Dawn Marie Pottier is the CEO and founder of lulujo – a Canadian brand that makes stylish and beautiful baby products like muslin blankets, turkish towels and wash cloths. Started when she was a new mom, Motherly talked to Dawn Marie about taking an idea to market, work-life integration and what 'motherly' means to her.

Was there a moment when you realized that you needed to start lulujo?

My first product was a sling carrier I made by hand just before going on vacation with my young family. It ended up being so helpful and necessary during that time, I thought I should make more of them for other mothers. When I returned home, I approached a local baby boutique who said they could sell it in their shop. In that instant, walking out of the store, I knew it would work and it was what I needed to do. That was how Lulujo started.


You've shared that you were inspired to start your own business while on maternity leave. What about the maternity leave time, particularly for working mothers, is so unique?

On maternity leave, you are alone a lot: middle of the night feedings, breastfeeding for hours during the day when others are off to work and school. It’s often just you and your baby. You think a lot. In Canada, we have a full year off, so I spent a lot of time thinking. I LOVED being on maternity leave – there was no noise.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Do what works for you. If you listen to yourself, usually things work out.

How has motherhood transformed your career? What’s your secret to integrating work and family?

Lulujo is not my work, it is just part of me. My children, my family, my friends, my co-workers are all intertwined with Lulujo. I never feel like I am “going to work.” There is no hump day or weekend, it’s just my life. Being a working mom, I’ve learned to multi-task very efficiently!

What keeps you inspired and excited every day?

It is all of the people who work with me. Starting your own business can be very lonely. I spent the first couple of years basically working alone, thinking full-time about the business, and just staying focused. It seems like at the exact time I needed help and could barely handle another moment working alone or in my head, this incredible group of people formed around me. The Lulujo team is made up of hard working, authentic, real people and they inspire me.

How do you come up with ideas for products and fabrics? Are they based on your own experiences?

I listen with my eyes and ears. Sometimes it is based on something I feel is beautiful or, like one of our prints, it could be inspired by a drawing my daughter made for me. There are several different people within Lulujo who have strong opinions and great ideas. I generally look to all of them, gather their opinions, listen, and then go from there.

What are your big dreams for lulujo?

I’m so fortunate to say, my big dreams for Lulujo have came true. Getting to the starting line is when the foundation has been built. Now that the foundation is solid, I believe as long as we stay focused, listen, and work as a tight team, we can do anything.

Who is your #momcrush?

I don’t have one – I crush on #allmoms

What does “Motherly” mean to you?

Motherly means compassionate, caring, and kind. Creating an environment for your children that makes them feel safe, protected, loved and allows kids to be kids. When your children know you are there for them no matter what, that is motherly.

This interview with Dawn Marie Pottier is part of the #MotherlyMakers series, featuring the women remaking our world.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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