Cary Heise

As a stay-at-home mom to two toddlers in Apex, Cary Heise felt like she was missing out on the area’s best family activities, because she hadn’t heard about them.

“It’s really cool how we have big city events in Raleigh, then you can come in about 10 miles and there’s a town that really takes care of its families,” said Heise. “There’s so much to do, but it can be kind of hidden.”

So she founded Social Butterflies, a monthly online newsletter (with more than  3,000 subscribers) and website as a resource for Triangle parents wanting to stay in-the-know about community events.

“All of the events I put in Social Butterflies are events I truly feel like a family would visit and go to and enjoy,” she said.

Her second venture, Stay at Home Rock Star, is an apparel line that Heise launched on Facebook.

“My friends went crazy over it,” she said. “In two weeks I had ordered 60 shirts and was in two shops!” The shops were local boutiques Swagger and Green Pea Baby, both women-owned businesses that Heise said, “helped me out tremendously trying to figure out the retail world.”

Fostering those connections inspired one more undertaking — Vend Raleigh, dubbed the place for Raleigh Mompreneurs.

“This professional group is so unique,” said Heise. “We really bring a good balance of mom and entrepreneur, creating an environment that is warm and welcoming and will inspire and direct you to become more business savvy and profitable.”

Managing three businesses requires careful control of her schedule, which Heise manages with early morning work on the computer while her kids are still in bed and carefully scheduling meetings and events around school calendars.

“Honestly, all my businesses are passions of mine,” she said. “I hardly consider them work so time can slip away. I make a lot of effort planning quality time for my family.”

One of her most exciting developments is the Vend Raleigh Directory, which launched this summer and contains a list of mom-owned businesses in an effort to increase visibility to the public and cross promotion between partners.

“For people who are shopping small and local, hopefully they will start thinking mom-owned as well,” said Heise.

Heise encountered her share of challenges: managing financial risk, overcoming self-doubt and prioritizing time, but her desire to connect with other moms keeps her excited for each new experience, from the memories made through Social Butterflies, the friendships shared through Stay at Home Rock Star and the personal and professional development encouraged in Vend Raleigh.

Heise thinks now is a great time for moms to launch their businesses.

“Social media gives you an outlet to have an almost immediate audience. Don’t wait! Go ahead and start work on whatever tasks get you excited,” she said. “Things like websites and marketing plans are always works in progress. Don’t wait for things to be ‘perfect’ before you put it out there. You will tweak along the way.”


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