LITTLE FALLS, NJ — In New Jersey Family’s first-ever Mompreneur of the Year contest, which recognizes small businesses owned and operated by New Jersey mom, Caldwell mother of four Taryn Lagonigro was named the runner-up in the “Wellness and Fitness” category for her business, Iris Mind + Body.

As a yoga instructor, Lagonigro said she encountered people who “felt intimidated walking into a yoga studio either because they were afraid they wouldn’t know what to do, or felt they didn’t fit a ‘mold’ that they thought yogis looked like.” After that, Lagonigro told NJ Family that she and her partner set out to “create a space where everyone felt comfortable.”

“Not just those trying yoga for the first time, but also regardless of what age, body type or season of life they were in,” she said.

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Since the start of the pandemic, Lagonigro said her business has moved online, providing more than 20 virtual classes throughout the week and other virtual events to give clients “ways to relax during this time.”

“I’m sure we all have heard that moving our bodies with exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety,” she told the magazine. “Yoga connects movement with breath and mindfulness to allow a true mind/body experience. Yoga relaxes the body and the mind and can create self-awareness on and off the met.

“When you establish a regular yoga practice, you start to incorporate more breath and mindfulness into your everyday life. It becomes a tool to calm anxiety and stress throughout the day.”

She also spoke about raising four daughters in Caldwell, stating that she as tried to show them that “there is no circumstance by which you should give up your dreams.”

“People thought I was crazy for opening a yoga studio while juggling a large family and a full time corporate job; and some days I felt like I was,” said Lagonigro, who also said she is grateful to have a husband who roots for her and helps juggle the chaos. “What I have learned about myself over the years is that I am my best for my family when I also am fulfilling personal goals and dreams. I want the girls to know that they can do anything they want with perseverance—no matter what age or season of life they are in.”

When business starts to get back to normal, Lagonigro said she looks forward to being back in “an in-person community.” She added that she misses seeing clients at the studio and “hearing about their days, their kids and whatever else they need to get off their chest.”

“We’re excited that our Mompreneur of the Year contest will shine a spotlight on the many innovative and unique businesses run by NJ moms at a time when it’s more important than ever to support them,” said Dina El Nabli, Editorial Director of New Jersey Family. “We hope you’ll get to know each of these amazing women and their businesses and shop local when you can."

New Jersey Family received nearly 200 entries for the 2020 Mompreneur of the Year contest, which was judged by Kathleen Butler-Smith, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Morphmom, and her team.

“I was so inspired by every single entry and truly believe every mompreneur deserves recognition,” said Butler-Smith, whose organization provides mentoring and coaching for women-owned businesses. “I’m so grateful to New Jersey Family for helping to spread the word about the countless women motivating us all each and every day to follow our dreams and passions and realize we can accomplish anything together.”

NJ Family Mompreneur of the Year contest partners included Victory Public Relations, a boutique PR firm representing clients such as Mother.ly, The RMA Network and Kneipp, and Hip New Jersey, a lifestyle television show that airs every Saturday at 9 a.m. on News 12+. 

Maria Falzo and Lisa Marie Latino, co-creators of Hip New Jersey, congratulated all of the 2020 Mompreneurs of the Year and thanked New Jersey Family for “shining a spotlight on these very inspiring women.”

Andrea Samacicia Mullan, founder and CEO of Victory Public Relations, also thanked New Jersey Family for recognizing these women, stating that their “ideas and hard work” are not only shaping their New Jersey communities, but also “helping [communities] to weather the crisis [they are] all facing.”

“One of our guiding principles is the support of women in business,” she said. “We’ve done that over the past 10 years by creating a workplace where women are encouraged to challenge themselves professionally while also unapologetically prioritizing their personal lives.”

CLICK HERE to meet more of the 2020 New Jersey Family Mompreneurs of the Year