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January 17, 2019
I didn't always have the passion for work that I do today. Work was always a Monday through Friday (and often weekends) thing that was constantly weighing on my shoulders. I was always decent at my job (never the shining star), but I never truly loved what I did. Once my first child was born, I decided not to go back to my desk job and wanted to stay home with her. After she started sleeping through the night, I got really into cooking. I thought about and even reserved a few URLs, then I got really into the idea of a daily email. Instead of recapping news like my favorite The Skimm, mine was going to contain easy recipes with meal plans and grocery lists for busy parents and sales. I thought it was a good idea, but I realized I was lonely and didn't want to be a SAHM and a WAHM with no interaction with adults.
Shortly after, I got my daughter into some baby classes where I ended up meeting some great friends. That kept me busy and happy for a while. The one constant was I loved dressing my baby for class and we always got compliments about how adorable her outfits were. I remember beaming with pride when we walked into music class and someone yelled, "OMG! Olive looks like she just walked out of an Anthropologie catalog!" It was then that I thought maybe there was something here. I followed that passion and became obsessed with small unknown brands where I could buy fun and interesting clothes that no one else had for their kids. I had a Google sheet with (and I kid you not because I just double checked), 50 brands. I would spend nap time combing their sites looking for great pieces. One of my favorite brands happened to be a local company that I found at the farmers market called Wire and Honey (I still haven't parted ways with those shirts as I am still obsessed). Who would have thought that 3 years later, I'd call one of the founders, Sarah, a dear friend of mine?! Another one of my favorites was Hatch for Kids (my son was wearing one of their shirts today and we got stopped!).
Shortly after my son was born, I knew I needed more adult interaction but I was petrified to launch my own company. I had no idea the first place to start with launching a brand. I have absolutely no fashion background, no drawing skills and no sewing skills. In addition to seemingly no skills, I was really insecure. I was scared to start a line because what if no one liked it? What if people laughed at me behind my back? What if no one bought anything! Looking back on that, I feel sad for the old me. The one who didn't have the courage to do something simply because I wanted to! I credit my kids with giving me the courage.
Besides wanting to be a good role model for them, they made me feel proud. They made me a mom and they were awesome kids - I at least could credit that as a skill. Being a mom has been the biggest growing experience of my life. Whether I feel insecure, sad, embarrassed - they love me anyways. I also have to thank a good friend who gave me a pep talk about how impressive it would be if I actually had an idea and brought it to life. Would anyone really look down on me for doing that? And more importantly, did I really care? I guess I kind of did, but I was starting to have more clarity. It wasn't that serious, kids clothing is not saving lives!
I hesitantly moved forward and continued searching for pieces that I loved for my kids. The only problem was, I was having trouble finding clothes that I liked specifically for my son! I just couldn't dress him in clothes I didn't love. It wasn't until I stumbled upon our Beatnik fabric that made me say "I'm going to do this!"
I was completely and utterly obsessed with the print. Something about it gave me the courage to register for a tradeshow in NYC where I knew this fabric was available. I went up for the show a day early and took some courses on starting a fashion line and still remember how nervous I was. I remember talking to people in the class, some were enrolled in fashion school, others had raised money for their line and here I was, not even knowing the difference between woven and knit. I was overwhelmed, but tried to not let it show. During the tradeshow, I ordered a few yards of sample fabric not even knowing what I was going to do with it.
I had told a friend of mine about the show and how I needed to learn to sew and that's where Lily comes in! She mentioned that Lily had taken up sewing and perhaps I should meet up with her. Lily - the former mechanical engineer turned SAHM turned self taught seamstress.
Shortly after the show, Lily and I made dinner plans. I had asked her to teach me how to sew, brought my new fabrics and even bought the same sewing machine she had so it would be easier. She brought some girls dresses that she had sewn and it was clear how much she loved it, but even better, how amazing of a seamstress she was! She loved my fabrics and the sketches I had my mom draw for me and that was that! I don't think we had even gotten our food before we agreed to go into business together. The next day she had her Brother in Law send us an LLC agreement and we each agreed to put in $5,000 and it was off to the races. Now it's hard to imagine my life without talking to her 20x a day!
Stay tuned for how we have grown our brand in a short 1.5 years!
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