The Makers

Balancing Act:
Beautycounter’s Gregg Renfrew

Whenever we encounter the intense—and magnetic—energy of an entrepreneur we always have to ask: “How do you do it all?” The answer is all in the balance. Though she may run a rapidly growing start-up that’s intent on getting safer beauty products into the hands of everyone, Beautycounter founder and CEO, Gregg Renfrew is equally a mother and wife, too.

For a first-hand look into how this superwoman juggles her personal life while running a business, we asked her to take us through a typical day from dawn to lights out.

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5 am – I usually get up somewhere between 4:30 and 6 am depending on what child has made it to my bed. I have three kids, Phebe (9), Jameson (7), and Georgie (5). They may be getting older, but every night it’s something. Someone is scared or simply wants to cuddle.

6:30 am I always make breakfast for my family. I’m a firm believer that breakfast should be homemade, and that everyone gets enough protein. A typical breakfast is oatmeal and hardboiled eggs. While that’s cooking, I start making lunches. I’ll do hummus with carrots and a piece of fruit. Phebe and Georgie are into strawberries, but Jameson won’t eat fruit, so it’s a struggle. They are all, thankfully, into salad so I’ll make that, and add in a treat like a homemade cookie. I always try to put a note in their lunch. I’ll also make a smoothie for my husband and myself, usually with coconut water, kale, cucumber, celery, fruits, protein powder, or almonds—or whatever else is around.

7 am  Two days a week, I work out at home. I’ll do the stairs in my neighborhood, go for a hike, or do some weights and crunches. My husband helps with the kids while I get some exercise in.

7: 45 am  While I’m getting ready, I check my email from SKIMM, which is a compilation of the day’s news put together by two ex-NBC producers. I also watch a couple minutes of The Today Show. Then, I walk my son Jameson to school—well, I walk, and he usually rides his scooter. Afterwards, I head to the office—as I’m driving, I’ll hop on a phone call with Bryan Wolf, one of our partners.

8:15 am I’m in the office by 8:15 to make my organic earl grey tea with almond milk and maple syrup. My cousin Seth has a farm called Rasberry Patch and makes delicious maple syrup that I have to have every morning.

9 am  A flurry of work: It’s staff meetings, or I’m on the phone with investors, board of directors, and Consultants—I love following up on e-mails and listening to the feedback from the field. There’s much to learn from the people who are on the front lines every day.

1 pm  For lunch, I’ll have a Buddha roll (it’s a vegan Vietnamese summer roll), or my favorite chicken salad from La Scala. I always have lunch at my desk. I spent the majority of my professional career in New York City and everyone has lunch at their desk. Then I’ll have a slew of strategy meetings that I try to keep to an hour each. Between meetings, I’m organizing play dates, birthday parties, and talking to my husband. It’s a great time for me to check in with my kids, too. They’re allowed to call me whenever they want. My 5-year old Georgie just learned how to dial me and loves to do it. When my husband calls, I always answer—it’s one of those things I do to keep my marriage a priority.

5 pm I always have a couple squares of chocolate and a handful of almonds as an afternoon snack. It keeps me sane. The Beautycounter pantry is always stocked with really great quality chocolate.

6:30 pm  I live 15 minutes away and go straight home after work. I have made a commitment to my family that I’ll never walk into the house while talking on the phone. I finish all my calls in the driveway and go in with a smile on my face and switch to mom-mode. For dinner, the kids’ babysitter might have made something and we heat it up.

7:30 pm  It’s bathtime for my kids. I want the kids to have individual mom time so I start with the Georgie the youngest and sing her to sleep. The song de jour right now is “Whenever I See Your Smiling Face” by James Taylor. Then I’ll snuggle and read with Jameson until he goes to sleep. Phebe is downstairs with homework and my husband and I trade off helping her. Finally when Phebe is ready to sleep, we’ll get into bed together and switch off reading Nancy Drew.

8:30 pm  I’ll have a glass of my favorite New Zealand Savignon Blanc and chat with my husband. We’ll also squeeze in some Homeland or Downton Abbey.

9:30 pm  I always take a bath at night—it’s my five minutes of down time. Right now, I’m obsessed with using Kidscounter Squeaky Clean Shampoo as a bubble bath (it smells amazing). Then I’m in bed. I read a bit until I fall asleep—I just finished Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.

10 pm  It’s lights out.