Rachel Katz-Galatt is a mother of two and a rising mompreneur, with a revolutionary, first-to-market brand that offers support, resources, and product solutions for pregnant, nursing, and busy moms alike. Rachel holds a Masters in Business Administration from Baruch College and has 18 years of experience as a top brand developer for companies like Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Victoria's Secret Beauty and Abercrombie & Fitch.
With this knowledge and expertise, Rachel has worked to create a company whose mission and products she holds a true passion for. Fueled from her own real life experiences, Rachel founded healthy mama®: remedies for pregnancy, nursing, and beyond after identifying a void in the market for safe, over-the-counter remedies for common pregnancy and nursing ailments. She set forth on the mission to provide pregnant women with remedies they need to sustain a happy, healthy, and comfortable full-term pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association is collaborating with healthy mama® to advocate for prenatal care on retail shelves ultimately creating a more convenient and safe shopping experience.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Ever since earning my degree from Baruch College I have set high goals for myself and had to be a high and sometimes overachiever to meet them. I set specific career goals and always wanted to grow and excel within the companies I have worked for, proving myself. Launching my own business has always been a dream for me; I didn't want to take that leap unless I was truly passionate about the concept and knew I would be able to make an impact, not just a dent. I am a firm believer in creating a great work experience, leading by example and respecting my employees. We are a team, and truth be told, I know that this business would not be anywhere without them today. I am blessed to have the opportunity to lead a team that is as passionate about my business as I am.
How has your previous employment experience aided your position as the founder of Maternal Science Inc. and healthy mama®?
I have worked for large, top notch companies (including Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Victoria's Secret Beauty and Abercrombie & Fitch) that had extremely high expectations of me; I was given the opportunity to work on highly regarded and well known brands. That experience gave me the foundation to set my expectations high for my business, create a lean but impactful marketing campaign and understand the dynamics of engaging with consumers.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I surround myself with people who are able to help me maintain that balance- I ensure to prioritize my workload during the day so that 9 times out of 10 I am able to get home and put my kids to bed. I am lucky that I have a husband who has been very supportive of this venture and makes every effort to accommodate me when I need it. Having a trustworthy, capable and reliable support system helps me maintain this delicate balance.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at healthy mama®?
I have always worked for large companies that had a lot of leverage with vendors- starting a business from scratch has certainly been very challenging, especially getting vendors to provide the same service and urgency that they provide larger organizations making bigger purchases. My strategy to overcome that hurdle was to really forge partnerships with them. When meeting with them, I would lay out our growth plan for the company and create the same excitement levels we have for the growth potential - this approach positioned our collaboration as a team instead of as vendor and customer. This relationship building made a world of a difference.
The highlights have been many and they keep coming! The most exciting thing to happen was going in to retailer presentations to sell in our brand and having them stop 3 pages in and ask when it can ship- this has happened repeatedly. I have never seen such a positive response to a brand before. It is thrilling to experience! Another highlight came when we attended a medical convention for OBGYN's (our target audience), we had doctors stop at our booth, learn about our brand and say "This is genius, why didn't I think of this"?
What advice can you offer individuals who are seeking to start their own business?
Do the research, understand the market, ensure you have enough money to properly launch and sustain yourself, because the financial impact can be very stressful. Ensure that you have passion for what you are doing- it is there every single day and you need to love it. People sense that passion and sincere excitement and will more easily buy into whatever it is you're selling if you really believe in it and love it.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
It is definitely keeping a balance between work and personal life, especially for women with a family. Women are superheroes and somehow tend to do it all at their own personal expense. It's important to prioritize both at work and at home - it's OK if every single thing doesn't get done every single day. As long as you tackle each task with passion and make the most of your time, you've succeeded. Sometimes it comes down to choosing if you should take the time to play with your kids or file papers - PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS! The filing will still be there tomorrow.
What are your thoughts on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In book and movement?
I think it's great that she's spurring both controversy and conversation. The only way to incite change is to build awareness and get people thinking and talking. It is true that women are still underrepresented in senior management positions at Fortune 500 companies and we must ask ourselves why? Why is this with so many educated, intelligent and passionate women in the workplace? So, we will talk about it and hopefully, some action and change will result. It's exciting to see women supporting women in business - helping and inspiring and encouraging each other to achieve success and recognition.
I think the issue of equality in the work place is the major obstacle that we are still faced with. Women are powerful; they are multitaskers of the highest order and ambitious. If women recognized their full potential and worth and asserted it, they would be able to achieve any goal.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have worked with some very intelligent women who have helped me become the leader I am today. They have taught me to push myself when I didn't think I could push any more (but I could), they also taught me to slow down and prioritize to ensure that I was able to accomplish all the goals that I set out to achieve. I want to do it all, and need to remind myself that I can't always do it all at once; executing the key elements perfectly versus many things just so-so is a much better use of time and effort.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
One of the female leaders I most admire is Oprah Winfrey. She has not only created a media empire, she has garnered trust and respect from her peers and her audience. Even if you're not a big fan, you have to admire what she has accomplished having started from nothing. She knows how to motivate people and is able to get both her team and viewers/audience excited about her content. Investing in loyal mentors, peers, employees and consumers means she has a massive support team that follows her anywhere.
Another female leader that I admire is Margaret Thatcher- she stood up for what was right even if it wasn't popular. Her main concerned wasn't to be liked, it was to make an impact. I have learned from my experience launching Maternal Science, Inc. that it is impossible to please everyone. I have learned to listen to others but ensure that I make the decisions that will guide the company to success based on what I believe is right. As a woman, being tough is not always appreciated but knowing your business, laying out a clear and concise plan and communicating it clearly is paramount.
What are your hopes for the future of the healthy mama® brand?
We want to become a household name in the pregnancy and nursing category; we want to be the brand that her doctors, family and friends recommend to her when they learn she's pregnant. We want to fill all the voids in this market that currently exist and become a lifestyle brand that she loves and trusts. We want healthy mama to become her go to source for reliable information about what she's experiencing and help her through every phase of her pregnancy and beyond.