From “God of Love” to Prim Botanicals: Stefanie Walmsley de Borja

This week’s WonderMommy is – Oscar winner turned green beauty entrepreneur. WonderMommy interviews the talented mom to find out her origins and what helps her succeed in business and motherhood.

1. You’ve had tremendous success in film, most notably winning an Oscar for your work as a producer for “God of Love.” How and why did you make the switch from film to green beauty, and how did Prim Botanicals come about? 

My greatest professional achievement was winning the Oscar, but like most ambitious young New Yorkers, I eventually started to feel burned out, and the effects began to show on my skin. In 2013, I took some time off to recharge and went back home to The Philippines. I was reminded of all the wonderful natural beauty remedies I had grown up with. When I returned to New York, I immediately enrolled at The School for Aromatic Studies to learn the science behind green beauty. My first order of business was creating a face oil to save my own skin, and that eventually grew to a full line of products. Prim officially launched in 2015.

I eventually started to feel burned out, and the effects began to show on my skin.PSD_PB2.196_grande

2. What was step one to getting your business started?

The business happened very much by accident. What started as me trying to find a natural DIY solution for my irritated skin, evolved into a small product line that I decided to expand on. Early on, I developed the brand with a childhood friend who is also an esthetician, but I now run the business on my own. So, the hustle is real!

3. What are some of the challenges you face juggling motherhood with running a successful business? 

I’m still so new to being a mom but, frankly, the biggest challenge is fighting to hold onto myself. Learning how to do all I can to be the best version of myself, so that I can give the best of myself to my child. 

It’s a challenge because you’re almost told to put yourself last, like there is this unexpected rule that being a mom means being a martyr. So when you make the conscious decision to take care of yourself first, you almost feel like you can’t share that decision with too many people. But the truth is, I’m the best mom, wife, friend, boss, person—when I set aside time for self-care.

It’s a challenge because you’re almost told to put yourself last, like there is this unexpected rule that being a mom means being a martyr.

It helps to have the most supportive husband and people around me, but you also have to demand that support, you know? You have to be able to say, hey guys, I’m an anxious-drowning-mess and I need you to help me catch a break so I can take care of me. 

4. What are the advantages to running your own business? What are some disadvantages? 

The advantage is that you chose your own hours–the disadvantage is that those hours usually wind up being all hours of the day. The advantages and disadvantages are moot, since a person is either innately built for this life or not. I, for example, can only function as an entrepreneur, and truly am a terrible employee. For someone with a different skillset, having your own business might be nothing but one big anxiety inducing disadvantage. There is no stability, there is no safety net. That said, for someone like me, there really is no other path, and ultimately, when it comes to my career there is nothing more rewarding. 

5. How has motherhood affected your outlook as a business owner? Have your career goals changed at all?

My goals for my business remain the same, but my source of motivation has changed. Before becoming a mother, the desire to create something and the potential success, were big sources of motivation, whereas now, my greatest motivation is my son, Oliver. Raising a son, it’s also very important to me, to show him a true partnership between my husband and me; and as his mother, to set an example as a female entrepreneur. 

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6. What are some actions you take to nurture your identity outside of motherhood?

I don’t believe in “finding the time,” I believe in making myself a priority. I have to properly look after myself, if I expect to look after a small human, be a strong partner, and successfully run a business. I work mostly from home, so sometimes even the smallest little things like taking a few minutes to put on a little makeup and fix my hair make me feel good and remind me I’m still a person.

I don’t believe in ‘finding the time,’ I believe in making myself a priority.

7. What do you prioritize in your own skin care (and beauty) routine, given you are a busy mother and beauty entrepreneur?

I make sure to always TRY to wash off all makeup before bed, and at the very least, use The Face Oil daily. I actually just did a whole marketing campaign around how Prim can be used for real life. For example, if you sleep with your makeup on, slap on Potion N°1. If you need to detox to retox, use The Debauchery Detox Body Scrub. While pregnant, The Body Oil was a daily savior. 

8. What advice do you have for other mothers who are thinking of going into business for themselves? 

The most important thing is to start small, grow slowly, and make sure that this life is really for you, and suits your personality. 

9. Lastly, what makes you feel like a Wonder Mommy?

On a day when I’ve booked a new account for Prim, and I’ve made time to bond with my husband and Oliver is healthy and looks at me with that incredible smile of his, I feel like a wonder mommy. I might still be wearing the pajamas I wore the day before but hey, not all super mamas wear capes!

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