Mary Massey, our NJMOMpreneur of the Week, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, launching her first business, a web design and development company, in 2004. A few years later, when her dad passed away, Mary turned to exercise to help her depression and found relief by becoming a fitness instructor, nutritionist, and life coach. It was then that Mary knew she wanted to help others in their work and lifestyle journeys, so she shut down her company and launched a new one, Mary Massey Coaching. Today, she’s guiding mompreneurs on balancing life and business—which has only intensified in these pandemic times. We chatted with this mama of two to find out the key to having the lifestyle you want, the local causes important to her, and her go-to restaurant when she’s craving a Latin American home-cooked meal.
Tell us a little bit about your family background? After moving here from Peru at the age of 5, I’ve lived in many NJ towns, including Newark, Orange, Whippany, and Patterson. Still, after marrying my husband, Craig Massey, 20 years ago, we knew we wanted to call Boonton home and raise our children, Kiana, 17, and Sebastian, 10, there. Not only is it a beautiful town, but the houses are charming, and it has a great downtown.
What did you do career-wise before opening up your business, and what was your “aha” moment that made you decide to do this? I was heavily into science and was pre-med in college, but then I got into computers, web design and development, and graphic design. After graduating, I worked in the corporate world in this field, but when I was on maternity leave, I chose to leave it so that I could raise our family and work from home. Because I’d already been working with some clients in my off-hours, I was able to dive straight into entrepreneurship and launch my first business in 2004. Okiana Designs was a web design and development business, which I did until about four years ago when I got deeper into coaching. I’m a lifestyle and business strategist coach because everything we do, from work life to relationships to health, affects our overall happiness. Balancing everything is the key to having the kind of lifestyle you’d like to have.
How supportive is your family? In general, entrepreneurs always fill their heads with doubt, and my husband never adds to that. My husband is an angel—I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I do without him. I’ve always been very independent, and he appreciates that about me. And since my kids have consistently grown up with a mom who has her own business, they’re very good at letting me be in my office and respect my work time, and because of that, it allows me to be most present when I am with them.
Are there any causes that are important to you? I’ve volunteered with Habitat for Humanity several times, building homes in Guatemala. I find it so rewarding. Also, I raise funds for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer every year by doing Zumba for the Cure. This year it’s scheduled for Sunday, October 10, at Parsippany PAL, and information will be posted on www.zumbawithmary.com, a free membership website where people can also dance with me via on-demand videos. And I also volunteer my services by doing social media for Liquid Church in Parsippany.
What are some of your favorite NJ businesses? As far as small businesses are concerned, I love food, so it’s restaurants for me. Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge is something special! You sit at the counter, and they cook right in front of you. We love to get the prix fixe which is 5-7 courses of seasonally switched up fare. Sazon Latino in Boonton is like having the best Latin American home-cooked meal. The owner couldn’t be friendlier and can cook anything, so besides eating in the restaurant, I also use him for all my catered parties at home—everything is so good! And Boonton Coffee Co. in town is the place to be. Their coffee is the best since they roast it themselves. They also host many community and charity events and even have a running club.
Please share some places in NJ that you and your family enjoy. Our husky, Ghost, appreciates long hikes, and I’m always happy to oblige. We often go to Tourne County Park because it’s so close. A family favorite is Ocean Grove in the summer for the beach. The kids love being in the water, and afterward, we like to head to Asbury Park for some food. And on the way home, it’s a tradition to stop at Rita’s in Neptune. We also love going to the Scoop House in Boonton, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. My daughter and I always go for something seasonal like mango or peach ice cream, my son loves the orange sherbet, and my husband always gets the crazy flavors.
What’s your best piece of advice for an NJMOMpreneur just starting? Hire a coach to help you. You’ll save yourself the headache, and money, too.