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Rachel Doneger Co-Owner & CEO, Polkadot England
The kids are down, your work is done - how do you spend your “me” time, when you get it?
I definitely try to capitalize on my alone time. I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have before having my son, being able to do whatever I wanted when I wanted that is. Now when I get a free moment, I’ll respond to emails, workout, meditate, walk in nature, cook for my family, FaceTime with friends or family, or read a fun book!
What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed?
These shearling-lined Nike air max sneakers purchased on Bandier. When we go for walks with my son in this freezing weather, most sneakers aren’t as warm as boots, but most boots aren’t comfortable for walking for more than 10 mins and not all have good support. These shearling-lined sneakers are so warm, comfortable and supportive! Plus Bandier is a new wholesale partner of my company Polkadot England. They are launching our collections in May, we are very excited, so I love supporting them now more than ever!
What is the quality you most like in yourself as a mother?
I felt a very strong “mother’s intuition” from the beginning with my son and fortunately haven’t had many moments when I wasn’t able to figure out what was wrong and nurture him accordingly. I feel lucky that we are so connected.
What is the quality you most like in one or all of your children that they did not inherit from you?
My son’s silliness for sure and his ability to make the crowd laugh. I’m more of the person who adapts to the crowd, whereas my son brings the laughs and high energy regardless of the energy of the room.
What is the other career you’d most like to try out, given a second professional life?
A functional medicine doctor! I love problem solving and helping people. A functional medicine doctor seems to marry the two perfectly. I appreciate that functional medicine gets to the root of health issues and doesn't just mask symptoms.
Is there anything that quarantine forced you to change that you would like to - or will - maintain post quarantine?
A bunch of things! In quarantine, I cook about 6 nights a week, sometimes twice a day. I will definitely be doing more cooking now that I have some very solid and practiced recipes in my repertoire. We also do more nature walks as a family, which we all love, and I’ve been reading more books, not just articles, which I really enjoy. I would like to say that we will adopt a slower pace of life going forward, but I believe once the world opens, we will be traveling and doing more than ever!
What are the nicest things your partner does for you, and you for them?
My husband is very helpful with my son, especially in the mornings, I’m not an early morning person. For special occasions, he surprises me with the best gifts and kindest gestures; he somehow knows exactly what I want! I must be pretty vocal about it! For my husband, I cook daily for him; he loves food and I think he appreciates that I take the time. Also on the subject of food, I love surprising him with unique dining experiences, like private chefs or special restaurant reservations, like Frevo or James Beard House in NYC. I also love leaving him little surprise notes!What are the three beauty products you always have in your rotation? We always love to know someone's go-to lipstick color too...
1. Cle de peau under eye concealer, it has SPF and it doesn't irritate your eyes at all.
2. Tammy Fender intensive repair balm, it’s the most amazing natural and organic moisturizer that locks in moisture all day even in these dry winter months. It also smells like a spa.
3. Fitglow Beauty Good Lash Mascara, it’s the best “clean beauty” mascara I’ve found that adds volume to your lashes.
I don't wear lipstick really ever, my husband prefers my natural lip color so sometimes I’ll wear chapstick or a clear gloss.
Where is the place where you feel like your best self - your happy place?
With my family, in nature or in a group workout!
How important is routine to you? What parts of your routine are sacrosanct?
I love routine, but I definitely get bored if I don’t have a change of scenery. So some form of my routine will come with me wherever I go. Sacrosanct: start the day with morning affirmations, and gratitude journaling, coffee, some form of movement, afternoon meditation and bedtime with my son! I don't get to everything every single day, but the morning affirmations, gratitude journaling and afternoon meditation take a combined total of 15-30 minutes a day so there’s really no excuse to not do any of these things that make me a better person!
What are your professional goals and how do you go about achieving them?
Our mission with Polkadot England is to enable women and children to feel pretty and cozy in their pajamas/functional loungewear. My goal is to scale the business so that more women and children get to experience Polkadot England and have it in their closets! We do this by continuing to grow our online business and partnering with a few more select wholesale partners who align with our brand. For growing our online business, digital marketing and influencer marketing has helped us tremendously. For finding wholesale partners, my advice is to put it into the universe, get your ideas out there and talk to people about them. The times that I have shared what I was looking to accomplish with friends or with people I knew worked in the industry, are the only times I’ve gotten an intro to the right person. I find that most people are more willing to help than one might expect.
What are the things that make your home personal to you and your family?
Home cooked meals, expressing gratitude and wins of the week on Shabbat, meaningful framed photos, fun art, cozy hangout areas, fresh flowers and plants. We will move to a new home next month, so I’m sure I will have more ideas after that home is finished!
How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family?
Community is very important to my husband and me; however, it has been very difficult to stay close to people throughout this year of “staying home.” Zoom activities for a 16 month-old just aren’t the same as they would be in person. That being said, we do the best we can: we FaceTime regularly with relatives and meet friends at the park or for walks. We have also spent this time researching and planning for camp and school options for my son, so that once the world opens up again, he gets the first chance to experience life as we knew it. Lastly, I strongly believe in the importance of giving back to your community. I partner with a few organizations through my business and my husband is very involved with one non-profit. We very much look forward to seeing how my son chooses to make a difference in his local community as he grows.
What maternity style or clothing item could you not find last time around that you most wish FH would create?