We had the good fortune of connecting with Toia Barry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Toia, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Having a young child while working for yourself can be a challenge. The work-life balance can get a little tricky because you enjoy the flexibility of being home to spend time with your child but you also have to get work done!
So, with the help of my husband, we’ve discussed a system that works for us. He encourages me to get out to a coffee shop or library to get work done, that way our son can understand that mommy is out working and is available on certain days and times.
However, when work is done, I do my best to be all in! Not only does my son need attention, but so does the hubster. So I try not to be too into my phone and I absolutely don’t respond to work emails after 6pm on weekdays or on weekends. That’s family time!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my journey as an influencer in the natural hair space. I’ve always loved hair styling and acquired my license in cosmetology in 2004. Upon returning to wearing my natural hair texture in 2009, I delved into learning more about it.
This led to me sharing what I learned on a dedicated Facebook page which turned into a blog and YouTube channel where I shared tips for natural hair care and hair style ideas.
When Instagram came along, it took a while for me start my own platform, but when I did, opportunities started coming! I had the privilege of being a longtime contributor for two well-known natural hair websites and am able to attend a number of hair brand launches and NYFW events.
Since having my son in 2015, I started sharing mom life and more everyday topics. So I rebranded, in a sense, in 2019 and am now a lifestyle influencer, still sharing hair care and fashion but also the triumphs and trials of mom life. I earned my first “check” as an influencer in 2016 and have since worked with a number of everyday brands in addition to hair care brands.
I’m excited that I’m able to earn a living being me and that I can have time for my family and other things with the flexibility!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Great question! NYC has SO MUCH to do and see! I’d probably take them for some authentic Brooklyn pizza, check out my favorite thrift shops and probably hit up SoHo for more shopping. I’d have to bring them to one of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn, Soco – the mac & cheese is AMAZING and we must get the fried chicken & red velvet waffles!
We can grab some food and hop on a ferry to Governor’s Island to enjoy some fresh air and our own space away from the city. If they’re still around on Sunday, Smorgasburg in Prospect Park is a must! All the food you can eat (or afford) of all types in one spot.
Of course, we couldn’t end the visit without a trip to Coney Island for some Nathan’s burgers, hot dogs and fries! We can walk it off along the boardwalk while enjoying the sea breeze!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband has been a huge support during my whole journey as a blogger and now as an influencer. I call him my “unofficial official manager”. He not only keeps me on point with reminders of campaign deadlines but he is my sounding board when things get hectic or if I start doubting myself.
He reminds me that I have come a long way in this industry and that I have tools, skill and intelligence to be my best!
Mel Elysee Marta Skovro McAdams