I’m excited to introduce the next Mumu on the move: Jeani Meyer. She is a wife, mom of two adorable boys and a powerful business women. Jeani is also the founder and curator behind the successful Hello Smart Blog.
I met Jeani a few months ago whilst photographing her little boy’s super stylish “Cheetah Rugby party” Yes you heard right, stylish Cheetah, hehe. This trendsetting, creative mom can turn just about anything into something chic and innovative. Before I met her, one of my friends described Jeani as, Bloemfontein’s answer to Sarah Jessica Parker! I loved getting a tiny glimpse into her life. Being a mum to one gorgeous little boy, I wanted to know how she always looked so put together and juggles her hectic schedule! She shares her tips and tricks with us.
I start my day by dropping off my kiddies at school, followed by a quick stop at Stereo café to grab my favourite coffee, then I’m off to the office.
I’m responsible for all things PR, Marketing and Client related at OFS Smart Repair – so my day is pretty full at work. After work I’ll usually try to get in some form of exercise, either go for a run or a gym session and after that it’s quality family time.
At home we’ll make dinner, watch a bit of Masterchef with the kiddies (can you believe my boys are crazy about Masterchef?!), play with the kids – they’re very into sports right now… rugby, cricket, tennis.. literally anything with a ball! Listen to our favourite Itunes playlist while bathing the kids, get the boys into their pj’s and read their favourite bed time story before they sleep.
Once the boys are in bed you’ll find me in my study working on the blog and social media for OFS. For some strange reason I seem to have my best ideas late evenings – I’m a bit of a night owl;)
What is one favourite piece in your wardrobe that is both practical for a mother and stylish?
This season it has to be my metallic Zara bomber jacket – such a functional funky piece that adds instant cool to any outfit. Also a VERY practical favourite is my NIKE Roshe one flyknit sneaks – Let’s just say I’m a big fan of the Athleisure trend at the moment! Perfect for an on-the-go Mommy.
What do you splurge on?
Fashion and décor. I love all forms of beautiful art and design. Two of my most-loved splurge items is a Stella McCartney tote I bought in New York and a Floris van Zyl painting hanging in my study.
Define your style?
Bold, fun and eclectic. I love bright colours, pattern, print and have a real weakness for a gorgeous shoe.
Our theme for January is Joy. How do you define joy?
Unconditional love. True happiness, delight. When you hold your little one in your arms for the first time. When you complete that half marathon (you had to train you butt of for!) When you take that first bite of chocolate cake… When your little one says ‘Mommy I love you’. Bliss.
What do you love most about being a mom of two boys?
I was always of the opinion that no man would ever be the boss of me… well, I’ve had to eat my words many times with my two boys! They absolutely wrap me around their little fingers! I simply adore them.
They keep me on my toes and make me laugh every day with their little boy shenanigans. Sometimes little boys can be rough and tough – the other day I got slammed by a surprise tackle courtesy of my eldest Jean (he’s a huge rugby fan and makes his dad practice with him everyday) – I laughed so much that I didn’t even notice I’d lost an earring in the process.
To me, that’s the kind of little boy stuff that’s priceless!
What are the top 3 things you think a mom can do to “have it all’?
Firstly, allow yourself the opportunity to “have it all” – a career and a family.
If your serious about your career, don’t take your hat out of the ring even before you’ve had the chance to make a play for the position or promotion you want.
Why aren’t there more women CEO’s or leaders? Women are smart, strong and undoubtedly capable, but many women think that they can only be ambitious until they have kids. Once they become moms, they retreat, thinking that they will never be able to balance it all – which is something I can certainly relate to!
If you choose to rather be at home with your kids, that’s beautiful and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but if you want to make it in the business world, you have to sit at the table. In other words, you have to be IN the business world.
Secondly, it takes a village.
You need a super strong support system. If you and your husband both have demanding full time careers, then childcare, dinner, homework and school runs cannot be the Mom’s responsibility alone.
Your husband or partner has to be on board and genuinely support your career (just as you genuinely support theirs). Split the responsibilities and balance the work load. Also, having a loving Granny and a stalwart Nanny is an absolute savior!
Lastly, make sure the time you spend with your kids and family is 100% quality time.
Mine is in the evenings after work, all day every weekend and all day on holidays. When you’re with your family, put down your phone. Switch off from work and give them your utter undivided attention.
I’m on a personal mission and trying to help other moms to live a more simple life and focus on the things that really matter. Do you have any tips for mommies, struggling to manage all their day to day responsibilities?
I’d love to tell you I’m Superwoman, but unfortunately that is simply not true – in fact no one is superwoman and none of us get to everything, on time, every day.
Focus on what needs to be done first and what’s most important at that stage. If your kiddie has a bake sale the next day at school, then baking cookies is your top priority that day.
Ask for help.
Ever wondered why superhero’s have side-kicks? Well, it’s because they need help – Not even they can save the world on their own! Don’t be too proud to ask when you need help. You’d be surprised how many Mommies understand exactly how you feel and is more than willing to give a helping hand.
Give yourself a break!
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Understand that you cannot manage and maneuver everything. Attend to what you can and what is within your means, but don’t lose sleep and stress about things that are out of your control.
Also, enjoy a glass of wine with your girlfriends every now and then – you deserve it!
What made you decide to start blogging?
I wanted to create a digital platform where I could tell the story of the ‘who and why’ of the OFS brand.
Gearing up to launch an extensive social media and digital marketing campaign for OFS Smart Repair at the beginning of last year, I knew our brand had to stand out from the crowd. The digital arena and social media is flooded with content every day… Some of it ok, some of it good, some of it really bad!
If I wanted our brand to be relevant, I couldn’t underestimate the digital audience. If I wanted people to engage with our brand, be interested in our brand and be inspired by our brand, I had to create content that would be exactly that… engaging, interesting and inspiring!
Hello Smart Blog is the perfect vehicle to create that content. We get to tell our brand’s story in a genuine and authentic manner – sharing our ideas, dreams and adventures, thus giving the reader a true insight into who the brand is and what we stand for.
Tell us more about your blog?
Hello Smart Blog is a lifestyle blog where we work, look and live SMART.
The Smartguys and Smartgirls of OFS Smart Repair are modern, multifaceted and multidimensional. Not only are we doing work we love, but we’re also pursuing our passions and making them priorities.
We celebrate living a #smartlife where we combine all the facets of our lives – family, career, style, travel, food, music – anything and everything that truly inspires us!
We also have a fantastic feature called Bright Sparks where we interview local folks who amazes us with their talent, smarts and skills.
You’re a great example of successful personal branding and turning a business into something that people can connect with. (OFS smart Repair). What tips can you give professionals on how to market themselves and create recognisable brands?
Great brands know the value of Personality.
I’m a big believer of packing loads of personality into your brand. Don’t look like every body else. Don’t sound like everybody else. Don’t think that just because you are in (for example) the retail or service industry that you can only market your business in a certain way…
Be original. Be unique. Be a square peg in a round hole.
Bring true personality to the table and people will respond.
What do you feel is most important to consider when defining a brand’s voice?
As a brand you need to know who you are. What you believe in, what you stand for. Why you do what you do.
Who is your customers? What do they want and need from you as a business?
When you know who you’re talking to, what you want to say and why you’re saying it – that’s when you’ll know how to define your brand’s voice.
What are the key elements to consider when creating and implementing a brand’s identity?
Firstly, know the brand in and out.
Do proper research. Start with a long hard (and honest!) look at the brand. Who they are, what they do – what they do well, what needs to be better.
Look at the history of the brand – or similar brands.
Define the key ingredients of the brand – what do they believe in, what are their core values, what is the vision of the brand? Who are the people of the brand?
Secondly, brand is everything.
Many people think the brand of a business is their logo or what their website looks like, but it’s not.
Brand is everything. It’s every little detail. It’s the A-Z of the business. It’s how you answer the phone, what your offices (or workshop) looks like, the service you provide, the product you supply, the friendliness of your staff, your logo, your website…. the attention to detail.
Thirdly, great design is very important
Not good design, or ok design – GREAT design.
You need the right experts working on and designing a brand.
Therefore, when creating a brand’s identity, make sure you understand the business. Implement great design in a unique and recognisable way. Pay attention to detail and be consistent with the brand implementation on all platforms and in all departments of the business.
Internet is a noisy place and to make your blog stand out from the crowd, there are lots of things to consider. What are your top strategies/ tools to stand out in a sea of interesting content and thousands of blogs?
Tell your story and stay true to who you are, what you love, what you believe and what you stand for.
When you share who you are, your blog will be unique because there is no one quite like you.
Any tips for anyone who wants to start a blog?
Know what you want to blog about.
Style? Fashion? Business? Movies? You should have a very clear vision what the theme and content of the blog is going to be about.
Do your homework!
Look at blogs you love – what do they do well? Look at their design, the structure of their content. What inspires you about your favourite blogs?
It’s always good to see what is out there and what works. Take some pointers but don’t copy though… you want to be original.
Choose a proper content management system
For Hello Smart Blog, I use WordPress – in my opinion it’s probably the easiest blogging and website content management system out there.
Of course there are many other CMS systems that you can choose from… so do your research, read up on the different systems and choose a system that will suit your blogging style and needs.
Short for search engine optimisation, SEO refers to the process of optimising a website so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google. Learn what SEO content is, the different types of SEO content, and how to develop an SEO content strategy.
What social media platform has been the most beneficial for your traffic?
Facebook. Hands down.
Locally it’s the biggest social media platform by far. The latest stats show that almost 25% of the South African population, that’s 13 million people, have a Facebook account.
How do you define success?
Success is Happiness.
I know this is a very broad term as people define happiness in many different ways, but I believe finding success in your life is about defining what really makes you happy.
For me happiness is having a challenging fulfilling career and having a family. Being multifaceted and multidimensional. Making my passions my priorities.
For me it’s never been a case of ‘either or’ – for me it’s always about balance. Dreaming big and chasing your goals but also spending time doing the things you love with the people you cherish.
Be sure to check out Jeani’s blog.
Interview: Elizabeth (Mumu and Me)
Photos by Elizabeth J