Monday, January 26, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Caroline from Itsy Gypsy

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Today on Moms on Mondays I am happy to feature Caroline from Itsy Gypsy!  This mama has the cutest shop full of fancy dresses, at affordable prices, for your little girl.  I love all of the stuff she carries and totally need to purchase something for Lemon, although I would buy and then when it came I wouldn't be able to ever get it off of her!  (Totally a princess for life around our house!)  Check out Caroline's post and then buy a dress in her shop, you will totally love them all!  And, she's making it even easier for you to shop today with 20% off your order using code MONDAY today only!!  :)

My website is Itsy Gypsy and I'm also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

We sell children’s clothing (girls only for now), which are Vintage and Bohemian inspired. Our sizes average mostly between 2-8yrs. We love to mix vintage and modern and find the cutest and most hip items with lots of lace, crochet and other details that create a free-spirit look. We have everything you need to make your girls look as the cutest princesses, or coolest little chicks on the block!



My full-time job is and will always be to be a mother. However, as I watch my little one get older, I’ve started to feel the need to do more in other areas of my life as well. It was easy for me to figure out what I dreamed of doing because I knew I’d want to do it from home, and I also knew it had to be something I’m passionate about! That’s what ItsyGypsy is to me - I LOVE my little company, through good and bad times.

I’ve worked on the idea for a long time, but our shop is fairly new. We just launched our website in June 2014! We’re enjoying seeing it grow everyday.

I’m a certified Makeup Artist and have freelanced in that field for the past 7 years. I will ALWAYS love makeup, and will still work with it when the opportunity pops up, but my true love is ItsyGypsy! Aside from that, I’m honestly just happy to call motherhood my career.

I was born and raised in Brazil. I finished high school in Salt Lake City, Utah and eventually met my husband, who happened to be going to College in Utah as well. We had a pretty crazy story and met online (which was not popular back in 2003!) and distance dated for 2 years. We got married in 2005 and lived in Utah for a while. My husband is originally from Los Angeles, CA and so ended up moving back to sunny So-Cal : ) We have one little girl, our little princess Dara Vienne, who is 5, and my inspiration behind ItsyGypsy. We say we are a family of everything “online" . . . My husband owns an online business as well, so both of us are able to work from home and enjoy each other everyday. We love the beach and our life here in California!


This company first of all, helps me to be happy and feel more accomplished! I enjoy what I do, and anytime I see a child in one of our items that puts a smile on my face. That keeps me going. Having an extra income in the home is a great help too, but I consider this company to be my daughter’s “baby” just as much as it is mine. The money we make with this store can be a great help with our savings, and our extra expenses right now.

I’ve always had a dream to be doing something like this. My husband and I talked about my ideas many times, but I’ve always had a lot of fears and reservations. Once my husband took his online company from a “side job” to a real business, I realized I could pursue something I loved while working from home as well. I then found the courage to chase it!

My husband is my biggest supporter, and although he is very busy with his own business, he’s helped my a lot through the process of learning about my new online venture. I can’t forget my Dara, who is my happy little model whenever I need her, helps me pick and name new products and jumps with excitement when a new shipment arrives! She’s definitely my favorite little helper, but aside from my family, I do all the work myself.

It has been crazy and I’m still learning how to deal with everything that needs to be done at home and at work. I find that whenever I prioritize things and do what’s most important first, the day goes a lot better. Maintaining a strong Spirit is very important to me. I like to start and end my day with a prayer and read a little bit of my scriptures in the morning. It gets me ready for the day. My daughter is in Kindergarten now, so I use the mornings to get a lot of my work done, and then I make sure to spend some time with her when she’s home with me. I love to have my house perfectly clean and neat, but I’m learning to relax and just let it go when needed.

I love that it makes me learn everyday and gives me a sense of responsibility aside from my wife/mother responsibilities, but what I love the most – ARE THE CLOTHES! It’s such a joy sourcing the styles that fit our shop. Another favorite is getting new shipment from our manufacturers…I kind of “squeal” along with my daughter every time we get one! I LOVE working on my own designs as well, and my dream right now is to get that off the ground and launched as soon as possible.



Definitely the behind the scenes of keeping up with the website and its occasional issues. Doing everything yourself is really tough, so maintaining the quality control of every product and inventory levels can be really tricky and time consuming as well.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds, but all I hope for is to keep making our company grow. I want to let my creativity go free and always have fun in this business, no matter how hard the work may get. My goal is to keep it where it’s making me happy. I don’t ever want Itsy Gypsy to turn into a chore that takes me completely away from the regular joys of life, especially my family.

It will be harder than you think, and it will take patience and time, but as long as it’s something you LOVE, it will definitely be worth it! Never give up, be brave and push forward!

I’m definitely inspired by stores like Free People and Anthropologie! Some of the other online children’s shops that I follow and love, make “handmade” products like shoes by K & Elphy, accessories by Hip Chixie, flower crowns by Kenzie Jaws, booties by Threads and Arrows, clothing by Lunaflect Co. and Sly Fox Threads . . . too many to name! I love unique items!

Thanks Caroline!


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Monday, January 19, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Amanda from The Love More Shop

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This week I am so proud to feature Amanda from The Love More Shop.  I had the honor of meeting this mama in person, on our trip to Oregon this past fall, and she is just as incredible in person as she is on the internet.  She is doing something truly magical with her shop, with a portion of the proceeds going into the Love Fund to send a lucky couple out on dates, and she also features writers on her blog in her The Love More Letters series.  She is desined for greatness and I know she will reach it, she has a vision and we just love her (and her products)!  Go shop and support this lovely mama and her family!




 
I started The Love More Shop in mid July after coming up with the idea 6 weeks prior. I use Instagram as my main social media platform but we are also on Facebook and Twitter

I am a mama to a one-year-old wild boy, step mama to a wise 6 year old, and woman to an eccentric, often bearded man. We live in the little city of Portland, OR and plan to move back to my hometown to start a small farm and retreat center in the future.

 

Currently I am selling apparel, jewelry (a beautiful minimalist gold bar necklace that says "love more"), totes and a few digital products. However I know that the company will evolve quickly as it grows and I am excited to see what that means! I don’t imagine selling shirts forever – I imagine this turning into something bigger than that.








I started with the shirts because I wanted to create the Love More brand and thought apparel would be a simple place to start. It all happened quite quickly. I bought a small screen printer, learned how to print, and went for it. After my first few batches I realized that opening a business and handling all that comes with that on my own on top of taking care of a family and working two other part time jobs meant I should find someone else to screen print for me! So, now I have a screen printing company helping me out with the physical printing but everything else is all me. Time is a funny thing isn't it? Somehow we make time for what we need to make time for. I decided to start with one design so I wasn't constantly needing to create new art work. That's time consuming and my energy is better spent getting the word out than creating a bunch of different products and designs with no one to buy anything. Besides, I have a love affair with simplicity and the goal of this business is not to create more stuff but build a brand around an important mission and message.

 

The mission of Love More is to give back to parents so they can nurture their love. A portion of the proceeds from each item sold go into a Love Fund and each time the Love Fund reaches $100 we will have a contest via instagram and send the winning couple the money so they can go out together and nurture their love. Raising kind and empathetic humans starts in a loving home and with loving parents so we want to help - be it a small simple way. It’s easy to love your kids, but not always easy to love your partner. Am I right? When our baby boy was a few months old our friends gave us $100 to go out on a date. It was such a thoughtful and unexpected gesture that really touched our hearts. We were broke but (DESPERATELY) needed some time out together and were able to escape one evening for a couple of hours together. (We pretended we didn't know each other and drank too much.) This inspired us to pass the love on by helping other parents with a night out together. Single parents can enter too and use the money to nurture themselves with something special.

I always imagined I would be a predominantly stay at home mom and then when I got pregnant with my son I realized to make that a reality I would have to find another way to make money or live on solely beans and rice. I have a BA in women's studies and a BA in interior design and was working in the design industry when my son was born. I didn't want to go back into that world unless it was in a position where I felt like I was doing something good for the world. I'm not interested in wasting my time and I didn't want to take time away from my son and put all my energy into something that didn't have meaning to me. Not that design is not awesome and so very important – but it had to be the right job for me and I wasn’t finding anything worthy of leaving my baby. I am also a yoga teacher and wanted to put more energy into that instead of devoting 40+ hours a week to a desk job. 

 

“Love More” has been my mantra for a few years now - always a reminder when I am feeling angry, frustrated or overwhelmed. So when the idea for this business started to form it seemed natural. It's fairly easy to be kind and non-reactive when you are single or have few responsibilities - at least it was for me. But when you have a family everything changes and loving more becomes so vital on a daily basis for your family to thrive or sometimes simply survive.

Since I only opened shop in July this isn't really helping to support our family financially just yet but I hope it will down the road! It has however made the love more message a huge part of all of our lives and something we think about and try to live by daily. It also has meant that we, already introspective people spend a lot more time pondering the meaning of life, love, awareness, kindness, and truth more often. I would much rather be living frugally spending my time creating something good that both helps people and sends a good message than making a lot of money and doing something that didn’t make my heart happy. We are mainly selling apparel now but I hope it will evolve into something much bigger than that so that we can help more people, more families, in as many ways that we can.

It’s rough running a startup business alone while taking care of a family so I constantly have to remind myself to breathe deeply. I cherish nap times and have started to do babysitting exchanges with my friend to have some time to focus. Otherwise I have to wait until everyone is asleep at night to really focus. But it’s worth it because I love that I am running my own business and can make all the decisions. It’s so fun to imagine something and then make it happen. I feel so blessed to have so much support from the mama community on Instagram too. It’s awesome to see other people excited about this company and the mission. I can’t wait to start sending people out on dates regularly! That is going to be so much fun.


If I had to pick a favorite item from my shop I would say the necklaces. I collaborated with my friend and jewelry maker to create them and think they turned out beautifully. They are minimalistic and elegant and a staple piece in any fashion savvy mama’s wardrobe.


 Image from thelovemoreshop.com

If I gave advice to a mompreneur I would say to be authentic. I wanted to start a business that “gave back” but that wasn’t generic. I thought about my own life and what mattered to me. Making sure my family didn’t suffer because my partner and I weren’t loving each other enough was at the top of the list; so I thought, why not try and help other couples love each other during these (often broke) years of new parenthood. Oh, and find someone to watch your little ones for at least a few hours a week (I am still working on this) so you can work without someone crying, pulling on you, throwing food, needing a nap, pooping their pants every 3 minutes. It also helps you create work time and separate family time where you can be fully present with your little ones.

Thanks Amanda!  xoxo

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