It was Om’s busiest Black Friday ever. Last November, every time Kari, the founder, glanced at the website, 20 new orders popped up. Of course, it was sheer glee: So many people have come to love Om’s skincare. And yet, with every box she packed alongside her short-staffed team, Kari’s eight-months-pregnant belly panged with another startling truth: This baby is coming. It struck Kari days later, during a cobbled-together dinner of sandwiches amidst stacks of cloth diapers and a toddler running wild, that in those Black Friday moments she was in the thick of the hardest thing she’s ever done: juggling Om and motherhood.
The early days
Kari had started Om as a twenty-something former esthetician with problem skin, despite having access to all the ‘top’ products. She was determined to make plant-based skincare that would truly nourish. In This Is It, The Om Organics Story, you can read all about the early days. Om was soon in an apothecary in downtown Invermere, BC, with gorgeous shelves made by her then-boyfriend (now husband), Davin, a carpenter—and people were flocking to the Om bottles and jars upon those shelves.
Om was becoming the successful business Kari had dreamed about, but in her mid-thirties, she felt the clock ticking. Kari and Davin wanted to start a family, but how would she run a business like this and take care of a baby?
“Right up until I had Beaudie, I was an absolute workaholic. Even late into the pregnancy I was still doing all the production. I hadn’t yet trained someone else to make all the recipes, so I was still so active at Om.”
And then, about the time Om turned three, Beaudie was here. “It was a total shock and a total switch to go from focusing so completely on a business to taking care of a baby. Before I had Beaudie, I was obsessed with Om and a bit of a perfectionist, and I realized early on to let go and trust my team. Davin has also been super supportive of me and the business, so if I had to go out and do paperwork, he went in to fill. He was always there. We both have our own responsibilities at Om and home. Still, it was a constant juggle.”
Plans to grow
About the time Beaudie was 18 months old, Kari got the magical call from a daycare. A spot had opened up and did she want it? Kari didn’t have to think twice.
“We were just at the outset of this incredible growth curve and a rebrand and having Beaudie in daycare meant that when I was at Om, I could give it 100 per cent of my attention, and when I was at home, I could give Beaudie and Davin 100 per cent of my attention.”
Beaudie grew. Om grew.
In 2021, the new Om brand and website launched. Learn all about that heady time in our article Say Hello to the New Om. Behind the scenes, though, Kari felt she was just barely holding it all together. During COVID, a team member who was Kari’s right hand had to step away from her role, shortly after Kari and Davin decided they wanted baby number two. “It was really hard because there was nobody else who could do all the things she could do. At the same time, we wanted to grow our family,” says Kari. “It’s kind of sink or swim in those situations”. As much as Om needed Kari, there was another baby waiting to come into the world. Not so patiently.
A special Black Friday delivery
“We went ahead with our plans, and then there I was, four weeks away from my due date and short-staffed during the Black Friday rush.” Another key Om team member had had to take an early leave for her own pregnancy, and another team member had been off sick. They’d done so much to prepare, but Kari had to step in. Om’s community was now so much bigger, and it was Black Friday.
“I was right there in the trenches switching from production to fulfillment. I could feel my body starting to give out.” Two days later and four weeks early, just minutes after arriving at the hospital after an hour-long ambulance ride, Kari gave birth to Milah at midnight.
“She is just so sweet,” says Kari. “You just make it work. Whatever you have going on, you make it work and keep going one day at a time.” But with a breastfed newborn who turns up her nose at bottles and always wants mom, it can be tough.
Once, Kari had been up all-night nursing and scrambled to get to a zoom meeting, only to realize she had not turned off the camera, and she would get through the call with puffy eyes and hair “that was a disaster.”
The motherhood experience has Kari standing even more behind Om’s greater focus of body positivity and skincare that’s safe, gentle and effective.
“I had no idea how much your body changes post-partum. I was totally blown away by how different my body was and how I just had to accept it,” says Kari. “Moms are a huge part of the Om community so I feel proud that we can support moms during pregnancy and post-partum. All of our products are pregnancy safe. You can absolutely use them on kids too and you don’t ever have to second guess that.”
Knowing how just a little bit of pampering can make all the difference late in pregnancy, Kari selected three of her head-to-toe favs for a new Mama-to-Be bundle:
- Pink Coconut Aromatic Body Oil, soft, subtle and velvety nourishment perfect for stretch marks and also for baby just after bathtime.
- Coconut + Pracaxi Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
- Superfruit AHA Brightening Face Mask
Now that she’s a mama to a young son and daughter growing up in a world of social media and filtered selves, Kari says she has even more appreciation for Om’s heightened focus on helping people feel uplifted, more confident and naturally beautiful.
“I’m really excited to teach them about body positivity and inner beauty, and bring our kids up that way.”
What’s next for Kari?
With two healthy, happy little ones, she and Davin have their sights set on building a new production facility for Om.
“Being a mom and CEO is hard, but we want nothing more than continued growth for Om.”