Michelle and I joke about how we are probably related somehow. Along with our obviously similar interests (Michelle has her own line of quirky California-cool clothing called Ultraviolet kids), we both have family hailing from Brooklyn. And we have the kind of hair that you don't see often (at least not naturally).
I really resonated with the sentiment Michelle shared about striving to find balance between work and life as a "momtrepreneur". I also feel her pride for being a California girl. Read on to hear more about this inspiring lady.
What inspired you to start your company and how did you get started?
Ultra Violet Kids in 2014. At the time I was also a mother of a 1-year-old and had been working as a designer for 15 years and I was ready for another baby but it ended up being of the fashion variety. My company started with the first baby turban created because Violet was bald and I thought it would be chic. I then focused on a full collection because I saw a void in the kid's apparel industry and chose to fill it. UVK is all made here in Los Angeles with a focus on quality sewing, sustainably sourced fabrics, and paying our workers living wages. The point is giving our customer high-quality fashion for kids that parents would love to look at and kids would like to wear.
What do you love/hate most about being a "momtrepreneur"?
The cool thing about being a momtrepreneur is your kid/kids get to see you create, work hard and achieve your goals. The downside is work never ends, you work at night and weekends and they come with you, they want you when you are working, they climb on you during meetings and cry during important interviews, etc. Kids are unpredictable. The upside is that you can take your kids with you, the downside is you are always on.
Tips for juggling motherhood and business?
Take care of yourself and put your oxygen mask on first, no one needs a run-down CEO or head of household. Be kind to yourself and know that you have 2 full-time jobs and not everything will happen at the same speed as when you were without a child. Exercise - move your body 2-3 times a week because exercise releases serotonin and we all need to feel happy. Work after your child is down for the night or while they nap. And lastly, set your "work hours" and know when the day ends, for those with partners, they need you too so don't forget to set aside the time to fill their cups.
Favorite things to do in LA with your daughter?
Violet and I love to go to get our fruits and veggies at the farmer's market, go to Little Tokyo and grab a bite and walk around, go rollerskate, to the beach or take the dogs for a hike. In non-pandemic times, I like to take her to art museums and gallery openings, to dinner to explore our amazing restaurants, and to the movies. Can't wait for that all again.
What character traits do you want most to model to your daughter by example?
Kindness first. - we are all on this planet together so let's treat each other with kindness. Take care of our planet, we only have one. Be strong, assertive, honest, and use your creativity. Also, a reminder that we are the people on the planet that help make it fun, enjoy laughing, and making other laughs too.
What does it mean to you to be a feminine tomboy?
I think a feminine tomboy is someone that doesn't mind getting down and dirty but also enjoys getting dolled up for occasions too. A classic combination of athletic and feminine.
Favorite Lady Dandelion item(s)? The Tennis Skort is so cute and versatile and I got so many looks wearing it and it feels so good to know that I look pretty but don't need to worry if my skirt flies up, what's underneath.
What fashion trends will never go out of style in your world?
Denim is a wardrobe staple of mine in the form of overalls, jumpsuits, pants and jackets...I will always own denim.
Favorite movie character?
I have so many characters I relate to - Baby from Dirty Dancing, Vivian from Pretty Woman, Carrie & Samantha from Sex in the City, Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction are some of my favorites.
Favorite thing about California?
California is big and there is so much to see! Our forests and canyons are next-level gorgeous. But living in LA the best part is that you can wake up and go to the beach at sunrise if you surf and hit the slopes for noon if you ski or snowboard. It can be done since the ocean and the beach is a cool 2-3 hours away from each other. Pretty solid place to live, ey?
What does it mean to you to be a California girl?
Being a California girl means getting outside and enjoying what our beautiful state has to offer. Reveling in activities that feature our beautiful mountains, beach, rivers and deserts, eating farm-fresh produce year round and taking care of our beautiful planet by being conscious humans.
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