only spend time with inspiring people. It’s a great way to live!
What are you excited about right now? Honestly, going on a holiday with my family next month. I have had a busy autumn and did a ridiculous amount of travel for work. While I’m excited about many business things we have in the hopper at Mabel’s Labels, I’m really craving some downtime with my family right now.
How do you unwind? What is this unwind you speak of? I guess I sleep. I don’t really go to the spa or get to the gym. I’ll have plenty of that time later
Most interesting people to follow on social media? I don’t follow famous people really. I get a real kick out of following real moms, entrepreneurial parents and creative types.
Personal mantra: “Success is liking what you do and liking how you do it”. – Maya Angelou
Advice for women trying to get to where you are: Be bold, stay true to yourself, have an appetite for risk, don’t be afraid to ask for help, say sorry then move on, and remember that your kids are little for about five minutes.