Love Well Handmade

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I was about 6 months pregnant when I first spotted Love Well Handmade’s collection of adorable baby leggings and bloomers at Shop Good. And you guys… I started crying. I was pretty hormonal, sure, but I knew that I would very soon have a very real baby rocking said leggings – and it was just… way too cute and maybe a little overwhelming. Since Fox has been born he has been rocking the leggings (above he’s wearing some from the Great Plains collection) and getting cuddly with Love Well Handmade blankies on the daily. (I’ve since stopped crying about how cute it is. But it’s still pretty darn cute.) 

So when I finally met Jonathan and Candice, the creative duo behind the cutest leggings ever, I felt like I was meeting baby fashion rockstars. And now I’m happy to be featuring them here and sharing a little bit about how they got their start and where they’re going next with their creative business.

&K: Tell me a little bit about why and how you started Love Well Handmade.

LW: Inspired by our twin babes, Linc & Viv, we started Love Well with a simple idea – to pair our passion for design and craftsmanship into a family business that could advance good in the world by giving back. We love the idea of connecting every purchase to a cause, allowing every customer to share that concept with their family too. And let’s be honest – making ridiculously small bloomers for newborns is something that can make anyone smile.

Once we had the vision, we jumped in with both feet and the business itself came together really quickly. We reached out to a friend who started a non-profit building wells in Central America, which provided a perfect first beneficiary of our shared proceeds. Jon designed our first round of fabric samples while Candice started refining patterns, eventually forming our first collection. Before we launched our online store we had a great opportunity to host a pop-up shop and jumped at the chance. It gave us just the deadline we needed to get everything in order, and so LW was born in July 2013.

&K: You have two sweet little babes. How do you balance (or blend) your work and home life? What is your biggest struggle and what has been one of your most successful solutions?

We have really been able to embrace the blend because we know we’re creating something meaningful together. Finding ways to involve Linc and Viv – outings to our retailers to drop off products, bringing them to pop-up shops, and of course letting them rough up our prototypes – has been fun. They love going places and have made a lot of new baby buddies along the way. At the same time, we strive to protect their day-to-day as much as possible by maximizing naps and focusing on sewing and designing after they go to bed.

All this to say, every day is a constant process of figuring out how to manage it all. When we’re up against a deadline, things get pretty chaotic so we’ve had to learn to say “later” or “no” to some opportunities in an effort to be realistic about our priorities and what is possible in this season of life. We also are so thankful to have our families close by who help us through busy times.

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Just recently we made a big step in our business by hiring someone to help us with some of the administrative tasks, and it has been one of the best decisions we’ve made. Offloading some of the tasks that are outside of the creative process has freed up more time for us to focus on the core of our business.

&K: Tell me a little bit about your creative process. Do you design the fabrics, create the patterns, and sew? What inspires your designs?

LW: Love Well is a creative extension for both of us, but in different ways.

Jon focuses on the fabric designs and marketing of the business. We share a love for an accessible, modern aesthetic and that’s something that’s hard to find in kids clothing. When designing our collections, we are inspired by quirky and unexpected sources. For instance, one of our latest lines features a geometric alpaca, inspired by our recent family trip to Peru. For each new line, we sort through dozens of ideas and color combinations to find something unexpected and fun. From the beginning we have hidden our signature heart in every design, and we’ve loved continuing that as a reminder of our mission. Yep, the alpaca’s face is the heart 🙂

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Candice focuses on crafting our product line from design to construction, including sewing every item by hand. Her design process blends inspiration from current modern trends with a nod to vintage. Our apparel is soft, unique and something you want your baby to wear everyday while embodying a modern+hipster fit.

&K: What’s next for LoveWell? It seems as if your biz is booming here locally. Any big growth (more reach? More product?) on the horizon?

LW: We love being a part of the local creative community in Oklahoma City and are grateful for how LW has been embraced in our first year of business.

What’s on the horizon? We are loving collaborations with other creatives and have a couple ideas up our sleeve for the months ahead. We are working through details of scaling the wholesale portion of our business to expand into new markets in Oklahoma and beyond. We’ve also started work on our next line that will be coming out this fall.

We’re really excited about a collaboration event happening in OKC on May 9 at Collected Thread in the OKC Plaza District. We’ve partnered with some other local/handmade businesses to host an event called Love Mom Well. It will be a fun night to connect with other local mamas and daddies! Event details here.

More info and all of our products are available at our website www.lovewellhandmade.com. We also love the Instagram community – find us @lovewellhandmade or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lovewellhandmade.

In Oklahoma City, you can find Love Well at SHOP GOOD (www.shopgoodokc.com) and Collected Thread (www.collectedthread.com).

We should get chickens

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The full title of this post is actually “We should get chickens!” and Other Things That Do Not Make Sense Right Now. Things like:

Climb Aconcogua
Go dog-sledding in Norway
Live on a sail ship for a year
Start a family band
Become a fiber artist
Road trip around New Zealand
Remodel our bathroom
Become a competitive bodybuilder
Go back to school for creative writing
Or naturopathy
Or sports science
Hike the Appalachian Mountain range
Overhaul my wardrobe to be completely post-apocalypse appropriate
Or…

Buy a new (to us) home. (And then get chickens!)

I have big dreams. All the time. And they don’t always make sense for our circumstances or for our pocketbooks but they make perfect sense to my gut and appeal to my heart. It takes just seconds, literally, for my body to make decisions that my intellectual brain would take some time to think through — at the very least a day or two — weighing pros and cons. So when I heard the whisper of a really rad midcentury home in a sweet neighborhood – and across the street from my sister – going on the market my heart immediately said yes. I could immediately see a vision of our family growing new traditions and forging deep roots together in this home. But now my brain is spinning to figure out “how are we going to make this work?”

It might not make sense. It might not work out. But my heart can dream, right?

P.S. Because I know I’ll get asked – yes, if we do move we will either be selling or renting our current house. You can email me at Kathleen@braidcreative.com if you’re interested.

On Moderation

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Last Friday afternoon I made these no-bake peppermint patties by Frankenstein-ing a few recipes from This Rawsome Vegan Life together and making a few moderations of my own. And they were awesome. I made about 12 cookies and managed to eat 10 (saving one for Jeremy and one for my sister) of them within the span of 12 hours.

I’m pretty good with being disciplined when I have firm boundaries. For example, if I’m doing a Whole30 and know that dark chocolate is off the table (and out of my mouth) for a full 30 days it’s not much of a problem. I know I’ll have cravings but I also know that I can’t give in to them. But after my month of clean eating is up, it becomes a daily battle to keep myself from eating an entire bar of the stuff – every. single. night. The question of “Do I have one more piece or no?” and the restraint (or indulgence) that follows almost becomes more struggle than the joy of eating some awesome chocolate is worth.

And on that note … since having Fox I only enjoy a glass of wine (or two max) once a week. But I’ve found that it’s not quite as enjoyable, tasty, or comforting as my daily “wind down” glass was pre-pregnancy. I suppose the daily ritual of getting cozy with a bottle of Malbec may have been what took the edge off even more so than the actual wine itself. Plus now when I imbibe, even just a little bit, I feel wrecked just hours later. Again, it just hardly seems worth it.

I’m beginning to think I suck at moderation. For as much as I’d like to think of myself an anything-goes free-spirit, I actually do much better within boundaries – even if they’re self-imposed. What about you? Are you good with moderation? Or do you prefer to have a clear line in the sand?

New Yorkisms

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Our Braid designer Kristin Tate recently moved from our home base in Oklahoma City to Brooklyn, New York. She’s still working for us full time but is pushing and experimenting with her design (and eavesdropping) skills on the side with the passion project of hers: New Yorkisms. Get the full story behind these posts over at Kristin’s blog here.

P.S. and off topic: Today is your last day to register for our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You before it starts on Friday. This ECourse is awesome for creative entrepreneurs, writers, photographers, bloggers, coaches, and consultants who are trying to get more concise about what they do and for who. As an And Kathleen reader you can take this course for $50 when you use the discount code ANDKATHLEEN50 when you register. Learn more and see if it’s a fit here. 

Enjoy Every Moment

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My phone alerted me the other day that I’ve almost used up all 16GB. Aside from the time I accidentally synced Beyonce’s new album (in which each song comes with a video) to my phone that has never happened before.

What changed? I had a baby and couldn’t stop taking photos of him. This is no surprise to you if you follow my Instagram account. But for every photo posted there there are hundreds more that are never shared. Taking photos of my baby has become almost a compulsion. And at times I annoy myself with the need to document rather than just living in the moment. But I realized, it’s not the photos themselves but the act of taking them that is proof to me that I am not taking this time for granted. The action of snapping a picture takes me out of the moment to recognize that I am in fact enjoying it. A catch-22 at it’s finest.

I may be late to the game but I only recently discovered PostalPix – an app that lets you order prints direct from your phone. Every time I go to clear images off my phone I simply upload a few to PostalPix for printing and a few days later have quality prints delivered to my door. As much as I love capturing and sharing online I like the sentiment that real prints offer – physical proof that we were here and that we loved big time.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post – if there is a phone-to-print service you like even better let me know! I’m really wanting a service that offers magnets made out of my Instagram snaps to cover my fridge with.