As a content creator, Erika Batista, our NJMOMpreneur of the Week, is passionate about her blog and working with clients like Disney and Target. Yet, she always dreamed of someday having a brand with intent and purpose that she could call her own. Fast forward to the pandemic, when loungewear came into the forefront, and it became clear to Erika this was how she could create a line with intention. And now her brainchild is a reality with Pretty Kind—super soft, comfy loungewear for moms and kids, with affirmative messages about self-love and self-care, confirming that kindness to others and ourselves is cool. We chatted with this East Brunswick mama of three on how she went from writing a blog as an outlet to creating a brand, how her kids are her inspo, and the Cuban restaurant she swears has the best steak around.
Featured Photo Credit: Jon Paul Photography
Tell us a little bit about your career background and how it led you to launch this business. I studied marketing and advertising at Berkeley College but landed a job in accounting after graduating since it was hard to find one in my chosen field. I stayed there for eight years, but because it was never my dream job, I started a blog to fulfill my creative side and do something I love. It turned into a content creation business where I worked with big name brands like Target, Walmart, and Disney and became my full-time job from home. After building up a significant and loyal following on Instagram, it seemed like the right time to launch my brand.
Tell us a little about your family. I was born in Miami, raised in Ecuador until I was 10, and then moved to Perth Amboy. My husband and I have been married for over 12 years and live in East Brunswick with our three children, Benjamin, 10, Emme, 6, and Sebastian, 1. We moved to East Brunswick a little over a year ago because it has everything we were looking for— the schools are excellent, there’s a wonderful sense of community, and our neighborhood is beautiful and so picturesque.
How would you describe your business, Pretty Kind? Pretty Kind is an apparel brand with intention. Though I’d wanted to create a brand for years, I needed it to mean something and have a purpose. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I came up with an idea of a line of loungewear with meaningful sayings. The goal is that my brand helps make being kind cool by spreading kindness, self-love, and self-care.
How do you envision Pretty Kind evolving? I have a lot of plans for the business moving forward, but first and foremost, I want to give back through charities, donations, and other causes that will help the community.
What were the steps you took to get this business started? I did things a little different from most, but I started with the art and design process first because the creative side excites me and helps motivate me to move forward. Then, I followed that up with the business’ logistics.
Has your family been supportive of you running your own business? My family is a big part of the process. My husband has always supported my decision to launch a clothing brand, and they all saw the website before anyone else did. Also, the kids help me choose colors and even pack orders. My daughter is also the inspiration behind the “I AM” sweatshirt (with affirmative sayings embroidered on the sleeve) since affirmations are a big part of our lives. I put a frame in her room with that same affirmation on it, and she loves it. I want those words to inspire all who wear the sweatshirt, too.
What do you wish you had known before starting your business? Since the logistics part of the business is a little tedious for me, I wish I had spent a little more time learning the technology of Shopify beforehand. And I also wish I would have trusted my gut when it came to hiring certain professionals. At times, things didn’t work out as I had hoped, so I had to pivot a bit, adding extra time and expenses to get things up and running. But, there’s always a silver lining that comes from a mistake — I ended up learning to trust my instincts more and growing from these experiences.
What do you do to unwind after a stressful day? I have a few ways that help me relax. I like a great meal out with my husband, or if I’m in the mood to stay in, I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and watch a favorite show—You, Ginny and Georgia, and Bridgerton come to mind. Girl Time with my friends is another favorite way to decompress. My me-time is crucial to my overall happiness because my “mom time” and “business life” keep me very busy.
Please share some of your favorite local businesses and why you love them. Creative Twist Events, an event planning business, is my go-to for parties. They are great at taking care of absolutely everything. I also love The Dream Lab, an online entrepreneurial and personal growth incubator by Latinas for Latinas to help all find success in business and life. They run conferences that give you the tools you need to launch your business or move forward and fulfill your passion. I leave these conferences feeling lifted up like I can do anything. And Hatch 44 Cafe is a beautiful brunch restaurant with fantastic food, plus I like how they foster community and give back. I usually get the empanadas, but their skirt steak and eggs are amazing too.
Please share a few places in NJ that your family loves. We love Liberty Science Center. The kids can’t get enough of the dinosaur exhibits, and they’re often changing, so we’re constantly experiencing something new. We also love Turtleback Zoo. The lion is a big hit with the kids, and my daughter is also obsessed with the wolf. And we love going to different restaurants in Jersey City and Hoboken. A favorite is Rumba Cubana, a Cuban restaurant in Jersey City. I highly recommend the Vaca Frita, a dish consisting of steak, sautéed onions, rice, and beans—it’s the best!
What advice do you have for a mompreneur just starting? Nothing will ever be fully ready or perfect before you do it, but you’ll learn as you go. Only you will know what goes wrong behind the scenes.