- Name: Amanda Abou-Eid
- Age: 33
- Location: Mesa, AZ
- Children: Amara (10) and Keira (8)
You founded a business! Tell us about your company.
Proof Bread is a modern throwback to a way of life that values small-scale craftsmanship, local community, and creativity run by me and my husband, Jon.
Why did you want to start your own business?
I guess you can say I grew up at the intersection of entrepreneurship and Lebanese culture. My parents owned a Lebanese food stand in a year-round market in Pennsylvania. I spent my formative years watching my parents gain a sense of community through serving delicious and healthy food three days a week, helping them, and running around a farmer’s market as a kid after hours.
Fast forward to my adult life, I studied Business and Finance at Arizona State University to help me overcome some of the challenges I witnessed my parents face in their endeavors. After undergrad, I landed a corporate finance job at a notable company, but as soon as I sat down to cubicle routines and rituals, I knew I wasn’t going to last. My soul was unsettled until I met Jon and we found a way to get more involved in our community here in the East Valley.
Tell us a little bit about your family!
We live in Mesa and have two beautiful little babes, Keira and Amara, ages 8 and 10. As a young girl, my mother, father, and closest aunt instilled in me a sense of empowerment through their individual lenses of life. My mother gifted me the drive to be independently successful, my father motivated cautious and wise financial decisions, and my aunt encouraged me with statements of strength.
I feel like I’ve been given an extraordinary set of opportunities to plant those seeds in our girls. I want to raise not only beautiful girls, but more importantly I want to raise motivated, driven, compassionate and resilient girls. Girls with manners, depth and dreams.
In fact, Amara has a girl business already! She’s been making and selling her version of chocolate chip cookies since she was 6 years old. Keira is now 8 and itching to get her own thing going, but is also battling a degenerative genetic disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia that affects her balance, speech and coordination. Growing and stabilizing the bakery community and helping Keira overcome the challenges of FA are our two big goals right now.
For fun, as a family, we enjoy baking, cooking, eating (haha), rock climbing, exploring nature, and gardening.
What was your motivation to pivot your career to being an mompreneur?
I felt I had more to offer the world than could fit in an 8×8 cubicle.
How do you make time for self-care in between all that you have going on? What do you do to unwind after a long day or week?
This was a hard lesson to learn. I think, in fact, it’s a lesson that most men also need to learn. Self-care is important and should not be compromised long-term.
A temporary suspension of your usual maybe more time-consuming activities is understandable, but don’t let it go on too long. Owning a business will scrape your soul clean, and you need to know how to replenish it.
For me, it’s fostering the quiet moments. When I can swing it, I like to wake up before everyone else and move my body, meditate, drink something warm and write.
More recently, I’ve been able to reincorporate regular massage therapy into my routine; and take on new challenges, like attending community-based art classes. We are also lucky enough to have many great neighbors and family nearby that can help give us a break or lend us a hand when we need it. Community really is everything!
What lessons have you learned in your career that you apply to parenting?
I think it’s the other way around. I have learned so much about being a boss by being a mom. Kids are mirrors and they’ll very plainly point out any bad habits you might have or holes you might need to work on in leadership.
What do you teach your children about success and failure?
Do something! You must risk failure to succeed. You don’t get one without the other.
How has motherhood impacted you personally and professionally?
I’d say motherhood has affected me more personally than professionally, but those worlds really blend into each other. I recently listened to a podcast making a case that women strive for a work/life blend rather than work/life balance, because that’s really what it is when you’re a mom and business owner.
Like I said before, kids are the most potent mirrors. And a mirror serves you in that it reflects your behaviors, both desirable and undesirable, which is the first step to making a change towards growth. That, and they’ve also taught me a lot of patience!
How did you and your husband work together to start your business?
Honestly, it was mostly on a whim. We were still very early into our relationship, engaged, and planning a wedding when we took on the tidal wave that became Proof Bread.
Neither one of us had any professional experience, just a very strong gut-gravitation towards a lucky opportunity. We trained for two weeks under the wing of the original founder, Jared Allen, before moving the operation into the garage of the house we were, at the time, still only renting.
At the beginning, Proof was a hobby side-gig that allowed us to get out and meet our community at the Gilbert Farmer’s Market, but nothing that we could rely on to pay the bills. Jon had a tech job that allowed him to be flexible to field the first 6 months of baking – first year, really – while I held down the fort with a full-time job and taking care of two girls just emerging from toddlerhood.
He took on the day-to-day filling wholesale orders, and I took on the final push for the big Friday night bakes and filling in the blanks, administratively, where I could. What at first was exhilarating quickly became exhausting, and soul-draining.
To be honest, we fought a lot in the very beginning and everything was thrown into a chaotic flux because we hadn’t discussed yet what were our priorities and non-negotiables. Proof sucked us into the undertow of entrepreneurship. It was also quite challenging because our relationship was so new. I wasn’t understanding why he was making certain decisions and vice versa. We just didn’t have a solid baseline to jump from, we sort of just dove in for better or worse.
How has your marriage been impacted by your joint career-life?
It’s been tough, really, but we’re both committed to each other, and I think that’s the key. Making a choice to stay for better or worse. I am very lucky in that Jon possesses extreme patience and will usually (eventually) listen to and reflect on what I have to say, no matter how frantically or emotionally it may come out.
In the end, having a business has forced us to foster a stronger marriage based in commitment, trust, and open communication. We’ve endured so much together and after many years of straight toil have managed to find a decent balance for ourselves. We both know that it takes a village to do anything meaningful in the world, and that village starts and ends with the commitment we make to each other every day.
For some fun chit-chat, now!
- Favorite East Valley date night activity? We like to change it up: a walk around the Riparian Preserve, rock climbing/bouldering at Focus Climbing gym, or a cider and Myke’s Pizza at Cider Corps, but lately we’ve opted to stay in.
- Coffee order? When Jon doesn’t brew me a LabNotes coffee in the morning, I like a Salted Caramel Cold Brew when I’m on the go.
- Favorite restaurant in the East Valley? Probably AZ Wilderness for the great atmosphere, family-friendly menu, and dog-friendly patio.
- Greatest challenge in your career thus far? Trusting others and finding balance. It’s easy to lose yourself when building a business. Sometimes, it’s almost like the world begins to expect you to be a certain way and then you get kind of locked into that box.
- Best mom advice you’ve been given? I’m lucky in that I’ve had so many different moms impact my life and I’ve taken what I needed from each example. The most important lessons I’d say are to let your children watch you take care of yourself and demonstrating strength in vulnerability. My mom sacrificed her identity for motherhood and now my sisters and I wish to see her finding hobbies and treating herself a little more. Also, my husband and I don’t shield our girls from all of our arguments, because I think this sets a bad precedent. They should know that marriage is a challenge.
I want my girls to feel comfortable to stick up for themselves but understand there are good days and hard days and it takes love and commitment to make it through. Finding the right balance is tough. If they witness too much contention, I think it’s cause for long-term trauma and too little realism can lead to idealistic but potentially big mistakes.
Too many matriarchal ancestors have slowly suffocated in the name of grace.
I don’t hesitate to laugh, cry, or get angry in front of them when I’m having a hard day, because I want them to know that it’s safe to express their full range of emotions. Bad days are temporary.
Overall, I think balance is key in all things parenting-related. I always ask myself, “what is the lesson I’m teaching them right now?”
Lastly, if I make a mistake, I do the hard thing and apologize, especially to my kids. We are their first example of how to be a human being.
- Last Netflix show you binged? The Crown for drama and Schitt’s Creek for fun.
- Favorite family tradition? Cooking family dinners in the kitchen together.
Is there a promo code or discount code you can offer readers?
Yes, use the code ‘treatyourself2’ and get a free croissant for yourself to enjoy when you buy a sourdough sandwich loaf packed with sneaky whole grains and nutrients for your family.