She’s done two stints on Project Runway and created a thriving career in the fashion world. Amanda Perna is a true design maximalist and the subject of our latest Mom Entrepreneur Spotlight Series. After landing her dream job, Amanda realized she wanted something more, so she launched her eponymous company, The House of Perna, in 2012. The brand is all about small-batch design with a fun, whimsical twist. With fashion, illustration, styling and brand collaborations on her to-do list, this busy mom and business owner juggles multiple plates each day. See how she balances them all.
Munchkin: Tell us a little bit about your family.
Amanda Perna: My amazing husband Solomon and I have one daughter Stella (who is 20 months old) and a fur baby named Bruno who is 9 years old.
MCK: Can you tell us about your business?
AP: My business is called The House of Perna, and I am launching a second brand this year called Neon Bohemians. We design and create clothing and accessories at our atelier in Delray Beach, FL. All of our products are made in the United States, or in partnership with artisans globally. We believe in handmade products that are made with love and care. I design the prints as well to provide our customers with something special and unique. I am also super excited that we are going to start making kids clothes to match our womenswear.
MCK: When did you start The House of Perna?
AP: In 2012.
MCK: What was the inspiration behind starting your business?
AP: After designing dresses in NYC for a major fashion brand for a few years, I really wanted to be able to create the pieces that I dreamed of and have the freedom to explore my creativity.
MCK: What has been your biggest struggle so far as a business owner?
AP: The biggest one by far is finding a good work/life balance. I love what I do so much that I can’t seem to take my work hat off!
MCK: What is your biggest win or most successful moment so far?
AP: Oh boy, this is a hard one. I have been blessed with so many exciting moments. I would say it’s a tie between showing at NYFW and getting into my dream retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Anthropologie. Competing on Project Runway and designing cards for Hallmark are also high up on the list.
MCK: Did becoming a mom change how you run or operate your business?
AP: Absolutely! My daughter comes to work with me every day, so we have had to think about making sure everything sharp and dangerous (scissors, pins, needles, etc.) is out of her reach. My team has loved having her at work!
MCK: What has been the most rewarding part of becoming a mom?
AP: Getting to watch my daughter learn, explore, and grow. I have loved getting to share everything I love with her and watching her love it, too. I’m also super proud that she shares my love for color, glitter, pompoms and tassels.
MCK: What is your biggest challenge as a mom?
AP: Some days, I have major mom guilt. I do the best I can and spend a lot of time with her, but some days I am on set (for a commercial) or styling an event and can’t bring her with me. I know she is in good hands and happy, but I still feel like I should be there with her. And sometimes the reverse happens where I feel guilty because I leave work to take her to a class and my team has to work without me for a bit. The juggle is definitely real, but I do the best I can every day to be the best mom possible while trying to be the best business owner possible.
MCK: What is the best advice you can give to other mothers who want to become entrepreneurs but haven’t taken the plunge?
AP: Do it! There is no perfect time, no perfect situation, and no perfect age for your child(ren) to be. Having a business shows your kids that you don’t have to choose and that it is possible to have a family and a career.
MCK: Anything else you’d like to share?
AP: No mom is perfect, and yet at the same time we all are. Some days will be easy and some are a challenge, but just remember that you’ve got this, and you are amazing!
Amen, Amanda! We couldn’t agree more. Want to keep up with @theamandaperna and her adventures?