We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren McMahon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
What really lights me up is the process of learning, growth, and discovery. I love all kinds of puzzles—jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, and business puzzles. I love reading long-form New Yorker articles to get a deep understanding on a narrow topic. I love listening to self-improvement books and podcasts on Audible. And I love taking digital classes to discover new things, like how to harness the power of Google Analytics to drive my business more effectively. Taking in new information and learning new skills bring me tremendous joy. It is no wonder that I found the process of starting a new business to be deeply fulfilling. Everything was new to me. Brand building, website design, digital marketing, and product design were not part of my core skill set. I had to learn all these new skills and, like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, I had to figure out how to fit the pieces together and make it work. It did not always go smoothly. Sometimes the first solution was not the best solution. But that is what running a business is—a lot of trial and error, a lot of pivoting, and a lot of learning. This journey of personal growth is what makes me happy.
What should our readers know about your business?
Any mom can tell you that trying to balance work and parenting is chaotic and overwhelming. There is always a deadline hovering at work, a sick baby to care for, and another meal to prepare. It is impossible to be on top of everything that needs to get done. One thing that I struggled with most as a working mom was how to feed my kids both well AND fast. Packing daily lunches for my kids was a particular thorn in my side. In talking to many other parents, I realized that I was not alone in this struggle. I decided to ditch my corporate career, build a more balanced life, and focus on solving the meal planning problem for both myself and other struggling parents. From this idea, Lunch Unpacked was born. With the help of a nutritionist and trained chef, I figured out how to pack healthy lunches for kids with ease. Lunch Unpacked shares that solution with other busy parents. Each week, we send parents a weekly menu of wholesome snacks and lunches, a short shopping list, and daily prep and packing steps that can be done in less than 10 minutes a day. Our plans help parents eliminate the mental burden of meal planning, introduce their children to a wide variety of wholesome foods, and end the cycle of buying hundreds of dollars of groceries but still have “nothing to eat” in the house. At our core, we want to inspire the next generation of healthy eaters while giving parents relief from the daily question, “What’s for lunch?”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My ideal day is a mixture of being out in nature with the kids, delicious food, and a simple cocktail…and that is exactly what I would want to share with my best friend and their family. Day One: We would start our day at LaMill in Silver Lake to pick up some single origin pour over coffees for the adults and vegan blueberry muffins for the kids. Then we would all head over to Griffith Park and hike up to the observatory to check out the unmatched view of Los Angeles and play on the lawn. At lunchtime, we would head back down to Trails Café and pick up some avocado sandwiches and snakedogs for the kiddos. After that we would go back to the house to shower, relax, and get ready for some mezcal margaritas and tacos over on Salazar’s patio. If we had any energy left, we would grab a quick nightcap at the cozy bar above L&E Oyster Bar before calling it a night. Day Two: Our day would start over in Frogtown grabbing some strong black coffees and matcha donuts at Spoke Bicycle Café. After everyone is fitted with a bike and helmet, we would go on a ride along the LA River and then play at the Marsh Street Nature Park for a bit. When the bellies start to rumble, we would pick up some Ira Glass and Kai Ryssdal sandwiches at Wax Paper and head over to the Silver Lake Meadow for a little picnic and a game of tag. When everyone had enough sun and play, we would swing by Silver Lake Wine to pick up some chilled rose and head back to the house to relax. When the sun goes down, we would order some takeout from Pine & Crane and enjoy our spicy shrimp wontons and dan dan noodles under the stars while taking our last sips of a delicious wine.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many resources out there for female entrepreneurs, but I want to shoutout three different groups that helped me get inspired, build my business, and manage a plateau. The Second Life podcast by Hillary Kerr really inspired me to throw in the towel on my corporate career and take the leap into entrepreneurship. Her show spotlights the stories of women starting second careers, with all the struggles, missteps, and sometimes failures that come with it. Her podcast revealed that many highly successful entrepreneurs had no idea what they were doing at the start of their journey. Through innovation, flexibility, and hard work, they were able to find success. I very much thought, “If they can do it, so can I!” The HeyMama group was an invaluable resource to me during the building and launch phase of my business. This group facilitates networking with other working moms to share resources, advice, and experiences. I have leveraged the group to do product testing, find freelancer recommendations, and conduct surveys of other working moms. I have also picked up some friends and cheerleaders along the way! I leaned on the iFundWomen coaching program when I was feeling stuck and uncertain about the next steps I should be taking in my business. In just a single thirty-minute coaching session, my coach helped me develop a concrete roadmap for the steps I should take over the next few weeks to push through the plateau and get me back on track. I feel so lucky and grateful that these resources exist and would not be where I am without them.
Tori Time Jackie Newgent Lauren McMahon