Why did you decide to start your business?
There is a short and long answer to why I started MamaLove, focusing on commissioned portraits of moms with their children.
The short answer: I started MamaLove after having my daughter because motherhood has creatively reinvigorated and inspired me in ways I was not expecting.
The long answer: In my first days of motherhood, I was unable to breastfeed. I felt like such a failure. My neighbor and friend who had a baby four months older than mine, casually and generously offered some of her breast milk to me. For almost ten weeks, she sent over bags and bags of frozen breast milk. Because of this gift, my daughter thrived, and my mind eased. More than this, my friend’s kindness felt like she’d thrown me a lifesaver. She reached out to me, checked in on me, answered my questions, and most significantly, made me feel connected as a new mother.
In a search to show her my gratitude, I came across a picture of my friend wearing her daughter in a bright orange wrap. I immediately knew what I’d do; I would paint this picture. She was radiant, her baby delighted, and the love and trust between them was almost visible. It was pure MamaLove.
After painting this portrait, I felt compelled to offer these keepsakes to other moms who want to remember a particular moment, connection, and expression of love between them and their children.
What is a typical day in your life?
My typical day is packed, but predictable. I wake up around 6:30 to get myself ready for work and my nine month old daughter Lulu ready for daycare. I get to work around 8:30 and leave around 4:30. (My day job is not painting.) When I get home, it’s a mad rush to cook dinner, get prepared for the next day, spend some time playing with Lulu, and get her ready for her 7:00 bedtime. Then it is time to paint. I usually sit down in my studio within an hour of her going to bed. I try to paint an hour or two every night. I usually turn on some music or a podcast (Right now, I love Being Boss, The Longest Shortest Time, and This American Life) and get to work. I have to stop painting at least an hour before going to bed, or I will have a hard(er) time falling asleep. I try to get in bed by 10:30, but sometimes I get sidetracked, falling down a pretty Instagram rabbit hole, or scrolling through Pinterest.
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve faced so far?
The biggest hurdle I’ve faced so far, besides time management, is being able to promote myself and my artwork in ways that feel genuine and natural. I am confident in my abilities as an artist, but I have a difficult time saying so out loud sometimes. In the past, when someone has seen my artwork and said something along the lines of, “I have to have you paint me something!,” I would say “sounds great!” and then never follow up. Now though, I have to be the one to start the conversation. I have to be able to show my work and tell people, “I can do this for you, too if you’d like.” I have to be proactive about getting the word out there. I am still working on it. With each sale, I become a little more comfortable with it.
Any awesome projects in the works?
I have a couple of commissions lined up right now, which is exciting, especially since I am now getting clients that I do not know personally, but who have asked me to paint something for them because they’ve seen my other work. I am thinking about adding a line of greeting cards for moms to send each other to mark certain motherhood milestones, or to send “just because.” Maybe there will be a card for when a mom has to go back to work, or a card meant specifically for mom on her child’s first birthday. MamaLove is really an appreciation and celebration of motherhood so I am open to exploring any creative opportunity that aligns with that. I am also very proud that 10% of each commission goes to Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization that removes barriers to maternal health all over the world. I started this business because another mom supported me, and I want to use MamaLove as a vehicle to support other moms, too.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on your design work?
What is free time?! Ha! I always like to keep my hands busy, and have been trying to teach myself crochet, rather unsuccessfully, for a little while now. I can’t figure out how to hold my hand and the yarn at the same time. My fellow creative friend is supposed to help me with it, but she is due with her first baby on Sunday, so it will probably be awhile! I like the idea of being able to watch television while also working on something productive. I also like the repetitive nature of crochet and the potential to reach a zen-like state doing it, emptying my mind of everything except completing the next stitch.
I also like to read, although I finish books at a much slower pace than when before I had a baby. Right now, I’m reading Just Kids, which is Patti Smith’s memoir of her young life with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Next in my line up is Daring Greatly by Brene Brown because I’ve heard so many people mention her name lately, which intrigues me.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite color?
I am like my three year old niece when it comes to this question. My favorite color depends on the time of day you ask me, and what I’ve been looking at recently. At this particular moment, my favorite color is blue.
This lady is so sweet and I really love what motivated her to start her creative business. Head on over to her site to see her work and give her a well-deserved set of heart eyes on social media. You will be so happy you did. Find more from Mallory at www.mamaloveart.com and get social with her here: