Hey Brittany! Thankyou for stepping out of your busy schedule and jumping into a Mamaview! Let's get started! Please introduce yourself...
Hi I'm Brittany the owner of Chocolate Soup a children's clothing and accessory line. I hand make appliqué goods from newborn to size 7. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was three years old and I have been doing it ever since. I got my first sewing machine at the age of seven. I went on to receive my technical training abroad in Paris and London then moved back to the states to start my own company in late 2009. Through the years I have designed under several business names, from menswear to avant guarde womenswear to now baby clothing. I have shown in fashion weeks across America and received the Kansas City Fashion Designer of the Year award in 2012. My fiancé, three year old daughter and our standard poodle, London live in the Washington DC area. We are a military family so we are unsure where we will be sent next! I have had the challenge of setting up my company to be able to operate from virtually any location to accommodate our transient lifestyle. I am getting ready to launch Forme a PDF print at home pattern company for womenswear and recently started a DIY & Craft lovers Facebook group (DIYjustforme) for all the other maker mavens out there to share tips, tutorials and expert advice!
What advice would you give to your 21 year old self?
When I was 21 I was taking over a 40 year old company, Chocolate Soup, which had 5 brick and mortar locations at the time and a brand that was in serious need of a major overhaul. I would love to go back and tell myself to trust my gut and not apologize for my age, for being a woman or for following my true passion. I met a lot of kickback along the road but I learned a lot from it. I'd tell myself to just keep going!
Can you give us 3 tips for juggling motherhood, life and business?
Juggling motherhood, life and business is an every day battle! My best advice to other moms would be:
1. Let the guilt go! As moms we often worry about everything and everyone else before our own needs. Let go of the guilt and get done what you need to get done for work, and when you're having family time don't feel guilty about not being tied to your phone for business!
2. Work hard, play hard! Along the same lines, I think it's really important to not try to be doing 'all the things' all the time. When you're with family- turn the business mode off and enjoy it, and when you're working- that laundry can wait! And don't forget to grab a few moments for just yourself- you need it mama!
3. Make a list of priorities. We are only one person so I find when I make a list each week of things that are the most important to accomplish (both personal and work) it helps me not feel so overwhelmed or guilty if I don't get to the small stuff not on the list. There are only so many hours in the day!
Tell us something no one ever warned you about being a work at home mama!
Being a work at home mama is like trying to shove 48 hours into a 24 hour day. We are full-time moms and full-time business women. Each day is different and each day a different part of you succeeds, maybe today you had a business win but yesterday you had a great mom moment. It can get absolutely crazy some days, but embrace the madness and the mess and enjoy the ride!
What is the best thing about being a WAHM?
I think the best thing about being a WAHM is the little moments you get to be apart of in your little nuggets every day schedule. The sweet morning snuggles, the afternoon giggles to the over the top silly nighttime routines. Everything I do I am doing for my daughter so I love every minute I get to soak up with her, even the unreasonable toddler tantrums because her bowl was the wrong colour.
Can you discuss something you are working on right now to improve your work/life balance?
We recently went to go visit my parents in Kansas for a week and I turned everything off (except answering a couple of e-mails) and didn't work on anything I just focused on being in the moment and enjoying time with the family. It was glorious. I intend to continue getting better and allowing myself to do this. If we are working 24/7 we miss out on enjoying the exact reason we're working so hard in the first place- our family!
The best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be yourself! It sounds silly, but it's true. Instead of worrying about trying to sound 'professional' or trying to be 'this' or 'that' just be 100% your authentic self. I used to be so worried about using professional words or phrases or hiding parts of my personal life because they weren't 'pretty'. You can never please everyone so you might as well build your brand and company completely true to you. I feel it is when you find the most success and find your true tribe because people know when you're being genuine.
What WAHM has inspired you lately?
Dana Malstaff is a huge inspiration to me. She's the creator of the group and company The Boss Mom. I have met and connected with so many wonderful women on there and truly admire her for everything she's established and created. A great group of talented women. That's how I connected with Angie Morgan from here!
What are you reading right now?
Reading *used to be* one of my favourite pass times. But queue mom life, working and keeping the house afloat (or at least off the quarantine list) and it's been hard to find time. When I can snag a few minutes to read I love to read mom blogs and anything to brush up on my French.
How do you practice regular self care?
This is something I'm trying to work on. I'm usually last on my list. However, when I mail out customers packages I treat myself to a coffee and I take breaks every once in awhile outside with the pup and the nugget to get some fresh air during the day. It's the little things, right?
Brittany thankyou so much for being a part of the Mamaviews! I have loved your insights and mama wisdom! Where can we find you?
Here are my social media links:
My new company:
FREE Facebook craft group: www.facebook.com/groups/DIYJustForMe
Thankyou so much as always for reading this weeks Mamaview. Please like us on Facebook or find us in our Facebook group 'A Homegrown Village'