This is a story about how my mom is the best. When I first started Leota, it was just me. Hungry, scrappy, and determined to build a business. I made my first website myself, with no developer, designer, or PR, and the website quietly launched with zero fanfare. I announced it on my email list, which was around 100 people. I waited. Maybe no one would purchase anything.

I was contemplating alternative careers when I received a notification that my first e-commerce order had been placed. I was elated. I logged in and saw the very first order was mom, Susan. I laughed and called her immediately. “Mom! You don’t have to buy stuff from me,” I teased. “Well it’s a really cute dress and I know the designer,” she joked back. I felt so touched and supported. Then she proceeded to work for me for A YEAR FOR FREE.

I bootstrapped Leota, growing the business in spite of multiple retail apocalypses. Right around our 10th anniversary last year, COVID was shutting everything down. The global economy was tanking, my supply chain was halted, retailers cancelled all their pre-orders, and consumers were panicking. My e-commerce sales went to zero. Zero! Devastated, I wasn’t sure Leota would make it. One day, as I cried numbly, planning how to close down my studio, a popup indicated I had an order. I opened it to distract myself from graver activities. Wouldn’t you know, it was an order, full price, from Susan Carson.

Now Leota is run by another mom - CEO Erica Allen. There is truly no one more efficient than a mom. Hire one! Then we could say good-bye to the She-session.

My mom’s love language is “acts of service.” No matter who or what we’re caring for, be it our own kids, siblings’ kids, chosen family, pets or plants, let’s take inspiration from Susan Carson and give it some good old fashioned acts of service.


Happy Mother’s Day to the world’s actual superheroes!




P.S. We know being a mom isn't always easy. Here are some amazing organizations that are working to make impactful changes for mothers: 

1. 4Kira4Moms is an incredible organization that is fighting for the improved maternal health policies and regulations of Black moms. Founder Charles Johnson and the organizations worked relentlessly with Congress to pass the first legislation ever to combat the maternal death crisis in the United States. Click here to learn more and support their work.

2. NATAL is an impactful and entertaining documentary audio series that shares the story of having a baby while being Black in America. The stories, history, and intimate conversations are a reminder of how storytelling is always a pivotal component of activism. Click here to listen and subscribe.

3. Stepha LaFonda is the founder of @mamaslaylife on Instagram, a motherhood transition coach. Stepha believes mothers can create joyful lives and works to show them how to break free from narratives and systems holding them back. Sign up for her newsletter or book a consultation call here.

4. You can donate to Black Mamas Matter Alliance to help support the movement to advance Black Maternal Health, Rights, and Justice! Your gift will help fund our work to ensure Black mamas thrive before, during, and after pregnancy.

May 08, 2021 — Erica Chang

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