Mom Crush: Joy Rodgers and Serena Strulovitch of Boxed4me

When Serena Strulovitch (mom of three: 10, 8 and 4) approached her friend Joy Rodgers (mom of two: 10 and 7) with a start-up idea, they were both fired up to get going. Their company: Boxed4me, a quarterly subscription box for pre-teen girls. For those not ready to commit to a full year, they offer boxes to be purchased individually too. Each box contains items such as a hair accessory, a piece of jewelry, a novelty item, and at least one “season appropriate” item. Here’s what these moms had to say about balancing their work and family lives.

Why did you choose this demographic?

Serena: A lot of times people ask me what they can get my 10-year-old daughter for a gift, because she’s getting out of that age where she wants a toy and it’s harder and harder to think of a gift. These boxes are useful because it’s always something new, and tweens love trying out new products.

How has your child helped to inspire your work?

Joy: We both have girls in that age category, and we see our girls wanting to follow certain trends. We often ask the girls’ opinions because they’re our starting point.

Serena: I wanted to find something that my daughter would be happy receiving and look forward to, not something they get and forget.

Who is a female role model you admire and greatly respect?

Serena: No one in particular, but all women who are working for themselves and doing their thing. That’s my inspiration.

Joy: I agree. There’s this mom-boss revolution going on, and it inspired us to try it ourselves.

As moms the day can escape us, so what is your best time-saving trick?

Joy: I organize everything down to the minute. I have an agenda and my phone calendar, and on Sunday I sit down and plan out my week right down to what I’m posting on social media. I rely heavily on writing everything down.

Serena: I’m all about having a routine so I know when I’m going to do certain things. That way I know, this is when I do homework and lunches, and this is when the kids go to bed. It keeps things organized.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Joy: Serena and I are having a blast with it. We’re friends and spend a lot of time socializing, and to sit down with her and go through the products is great. We laugh a lot. In our last box we put this card game in there called "Silent But Deadly" (it’s like UNO but instead of colours and numbers, it uses different types of passing gas), we were sitting there hysterically laughing.

Serena: I really love going through the catalogues and finding new suppliers. We really try and make it so that the products in each box fit. I love cohesiveness and actually putting the box together and then tweaking it. I love that feeling when we find the right mix of products.

What do you do on a day off?

Serena: I like to read, and I love to cook. Those are the things I do when I want “me” time.

Joy: I love to knit and crochet, so if I’m not working, I like to sit with a nice glass of wine and knit and crochet. I made leg warmers for my daughter’s dance team, for my son’s bris I knitted my son’s tuxedo.

Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?

Serena: Go for it, don’t be afraid, and just give it a try. You can’t get anywhere without trying.

Joy: That’s the best advice.

What is your go-to dinner?

Serena: Breaded chicken (schnitzel) or chicken fingers.

Joy: I’m a huge fan of Mexican food, so mine is always tacos or fajitas.

Are you marathoning any TV shows?

Joy: I’m a massive TLC junkie… TLC was created for me, so I watch every 90-Day Fiancé, Hoarders, etc. All my friends laugh because that is very much me and I will never miss an episode of anything on TLC.

Serena: I’m watching Drop Dead Diva. It’s not current, but I’m always looking for something that has a lot of seasons because I like to commit to a long story.

What is your favourite family vacation?

Serena: We just came back from Atlantis in The Bahamas and it was great. We like anywhere warm with a pool… it really could be anywhere.

Joy: I don’t really have a favourite. In the summer, my husband always takes some time off work and we never go far but we’ve been to Sand Banks and Lake George. It’s close to home but so much fun.