Welcome to the first installment of my new series, “Behind the Brand” where I’ll be interviewing the entrepreneurs behind some of my favorite brands/stores. I wanted to create a series that would dig a little deeper than discussing florals for spring and boots for fall. Although trend forecasting is undoubtedly fun, I’m hoping that these short but sweet interviews could bring a little more value to you! I love whenever I have the opportunity to learn more about the people behind businesses that I support and fingers crossed we can all be a little more confident in, not just where, but who we are investing in.
I first found Bohemian Mama a few years ago on social media & was immediately hooked because they carried a huge selection of my favorite brands. From denim to accessories to cool kimonos, I found it to be a really great site to visit if I was looking for something a little more bohemian and unique. Although, I didn’t fully fall down the rabbit hole until I realized the brands they carried also happened to be sustainable and ethically sourced. There’s nothing better than finding out that a business you love is also dedicated to having a positive impact on the earth. Fueled by the mission to empower their customers with clothing designed to last as well as make you feel beautiful. Whether you’re a new mom shopping for two or just looking for some cool boho threads for yourself, Bohemian Mama is a true retail dream.
How long did it take for Bohemian Mama to come to fruition from your initial concept to the first sale?
I launched Bohemian Mama in my garage in 2015, five months after having my first child, on the heels of a severe battle with postpartum depression (didn’t actually know it was that, at the time). I was working full-time in corporate sales for a Fortune 500 company and had a successful sales career for over 15 years, but woke up one day completely unfulfilled. I realized that I could work just as hard for myself as I did for a company that couldn’t care less about me or any of its employees and I wanted to see what could happen. I saw a need in the market for women like myself who wanted to shop with intention in their buying choices for themselves and their children, in one place. Long nights of building out the website and curating brands gave me a new purpose and excitement about my work that slowly led me out of the depression and gave me something I wanted to someday leave for my daughter (should she choose). Of course, I had the support from friends and family, so sales happened pretty quickly, but it was a very long road from my garage to get where we are now and still going!
And what was your most unforeseen hurdle?
That’s a whole other interview, haha. There’s been tons of hurdles, but I would have to say the first I recall was the web platform. I built and destroyed and built my site all over again, in fact, three times now! But as with anything in the tech world, we must continue to evolve or die. So I imagine I’ll do this ten more times as we grow.
In an ever-growing online retail market, what do you think sets Bohemian Mama apart from the rest of the pack?
Well, I believe that although it’s hard to compete with corporate retail giants like Revolve, Free People, Urban Outfitters, etc. I consider Bohemian Mama to be more of a lifestyle than just a brand. It’s a retail destination for the modern bohemian, empowering women in all stages of life through fashion, bringing a highly curated family of really special brands together, sustainable and ethical whenever possible, to one place for both women and children.
Recently I’ve seen more and more brands focusing on sustainability & “slow fashion,” which is amazing! If someone who is leaning away from “fast fashion” came into your store, what category would you suggest they start building their slow wardrobe from?
So working first hand with factories for my own clothing brand, I truly got to see first hand the conditions of some vs others. And you pay a premium to make sure you work with factories that take care of their staff, providing health insurance and fair wages, but also ones that strive for leaving the earth in a better way than they found it. And these costs must be reflected in the price, but you will be able to feel the quality in the garment and feel good about what you’re wearing and who you are contributing to. Brands like Mate the Label, with the softest organic cotton you will find and luxe loungewear is a great place to start, or Boyish Jeans who practice by using yarn, and fabric and a manufacturing facility that are all within 30 miles of each other, which makes their carbon emissions less and process way more efficient. They recycle all of their cutting waste into new fabrics or industrial use. Or for some specialty threads designed and manufactured in LA, I would suggest shopping our collection from Novella Royale.
Best piece of advice you can offer for staying sane while running a business & raising a family?
Hmmm, there is no secret sauce. We are all human and figuring it out as we go while doing the best we can. I feel though it’s important to love yourself, forgive yourself, and keep showing up. For yourself, and your family. Self-care is so important to staying sane and we are all worth it. So if you need to have time for yourself, take it. Running and building this business, I work insanely harder than I did in my corporate job, but it’s so worth it. Remember to leverage your team and delegate. That is literally the only way because no one can do it alone.
Amen, Gina! I’ll try to remind myself to not be afraid to ask for help. I think most entrepreneurs can relate to wanting to “do it all” but it’s important to let your friends and family provide a support system when you need a hand.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the story behind Bohemian Mama! All of the highlighted words above are links so feel free to click through and take a peek at her site! Also, if you loved this series idea let me know on my Instagram @summerofdiane or in the comment section of this post. As always, sending lots of tropical vibes your way!
Xx – Rachael