Here at Kathy Kuo Home, we recently announced a new series of interviews here on The Kuotes blog! For our fifth installment, we are thrilled to be chatting with Brianne Manz, the founder of Stroller in the City–a long-running popular website covering family life in New York City, as well as tips on travel, baby gear, and fashion for moms and their little ones.
Kuotable Women is our way of celebrating brilliant female entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs–both in the design world and in other lifestyle categories like health and wellness, fashion, food, and parenting. In these uncertain times, I wanted to spotlight how some of our favorite women in business are making it work as they work from home.
Brianne at home in New York City
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Tell us about your professional background–what were some of the key milestones that brought you to where you are professionally today?
I studied fashion at FIT here in New York City and later developed a showroom. I had locations in NYC, L.A, and Atlanta and it was a blast. When I had my son I decided to slow down and made the decision to sell my business.
I started Stroller in the City in my early motherhood days as a blog for friends and family. I had no idea it would turn into what it is today. Today Stroller In The City is a successful website covering family life in New York City, traveling, baby gear, and my passion for fashion for moms and kids.
Tell us about your home–whom do you share your space with, and where do you live?
My husband Jason and I have three children, Ryder (11), Siella (8), and Gemma (7). We live in Battery Park and absolutely love it. We recently added a puppy into our family, Cooper! He has been the sweetest addition to our family.
How has having a new pet affected how your approach your space and home design? Any pet-friendly must-haves?
We knew this would be the perfect time to add a little puppy to our family, but a puppy is definitely a lot of work. He wakes early and is potty training. He has a crate in our living room and goes in there just for sleeping.
But like this quarantine, puppy life is temporary so we’re all soaking it in. I did also purchase him a little bed which sits in our living room as well. But he’s so tiny, our space hasn’t changed much. I would say a must have is chew toys–he’s been teething hard.
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During these uncertain times when many professionals are working from home, how are you approaching working from home and balancing the other aspects of your life?
It’s all taken a definite shift. My husband normally travels a lot for work, and I have a very on the go work schedule, so current life is very different from what we’re used to. With that being said we’ve all adjusted really well. My kids have really taken to homeschooling and we’re really enjoying the extra quality time as a family.
Do you have a designated workspace in your home? If so, how is it set up?
I work from our dining room table. Before COVID-19 I often worked out of the female co-working space, The Wing, so not having a designated work space at home never really crossed my mind. It’s been nice working alongside my family and their schedules. If I have to have a conference call, I’ll just escape to my bedroom for some quiet.
As a mom, how are you handling your kids doing remote learning? Do they have a designated spot at home where learning happens?
We all work from different areas of our apartment. My son is on Zoom calls all day and practically lives in his bedroom. The girls are usually out in the living room with me working from our dining table. They are loving their homeschooling routines.
I’m so impressed with how my children are and have been during this pandemic. Don’t get my wrong, we have our totally crazy family of five (plus one puppy) moments but overall my kids love remote learning.
Brianne with her husband and children
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What are some of your work from home must-have items or favorite pieces? On the flip-side, what are some of your favorite items that help you enjoy self-care and relaxation?
I’m usually a dress girl and wear one all the time, but during this time at home I switched it up to sweats and a sweatshirt or rompers. I do find that if I throw on a skirt or top a few times throughout the week, that brightens my mood.
To relax: I love a good sheet mask and hot bath, once the kids go to sleep of course.
What advice would you give to other professional women about maximizing the work from home experience?
Make a personal work schedule. Especially if you have kids, time management is everything. What hours of the day are you working and what hours are for family needs?
Also working from home can sometimes affect one’s energy and leave us in a rotation of procrastination and slumber. If you can take a safe walk, sometimes that can help re-inspire work ideas, thoughts, and energy. And exercise! I purchased a mini stair stepper that is great for getting your heart rate up, and after 30 minutes, I’m definitely breaking a sweat.
Brianne and her family sporting masks
Aside from navigating the immediate challenges of our current moment in history, what goals do you have in your personal and professional life right now?
I am in the beginning stages of creating my own fashion line. It’s been a big dream of mine for a long time, so it’s definitely something Im looking forward to in the coming year. We postponed the launch until late August now.
I also definitely want to get back to traveling when we can. Traveling has been such a passion of mine and I’ve been dreaming of taking a family trip to Morocco and Greece.
Anything special on the horizon for Stroller in the City that we should know about?
Definitely my fashion line In The City coming soon! I’m so excited to share it with all my readers. Oh, and I’m being published in a book. I wrote an entire chapter about blogging, how I got started, and will for sure keep you posted on that!
Who inspires you the most, and why?
I would definitely say my family and this city inspire me the most. Whether it’s something funny one of my kids say, a memory I have with my parents, or a magical New York moment, I’m constantly being inspired by my great loves. And of course my other love, traveling all over the world!