Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Theresa from P and the Lion

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Today on Moms on Mondays I am happy to feature a fellow English teacher mama, Theresa, from P and the Lion!  I came across her shop on IG and just KNEW I had to have her for this series, her matching mama and babe short sets are the CUTEST!  She released a pair of gold leather shorts today for #shopgoldforacure2, we've got to get our hands on these, so cute!

She sent Lemon and I a pair from her Fall line and they are SO comfy, you've gotta grab some.  Read her post below and then go shop!

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

The name of my shop is P and the Lion, and I can also be found on Instagram

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

I make pom pom and tassel shorts for babies/toddlers, girls, and women. I started off making white fur leg warmers and headbands for babies and girls. 

(Images from instagram.com/pandthelion)
How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

I initially started P and the Lion to help out with finances. We had just had our second baby and child care for two under four was definitely hitting us hard.  I always loved crafting, and saw other shops making it so I figured, why not?  I had no idea what it would turn into.  

I've always had a love for fashion. As a matter of fact, all my students would always talk about how I dressed. Some of my colleagues would tell me I looked like I stepped out of a fashion magazine.  I was a high school English teacher and all my students would ask me why I wouldn't wear jeans on Friday (Spirit Day - the day you wear a t-shirt and jeans).  I just couldn't do it, it's not that I didn't have school spirit, I loved teaching and I loved my kids (I was proud of what they did), I just told them that I have to dress how I want to feel.  {Oh my gosh, I could be writing this myself!  I say the same thing to mine!} 

When I look nice I carry myself better, have more confidence and feel good. I don't dress for anyone else, I dress for myself. I even received the "Role Model" award from student council this past year, as well as being a finalist for "Teacher of the Year" at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas after just three years there. Giving up teaching is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I'm doing it for my family and for the life I want to provide for them.  I'm not saying I would never go back, but I feel like I'm at a turning point with my business; it's make it or break it time, and I want to make it. 

I'm competitive by nature. I love teaching seniors, there's just something about them and their last year, but I also love teaching sophomores. One of the reasons I love teaching sophomores is because the entire school is graded by the state from two tests, and one of them is the English II  (sophmore level) test.  I've told one of my former principals, and my department chair, if that's how we're graded by the state, that's what I want to be teaching. I'm not scared of the pressure, I thrive in it.  

I also have a background in athletics. As long as I can remember, I've played sports - soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball.  I played collegiate soccer and was an All-American at LeTourneau University, as well as a 3 year captain at the college level.  I went on to coach for 10+ years.  After I had Peyton, our first, I realized something had to give, I couldn't be a great mom, a great English teacher, and a great coach. I was missing out on being there for those precious moments with her.  I gave it up after winning a state championship and being a state runner-up at Edmond North High School in Oklahoma. I loved soccer, it was my first and only love for as long as I can remember. I never thought I would be able to love something else.  

When I finally made it to Edmond North after a life-changing experience, I fell in love with teaching. Through my mentors and my administrators, I realized I could finally give up soccer, and I've never turned back.  I went to Hebron and this past year I had really hit my stride.  Then, I started P and the Lion.  I wake up everyday and all I want to do is design and sew. It's the first thing I think about and the last, besides my family and my faith. So, here I am now, doing what I love.

How long have you been in business?

Since August or September of 2014.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My family is my world, the ones in my life that are my inspiration, my motivation, and that believe in me the most.  My husband and I just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in July.  Sean-Sean is my best friend, my soul-mate, my strength.  I was told once by a dear friend, in my early 20s, to never settle because there was someone out there for me, my perfect person, and they were right. Sean is that person to me. I was in a mentally abusive relationship for over 2 years, and my parents were doing everything possible to get me away from this guy.  I am extremely close to my family too, my parents and my sister are everything to me, so for them not to like this guy and for me not to leave him, well, it says a lot. I met Sean at my cousin's wedding rehearsal in the midst of trying to break it off with this guy . . . again. We met in August, started traveling back and forth in September (he lived in Oklahoma and I lived in Texas), got engaged in December, and married in July. 

I believe, no, I know, God sent Sean to me. He not only allowed me to move away from this damaging relationship, but he loved me for everything I was and more.  My dad once asked me on a trip home from Oklahoma if he was the one. I said yes. I told him I didn't even know how to explain it. He said, "Does every time you"re with him feel like magic?" I told him yes, and he said that's how it was with my mom, every time he was with her it was just magic.  Sean believes in me more than I believe in myself. He is an amazing man and father. My girls, Peyton and Rori (hence the P and lion, Rors).  

Growing up everyone always knew I would have boys, probably because I was such a tomboy with sports, but I have two girls, two beautiful, kind, loving girls.  Peyton, "P", will turn 4 in September and Rori, "Rors" just turned 1 in May. My husband and I are extremely blessed. I never knew you could love someone as much as I love my girls, they are my world. P is my analytical, loving, pleaser; and Rors is my crazy, "I'm going to do what I want and don't care" stinker! They are so different but yet still similar in so many ways.  I see myself in both of them everyday and am so proud to be their mom. 

How does this company help your family?  Or you?

Like I said before, child care is a little ridiculous, but how can you put a price on the well-being of your kids?  So, this company has helped us financially.  Just in the past few months, when I started making the pom pom shorts, has the shop really been moving forward and gaining momentum.  I now feel like this company could take off if I'm willing to put everything I have into it.  I literally just quit my job so I could focus full-time on P and the Lion.  I started off just doing this to make a little extra money to help us with a few bills.  I never knew it would turn into something I loved, something that I want to do from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. When I started making the shorts, my love for fashion really started to trickle out.  And, as of recently, when I started making women's styles, I've started styling more with entire outfits.  I love everything about this job. It gives me an outlet for crafting, which is something I've always loved, and it allows me use my creativity with my passion for fashion. 

Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead?
Does anyone help you with your shop?

Right now it is just me and my husband. I am the creator, designer, maker and my husband is the one that handles all the important stuff like numbers and organization!  My mind is all over the place with new designs and ideas, so he's the one that keeps me grounded. I am looking for a seamstress now as we are growing!  My mother-in-law actually bought a sewing machine for me last October, for my birthday, because I wanted to start making things for the girls. I never thought it would turn into a full-time business. 

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

It's tough. I seriously wonder how days fly by me, I just don't get enough done. I drop off the girls between 6:30-7am and they get home about 3:30-4pm with their dad. Once they go to bed, I'm up until 11 or 12 working. But, I'm doing something I love, so it's all worth it. 

What do you love about this businesses?

I love that I get to wake up everyday and do what I love. I love it when I'm tagged in a photo of a little girl on her birthday or someone dancing in my clothing. I love when I hear a mom tell me how much they love the fit and style SO much that they can't wait to buy more, or they want every pair. My first daughter, Peyton was always in the 98th 99th percentile for her height and weight growing up. My husband is 6'3 (even though I'm only 5'3) and both my girls are tall.  Peyton didn't fit into any shorts growing up, none of them would fit around her cute, chubby little thighs. I hated that I couldn't find shorts that fit her right.  That's one of the reasons I started making mine and I love the pom pom shorts. Instead of elastic around the thigh, there are pom poms or tassels.  They are flattering on all baby body types, because let's face it, most baby shorts aren't! 

What is the most challenging part of this business?

The most challenging part of this business is not having enough time to get things done, and not having enough money to produce more product.  I wish I could afford to have someone help me and make products that are ready to ship out for customers. I know when I order something, I'm excited and I want it right then!! I hope one day I will be able to mass produce to make my customers even happier! 

Where do you see your shop in the future?

I see my shop making more items and hopefully mass producing.  I have ideas for the fall line that include other items besides shorts, and I'm so excited about it!! My little saying for my shop is "Dress how you want to feel. Don't look for inspiration, be it."  Even when I taught, that's how I felt, that's what I would tell my kids when they would compliment me on what I was wearing or say how I always looked nice.  I would say, "Look good, feel good!" It's so true though!  I knew I had to incorporate that into a saying because that is why I love fashion!! Being a tomboy and former soccer player, I wear shorts year round.  I love them, so it is just who I am. There's nothing better than a comfortable pair of shorts that you can throw on and look good in every day.  Tshirt, tank, pullover, kimonos - there are so many different things you can do with shorts, they are so versitile. When you wear a top, any kind of top, you can only wear it once a week or once every two weeks. With shorts, you can wear them 2-3 times a week, if they're your favorite, even more! 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

Do something you love and be you.  Be honest with your customers and network, network, network. Don't be afraid someone is going to tell you no because you only need one person to tell you yes! 

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

I couldn't believe how many amazing shops are out there.  I absolutely love The Bashful Elephant.  Becca pays so much attention to detail.  I've bought moccs from several places but none of them stand up to hers.  She is kind and creative and her moccs are original and very high quality.  Every pair is delivered in a beautiful bag with your little one's initials on it.  I also love Krystle from KRZA who designs and makes headbands for women, girls, and babies.  She is hard-working and so sweet! I seriously own five or six of her headbands, one for every occasion.  She is also one that pays attention to detail, her headbands are of the softest material and are packaged very well. What I've learned from these ladies is how important attention to detail is.  Every little thing has an impact on your customers. The more you put into something, the more you'll get out of it. Presentation is everything! (Well, not everything, but a lot.) If people love your product, they'll come back. But, if you are kind and genuine and caring, people will keep coming back because they know the person behind the product and they not only love the product, they care about the person behind the product. 

Well Theresa, that is exactly why I do this series!  I couldn't have ended your post better myself!  Thank you for being a part of this! 

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  1. These are just TOO cute! And holy moly, HOT mama!

  2. I love this Theresa! It's amazing to see what people can accomplish with hard work and determination! You can definitely tell your heart goes into your work!
    Here's a little bit about Me and my family❤️
    My name is Alyssa and my sweet Emmelia is a new brand enthusiast for Pandthelion! Going back a little, I went to school for forensic psychology but after a few years into my courses I met my husband, fell head over heals for him, and we married in 2006. Soon after he graduated college with a teaching degree. We're from Michigan and unfortunately teaching jobs are few and far between here so when he was offered a kindergarten position in Georgia we packed up and moved there, which also meant I had to put my school on hold. Which turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made! We lived in GA for 2 years, had my handsome son, Greyson, in 2008. My husband then got a job teaching back here in MI. The second best decision I've ever made was investing into a DSLR! I started doing freelance photography in 2010, and soon after it took off!! I never thought I would be so glad I didn't finish my college degree! I'm in absolute love with photography and after 5 years still get excited to upload and edit new photos!! I do what I love daily and get to work from home at my own pace while spending my days with my littles! We had Emmelia in July of 2014, and my spunky little princess rounded out and completed our family❤️ Fast forward to present time, my husband is now a principal of a k-8 school and I'm a full time mommy & photographer.

    A little about Emmelia! She's a determined, independent and active little toddler! Emme turned one on July 15th. She likes things her way and won't give in, which makes for fun dinner/bed/play time... She's extremely independent! Example, she started walking at 9 months old! She loves to put on anything sparkly and pretty and listen to us all tell her how beautiful she is! I'm sure she'll have a complex ☺️ we call her our sour patch kid because one of her favorite things to do is hit us then kiss us, so 1st she's sour then she's sweet!!

    Hopefully I've helped to explain some about us! We're so happy to be apart of the Pandthelion team and can't wait to work with you all❤️❤️