Power Mom: NJ Goldston
The stylish entrepreneur reflects on years of hard work, motherhood, and how the world is changing before our eyes
For over 20 years, NJ Goldston has mastered the balancing act of holding down an incredibly successful career and raising (identical!) twin boys who, coincidentally, have gone on to start a business of their own. But despite her many successes, Goldston does not appear to be looking for a sigh of relief. These days, you’ll find her hard at work on her snappy fashion blog, The Blonde and The Brunette (@bnbstyle)—when she’s not busy attending galas and judging awards, that is. Here, we talk to Goldston about her varied trajectory, her hand in the founding of Café Mom, and how the Internet’s affecting motherhood as we know it. —Lucie Alig
You’ve worked in so many industries. How did you career get started?
When I was young, my father was killed in a plane crash and my mother was widowed at 39. It was very hard, but mother was of the belief that things happen in life and, as a woman, you need to be self-sufficient. Your life cannot revolve around a man. It’s for this reason that my mom let me attend communication and marketing classes at the University of Hartford while I was still in high school. Being able to take those classes and get that exposure at a young age was what triggered my determination and success.
After all your years in marketing and ads, what made you decide to start The Blonde and The Brunette?
My background in advertising has inspired us to look at what our readers actually want versus what we simply feel like writing about. I have always had this notion of “the blonde” versus “the brunette”—not just two women, but two totally different points of view. So we feature women and contributors with a variety of ages and backgrounds. Our team also decided to do fashion writing in a more simplified way; our site supplies a quicker, daily dose of style. The proof was in the pudding when we won the Webby Award.
Can you talk about your earlier involvement with Café Mom?
While working at MGM and Universal Studios, I was travelling all the time, and began to realize that time was ticking away and my children were growing up fast. I wasn’t home enough, so I started the UXB. We were a groundbreaking ad, branding, and interactive agency, and as a mom, I was very interested in using those skills to develop a site for fellow mothers. Interestingly, it was a very male-centric idea, as I was working with three men: Andrew Shue, Michale Sanchez, and my husband. But they really cared—and still do—about providing something that was important for new moms. The site quickly developed into a bigger dialogue, and expanded from there. At the time, it was a breakthrough.
As a web guru yourself, what do you make of the mom blogger phenomenon?
Blogs share so much valid information; it’s become a wonderful source as women move through the different phases of motherhood. I’ve also always had this theory in the back of my mind that when you have a child, you cross through an invisible wall and transform into a new person. You suddenly have a camaraderie with other women you might not have been deeply close with before. You all begin to understand and support each other. As a working mom, I was always questioning whether or not it was okay that I was in the office. Every woman ultimately has to decide for herself, but the mommy blogosphere helps you figure out what’s right for you.
Any final words of wisdom?
Your career and raising your family is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. If you look at those years as a long, wonderful process, you get to enjoy the experience more. Your kids might not peak in high school or college; it might take longer. Moms just need to give them the skills they need in life.