It takes a village to raise children in New York City, and DivaMoms.com founder Lyss Stern is your chief.
For the past 10 years, Stern has become a major influencer in the mommy space. After the birth of her first son, Lyss -- a former style columnist for The New York Sun and correspondent for Cookie Magazine -- saw a void in the marketplace for moms who had embraced the demands of parenting, but refused to surrender their stilettos. Her mission is to help mothers like herself be the best they can be for their families without abandoning their own identities.
In 2003, Stern officially launched DivaMoms, a luxury lifestyle network geared toward bridging the gap between a glamorous pre-baby lifestyle and post-baby responsibilities. With The Lysst, she created a rundown of mommy must-haves, and with the company, has created an in-demand platform for mommy-driven products such as Fendi and UPPAbaby, with an elite group of women.
In her co-authored best-selling book, "If You Give a Mom a Martini," Stern features contributions from celebrity moms including Kelly Ripa, Christie Brinkley and Melissa Joan Hart. The Long Island native and mommy of three (two sons and a new baby girl) is also the co-creator of the new NickMom short-form series "Story Time For Moms."
On her way to the movies with her children after hosting her annual Mom Moguls breakfast, Stern took the time to talk all things New York, parenting and Mother's Day.
Q What's the best advice your mom gave you?
A She'd say to me, 'You put yourself out there so much. At the end of the day, what's the ROI (return on investment)? If you aren't making money, is it worth the effort?'
QWhat's it like being married to your husband?
A My husband is in the entertainment industry. We are a team. He supports me and we are constantly multi-tasking. We've been together for 17 years and married for 13. We fight like everyone else, but at the end of the day, he has my back and vice versa.
Q How did you start your business?
A I started my business after my first son Jackson was born. I went to a luncheon with new moms, and a lightbulb went off. I needed to empower moms and clue them into the best of the best. I had never taken a business class, but I had passion. And here we are today. Ten years ago, I started out with a blog, DivaMoms.com, and we have half a million moms following today. I call it a 'word of mom' movement.
Q How do you maintain your movie star looks with three kids?
A I love Flywheel and Core Fusion at Exhale. It's my mommy time-out. I try to take bubble baths and get a good night's sleep when I can.
Q What kind of bubble bath do you use?
A I like L'Occitane bubble bath or my kids' Mr. Bubble.
Q Who does your hair?
A Eugena at the salon Ayervais on 57th Street has done my hair for 16 years.
Q What shampoo-conditioner do you use?
A I use the Fekkai products and Bumble and bumble.
QYou held the DivaMoms Mom Mogul breakfast. Why?
A I wanted to have a panel of great moms who are doing it all, and who have great and unusual tips. Each woman has a different story to achieving success and solid parenting. This breakfast was created to inspire other moms and give mompreneurs an opportunity to demystify the stigma that you can't do it. We learned how they maintain their family life and business life. No one wanted to leave. They just kept sharing tips. It was amazing.
Q Who's your role model?
A Jackie O was dedicated to her husband and children. She always put her children first. Even after her divorce, she continued to work as a humanitarian and became a publishing icon.
Q What's your favorite Mother's Day gift?
A Breakfast in bed from my boys.
Q What was the "aha!" moment for when you know you were doing the right thing?
A I started getting emails and inquiries from all over the world about what is the best of the best in the mommy space. I became the go-to for information. Women were asking me how to create events and the build the same powerful networks in their cities.
Q Any advice?
A I became the woman I am today by having the mom and the sister I have. My mom encourages us still to succeed and fail on our own. She gave us our wings and encouraged us. She believes, 'If they get there, great, and if not, we'll find something else.' She gave us great tools to dream big.