December 2, 2021
Starting a company is difficult on its own, so is having a young family. But starting a company with a young family, how did Galit Bar-Tal do it?
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE
I connected with Galit through the Entrepreneur's Organization where every month, a couple of us would meet and talk about business and personal life challenges. One of the things brought up was about juggling motherhood and being a business owner.
Galit is the CEO and owner of the Sycamore Group, the company responsible for Big Wipes, a global industrial wipes brand. The company revenues are at an amazing $20 million! She also started her company around her 30s with a young child. While her company grew, her family did as well. If someone knows the secret to balancing life and work, it would definitely be Galit!
Join us for this episode of The High Functioning Hotspot as Galit shares with us the beginnings of her business and how she was able to juggle both aspects of her life like a true boss!
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:00:00] Hi everyone. I'm Dr. Chloe Carmichael and welcome to the High-Functioning Hotspot today. My guest is a very accomplished woman. Her name is Galit Bar-Tal. She is the CEO and co-founder of Big Wipes, which is a global wipes company. As the name implies with a revenue annual revenues of about $20 million whichI am so impressed I have to say, moreover, Galit started this company when she was 30 years old with two children and had her third child one year after starting this company that, you know, she grew to $20 million dollars.
[00:00:44] And I just want to share a little background on this call, which is that poor Galit didn't even know I was going to spring out on her that she was going to be a guest on the High Functioning Hotspot.
[00:00:52] So I am in a Entrepreneur's Organization, which has an end minimum annual revenue of $1 million to join. Which for me, I just thought was so exciting that I had a million and, you know, but then I learned about Galit's 20 million and you know, all I can say is, wow. But anyways, so in the Entrepreneur's Organization, they put us in these little small groups called forums and just the seven of you and usually seven, whatever.
[00:01:17] And mine is, you know, from EO members from all over the world, there are seven of us and we need every month. About our businesses and our personal life challenges. And one of the things that I was sharing about in the forum myself was what it's like for me as a business person and a mother to a young boy, and how I'm just trying to find my way sometimes and figure out like, what do I really want?
[00:01:42] What makes me happy? How do I want to balance my time? And so Galit, because she's a little, a little further along than I am and had a lot of wisdom to share. She just very kindly reached out to me and said, you know, I'd be happy to connect with you and just share, you know, my experiences about how I did that.
[00:02:00] And I said, thank you, Galit. I would love to do that. So we met on zoom and then I was like, Hey, by the way, do you mind if I record this and like, put it out there for the High Functioning Hotspot? And Gillete was very gracious and said she would do that. And you might hear that we see something in there about how we're going to talk about writing later.
[00:02:20] And then we don't that's because we just ended up having that conversation off camera, but it was just a very relaxed, open conversation that I thought, especially those of you who either are a mother or thinking about motherhood and who are also blessed to have a career that you love. I just thought it would be an interesting conversation to capture and to share.
[00:02:40] So I hope that you enjoy it. Sorry, I just want to say one more thing, which is that for either of you are a mother or of, you know, a mother, right. Or if you want to be a mother, if you're just curious about women and motherhood and business, which I think is a pretty interesting topic these days. So anyway, I hope you all enjoy it.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:02:57] There was more about writing rather than a business about kids, but as we spoke about it, I thought we would just be clear about it.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:03:08] Yeah. Well, I would love to talk to you about writing as well, but I, I really am so curious just to learn Galit, you know, your perspective about motherhood. You know, and I just have a few kind of thoughts and questions, but maybe you could even explain about yourself as a business person, because I don't think I really fully know the highlights.
[00:03:32] So my podcast is called theHigh-Functioning Hotspot and I interview high functioning, intelligent driven people. But then I kind of go a little deeper and talk about some of their personal, like, I'm curious about how a women, like you does or did when you were having kids, you know, think about them as when they were younger. So do you mind just sharing about yourself and your businesses, including all the great revenues and go ahead and brag so that the listeners will know that they're listening to somebody that carries some weight.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:04:05] So you already started, I guess.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:04:07] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I will turn it off if you want, but I mean, I would love to know these things from you, but you don't have to.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:04:15] No problem. Yeah. So actually I started the business when I had a kid that was about a year and a half, which was really hard because what the business is all about is that we are manufacturing wet wipes for industrial use, and we are shipping them abroad.
[00:04:35] So we're not selling anything in Israel. And all the business is outside the country, which means that most of my time, I had to fly a lot and to build the business abroad, to meet customers to set partners and we are a global company, so we have the distribution partner in the UK who sells to the European countries.
[00:04:57] And we have another company in the USA, which we set a few years ago. Our brand called Big Wipes and it's a very known brand in the industrial marketing, the European. We are building given the stakes and we are actually build it by we are two partners in Israel, a business partner of mine and myself, and we build it from scratch.
[00:05:23] So the businesses is a great business. And when I had the kids, which is the topic of our discussion My feeling was that I can do all of it, but of course it takes a lot of of your energy. You don't, you find yourself prioritizing. Kids and business. You don't have anything anytime for yourself, for kids, business and marriage.
[00:05:51] Yeah, At the early stage when the kids are so young, sometime the marriage even becomes a bit a bit you know, less taking the time to, because you feel the kids need you more than the marriage and that's at that particular time. Eh, but I do feel that becoming a business woman and growing myself contributed so much to my marriage at the later stages.
[00:06:18]Because we always have something in common to talk about. My husband is also a CEO of a company that engaged in the water technology. And we, we both run companies. So we have so much to talk about and to share and to discuss. And this keeps most, both of us in the same level. And if I. Just, you know, decide to withdraw my business and just become only mother.
[00:06:46] I think I would have missed this at the, at the stages when when the kids grow up and became more independent. So at that time, I think What I decided to prioritize is the kids, not even the house, not decorating the house, not taking care of anything in the house I took outside sourcing to do the laundry is to clean the house to whatever needed.
[00:07:11] When I was at home, I was with the kids and that gave me kind of a peace, you know, peace of mind that I'm a good mother, as well as at a good business person.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:07:21] Of course, Galit, of course. I mean, I think that you can be a good mother and, you know, work full time. You can be a good mother and not have a job outside the home.
[00:07:32]I think that there's so many examples. I don't think it's a one size fits all model by any stretch. And so I'm so thankful truly that you're letting me interview you and ask you these questions. I just honestly think you have so much treasure to share that. I really, I just want to record it, but, you know so I, I'm curious then if you don't mind sharing then, a couple of questions about that business. Like how did you come to start a wet wipes business? And do you mind sharing, you know, your current global revenues, it sounds really exciting.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:08:10] So actually we started, it was kind of an opportunity. I joined a different company, but with the same person who became my partner as an employee and at that time we were making projects with the business of the plastic industry.
[00:08:28] And at the certain time a company and we had a, another subsidiary in the UK at a certain time, the main company that worked with us, came to us and asked to buy the company in the UK. And because they went to the stock market and they wanted to show that they are, helding both the manufacturing and the marketing means.
[00:08:51] So we actually had kind of an opportunity to start something new. And we made kind of a, we called it a smart people meeting, kind of, we brought some people that we really thought they have good ideas and we made a list of, of new businesses, new projects that can be make. And I remember I met to come person who was in the white business of baby wipes.
[00:09:19] And then together, we started to talk about what can we do for the DIY, do it yourself market, which was our main market at the time. And we came up with the idea of making something that clean paint, adhesive, PU foam, you know, things that are hard to remove for a mirror hence from surfaces. And I brought this idea, it was number 13 on the list.
[00:09:42] So we went over all the projects and where we got to the number 13 people said, we're so tired. And I said, Hey, what about my idea? The numbers 13? And they said, okay. So what do you want to do? I said, this is a perfect idea because we can control everything from the beginning when you buy the raw material, you produce it until the, bring it to the market.
[00:10:04] So I really liked the idea and nobody thought like me like me, but they said, okay, if you want just do it. And what I did, I took the other guy and we made kind of the prototypes and we call the friend in Germany and asking to be part of his booth in Germany, in one of the exhibitions for the DIY markets. And it was a heat. Actually people didn't know what it is, but they really liked it. We did a lot of demonstrations really showed how it cleans and I'll send you some.
[00:10:37] So we, we, we really went to we got about, I think it was that time, about 400,000 euros orders. It was in Dutch mark that time. But so we came back home and we said, wow, we, we now need a structure. You know, we, we need a company, we need to set it up. And that's how it started. So at the beginning, first years we did this via other products as well. We did also the plastic things that we did before, and then after a year or two, we decided to drop everything out. We set a mutual company. My partner actually said, okay, you, you brought the idea, you made the company, so let's make you the CEO. And they become a partner at that. And we actually started at that time later on, we set a new company, the UK. And a few years after we set another one in the USA. So we are selling mostly in Europe. We sell also in Australia, New Zealand and North America.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:11:40] And what are your revenues like?
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:11:43] So it's a private company, so I'm not, it's not a very big one. But we are in about today. I'm trying to think dollar wise About 20,000 at 20 million twice.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:11:55] 20 million, Galit,. Wow. And you think that's not very big, huh? You know, I don't know what sandbox you're playing in gooey, but 20 mil sounds pretty big to me. Do you ever think about going into YPO then instead of EO?
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:12:14] No, I didn't think about it. EO is great. Is a great You know, perfect place for me. It's a combined what I need.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:12:23] Yeah, I'm just, I mean, YPO has the minimum 10 million revenue, which I'm not even close to. So I don't, to me, it's not even really an option, so that's congratulations though. But I'm curious Galit, at that time, you know, you were building the business and you had two kids, you said, and then you had the third one a year later. And how many hours were you working at that time and was that hard in terms of being a mother.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:12:56] It's always hard. You always feel that you are you have guilt feeling a bit, but as I said, at what we did is that we actually, we are equal partners at home. So I came home once a week early. My spouse came home once a week early.
[00:13:15] We had two mothers that really helped us and came once a week to be with the grandchildren. And once a week we took a help outside. To take them out from kindergartens. And when they grew up a bit more, we took some help from a bit early stage in I changed it. I came once a week to eat lunch with them and get back to work.
[00:13:39] You know, you find that combination to be able to meet them, but still do your work. I think that if it was today, I would have done it current time actually showed us that you can work also from home, so, and still be with them. And I didn't do it at that time because it was really not very much popular, but I think it's a good idea for you young generation and you know.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:14:06] You know that it's an interesting one working from home, I've done it with a little one and you know, it has its pluses in a way, because you know, just obviously your home and they, the little ones, they can literally smell you. Right. They just know when you're home. And so that that's good, but I will say for me, it was almost sometimes more and for me just I've, I've scaled back my work a lot in the last year or two, since I've just really realized for me, I wanted to be there more. And part of that realization came from being home. And just, I almost felt like the grapes of Tantalus, you know, we're like right in front of me and I could see him and I could hear him and the sight of him playing with the nanny in my house.
[00:14:52] I felt like another woman was living my life. You know what I mean? And I just kind of had this, like for the first year or two, when he was an infant. It wasn't that frankly, big of a deal to me. Like I was happy to be out with my laptop at a bar writing my book because I'm a very verbal person, but now he's able to, we're having conversations, you know, for me, it's become very different.
[00:15:16]Also you've mentioned that you have three kids, I'm only having one. So I think there's this part of me that really just like, wants to savor every single moment because they know I'm not getting another shot. But, but with your husband, you mentioned this too, and you know, as always, you don't have, I just I'll ask any questions, you know, you can decline any question, but, but you said that your husband. And you are very egalitarian at home. And I'm asking this because I know a lot of the women who listened to the High Functioning Hotspot are very driven people and they're very successful people.
[00:15:52]And then of course they they're, they're navigating that when it comes to a marriage, with a husband and they don't always want to feel totally a galatarion some of them do, some of them still feel like they want a man who feels like a leader to them and the relationship. Do you mind sharing Galit for yourself as a CEO of a $20 million company? You know, what, what, what does that look like? What do you like in that department?
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:16:24] I feel that I was looking for an equal partner, a you can't make a business and become independent if you don't see yourself as an equal partner at home. And my, my partner told her actually think the same, the way. And he always said that he has no problem. If I bring more money than he does, or, you know, at most of the years when the kids were young, I was traveling around and he was at home with them at nights and so on. It changed about a bit later because he was also started to travel abroad and I stayed home so we really took care of each other's business and careers and and time and, and as well making things, when we go and make a dinner, Friday dinner, all the family comes to us usually, we do it together.
[00:17:18] So we both take care of the dishes and cook together. We, I mean, I think that he does more than I do actually at a house. I have to say it. It's not that we never spoke about it. It was like whoever had the time made laundry who have her at the time went to do something else. And since, as I said before, I was very interested to be more time, spent more time with the kids.
[00:17:45] So actually, if there was something to do usually took more responsibility about that. We even I have to say we even built neutral surname together. So when we married got married so we have and you one for me, I think that starting the discussion, it's it wasn't a real discussion.
[00:18:07] We never talked about it, but it was very clear to me and to him that we both want to grow and to liberate whatever we we have from life and from ourselves. And in order to do that, we have to support each other. So it was, you cannot support each other. If one is doing a career and the other one just spending time at home. And the kids belongs to both of us. So both of us needs to want to spend time with them and needs to spend time with them and to try to make the most of it. I understand. I do not understand, but I do kind of know that we as mothers have more kind of feeling that we really want them to be secured and to have everything they need.
[00:18:58] And this is kind of what, how we built from. So I, what I can say to everybody who listens is that the time that I spent with them and attention that I gave them and they are old today Actually allowed me to become a very good to have a very good relationship with each and every one of them, they always knew that I'm there to support them, that I'm there to help them, that they're not alone.
[00:19:25] They actually had everything they needed and they felt that way. And it's not the time. They're not, not the amount of time that I spent with them. It's the quality of the time. And the fact that. Each and every step of the day they could have raised the phone and tell me that they need me and I would leave everything and come back to them and help them.
[00:19:49] So they felt secured even though I wasn't in every kind of a football game maybe, but I was always in the very important part of their lives. So they knew it
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:20:04] Well clearly. And, and how old are your children?
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:20:07] My eldest is 27 and the second one is 24 and the young one is almost 20.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:20:14] Okay. And then one more question about that, about your children and motherhood and business.
[00:20:20] And then I know you said you want to talk about writing. We can shift to that, but just one more question. So you had said, you know, that, that they did get that sense of security that I do believe that, you know, mothers, I believe mothers and fathers, you know, just kind of bring something different to the table.
[00:20:36] And I know that's almost a controversial thing to say in today's world right now, but I just personally think mothers and fathers bring different things to the table. And I think both are really important and special and valuable. I don't think one is more valuable than the other. But I, I just think that there are different.
[00:20:53] So I agree with you that as a mom, you want to provide that, and that your children got that from you, which is great. But I know you also said that at certain times that they protested or that they sometimes wanted more. How did you handle those conversations if you don't mind sharing what they look like?
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:21:12] Yes. I think that they really wanted more I don't remember specific conversation with. It was part of what they needed. It was either more time with me or with so I could have taken a day off and become and take time to be with them. Okay. One-on-one so I did address special needs and requests.
[00:21:38] If it was part of of what they needed. I moved my company very close to home. Actually it's 10 minutes. So if I really needed, I really was there. And if something happened, it wasn't so hard to get there and to help them. But I think that as everything in life, they didn't get 100% of what they wanted.
[00:22:02] I think that if they could have choose, they probably wanted me to be there all the time. Just in a certain time, amount of time, they, they have their own life as well. You know, they, they want to spend time with their friends. They want to go to all kinds of dancing or football or whatever things that they want to do.
[00:22:19] And I think that it gave them all the, also the opportunity to spend time with a grandpa parents versus with me. So it was another thing they got and then other type of relationship they built, which I think is very important. So today I can tell you that my eldest daughter, every weekend, she spends time with their grandparents.
[00:22:40]Even if we are not at home and that's kind of a relationship she had the chance to build before. Maybe they were very involved in her growing up,
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:22:50] So true. So lovely that you all had two grandmas who would come over.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:22:55] I have two great fathers as well. Don't miss them.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:22:58] Wow. Okay. I, I think in our conversation, I thought you had mentioned the grandmothers, but maybe you said grandparents.
[00:23:05] Yeah, well, that's excellent. You know, I mean, I'm just, everyone has these different ecosystems, you know, and my husband and I didn't really have that option. So for us, you know, we were, we had to live in a pair for the first, you know, couple of years. And, you know, I realized how, what a privilege that is for me, that I was able to have that at the same time, yeah like there came a point where I just felt like a switch flipped and I was like, wait a minute. That woman is living my life. I need her out and I need to scale back my work and I need to be doing that. But I don't know if I would have felt that way if you know, that had been the grandma or the grandpa, that might've been a very different experience of just saying, wow, this is so much, you know, love and value.
[00:23:54] When you know, step away to do my thing. You know, my son is just with his grandparents, learning about his culture and his history and his family, you know, legacy is such beautiful stuff. So that's nice that you had that option and that you made good use of it. So thank you again for sharing with me,Galit about that.
[00:24:14]And if you want it to talk about the writing, I didn't know that. Did you want to ask me questions or share something from yourself?
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:24:22] We wanted to ask you a question, but I want to share something else about the motherhood, because I think that one of the things that I engage with is in negotiation and and when I actually studied it and you know, was very much engaged in it, then.
[00:24:38] I had some idea about what, what we are built from and the way that we see ourselves, you know in tough conversations, you always have to identify that who, who are you actually, and what do you see as your main identity? And and sometimes when we talk and I can say something very, you know, very unimportant.
[00:25:02] And it will very much offend you because I actually touched something that was related to your identity, your true, the way you see yourself. Okay. And I thought about that a bit about the differences between us as mothers and fathers, as you mentioned before. I think culture actually also built us with expectations.
[00:25:28] So we grew up with expectation to spend a lot of time with our kids is actually says it's a good, it's a good motherhood. And I I see myself as a good mother. That's my identity type. I also see myself as a good businessman or a good career. I see myself as an honest person. Okay. There we are actually a complex of a lot of things.
[00:25:50] It's not just one thing, but It's the same thing. When we see ourselves as a very that it's important for us to keep our houses very clean. So if, if let's say somebody visited, visit your house, okay so usually it's more important for the women that the house will be clean and neat, and it looks great than the men. Am I right?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:26:15] I don't know. I mean, that's an interesting question. I think women are usually the ones doing the domestic work. So I feel like if we see a messy house, we might be more sympathetic. I don't know if men you know notice it and I, I don't know. That's an interesting question Galit, I don't know.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:26:29] So actually what I thought is that for me, I I tried to maybe. Make my identity work on my identity and say a domestic house is not my own you know type of responsibility. It's hard to do it because culture of, years of culture, talk to all of us that this is our responsibility, and if it doesn't look good, so we are not a perfect person.
[00:26:56] The, that same thing is about, I think, motherhood and business and everything. We always have to find a balance, but we don't need to, as much as I see it to just decide to do only one thing in order to be the perfect at that because our identity is built from so many other stuff as well. And as much as we remember it and try to not too quiet to the other parts of us, but to let it be, but still find the balance. I think we are a whole person or in a way we find a kind of more balanced weight.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:27:37] Yeah. I mean, I, I really admire you for, I think just being very strategic and methodical about recognizing that something's got to give, right? And that if domestic labor, you know, was just kind of the thing, cleaning the house where you're just like, you know what, I could free up a lot of time and energy by just outsourcing that. And so if that, you know, makes you happy, you know, I'm really glad, you know, truly, I, I, I'm all about people just recognizing that life is always a little bit about trade-offs. And so if we just be clear about what they are very wise decision.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:28:12] Yes. I think I agree. I wasn't so clear about this, but that's, that's a good enough, I think about, I was more talking about identities because I think that when we are aware of what we want our identity to be, we are more able to recognize what part would we want to give to each of the parts we are built from? Okay.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:28:40] I agree with you. I do. And I didn't mean to seem, you know, like I missed that part. I think you're right. That certainly as women that we can have components of our identity, that, that we can get caught up. And part of that might include being a domestic goddess. Like for some of us that had that desire, just being able to, you know, to choose, you know, either I'm going to recognize that I can still have the good mother identity, even if I don't do all of my house work or even even seeing, you know, maybe the domestic goddess part of my identity is one that I wish I could have and I like it, but it's not as important as the good mother or the sharp business person. And so that's the one I'm going to let go.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:29:24] Exactly what I'm saying, you can't have it all. So you have to decide which part you are not living, you know, but at least give a bit or, and also motherhood, you can say my kids has to be perfect, he has to become the most important person in life and I would give everything to become, and I, my strategy was I want my kids to become what they want to be. And I want my kids to be happy with what they choose. So I don't even want them to live my life. And I don't want to build my life, building them to live, whatever I want to be so they can actually choose if they want to study a first degree or not. It's not that I would like to push them to do something that will make me a better mother as my identity. I hope you understand what I'm saying.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:30:16] And certainly I think as parents, we can, you know, live vicariously through our kids and have them as like an extension of our social identity and to a certain degree, their success is a reflection of our success, but I also think, you know, that their autonomy is a reflection of our own, you know, good parenting as well. So that's really great on all accounts Galit, that, that it worked out that way. I hope I have the same good fortune, you know, I mean, I'm, my son is only four and I still do love to actually like do a lot of the housework myself.
[00:30:53] Like I, I just love it. Like I love, you know, taking care of my house and I know it sounds weird. To me, it is even cause you know, for, for years, like I said, I had a, I had a live in housekeeper. Like I just, you know, I never wanted to do anything domestic and then like a little switch flipped. So it may flip back again. Who knows? We'll see.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:31:17] Sure.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:31:18] I just want to say thank you again for sharing with me, Galit, about your incredible business and motherhood and how you found the right path for you.
Galit Bar-Tal: [00:31:27] Thank you.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael: [00:31:28] Wow. That was such an interesting conversation with Galit.. I'm so thankful that she took the time to share with me. I think one of my biggest takeaways from her was the way that she was just very strategic and methodical.
[00:31:40] And for her, it was, you know, domestic work and, you know, kind of the work that we do at home. You know, for me again, it's one of those things where I actually feel like I view my home kind of with myself, like through doing those things, but I fully appreciate that every person is different and I'm not building a $20 million business, like, so you know, ma maybe, maybe I should follow the leads path, honestly, that's, that's, you know, truly impressive.
[00:32:09] And I know that she, and I'm sure her children, you know, learned a lot and, and, you know, really admire the work she's done. I know I certainly do. So I hope that you enjoyed, and if you do want to share this episode, I certainly appreciate it, but I'd also love to just hear from you. Like, if you want to share with me what your mom's work-life balance was like, or, you know, like how your spouse handles it or how you handle it.
[00:32:36]Anything, this is a topic I'm just really interested in. So if you want to share with me on social media or just connect with me in general and social media, I'm always doing live streams and, you know, connecting with people. It's just what I love to do. So I'm Dr. Chloe Carmichael, the High Functioning Hotspot. Thank you so much for listening.
- The High Functioning Podcast Homepage - www.TheHighFunctioningHotspot.com
- Dr. Chloe’s Homepage - http://drchloe.com/
- Galit’s LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/galitbartal/
- Galit’s Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/galit.bartal
- Big Wipes Website - https://bigwipes.com/
- Big Wipes Instagram - https://www.facebook.com/BigWipes
- Big Wipes Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/bigwipes/
- Big Wipes Twitter - https://twitter.com/BigWipes