Emilie Fritz Veloso is an inspirational business figure, successful and innovative entrepreneur, and proponent for conscious capitalism. She is a super mom and advocate for women's wellness with a passion for building communities that foster connection and empowerment. She has built successful businesses like ONE Coconut Water—which sold to Pepsico—and One Tribe, a tech-enabled, one-stop-shop for maternal wellness, education, and community.

Garrett and Emilie weave through Emilie's story of becoming a mom, discussing the health and work challenges that arose, and the loneliness she felt within the transition. Thus, she created One Tribe, an integrative expert-led community offering education, movement, and wellness for the mother in digital and physical spaces—and recently opened the first physical location in Miami, Florida.

Learn more about how Emilie built One Tribe, how it works, and why the emphasis on community in motherhood is the paradigm shift Emilie believes will help not only ease the transition into motherhood for many moms, but reduce loneliness and mental health challenges.


Q: Talk to us about what your entrance into motherhood was like on the community side.

A: I remember sitting in my apartment with my baby who was like five or ten days old. My husband was at work and I remember being like, “Where are all the women?”

My mother was there, and my mother-in-law. I had help because I was going back to work. Yet I felt, not lonely, but more the feeling of “We’re not doing this correctly.” We’re not meant to do this in isolation with our wonderful partner and even a little help from our mom. I was lucky enough to have paid help because I was going back to work, but we’re meant to do this in circles with other women and other families.

I was lucky enough in LA to have Baby Group, where you would go with your baby around four- to six-weeks-old and find your first motherhood tribe. To have that experience of going through that shared experience where all of the babies are about the same age—because, as you know, that first year, it shifts so much—so to go through it and almost have a support group for yourself through all the different phases—going back to work, identity changes, there are just so many things going on. That was just a very profound experience, which really goes back to where I am sitting today as the founder and CEO of One Tribe. Community being one of the most important parts of the postpartum journey. Finding that group of women is one of the most powerful things in life, especially postpartum.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be a mom, or was that a decision you came to later in life? Once you had your first, did you know you would want to have another right away?

A: Always. It was everything to get to the journey of motherhood. I didn’t have my first child until I was 34, but I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a mom. I waited four-and-a-half years. I always say I missed the middle one. Because I also went through several miscarriages in the in-between years. I knew I definitely wanted to have a second child, but it took me a long time due to the miscarriages in between. But I finally did, so I have a four-and-a-half year difference.

What I was most shocked by was that I always wanted to be a working mom. I had a baby and it was called ONE Coconut Water. My husband and I built it from our apartment in West Hollywood. It was everything—and it shocked me how I didn’t care as much after the baby was born. I still worked my butt off, but the passion shifted. It’s not something you can predict or even know. Another person might feel differently.

Q: When you decided that you wanted to set off on building One Tribe, what was the moment for you?

A: The moment was actually about eleven years ago. It was soon after my son was born. I can’t say I had the most challenging pregnancy, but I had a lot of physical issues. I could not walk for the entire third trimester for both of my pregnancies—and I am a very active person. I traveled all over LA. I remember wishing that all of these great businesses and practitioners could just be in one central location.

That’s sort of where the idea was born, but I was still running my company, sold my company, moved to Miami, had a second child, was actually a stay-at-home mom for almost five years, then went and ran another company. I just could never let the idea die, but I wasn’t ready as an entrepreneur for the energy and focus it takes. So, this is when I was ready, and that’s why it’s here today.

Q: What was it like going all-in on stay-at-home mom life after running a business?

A: It was terrifying—just the idea of getting back. But you don’t lose your skills and intelligence. I’m a different entrepreneur today than I was when I was 28-years-old. I had a car, a dog, and an apartment. It was simple. I could work all day long. Now I have two kids and a house and school and after-school. It is so different, but I am so much smarter and better today.

But it was scary. It was daunting. I was never comfortable in the non-working space. Back then, it was like mommy wars. Do you stay at home or not? Everyone judged each other. I don’t hear the term anymore, and I’m grateful. But I was someone who thought you always worked. So I was someone who wasn’t comfortable in a non-working position.

But it taught me not to judge anyone. A lot of women choose to leave the workforce. Everyone had to choose their own journey. So I feel like it gave me a lot of perspective now sitting here in this position where I’ve been on both sides and everyone has to make their own decision.

As far as re-entering. I always just say to stay very active in whatever you’re doing. If you have the ability to not work, make sure you’re getting involved in nonprofits. Just keep your network constantly going. You never know where that next opportunity is going to come, and you might want a completely different career than you had before.

Q: When you were ready and felt the energy available to create One Tribe, what was step one?

A: Step one was just getting the courage to just do it and jump over the edge. It starts with talking about it and making it real. That’s how my business partners came in—I was always sharing the idea. It’s like where energy goes… it became its own horse.

Then you say, well, I’ve talked about it—now I have to go do it. So, it starts there, and then it goes to the tactical things. Depending on what it is, it’s the branding, the name, the product, the financials. There are a lot of steps to it. But really, it’s manifesting it. That’s really it.

Q: What’s it been like for you being on the other side of postpartum and pregnancy building One Tribe for that demographic?

A: It is funny because everyone is talking about menopause and here I am going back to birth and pregnancy. I’m actually surprised. The experience of working with women on that journey of birth and beyond, it’s such a magical time. I can sit here in my wise old age and know how important this offering is and then to see it…

It’s every woman who walks in here who is even six months postpartum—because we only opened three months ago—just saying they wish it existed nine months ago when they were starting their journeys. Now they are coming in for classes and postpartum movement with our wellness team. So it’s been really exciting and interesting, and I’m just learning so much.

Millennials actually prioritize themselves and their health and wellness. Twelve years ago, we just really weren’t. It’s extraordinary how different it is. That’s actually worked out well for One Tribe, because you guys are looking for it and taking time for yourselves. It’s a great thing and I’m happy to see that.

Q: What was one non-negotiable for you when you started to build One Tribe? What is the thing you were seeing first in your mind’s eye?

A: Life-related: You’ve got to be able to balance your children. My two co-founders and I, it’s not every day, but we still show up for all of it—and that’s a non-negotiable in running a company today. And, really, talking about it. It’s an experiment. Yesterday, I worked from seven to nine, but that’s rare—because usually I get sidetracked, or I want to be home for dinner with the kids. So that’s a non-negotiable lifewise, and making time for my own health and wellness and exercise.

On the business-side, it was really interesting. I always said it was a brick and mortar and about bringing women together and building community. We’re solving two problems—the one-stop-shop in a very central location and helping women find their tribes. That is it. And, facilitating conversations like “How do I feel about going back to work?” or “How have I changed and evolved?” That is what we do.

But I went down this rabbit hole of needing to have a tech solution because that’s all investors want. I did this whole circle and was like no, this is about being in person. There is the convenience of technology—booking, being able to do Zoom, telehealth conferences with our team—but it’s about bringing women together and physically communing. And that became my non-negotiable. It was very powerful to stand in that.

Q: Did investors in some of your conversations feel it was more important to focus more on pregnancy or postpartum—or were they able to see it as the entire journey?

A: It was the entire journey. One-stop-shop. Miami is our first, and we definitely plan to expand to other markets and cities. My goal is to really be women’s health and wellness—from everything from being in your 20s and hormonal health, to getting ready and hopefully not having to go through fertility, but having that, all the way into perinatal and menopause. Because we are a center and, again, it’s about community and education through shared experience.

Q: What has it been like for you in your fundraising journey?

A: It is so hard. I really started fundraising almost exactly a year ago. It has been a journey. My round really became friends, family, and angels. I have been talking to VCs, but we’re a little early because we’re brick and mortar and pre-revenue as of three months ago. I spoke to VCs, but it was too early. They’re really going to go for the next round. So it is a challenge. I’ve learned so much.

One thing about fundraising—you really have to be somewhat of an extrovert or someone who really likes to network. I love it and I hate it. I have to say, I have met the most interesting, fascinating, amazing people through this journey because you leave one meeting asking if there is anyone else you should speak to—not necessarily related to fundraising, but could be for something else. It’s cranking. You just don’t know. You have to be bullish and unapologetic. It doesn’t feel great, but that is what it is. Never leave a meeting without asking for introductions to two more.

Also, really honing in on the investors that are the right fit for you because it’s so time-consuming and exhausting. For me, it became that I needed local Miami. As I said, we’re planning to grow this much larger, but if all we do is build one little center in Miami, these people will get a return—so I felt very confident standing by that.

So, I’ve got 75 percent women investors, which is really cool. I have a great team of male advisors and investors who only want to see the success of this. So it was honing in on that and really just believing in yourself.

I do really in my core believe this is a soul’s purpose business. But on the days that it’s hard to touch that, you fake it til you make it. Some days are easier than others. It’s tough. You just have to put one foot. You’re going to get so many no’s and you cannot take it personally. You just have to go on to the next.

Q: What shifted for you from your 20s to now?

A: What I’d say about me is that I’ve always been very passionate and, when I get excited about something, I could sell it to anybody. So, that’s the same. That’s my personality and who I am.

But the difference from 29 to today is trusting myself and experience. I have the experience. I’ve launched a company, I’ve gone through every stage of it, and I sold it. That experience is invaluable. We made a lot of mistakes and we learned a lot.

But I didn’t trust myself as much back then—trusting my intuition, trusting my experience. So I would sort of waver. I don’t waver as much anymore, so it makes me more efficient. And, I follow my gut when it comes to decision-making because I have, more times than not, had my gut be right—so I just trust it.

Motherhood makes you more efficient. If you’re giving up something and missing time with your kids, you’re much more efficient so you can go do that too. I always joke that I go from CEO to soccer mom, and play all these roles which makes you grow so much.

Q: What do your kids think about all of this journey?

A: My daughter is so proud of me. She just turned nine. She thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. She loves to come here. I put her to work, she sets up the rooms—and I kind of think she thinks I’m a badass, and she likes to tell everyone about it.

My son is thirteen, and there’s never any “Oh mom, you used to be home a lot and now you’re not.” I’ve never gotten that. I’m very proud for them to see me working like this and I love to engage my daughter and ask what she thinks of this and to help me think things through and she gets really creative.

Q: What is a sample client journey through One Tribe?

A: So, what I wish for every woman who is pregnant is that they come in somewhere kind of mid-second trimester when you’re still feeling really good. Generally, you’re going to start with some of our movement classes. We have physical therapist-led pelvic health classes, which is something luckily people are understanding more about and the importance is so incredible. So it’s really coming in for those movement classes where you meet more casually in those. Pre- and postnatal yoga and a mom strength class for the people who really want to work out.

So, I want them to come in through there and then, if they need support, if they want the physical therapist or the acupuncturist, we’re here for them. Then it really goes to two main educational classes. If every woman had the opportunity to go through this, it would change everything.

One is called Bumped Baby, and it’s six hours over two Saturdays where you come by yourself or with your partner and it’s really about empowered birth. We always say we don’t care if you’re going to have your baby in your backyard or a planned c-section. That is not for us to tell you what to do or to judge you in any way, but you still go through the same fears. So, it’s a very educational course that helps you have an empowered birth.

Then you go over to the other side, which is New Mom School, when you come in with your four- to six-week-old baby with other moms who are all in that same place and you talk about everything. It’s very educational, but it’s also about sharing and having deep conversations—and you bond.

So those are really the two—physical and educational—and it’s really in there all throughout you’re building your tribe. There are powerful tribes through life, but this one on this journey, you never forget.

It’s also motivation to get out of the house. For some of these women, it’s the first time they’ve left their babies. And it’s so hard. So it becomes this thing to look forward to and to motivate you because you can get really caught up inside at home. And there’s other moms there sharing and you realize, it’s not just me.

Q: Are you having mostly first-time moms or are you also having second- or third-time moms because of the community aspect?

A: We have a lot of moms who say I didn’t know I needed this the first time, but I’m going to do it right the second—which is extraordinary. Our most popular class is our Vag Prep Class. We recommend you take at least five leading up to giving birth. So, we’re seeing a lot of second-time moms because they want to do it differently. Even in the New Mom School, we are open to second-time moms and eventually we will probably split them out.

The whole world has descended upon Miami, so there are so many women who have friends but don’t have their families here or that tribe of new mom friends. So that sort of worked out for us here.

Q: What are you most excited for five, eight, ten years out for One Tribe?

A:  The number of women we get to help. That’s really what it is. I get so excited thinking about that, and I can see it. I can see it in other cities. Thinking about how we get to improve and support the outcome. Just that the journey is better.

At the end of the day, women are the base of everything—the health of the baby, the health of our relationships, employer—and so, if we do this in community and we have that support system and feel held and not so anxious or insecure about it or judging ourselves against other people because of our shared journey, we can help change society.

I get very excited when I think about two moms in a class who are extremely different but they both have blistered nipples and a kid up all night, so you don’t really care about the differences—you find common ground. This is just a place to help women commune and unite.

Q: What advice would you go back and give your new mom self?

A: That would be to really do everything that we’re offering here. But, more than that, you know, I really suffered through my first pregnancy. I was like “Oh, this is normal.” It’s really becoming an advocate for yourself and taking care of yourself in what you need and not just assuming that everybody goes through this. And, asking for help.


This blog post was written based on kozēkozē Podcast Episode 365: Creating Community in Motherhood with Emilie Fritz-Veloso.

If you’d like to listen to the conversation first-hand, tune in here.


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