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Wrap-Star: Elle Rowley

It’s no secret that motherhood gets the creative juices flowing. Once we’ve grown a human being, brought them into the world, and then supported their little life day after day, it feels like there’s nothing we can’t do, right? Which means, of course, some of the best ideas are born right after baby. As was the case with Elle Rowley’s Solly Baby.

An avid babywearer seeking a better carrier right after she had baby #2, Elle worked relentlessly in a nook of her living room while her little ones slept. Her design and experimentation ultimately paid off with a soft, luxurious womb-like knit wrap so light and slim that it literally molds to your baby without overheating. Add in custom-dyed fabrics in beautiful colors and gorgeous designs (shibori anyone?), and it’s no surprise Solly Baby wraps have become the centerpiece of just about all our favorite new mama Instagram feeds.

This week, Solly Baby debuted their latest collection, filled with fresh hues, updated patterns and even a ridiculously cool Limited Edition Oh Joy! wrap by design guru Joy Cho. Below, Elle--now a mom of three (Lucy, 6; Solomon, 3; and Frances, 1)--fills us in on what we can expect to see from Solly Baby in 2015, and shares a little advice on balancing babies with business and getting your own creative juices flowing.

How do you structure your days between work and family?

During a typical week, I’ll go to the gym and then into the office early while my husband Jared gets kids ready, my oldest off to school and my youngest down for her nap until 10 or 11. Then we swap. I go home to our little ones for the rest of the day while Jared works until 5 or 6 at the office. I check in on emails and our social media platforms periodically but I really try to stay present with my kids when I’m out of the office. When they’re in bed we’ll both work a little more if it’s an especially hectic time.

The growth of our business has been incredible, but the workload can be relentless at times. Still, I love that there is flexibility within the chaos.

How do you think becoming a mom has enhanced you as a business woman?

I don’t just want to succeed, I want to succeed in a way that I am proud of in every way. In a way that my kids will want to emulate and feel proud that I’m their mom. I see every minute that I’m away from them as time that needs to mean something, not just make money, so I want everything I do and all of my interactions to really mean something.

Who are some entrepreneurial moms you admire or want to emulate?

Oh my, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many, but some of my closest “mentors” are DeNai Jones and Korie Conant (founders of Petunia Picklebottom), Katie Richardson (Puj), Annalisa Thomas (Oilo). It’s been amazing to see these women grow these beautiful companies and still keep their priorities straight.

I’m equally inspired by the mothers of start-ups around me. I see them do the daily grind for little to no pay, no accolades and questioning themselves daily if it’s worth it, if they shouldn’t just give up. That’s the time when every day is such a struggle to just keep going. There’s something so amazing about watching that kind of willpower and determination.

What advice would you give to a new mom that’s trying to start or grow a business?

Three things! First, only work with people who are either hungry for the work or understand your vision (preferably both). Second, have such a clear vision of what you want that no one else can take it from you. And, finally, for my deepest thought: you know how on the Bachelor the girls who get so bugged with each other start obsessing over it and end up getting kicked off because amidst their angst they forgot to develop a relationship with the Bachelor? That’s what knock-off competitors can do to you. Keep focused and leave it to karma.

Is there such a thing as balance? What's your best tips to help achieve it?

If there is, I haven’t found it! I think there is such a thing as priorities, though. I think we all know when our priorities are out of whack and when they’re not. I definitely don’t want to speak from a position of authority on this, but I can share a few things I’m working on:

  1. Take care of yourself first so you can best take care of others.
  2. Don’t be a martyr! No need to suffer needlessly in an attempt to “do it all”. Nobody can do it all. Let’s accept this and let go of the guilt behind things like scheduling in a date by yourself once a month (or more!), hiring a sitter or a housecleaner, going out with your friends, or not making your daughter’s birthday cake from scratch.
  3. When I’m feeling stressed, I like to make a list of everything I can possibly think of that’s making me feel that way. Then I write next to each stressor what I can do to change it. Either there’s something I can do and I’ll plan and schedule what I can do right then or I let it go.
  4. Learn to say no.
  5. Be present.

What's upcoming for Solly Baby in 2015?

This wrap with Oh Joy! is the first of many exciting things this year. We have our Solly Dolly wraps for little ones to wear their favorite dolls or stuffed animals in and a host of other collaborations this year as well. We are always looking for ways to work with our partner charity, Every Mother Counts, so be on the lookout for some projects with them later this year, celebrating motherhood and improving maternal health globally.

Photography by Max Wanger. Models are styled by Jacqui Saldana for Madewell. Solly Dolly wardrobe provided by Boy + Girl.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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