Rachel Dacks embraces hard work, whether it’s building furniture, raising her family or creating a business in a male-dominated field. After establishing a successful career in furniture and product design, she launched her own craft children’s furniture company, CocoonGoods. Rachel shared how parenthood influences her design aesthetic, why exercise is a non-negotiable priority and a heart-melter of a moment with her daughter.
Congratulations on the launch of your company, Cocoongoods. What inspired you to start your own business?
I’d been specializing in juvenile products as a strategic consultant for more than ten years and been involved at the top level with several successful start-ups from the ground up. I was ready to explore the opportunity to be the master of my own ship and do things right (or at least the way I think is right)! I felt like there was an untapped market opportunity that resonated with me as a parent who came to the game a little later than others (I had my first child at 36, and had been married for seven years) and I had very specific tastes in how I wanted my home to look and my life to be. That trepidation and gradual (yet sudden!) transition to parenting from couplehood is the context I hold in mind to define my target market, and resonates as a shared experience amongst my customers.
How has parenthood informed your design choices?
I spend a lot of time casting back and dwelling in those moments that are the design sparks for new concepts, specific details, and emotional touchpoints. The middle of the night diaper changes (and being peeved my husband wasn’t the one doing it), the first time my daughter climbed out of her crib in the dark (time to move to the toddler bed), nursing my son and knowing he would be the last baby in our family. Being a parent has made me more aware of the cycle of life and what we leave behind for our children, and the need to make choices in terms of the products we buy, the resources we use, and the way we treat the people who make them for us.
What’s it like working in a male-dominated field?
I’ve always been a very strong willed, speak my own mind, take charge kind of person and that’s created a lot of interesting interactions with the men I’ve worked with both here and abroad. Some men are taken aback by my candor and assertiveness, but I can back up what I have to say, and I’ve put in the time to have the right to say it. I can build any product I design, I can face off with any engineer (math is the universal language), and I can lift anything any man can! Talent, desire and hard work are great levelers, and I’ve realized that some people will always ‘have something to say’ when your back is turned, so you may as well ignore it.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Accounting and paying bills!
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
Taking hot baths and reading books. That being said, if I don’t workout every day, no one wants to be around me!
What is your best parenting hack?
Always carry a stocked diaper bag and an extra outfit for everyone in the car.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
We are still working very hard in my house to make sure that the Tooth Fairy always has cash, Santa’s reindeer poop on the sidewalk is the right shade of golden glitter, and because we live in Savannah, that the St. Patrick’s Day leprechauns somehow always evade our best laid traps.
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
Exhausting (but usually in a good way).
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
My daughter came home from school one day after her first one-mile run in gym class. She told me she really struggled, but that in her most ‘ready to give up’ moment she remembered a framed picture we have in my office with the Shakespearean quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce,” and she just kept repeating it to herself and was able to persevere to a sweaty finish. That’s all I could hope to pass down to my kids— that idea that you already have everything you need to move through life and its struggles. (Now you’ve got me choked up!) Now she has that quote up in her room, too.
Cocoon Goods Lifestyle Images photography by Chia Chong
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
One of the other quotes I love the most and hope for my kids to keep in their hearts is from a Jason Mraz song: “Hold your own, Know your name, Go your own way.” I hope my kids know that our love will always be the grounding for their journey in life, and that they will listen to their hearts and intuition while using grit and determination to become their best version of themselves.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Try to be present; every stage goes by so fast and it’s even faster when you don’t put down your phone. It’s pretty amazing to be able to nurse an infant, post on Instagram, and pick up random Lego blocks with your toes, but there’s only one of those activities that will emotionally sustain you when you’ve got to marshall up the patience to deal with a cranky 8-year-old who takes 30 minutes to put on their shoes and get out the front door.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
I need to both prioritize my tasks really efficiently and make offline time for myself without feeling guilty about it. I NEED to sweat every day by picking up heavy things really fast (Crossfit!) and stay very organized. The tools of my trade in order of priority are definitely: 1. A fast computer 2. Graph paper and multiple colored pens 3. My phone 4. A barbell!
Favorite Beauty Product:
Epsom Salt and essential oils.
Favorite Form of Exercise:
What is on your DVR?
I watch very little TV, but when I do, I like to binge watch Silicon Valley and old episodes of The Office.
MyFitnessPal, just to add that extra level of stress to my life.
Favorite Kids Store:
Not strictly a kids’ store, but our go-to family shopping excursion is always Barnes and Noble.