I am so excited to announce a new series on the blog, Mom to Mom. Mom to Mom is an interview series with fabulous moms who create inspiration in the world of fashion, lifestyle, blogging, decor, food and entertainment. It is an informal conversation by moms, for moms, meant to inform, inspire and encourage. I am super pumped to launch the Mom to Mom series with a fantastic children's clothing designer, Salvage Maria. Salvage Maria takes previously worn clothes and up-cycle's them for the next generation, and she does this in a wonderfully creative and colorful way! Her vests first caught my eye on Instagram, and as I kept digging in I was compelled to reach out and pick her brain. If you like what you see/read, Salvage Maria is offering FREE shipping on her clothes! Just use the code: MomToMom at checkout.
As a mom, what has been your biggest challenge?
At this stage I definitely have more than one! I would definitely have to say discipline, listening, potty training, dealing with a picky eater and a preschooler who is chronically sick, being SAHM but trying to find time to work while my son is home is challenging, oh and keeping my house clean! I have a three year old going on thirteen who thinks he’s Jim Morrison some days and the Hulk others. He loves to play constantly and is incredibly strong willed so he doesn’t necessarily listen at home or at school. I want him to be his spunky little self of course, but I also want him to listen, be respectful and mindful and helpful to others.
What has surprised you the most about being a mom?
The unconditional love, selflessness, patience and nerves of steel you develop, but there’s also this sense of mommy self-confidence that comes with this role, which was unexpected. Also the transitional change you experience. From leaving a career, to making new mommy friends, to worrying if you fit in, and trying to create your own little community. You never realize how many new chapters and changes in your life you will go through once you have a child.
Not only are you a hands-on mother to a son, but you are also a successful businesswoman. Can you tell us a little bit about your clothing line Salvage Maria and how this came about?
Several years ago a friend made some upcycled t-shirt pants for her children. From there I was so inspired that I started designing and making my own upcycled clothes. I loved what we were producing and the reception was positive. I started taking occasional orders for friends on the side but never fully pursued it. A lot of time went by and then my brother tragically passed away this past Christmas Eve day. It was so incredibly devastating and hard to cope with. My mother was packing/donating some of his clothes and I realized that I could upcycle some of pieces for my son. I had t-shirts and other items made when we got back home. It was the first time in awhile I had felt hopeful and realized that I needed to pursue this full force and pour all of my grief, passion and energy into this. The initial idea was to continue to take custom orders, but it kind of evolved organically into a life all its own. So if I come across some surplus fabric, reclaimed leather or anything that I truly love I run with it and see what amazingness we can create. It’s not only the green element that’s great but I love the sentimental focus on everything we do.
What gave you the idea to up-cycle clothes?
About 4 years ago friend of mine made pants for her sons out of her husband’s t-shirts. They were cute, but overall I was so floored by the whole concept of taking something old and making it into something small and new. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the possibilities, from onesies, little tees, dresses, tank tops, pj’s, cardigans, I mean it’s endless. It’s so incredibly eco friendly and sentimental. What doesn’t look cute mini-sized?!?!
Where do you find your design inspiration?
I’m part Mexican and my mother is Zapotec Indian from Oaxaca so I love incorporating and infusing that cultural influence in my life and design aesthetic. I also like to create things that I would like to wear if I was that small.
Inspiration can strike randomly and unexpectedly for me. It can come from a distressed hide of leather to a hideous bolt of neon furry fabric. Everything has some sort of potential obscure beauty, you just have to look for it.
Does your son realize the concept of going green and recycling? How has your business help jump start this important conversation?
He’s learning. We’re super conscientious about recycling and not being wasteful. I try to be conscious about his clothing as well. I keep in mind if there’s anything I can make, or a small business I can support, before I purchase and contribute to mass overseas production. You’d be surprised how the little efforts you put forth can add up. I’d like to think he’ll see our examples and efforts and in return they will hopefully influence him.
What are some of your son’s favorite pieces from your collection?
He loves our fringed “Dewey” vest. He loves how the fringe swishes when he’s running or pretending he’s a superhero.
What is your trick in raising a grounded, down to earth son?
We try to make an effort to not to overindulge our son. We don’t always succeed, but one of our attempts is not buying him a ton of unnecessary stuff. We innately want to give our children everything but I think we can over do it and in return they’re not always as appreciative of what they have or can become expectant and self-entitled. He gets so excited and is so grateful when he gets a toy or present.
We also try to take him to Southern Mexico every year. I’ve been going since I was his age and want to carry on that tradition. My mom is from a town that’s very rural, some people use buckets from a tin tub to bathe, carts pulled by oxen go down the street, and some live in thatched roof homes with dirt floors. I think that type of exposure whether it’s another country or within your area is important to experience and be aware of. I know I’m guilty of getting caught up with worrying about his schooling, signing him up for classes and making sure we’re buying organic food, along with other concerns. It’s so easy to forget others don’t have those privileges that we consider standard. I feel blessed that we’re able to take those trips and experience another reality and culture. It hopefully will make him realize how fortunate he is, it will hopefully evoke humbleness and teach him compassion.
Two must have mom products you can’t live without?
My iPhone and my Shiseido eye lash curler. My iPhone has documented so many aspects and many milestones of our lives. It helps me keep my sanity when my son is melting down in the back seat and I need to call my mom or sisters to vent. It’s provided many humorous group text messages about motherhood and is a great distraction when you’re watching your third episode in a row of “Paw Patrol.”
I don’t wear make up everyday but I also don’t want to look completely haggard so I curl my lashes before I leave the house. It requires only a few seconds and makes your eyes pop! I keep a curler in my car!
Where do you find your balance?
I’ve started to pray all the time, and there’s definitely something to it! I also try to maintain some sort of semblance of a schedule and make sure I have some “me” but mostly “work time” when my husband gets home in the evenings and a couple of hours every Saturday morning. It can be so hectic at times balancing everything, and things are always falling to the way side, but there’s also something about it that makes you feel so alive when you’ve found your calling or your passion project. Overall, it’s late nights and early morning for me.
What is one thing you would have done differently as a mom?
I wished I would have enjoyed and savored the newborn stage a little more. It was such a struggle, so lonely, tiresome, fearful and worrisome. (I also watched way too much Law & Order SVU and Mob Wives.) I couldn’t wait till we were past it. I didn’t fully embrace it and it truly does go by so fast. I also would of joined the “Moms Club” sooner if I had looked into it earlier on. The women that I’ve met are some of my closest friends and they’re such an amazing supportive tribe!
What words of advice would you have for a new mom like myself?
You kind of just have to roll with it and not worry about what other people think, even if you feel like melting down yourself. Every time I feel defeated my son does or says something so sweet and loving. You have to remember or look for those moments. You can either laugh or cry, so when things are really bad I start to laugh because I feel so tragically helpless that’s it’s kind of comical.
Please check out Salvage Maria here, and don't forget about the free shipping code!