Wonder Mom: Shira Berk
Wonder Mom Shira Berk has always been drawn to creativity and uniqueness. After spending eight years working in the music industry and peaking as the Director of PR at Rolling Stone Magazine, she ended her corporate life to pursue a new path. With a dream of always wanting to start her own business, she set her sights on creating a revolutionary food company. She founded Goodie Girl Cookies in 2014 on the basis that image and quality are what builds a brand. And, with a passion for design and marketing, this mother of three (including a set of twins!) is using her talents to make a difference in the cookie aisle while never missing a beat.
As the Founder and CEO, what are your responsibilities at Goodie Girl?
I call myself the ‘snack artist.’ I have creative control of the brand and run the day-to-day operations of the business. Some of the hats I wear every day are; dreaming up the next amazing flavor choice, creating a new package design, and fielding calls from some of our amazing retail partners.
How did your business come into being and how did you know it was the one to run with?
I just always knew I wanted to run a business. The success of Goodie Girl Cookies has allowed me to meld seemingly disparate lifelong passions for design, baking, nutrition and culinary trends into something I can proudly share with others.
How did you fund your business?
I started all of this when I was 40-years-old with no money. I basically decided early that I wanted a strategic partner instead of raising or borrowing capital to fund my business. In 2014, I did a partnership with Toufayan Bakery. They are one of the largest family-run bakeries in the country and it has just been amazing.
How has having the twins, Zebulon & Zohara (11) and Meital (8) transformed your lifestyle?
I guess the biggest thing is having 3 other people to think about all the time besides myself. I would say it’s a real evolution as the needs of the kids change. I used to go out every night! I went to see bands or go out to magazine parties, and every new restaurant in town. We still make time for that, but I basically get home by 7 pm.
Five words to describe your personal sense of style?
Glittery, Sneaker culture, Non-Conformist, Noticeable, Punk (spirit-wise, not like the Sex Pistols).
How do you find time to get ready and maintain your style?
I am always late! No seriously, I have a very quick beauty regimen that basically always included sparkles. I never buy retail priced clothes. I like clothing that no one else has.
Where do you get your energy?
I don’t really get tired, (or at least I’ll never admit it!). I do an hour on the elliptical trainer before my kids wake up, so that pumps me up. It’s smack in the middle of my bedroom!
What is your spirit animal or dream super power?
My dream super power would be to change the moods of my children on a whim and instill happiness and confidence, instead of negativity whenever I thought necessary.
What inspires you? (Other than Zebulon & Zohara and Meital)
Art, music, architecture. I love walking the streets of NY, trying new things, and having a great conversation with someone.
Who are your role models and why?
I have to say my mom. She was one of the first women business owners in NY in the 1960’s, she is 85 and still goes to work every day. She was totally encouraging of anything I did, but non-doting since she was so busy herself. She always said I was great and could do whatever I wanted in life.
Any words that you live by?
“Don’t wish for it, work for it”
This quote is sort of silly, but true.
“I would never be a member of a club that would have me for a member,”
What is your favorite thing to do with your children?
Take them to museums. They scream at me about it, but one day they will love and appreciate when they discover their knowledge about art. I also love playing Apples to Apples because we have our own very creative version based on nuance of word meanings, instead of literal definitions.
What would you do with more time?
Spend more alone time with each kid. This is really hard to do and it makes me feel guilty that they don’t have so much alone time. And to add on I have a stack of medical bills that I need to file, and 30 forms due for sleep-away camp, but still need to be at a Costco sales call in LA.
How do you balance family and work?
We have an amazing babysitter that has been with us for 12 years. Aside from everything she does for my kids, she also makes my enormous salad and chops an enormous wok of veggies every night which takes a really long time!
What do you do to relax?
I am so bad at this. I can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes. Walking is about the only thing that really works for me. I can walk miles and just think of nothing!
What time do you get up and go to bed on a typical day?
5:45am is when I wake up, and 10:30pm is bed… Unless there’s a good band playing!
What do you typically eat for breakfast?
Four Nespresso pods and a big handful of Lotus Foods ‘Shoyu Rice Crackers’ on my way to the subway.
Coffee, tea, wine, tequila, or other?
Four Nespresso pods in the am, and then religious cocktail every night- Lillet Blanc with a splash of Beefeater gin. I’ve been drinking it for 15 years!
What is something that you struggle with fitting into your lifestyle and how do you deal with it?
The thing I struggle most with, is having a reliable schedule for our family. It’s a very chaotic atmosphere. I manage all the social plans, doctor and dentist appointments while our sitter makes them happen.
Any advice for new moms, or moms who are struggling to make it all work?
Get a good therapist and make your dreams happen.
About Wonder Moms:
From Sheryl Sandberg to Marissa Mayer, women are not sacrificing themselves for their kids like they used to. Why? If you ask me, a confident and happy woman makes a better mother and role model. And whatever it takes to get her feeling that way should be done. But as a mother myself, I know how hard it is to maintain a sense of style, run a successful business and to feel like an okay parent all at the same time.
Women who are flawlessly manifesting this enchanting trifecta are the new wonder women of our times and they are my idols. So I got to wondering how they actually do it all and have it all. Is it really possible? Are they hiding something? Do they secretly never floss? I hope to answer these questions and to give the rest of us moms motivation to stay true to ourselves, live fulfilling lives and love our families as much as ever through interviews with moms who are already doing it. These are the Wonder Moms.