Editor’s note: Click HERE for the latest on the newly-launched Rosie Pope Baby line!
Some may argue that the phenomenon of “pregnancy brain” is a myth, but maternity maven Rosie Pope—known most famously for her Bravo series “Pregnant in Heels”—begs to differ. “Pregnancy amnesia is real,” she insists with a laugh when, at our late February photo shoot, I ask how her current—and in fact, her fourth—pregnancy is measuring up to her previous three. “Like, I’m saying now: ‘It’s great, it’s totally awesome!’ But last week I was probably in tears.” Luckily, amnesia or no, Rosie has a reliable source keeping tabs on her growing baby bump. “I think this pregnancy has been a breeze, relative to some of the earlier ones—whether she knows it, or remembers it, or not,” Rosie’s husband, Daron Pope, chimes in. And who would know better than Daron, who’s not only Rosie’s partner in love and in parenting their kids (5-year-old James, 3-year-old Wellington, and 1-year-old Vivienne) but is also her partner in business, having served as the president and CEO of Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep since 2010?
In case you didn’t catch that: Yes, they’re married, yes, they run a successful (and growing) business side-by-side, and quadruple-yes…they’re about to welcome their fourth baby into the world [Editor’s note: on March 6, subsequent to our interview with her, Rosie gave birth to a healthy baby girl—Bridget]. And did we mention that Rosie also happens to be the first-ever contributor to Amazon Mom, Amazon Registry, and Amazon Baby—providing curated product picks and parenting tips to Amazon-shopping parents—and, in mid-March, the couple launched Rosie Pope Baby, a delightful line of baby clothes?
In a world where joining the personal and professional realms can sometimes have unhappy consequences, Rosie and Daron make a pretty airtight case for taking on life’s joys and challenges as a team, playing off of each others strengths, both in business and on the home front.
“I think that we complement each other because we have very different things that we focus on [professionally] and I think that we respect the other’s skill set,” Rosie explains.
When it comes to skill sets, Rosie and Daron—who first met by chance in an elevator at the Gansevoort Hotel back in 2004—couldn’t bring more diverse contributions to the table. With Rosie’s creative vision and pre- and post-natal know-how (scores of moms love her Rosie Pope Maternity clothing line, educational MomPrep services, and baby bump bible, Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy) and Daron’s sense of financial savvy (he left his career in the financial industry almost four years ago to take over the fiscal side of Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep) proving to be a magic formula in the board room, it’s no wonder the couple seems in synch about their host of professional endeavors. It’s evident in the playful way they interact (from Daron’s plethora of goofy poses at our photo shoot to the easy, breezy way they bounce scheduling details off one another) that the Popes don’t let the tensions that sometimes follow when couples work together make a dent in their marriage. For this sense of strength, they credit trust and a diligent separation of home and work happenings—a system that they both say took time to perfect.
“You have to be able to ask yourself whether you have trust in your partner, otherwise, [the] second-guessing is going to destroy the business and the relationship,” Rosie explains. “It’s okay if you have a relationship with somebody where you don’t trust fully in their skill set. It doesn’t mean you love them any less—it just means you shouldn’t go into business together… If I had decided to be a singer, Daron would not have joined the company. He still loves me, but I don’t think he has any faith that that would be successful.”
Daron remains mum on whether he would or wouldn’t get behind a Rosie Pope musical, but he whole-heartedly shares his wife’s views on the necessity of trust and adds that distinguishing between the personal and the professional has been key to the health of their relationship.
“In 2010, I think there were probably heated business debates that left some kind of echo after…you could feel that something had stepped into the personal realm,” he recalls. “Now, we can have the most heated business arguments and then, right after, be like: ‘Okay, what are we having for dinner?’”
Though both readily admit that they conduct company conversations at home—in the bathroom as Rosie gets ready for the day or at the dinner table at night—the couple has become masterful at not letting business tiffs encroach on the quality of their marriage. And though it’s easy to assume—given their stature in the baby and maternity sphere—that the Popes would have no worries in regards to their fourth baby, they haven’t let themselves rest on their laurels.
“We absolutely face very, very similar, if not the exact, circumstances as other new parents,” Daron says with a sentiment that his wife echoes. “I think anybody that tells you that they’ve totally got it, that every day’s a breeze…is lying to you. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, everybody worries—it’s what you do as a parent,” Rosie adds. “It doesn’t mean it has to consume your life or how you parent, but it’s important to respect that it’s something we all go through as parents because we want the best for our children…new things come up all the time that you don’t know how to deal with, or haven’t dealt with before…it helps keep us on the ball with what our clients need.”
The fact that the Popes are so in tune with the needs of their clients—expectant moms shopping for chic maternity looks and parents turning to Rosie for her MomPrep classes and consultations on subjects like breastfeeding preparation and infant CPR—is one that truly manifests when the couple comes to the New York Baby Show (last year Rosie served as a spokeswoman and keynote speaker for the event while Daron represented a dad’s perspective on the panel of parenting experts). Both Rosie and Daron love coming to the Show, which will be held on May 17-18 this year (the Popes will be back in a big way—click HERE for more info), because it lets them share their expertise directly with moms and dads seeking answers to pressing parenting questions.
“Becoming a smart parent doesn’t happen in a post-graduate setting…so I think the New York Baby Show is a great opportunity to meet products and companies and to talk to Rosie,” Daron says. And Rosie concurs, underscoring the personal aspect of the Baby Show experience. “Often the resources come down to going online…but it tends to be sort of a lonely experience,” she says. “I think it’s very rare to have the opportunity to be able to have an entire panel of people who want to help you, and give you information, and that you can ask anything you want.”
The same genuine sense of care and desire to provide a rock-solid source of parenting knowledge is also a big motivator behind the couple’s most recent project: Rosie Pope Baby, a line of layettes, infant clothes, and mommy & me ensembles that launched in March (CLICK HERE to see our fave looks from the line). The line lets Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep clients and customers continue their relationship with the brand after giving birth.
“We meet so many amazing, special people during their pregnancy and take care of them during that time, and we wanted to be able to continue that journey,” Rosie explains. “The [Rosie Pope Baby] collection is a combination of everything I’ve learned over the years as a designer but also as a mother… The way it looks is fun and joyful and very perfect for a child, but I also think it complements a parent’s sense of style. And on the function side of it, it was really important to me to do things that made the clothes really useful and helpful for parents.”
After one look at the precious pieces in the collection, it’s clear that Rosie has hit her mark as a designer—but it’s the functional element that makes the line truly unique. Not only is it rife with items like onesies that unbutton at the feet in order to extend the life of the garment as a baby grows, but each piece comes with a collectable Mommy IQ Tip on the hangtag that offers a piece of signature Rosie Pope advice. Plus, the new line was developed for an accessible price point ($12.50-38.50, approximately)—a fact that Rosie and Daron hope will help them connect with more new families than ever—and is being delivered through Amazon in order to ensure efficient and quality service and delivery.
In fact, since the fourth quarter of 2013, Rosie has been working with Amazon Mom, Amazon Registry, and Amazon Baby as a curator of content (think fun lists of products with themes like “Picks to Keep Baby Entertained”) and provider of expert tips to help parents navigate pregnancy and early parenthood. “I’m [the] first-ever contributor for Amazon Mom,” Rosie says enthusiastically. “I get to give [Amazon parents] expert tips, and curate, and give them things I think will make their lives easier.”
The marriage with Amazon is one that seems like a perfect fit for the Popes and their own business. When it comes to giving advice, Rosie is passionate about the fact that there really is no catch-all when it comes to parenting—and she and Daron love that Amazon is essentially the retail equivalent of that philosophy; there’s something accessible for every kind of parent.
“Amazon truly recognizes the range of offerings, and that there isn’t one best for anybody,” Rosie says. “We really embody that as a company and what Amazon allows us to do is help people figure out what’s right for them. We get to do that through content and curated picks.”
As for what’s best for Rosie and Daron Pope as they manage their business and wait on the arrival of their latest progeny? Well, the two busy parents are hard at work managing their kids’ expectations of the new baby (“From oldest to youngest: super-excited, kind-of-excited and a-little-confused, [and] not-really-sure-what’s-going-on,” Daron says) and remembering to relish the fact that they get to spend their days more together than apart.
And who knows? We may see Rosie and Daron (and their lovable brood) back on the small screen sooner rather than later (surely with Rosie in heels, but probably not pregnant). “I think that it’s a fine balance for us because of family and business and everything. But [being on TV] is something I really enjoy doing, so maybe after I have the fourth baby that’s the next baby—instead of having a fifth,” she says with a wry laugh. “We’ll see.”