We trailed the founders of Warby Parker and Rockets of Awesome to see how their crazy, hectic, business-packed days happen.
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“Gemma, wait!” Rachel Blumenthal orders the blonde blur that is her 4-year-old daughter with the zoomies. “You have a raspberry smoothie unibrow!” There are leggings and bows and 8-year-old Griffin to get out the door for school. But it’s all good. Breakfast has been accomplished, workouts done, emails answered, lunches packed, assistants coordinated between his company and hers — and now, wipe in hand, a unibrow crisis averted. And it’s only 7:30 at the Blumenthals’.
Neil and Rachel Blumenthal, 38 and 39, met freshman year at Tufts University and married in 2008. By then, she’d already started a jewelry brand, Rachel Leigh. He followed suit in 2010 by cofounding Warby Parker, the industry disruptor that sells trendy prescription eyeglasses for $95 and has grown to nearly 100 stores and 2,000 employees with a valuation, reportedly, of $1.75 billion. Meanwhile, in 2016 she launched Rockets of Awesome, talking to investors while in labor with their second child. With 55 employees and a new investment from Foot Locker, her new brand of children’s clothing is designed exactly for mornings like this.
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But while not every entrepreneur can claim the Blumenthals’ level of business successes, many can relate to their real-life scramble outside the office. Being parent-entrepreneurs requires improvisation. Like the time this spring when they were checking in at JFK for a trip to the Bahamas and Neil turned to Rachel and said, “Your passport is expired.” She thought: Surely you don’t know how to read a passport because that would never happen to me. But, yeah: expired. So? Step one, distract the kids at Dunkin’ Donuts; two, google “emergency passport”; and three, reschedule her flight as the others flew off to the Bahamas. “It was Saturday. I got there Monday,” says Rachel. “It was the most peaceful three days of my entire life.”
To see how it all works, Entrepreneur shadowed them for a day in May, when on top of the usual madness (unibrow included), they’re in a hotel because their Greenwich Village apartment is still a construction zone eight weeks after a gut renovation was supposed to be finished.