Monday, August 25, 2014

Moms on Mondays - Morgan from Wonderfully Stitched

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This week I am so excited to feature Morgan from Wonderfully Stitched.  She is one of the first mamas who reached out to me after I shared that I would be starting these series, and I'm so happy she did.  She makes the cutest head wraps for babes and mamas, and before she sent us one, I had never tried putting a head wrap on Lemon, I just didn't get how it would fit with her curls!  But once I did, I am hooked and I just ordered another one from Morgan's shop - with lemons on it, of course.  And, for every head wrap purchased, she donates one to her local NICU at the children's hospital, so a mama and baby in need of a gift receive one.  So awesome!  Thank you, Morgan, for posting - I hope you go and check out her shop!

(Lemon wearing her Electric head wrap.)

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you?

My shop is Wonderfully Stitched and you can also find me on Instagram.

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.

We make handmade headbands that fit adults and babies. When our little girl was born she was rushed to the NICU and stayed for 7 days. We will never forget the families that we met, and the love that was poured out on our girl by so many. While she was in the NICU she received a little baby beanie, super small and handmade, that was donated to us and we still have it in her memory box. Such a simple gesture but it warmed our hearts to have a piece of normal in such a hectic and not normal situation. We continue to have a heart for these little squishies, so for each purchase that you make we will donate a headband to a local children’s hospital. Hopefully, this will warm some families hearts in the same way that beanie warmed ours.

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

When we received that homemade beanie in the hospital, we got so much joy from that little handmade item and we treasure it to this day.  My husband and I knew we had to find a way to give back to help other families find some joy in the midst of their crazy situation. So, I went to practice on a birthday present sewing machine that my mom purchased for me.  After nights of practice, after my little would go to bed, I learned to make headbands.  The vision was very clear to me, everything just clicked.  Through lots of encouragement from my husband, family, and friends. I used whatever fabric I had and made my first set and put it out on an Etsy site.  I then delivered my first donation of 11 headbands to a local children’s hospital and my heart was so full, being able to do this motivates and fuels me during those late, late nights.

 How long have you been in business?

We started the shop at the beginning of June, but I’ve been making homemade items for my daughter and friends for around 7 months.

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

I work a full time job outside of the home, for financial reasons, but dream of one day being able to work as a full time mom.  [Morgan, I think you are my first full, time working mama that I've featured!  Wooohooo!]  I work in sales in mobile/tech accessories and graduated from UC Irvine, with a Business Economics degree.  I’ve worked in fashion, or sales, since I was 16 and I’ve always loved clothes and accessories.  I taught myself to sew from trial and error and lot of tutorial videos.  Ahhhh the resource of technology!  I ventured into making clothes while I was pregnant with our daughter and love being able to create something that she will have and it is completely unique.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My husband and I met on a church trip 10 years ago and we got married almost 7 years ago in beautiful Coronado, CA. We’ve lived all over Southern California during our marriage and have settled in Mission Viejo in a lovely 3BD home.  Eighteen months ago I finally broke my husband down and we got Kuna, the puppy of my dreams; a Siberian Husky, who we’ve affectionately nicknamed Bear-a-Kuna. Shortly after that, and much to the dismay of our new puppy who received all the attention before, we found out that we were about to be blessed with our first child. 

Fast forward 9 months, our beautiful daughter Kailyn was born and our tears of joy came to a screeching halt when we heard the doctor say the dreaded words, ‘we are going to need to rush your daughter to the NICU for some additional tests’. Thru intense prayer, and the love and support of family and friends, we were able to bring our daughter home after merely 7 days in the NICU. We are now experiencing the joys of being parents to a baby girl who has more personality than her ‘class-clown’ father and feel so incredibly blessed every day to have our little Kailyn home with us and are excited to watch her grow up.  Oh and Kuna has found her new best friend in Kailyn too.  :)

How does this company help your family? 

While I love the challenge of balancing a full time job, full time mommy-hood, and working hard on starting a business, I would love for the opportunity to focus my time fully on this business and be able to reach more and more families who are in the midst of tremendous trials while their beloved child is in the hospital. The beauty of the ‘buy one, give one’ is that I am able to visit these hospitals, and see the faces of the parents who are in the same shoes we were, or even worse, and I am immediately humbled and overwhelmed with joy that we are able to hold our baby girl, whenever we want.  Also, we are able to help brighten those parent’s, and their child’s days, when they are given something that reminds them of the outside, and something that lets them dress up, and possibly, just for a moment, feel a bit of normalcy amidst their hectic situation.

Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead?

Had our ‘all knowing’ plan for the future of our daughter not been turned on its head, we would have never realized the heartache that parents go thru in the NICU, and with that, we would never have been able to fully grasp the heart-warming feeling of receiving something made in love, from a total stranger and the encouragement something like that brings in that situation.  So, I can confidently say ‘no’, we never thought we’d be here, but God had a different plan for us, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity that He has afforded us! 

I can’t say that I thought too much about what we’d be doing differently, but I do know that had we not been so incredibly touched by the love we received while in the NICU, we would have avoided the hospital as much as possible, and now we have such a heart to help families in their times of need.

Does anyone help you with your shop?

I'm so inspired by all the creative and dedicated ladies and/or mamas on Instagram and Etsy that it feels like they are doing this company with me. My husband helps with the logistics, and ‘calculator’ needs [ha] and I also have the prayers and support of my family and friends which inspires me to continue to push the limits and to find new and creative ways to help bless families of the NICU.

How do you find time to run your shop and create products? 

We’ve been blessed with our daughter sticking to her sleep schedule, so every night, after our night time ritual with her, I’m able to get through the stack of ‘to do’s’ while my husband helps with the logistics side of things.  I find that most new moms will relate that my time in the shower is sacred. [Yes!!!] That is where I think through most of my new ideas or fabric combinations and concepts.

What do you love about this business?

I love that I’m able to have an outlet for my creativity, and most importantly that it affords me an opportunity to give to children’s hospitals for the tireless love they show to our children. I know the joy a little handmade item can bring to a family who is caring for their little loved ones, and for me to be a part of that joy is amazing.

What is the most challenging part of this business?

The uncertainty of the future is always a deterrent for most people to not continue; or worse yet, not even start in the first place.  But, I know what is driving me is the desire to bless families during their hectic times in a NICU/PICU situation. As long as I can encourage at least one family then it has all been worth it!

Where do you see your shop in the future?

I have big plans for the outreach side of my business! I’m looking forward, in the near future, to opening up the opportunity to have ‘GIVING REPS’. These will be brand reps with a twist! Like a typical brand rep, we are looking for ladies/mamas who are passionate about the brand, and love dressing up their little ones in our product.  And, if they are able to generate enough buzz through their sphere of influence, we will actually send that rep the lot of headbands that were to be donated through the sales they’ve helped generate, and that rep gets to go to their local hospital and, see with their own eyes, the joy of donating to these families in their own town.  Our prayer at WS is that that feeling will cause them to continue to give of their own resources; time, financial or purely just a friend to families in need.  [Me, me, pick me!  This is awesome!!]

In the very near future I’m also planning on expanding my silhouette offering in headbands, as well as venturing into other accessories like pacifier clips, skinny ties and bow ties for boys and eventually clothing like rompers, pants, and bloomers. I’m so excited to continue pushing myself in terms of what I can create, and I’m most excited that each purchase represents 1 family who is blessed in their time of need.

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

2 weeks ago I was able to take 11 headbands, ‘donated’ through the generosity of our first 11 headbands sold, and I was able to give them to the exact NICU where our precious girl was for seven LONG days just 6 months ago. The gratitude that I felt to all of the ladies who helped make that happen through their purchase has been such a fuel for me to continue to want to see this company grow! My customers are amazing, and this month I will be donating 72 to another local children’s hospital, I have never felt more encouraged that this is what I need to continue to be doing right now.  

My favorite headband is probably the Watercolor fabric because it so feminine and I found the fabric at the bottom of a fabric pile. 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

I had two options after leaving the NICU with our baby; to never go back again and think 'why did this ever happen to us,' or to see that there was a definite purpose and reason that our daughter was in the NICU, and that experience fueled a passion for a bigger mission than just selling a headband.  So, my advice is to try and see the bigger picture and do not fight it, let it fuel a business that has a mission and a purpose.  Also, Instagram and Etsy are fabulous places to do research to get the tools to start your business.

What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?

Since I was 5 I have had an OBSESSION with shoes, so Zuzii is my favorite shop for baby shoes, also we are currently love the amazing and creative Paush rompers by Sweet Threads.  It is so hard to choose because the world of handmade is now such a unique and amazing selection!

Thanks Morgan, this was an awesome glimpse into your business and your family.  Now go shop so she can donate a headband in your honor!!

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