Talking bumps & babies with jewelry designer Carrie Morrissey.
There is no time like pregnancy to get accessorizing. No matter how many jeans or dresses (or bras) you outgrow, that gorgeous statement necklace always seems to fit perfectly. Nobody knows that better than Carrie Morrissey, CEO and creative director of I Still Love You NYC. Her laser-cut acrylic jewelry line is the best accent to a growing bump...including her own!
This Brooklyn mama-to-be recently invited us into her colorful workshop to talk about feeling strong and sexy during pregnancy, how she’s adjusting her biz style, and what she’s most looking forward to with her baby girl on the way.
How have you balanced pregnancy and your job? Have you had to make changes?
The first trimester was so hard because I was exhausted. Constantly. Since I first found out I was pregnant, we’ve made quite a few changes in the day-to-day running of my business. I had been teaching my assistant the craft for about a year, so once we found out, a lot more of the sampling and production went to her. I still control the brand voice, design responsibilities and run the day to day social media and PR, but once the baby comes I will be teaching her more of that as well so we can work side by side on projects.
How has pregnancy or the idea of a baby influenced you creatively?
It’s fascinating, becoming pregnant has really changed my priorities. ISLYNYC has always been a very joyful brand, generally I design things that make me happy or laugh. But as I’ve become pregnant, I’ve started thinking about things that are bold but a little easy to wear and understand. Our most recent collection is much less conceptual than past collections, it feels more mature, more womanly.
Tell us about your pregnancy style.
Since I’ve become pregnant, I’ve been wearing more tight clothing than any other time in my life! Generally I wear larger, loose clothing, but since my chest and stomach have grown those styles feel really unflattering. My best friend actually told me “If there is any time to show off your stomach it’s now!” and I couldn’t agree more. I feel sexy and strong in a totally new way!
I’ve got a small collection of pieces that are really easy to switch in and out, that are easy to wear and feel really classic. I have a navy body con from American Apparel that looks awesome with denim or layered under a sweater, a few grey bodycon dresses, one from Need Supply and one from Pinkyotto. An amazing long grey vest from Myths of Creation that looks fantastically chic over any of them, and a few pair of cute boots that are comfortable and easy to walk in but still look very cool. My favorite pair are from Surface to Air. The only actual maternity clothes I’ve bought — which I love and am so glad that I have, are a pair of maternity leggings from Pea in a Pod, and a few staples from H&M -- a super cute/comfy sweat suit in chambray, and several pair of opaque black maternity tights.
What creative moms out there inspire you and why?
I am super fortunate to have a few really inspiring creative moms in my friend group. My BFF since college is a business owner with a 5-year-old — she slays both parenting and operating a successful company with grace and composure and I’ve been taking notes since day one of her parenting. She’s not afraid to say no to her son, which I think is really important, and he is madly in love with her, because he feels secure in himself, taken care of and supported.
Another friend of mine who’s just had a baby girl has been really inspiring to me. She’s a teacher so she has a lot of experience with kids, but beyond that, her pragmatic take on pregnancy is so refreshing and comforting. We obviously want to make sure everything is as perfect as it can be, but it’s so easy to get overwhelmed or overzealous, it’s amazing to chat with a girlfriend who’s going through the same things candidly.
Another friend of mine just gave birth in November and she and I both have small jewelry businesses — she worked right up to the end, and is figuring out how to juggle keeping a business going while spending as much time as possible with her new baby girl. Talk about inspiring!
NYC is obviously such an important part of your brand's identity. What are you most looking forward to sharing with your baby about the city you "still" love?
I am beyond excited to bring a child up in New York City. From culture and art to different types of foods, communities and people, I am so happy to show my girl a world full of differences! The best way to find out how similar we all are is to be on top of each other, and that is totally this city. We are not homogenized, we are dirty and gritty and real. I truly feel this is one of the most exceptional places in the world, it is a place where dreams happen and are realized, where inspiration is everywhere. I am excited to share this with her — and I can’t wait for her to share her perspective and inspiration with me!
Has your work in Brooklyn's creative community helped you uncover some cool brands for baby's nursery or wardrobe?
Honestly, the best part of being in BK surrounded by other cool moms are the rad hand-me-downs! On my block alone there are tons of moms, and adding in all of the friends having babies, we are swapping things like mad! We are planning on doing as much gender-neutral things as possible so I’m not terribly concerned with what gender the last owner was, besides the fact that it’s all in the styling -- and between puking and potty-ing there will be plenty of opportunity for outfit changes!
Tell us about some cool baby or pregnancy brands you've discovered in the BK creative community.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say my husband and I are “crunchy” but we are absolutely interested in giving her good quality pieces made by small brands rather than all the disposable plastic sold at big box stores. A really good friend has started making plush toys and selling them on her etsy site Bangarang Club, they are beautifully sweet and gorgeously made. We also really like a lot of the smaller brands sold at Mini Jake in Williamsburg and LAB Brooklyn, they have a lot of wooden toys that we love and sweet home decor, although as of yet we haven’t bought a ton because we don’t have a ton of space in our apartment. At the end of the day, we are more interested in second-hand pieces than purchasing too many new things that are only going to last a few months to a few years. We create so much waste already anything we can reuse is our favorite. And of course, ISLY’s jewelry has been great since I’ve been pregnant — brooches fit ANY size, and they cover the inevitable food spots that fall on my ever-growing chest!
Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded NY.