The Bump presents #MomBoss, a series dedicated to showing off all-star moms. We catch up with mompreneurs behind products we love, influencers who get real about motherhood and SAHMs who can multitask in their sleep.
When Jessica Iclisoy first became a mom, everyday baby brands let her down big-time. She was aghast to discover dangerous chemicals in “natural” baby products—so she used her anger as fuel to start California Baby, a skincare company offering gentle, plant-based babyproducts. Now, two decades later, the the founder and CEO is sharing her favorite go-to natural baby products, as well as all of her crazy parenting stories she can look back on and laugh about.
What inspired you to start California Baby?
California Baby began 22 years ago, when I was a first-time mom and shocked and angry to find dangerous carcinogens, sulfates and synthetic fragrances in my son’s baby shampoo labeled as “natural.” The shampoo I bought from a local health store wasn’t any different than the leading conventional brand. That led me on a journey to find—and ultimately create—a natural, non-toxic alternative.
How did you juggle starting a company and raising kids?!
I believe in combining the two and not separating them into different worlds. Since my company was—and still is—a direct reflection of my lifestyle, they complement each other. When push came to shove, raising my kids was my priority and I would focus on them. It would be the perfect break I needed to get a fresh perspective on the business, which, if you let it, can take over your life.
If you could go back in time pre-baby, what advice would you give yourself?
I think about this a lot and how I would do things differently. I would say: relax! You’re not going to break the kid. I would also allow them to figure out more things for themselves. It’s beneficial and natural for them to do the essential work of growing. It’s how they thrive, learn and become self-reliant.
Name a life-saving product during your first year as a parent
I used a bathing and massage ritual to calm my…