I'm just a bit excited to introduce our latest Designing Mom, Carina Schott of Nonchalant Mom to all of you. She is going to be our new "Shop" contributor! As you read her introduction, you may come to recognize her from her brilliant shop or her home which was featured in Domino Magazine. I actually had my Domino issue dog eared to her home long before babies and slings and onesies ever became a factor in my life. There was something so admirable in how Carina and her husband achieved the single mission of creating a haven that would center first and foremost around each other and their children. Quite simply, it is a family's paradise.
Please help me in welcoming Carina and if you haven't visited her amazing shop in Rhode Island, click here to visit it online!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I have been in the fashion industry for way too many years! The women's business pooped me out--I lived in Italy and we started our own collection called 'hLam' (which means 'to dream' in Berber) while we designed about eight other collections for other people (per season, each year!) and we worked our butts off! Then I got into menswear and LOVED it (everyone is SO nice)...I was designing and working in PR--we started an Italian men's label, it was great! Then the parent company bought out Valentino and we were shut down... shoot! I have also worked in the daily grind of Esprit in the 1980's and Kenneth Cole (1995)-where I made a bunch of money but my soul was torn to shreds. My life in a paragraph... Then I started my wonderful company Nonchalant Mom and I couldn't be happier, I love my customers and I know almost all of them by name (and their childrens' sizes!).
How did you and your husband meet?
We met in San Francisco when I worked for Esprit, but I moved to Italy three months after we met... we got back together three years later (after he sent hundreds of letters and came to Italy to ask me to marry him but forgot the ring...) We have been together for almost 15 years now, he is my best friend and my greatest fan. He is an artist, his work is amazing!
How did NonchalantMom start?
When we moved to Rhode Island from New York I thought I would commute.. wrong... what else was I to do as a sweater designer in Rhode Island? My friend in Switzerland called me a 'nonchalant mom' one day and I said we should write a book--but then it turned into my shop and I love it! I opened in July 2004 and I didn't get orders for a few months, then I was on Daily Candy and it all went crazy! I wanted to share these wonderful kids labels like Makié, Erica Tanov and Lucky Fish (these were my favorites when I began and they still are..) nobody was online at the time! I had to beg people to sell to me because online was considered "cheap" or "offprice" back then, I had to explain that I was a unique children's boutique, the people who trusted me are still the people I sell and love, we are all in this together.
What inspires you?
My friends--Jann Cheifitz, Gunn Johansson, my kids and junk shopping and flea markets.
What projects, activities do you love doing with your children? Are they creative like their mom?
The little things like coloring with crayons, playing games, working outside and playing with our new dog. I wish I were more together to do more projects with them... (a little bit of 'nonchalant mom' showing here...oops!). Both of them LOVE to do anything!! My husband has them in the studio painting and I love to see that... my favorite!
What are the greatest rewards and challenges of being both a mom and also a business owner?
I so clearly remember the day that my son and I were carving pumpkins and we were laughing together and I thought... hhhhmmm it's very seldom that I focus 100% on him. Since then I try to be very careful that I am focusing on the kids when I am with them, a new business can really eat up your brain (especially when you really like what you are doing!).
Tell us a little bit about a typical-day-in-your-life.
We are always rushing, that family that has constant chaos at the door when we are trying to go anywhere (and now we have added a dog to that insanity so it's really bad!). When our son was in kindergarten we got a reprimand phone call from the principle about our son being late... wow that was embarrassing, you thought it was bad 'then' wait until it happens to you as an ADULT...we are much better now, he is almost NEVER late anymore. We eat all of our meals together, we always cook (hence all the recipes on my blog!) and either myself or my husband are with the kids after school, we have a strict schedule that my husband insists upon which keeps us running a tight ship. And then after dinner we usually sit and work until about midnight if we can hack it. We have no family here and we both work from home, it's not easy but I don't think anyone has it easy. I drink LOTS of tea! (kukicha, black, chamomile, you name it--I drink it!).