Brianne Manz of popular blog and Instagram account Stroller in the City, kicked off her career in fashion, running multiple showrooms across the nation. These days you’ll find her juggling her kids’ activities while staying on top of the city’s pulse as the it influencer for NYC moms who want to be in the know. Brianne works every New York minute, giving us the scoop on the latest pop-ups and exciting happenings in New York, and of course she stays true to her fashion roots by sharing her fave looks for moms and kids.
With one hand balancing her morning coffee while hitting the ground running, she is first a mother who has to get the kids off to school. Running her business is a 24/7 job, and lucky for Brianne, her three children Ryder age 11, Siella age 8, Gemma age 6, husband Jason, and incredible team make it all possible with their support. It takes a village and like all working moms she needs her support system to make it all work.
We talked to Brianne about finding success as an influencer, and how she involves her kids with her business, something that she considers essential.
You went from a fashion showroom owner to being the founder of a site for NYC moms, Stroller in the City. What made you want to transition?
The transition happened somewhat organically when I became pregnant with my son Ryder. At that point, I had a showroom in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, with three employees, and had about 10 designers I was representing. It was a lot. I knew that all the travel involved in owning a showroom would prohibit me from being present as a new mom, so I decided to sell the showroom to my sales manager, and became a stay-at-home mom. Initially, Stroller in the City started when my son was just a year old to share with friends and family the life I was discovering as a new mom. In time, it has evolved to what it is today. Looking back, there was probably something inside of me craving a creative outlet, because I was never not working, so leaving a career built from the ground up was a huge transition in my life.
How did you build your career as a mom influencer?
I didn’t know that this little website of mine could morph into a full time job. It was pretty much under the radar for the first three years or so until a friend suggested that I join Twitter. From there, I started to connect with other New York City bloggers, and was eventually invited to events. I remember for my first invite, I asked them if I needed to bring anything, but instead I left with probably five new friends and a huge gift bag. From there, I gradually built connections with brands via invitations to fun and exciting opportunities and events. After four years of blogging, I attended my first conference which opened my eyes to another level of possibilities for me and my site. There are many ways to generate money through a website. Through trial and error, I’ve narrowed down which work and which don’t work for me. Today, I’m part of this great community in New York where we all do our best to juggle our families, our businesses and everything that comes along with it.
You can shop your style on Stroller in the City, how did you find your love for fashion and how have you expressed this passion?
I have always loved fashion. My mom jokes that I used to check the price tags when out shopping with her. So when it came time for college, it was only natural that I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology, here in New York City. After college, I worked in a few showrooms before starting my own. Now as a mom, I find that I focus more on children’s clothing, constantly gravitating towards the children’s section. I remember when my son was born there was such a shortage of cute boys clothing, so I would always be on a mission to deliver to my readers new finds. Now with Stroller in the City, I flex my love of fashion by sharing some favorites in our shop section, or doing fun roundups for each season.
You are the “go-to” mom on Instagram for city living. What do you do to unwind and take a breather from the hustle and bustle?
Since our lives are the main content of my blog, I seldom have an opportunity to unwind. We are always on the go, but that’s OK because it’s our norm. That said, I LOVE to travel and will go anywhere, anytime, whenever possible. Escaping the city on the weekend and discovering new places with my family is something I thoroughly enjoy, though New York still remains my favorite place in the world. Living here for so long somehow doesn’t always feel like a hustle and bustle. It’s just New York!
With three kids, you are always running around the city all day long with your kids. How do you manage all of their schedules?
Kids’ schedules are hard! I used to get a ton of comments and questions about raising three little babies in the city, and let me just say those days when they were babies were the easy days. I could tote all three around in the stroller, but now they are older, they are into different activities, with multiple groups of friends, and the playing field (no pun intended!) is different. But I am able to ask for help. I try to set limits on my workday confining blog activities to school hours, so it’s all hands on deck when school lets out. Soccer practice, ballet, tutor, piano lessons, play dates, etc. It’s a juggling act, but I’m so grateful for my team.
How do you keep on top of what’s hot in the city? Any new spots or discoveries we should be checking out?
I’m obsessed with staying in the know, so I subscribe to daily emails on what’s hot and happening, and read lots of magazines, like yours! Now that Stroller in the City is well established, we get emails from new pop-ups on the daily, and do our best to get to each and every one, so we can deliver the coolest and newest places for our readers to check out.
Have you always been a New Yorker? Is there any other city you’d want to live in?
I grew up 20 minutes outside of New York City, but always dreamed of living in Manhattan. My parents both worked in New York City, and I remember telling them we should sell our home and move into a city apartment. Naturally, they thought I was insane, but now I’m living my dream. New York City is the greatest city in the world, and no matter where in the world I travel, I still get all the flutters when I come back home and fly over the skyline, or just come through the tunnel to see all the big buildings. I just love everything about it. Honestly, I can say, I never want to live anywhere else. Visit, yes, but not live!
With the holidays coming up, do you have any special traditions that you love during the season?
I love everything about the holidays, and the traditions, old and new that we’ve implemented as a family! For the past six years during the holiday season, my mom, sister, daughters, and I have attended George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. It’s magical and never gets old. We love going to see The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and Santa Claus (the real Santa!) at ABC Home and Carpet. If you are looking for a fun restaurant that is totally transformed for the holidays, go to Rolf’s! It’s a must-see for sure. Also, I love bouncing around the city and taking in all of the holiday windows and displays. Naturally, we never miss the iconic Christmas tree at the Rock Center, but some may not realize that there are so many other decked out trees to take in throughout the city during the holidays. The New York Stock Exchange tree, and the South Street Seaport tree are two trees to hit in the same day if you are downtown. And the Lotte New York tree at the Palace Hotel has become another favorite.
Traveling with your kids is something you seem to very much enjoy. What do you love about traveling with kids and do you have any tips for parents?
I love seeing the world through their eyes and hearing their comments when they experience something or someplace new and exciting. I didn’t travel much as a child or even early in my adult years, so there are way too many places in this world that I need to see, and want my children to see as well. But my tip to those parents debating whether or not to get on that plane with their toddler, or worried about traipsing around Europe for the first time with a 6-year-old is this — do not hold back! If you want to take the trip, take the trip! Don’t sweat taking fussy little ones on a plane. The plane ride is temporary, but the memories are forever. And the more they are exposed to travel, the more they’ll know what to expect.
What are some of your tips to keeping the relationship alive with your husband? What do you both enjoy doing when it’s just you two?
Jason and I both travel for work and three kids with packed agendas can sometimes be difficult, to say the least. My husband and I have very different careers and schedules, but we make it a point to schedule dates and social outings. Going out to dinner and being able to sit across from one another, uninterrupted, goes a long way to letting us reconnect again. A couple of years ago, my husband and I started taking at least one trip per year sans kids. Every couple needs that much needed grown up time, to make their relationship a priority, over the craziness of homework and after-school activities. And I think communication is key, even if my husband is off filming over 3,000 miles away, he still knows what’s happening in our world!
Being a true New Yorker, Brianne holds this city close to her heart. Everyone has their own experience of the city, and Brianne’s is to enjoy all that it has to offer with her family by her side. There is never a dull moment which keeps herself and family on their toes, enjoying the city’s magic to its fullest.
Around the City With the Family
Favorite place to grab a bite to eat with the kids? Favorite brunch spot?
Favorite date night spot?
Il Mulino has been a favorite date night spot for Jason and I for as long as I can remember. I just love how the Greenwich Village location is so cozy and romantic!
Favorite ice cream/cookie/treat place?
Pier 25 Park has something for everyone. It’s a fairly new park with a playground with a swing and splash ground, mini golf, skateboard park, volleyball courts, a soccer field, and so much more.
Favorite holiday activity with the fam?
Since the kids were little, I’ve made it a point to always see the holiday shows here in New York City. The Radio City Rockettes and The Nutcracker are a must. We’ve done breakfast with Santa at Rock Center almost every year, which is such a treat.