Gemma Broekhuis lives in Amsterdam with her husband and three sons. After the birth of her first child, she created Milestone™, a photo card and album company that helps families preserve memories. We chatted with Gemma about the inspiration behind her business, the company’s latest product, and how the international businesswoman unwinds.
Congratulations on the success of Milestone™! What prompted you to launch your own company?
When my oldest son was three months old, he rolled over for the first time. I wanted to capture and remember the moment and make it into a memory. But I knew taking a picture alone would not do the job. I had taken so many photos already, and it would just get lost on my iPhone. So I wrote a card that said, “Today I rolled over for the first time,” plus the date, and I took a picture of him and the card together. The picture became a strong memory and I thought that other parents might need this as well! So I created the first set of milestone cards. It’s strange really; we value our memories so much, yet we do little to make sure they will stand the test of time. Milestone™ is all about investing in your memories so you can travel back to special moments later in life.
What’s been the biggest surprise of owning an international business?
The biggest surprise for me has been how my own personal development and growth is reflected in my business. A company like Milestone™ forces me to develop as a person. In my opinion, any obstacle on this journey is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Tell us about your new product, Baby’s First Year Album!
Our Original Baby Cards are used by parents in over 40 countries in 23 languages to capture and remember their baby’s special moments. Those parents started asking us, “So what do we do with our Milestone pictures?” Our album solves that. Now you can fill out the album and add the pictures for a complete overview of your baby’s first year! The album also has three fold-out letters with prompts you can write to your baby. Imagine the value of this 20 years from now!
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
I’ll be honest, I do not enjoy folding laundry. I know other people love it, but I’m weird that way. (Just kidding).
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
I love to take walks, long or short. Preferably in nature, but an evening walk through our neighborhood will do as well. During my walks, I often listen to the audiobook version of The Power of Now. It is so profound that I listen to it over and over again. It’s a bit like meditating (which I also do in the mornings).
What is your best parenting hack?
Making a joke. When everyone is exploding or tensions are high, I just make a joke. The more unexpected the timing of the joke, the bigger the effect it has.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
They love superheroes, so after one of my trips to New York, I bought them Spiderman outfits. I told them Spiderman had given them to me to give to them.
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
At teacher meetings, we get the feedback that our children are very empathetic. I am proud of that.
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
To ask themselves, “How do you feel on the inside?” Connect to your feelings first; your mind comes second.
What’s one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Don’t rush through everything, be present. (Still have to remind myself of this everyday, by the way).
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
I don’t. Some days everything works out well. Other days I can’t imagine how I’ll get through the day. Accepting that is my way of dealing with (the lack of) balance.
What was the last book you read?
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
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