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Working Moms: General Public Goods

Talking babes and biz with some of our fave pregnant Texans.

Working Moms: General Public Goods

Instagram is a place for inspiration and information, as well as camaraderie and community. Many a thumb-swipe have yielded a great friendship or business partner, two people that may not have ever found each other otherwise if not for a follow and a like. Such is the case with Alexis Sassard and Randee Shields, co-founders of one of our favorite new lines of new mama must-haves, General Public Goods.

These two Texas mamas have reinvigorated the postpartum wardrobe, with simple, classic hand-made pieces. Like the perfect V-neck top. A cardigan you’ll reach for on the daily. And a ring sling that’s comfortable and chic from your baby’s infancy through toddlerhood, with genius details like a pocket on the tail.

Now that both are expecting their second babies, they’re bound to have even more insight into the postpartum market. Below, Alexis and Randee open up about balancing babies and business.

Tell us about the product range at General Public Goods. How do you determine what’s in the line?

We create the pieces we want to see when we shop. Flowing cover-ups to veil a nursing baby or changing postpartum tummy. A reversible tank with a sexy neckline that's also nursing friendly. You will see these same themes in a beautiful dress design we hope to release next.

Why ring slings vs. another type of carrier?

We chose to make slings because they are the most functional and stylish of all baby carriers, especially with the addition of our simple pocket on the tail. Simple, stylish design and function are actually the guiding themes of all our pieces.

Why is babywearing so important to you as busy moms?

We both learned quickly that babywearing was the key to multi-tasking! Carrying a child in a sling is exponentially easier than lugging around a carseat or chasing an early walker. But most importantly, the closeness is like nothing else. Smelling your baby's head and showering them with kisses for hours on end is incomparable. Babywearing with ring slings also makes nursing on the go a breeze for mom, baby, and any pesky onlookers since the tail can be used as a cover.

How does each piece come to life?

When working on a new design we always start with function. With those guidelines, Randee begins drafting patterns and sewing samples. Then the both of us critique each sample, making adjustments until design and function meet and the desired style is achieved.

Describe the typical workday/toddler juggle.

We aim for a 10-5, Monday-Friday work week with a lot of room for flexibility. Truthfully, there is no typical work day when toddlers are involved. Some days, we're amazed by how much machine time we get, and feel accomplished with the orders we shipped out. Others we spend most the day breaking up fights between the kiddos and cleaning up their messes.

How does being moms contribute to your creative vision?

Motherhood is a huge contributor to our work. All of our pieces are designed with the modern mother and child in mind.

How does having this business impact you as moms?

Randee: I hope is that I'm setting a good example for my children and teaching them that it is possible to make your dreams come true if you're willing to work hard enough.

Alexis: I believe that caring for your children also means caring for yourself as a mother. By having this business, I hope to teach my daughter not lose herself in motherhood. Meeting your needs, creatively or not, makes you a better mom, partner, friend, and so on.

What's the most challenging part of having your own business as a mom?

Finding balance is definitely our biggest struggle. When we work too much, we worry we're being bad moms. When we don't work enough, we worry we're being bad business owners. But every once in awhile it all feels right, and it's in those moments when we are truly fulfilled.

What's the most gratifying part?

Randee: It's spending days with my babies and being there for my family. That will always be the most important part. Without this business I would be working full time, out of the house, and wouldn't have the option to turn around and smile at my sweet son anytime I want.

Alexis: I'm grateful to have the flexibility. I get to be mom and wife first, and business owner second. Being able to stop working at any point in the day if my family needs me is the most gratifying part. Not everyone has that luxury and I know it.

Can you share your best 5 tips for a mom entrepreneur thinking about starting her own business?

1. Go for it!

2. Focus on the big picture. Don't let bad days, or weeks even, bring you down.

3. Set weekly and monthly goals along with short term and long term ones.

4. Try to accomplish one thing a day. It could be simply sewing down one seam or making one social media post. On the really hard days this one thing will mean everything.

5. Be as patient and flexible as humanly possible. And when you're not, go kiss your babies and forgive yourself.

Original photography by Walter Sassard.

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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