Jamyla Bennu may be the founder of a beauty collection about to make its Target debut, but, truth be told, the 37 year old is just as happy under quieter circumstances: spending time with her family in their home in Baltimore, Maryland.
"They'll climb into bed and Pierre and I will pretend we're still asleep for a good 10 minutes," Bennu says of her two sons, Sadat (3) and Osei (5). "One will be on one side of me, and [the second] will be on the other. Then one will say, 'This is my mommy,' and then I'll say 'We share the mommy,' and they'll try to be quiet. Then it's time to get up."
From there Bennu's life jumps into high gear. While her husband and Oyin Handmade co-founder Pierre prepares breakfast, Bennu gets the boys ready for school in a marathon frenzy of packing lunches, dressing her children, and shuttling them off to their respective schools. Save for the blissful few moments shared in bed, her mornings are “mayhem.”
"As the oldest of four, [I’ve always known] the amount of responsibility and work involved in raising children, and that responsibility is one that I've always respected and been intimidated by," explains Bennu, who, despite her initial nonchalance, was won over to the idea of parenthood by her "amazing partner."
"Pierre is incredibly nurturing, and has this insane amount of emotional intelligence,” she says. “It is something I’ve always admired and a big part of why I decided to have kids; even if I feel like I have a lot going on, I know that someone else on the team is available."
What kind of example do you hope to impart to your children through your work?
That work doesn’t have to be a place that you dread to go to; it can be fun. We have a family business and having the kids coming in every now then is awesome for the culture of the company. The things we make are made with love, and everybody on the team is working their butts off, but we’re also having a good time and enjoying each other.
And the kids love it. They ask to go to work with us and get excited about bringing friends over after school. Osei was less than a year old when we first opened our little boutique here in Baltimore, and he was in the shop every Saturday that [first] year. He was the mascot.
We also want them to be fulfilled. We hope to instill in our kids the freedom to shape their lives, follow their strengths, and [encourage them to] work to make the things that they do best, the things that they love the most, also be the things that they do most often. That’s an incredible luxury [we have], and one we are thankful for all the time.
Photos by: Erika Salazar