BY MOTHERS & CAREERS
Welcome to our interview series, Inspirational Women. We are speaking to ambitious, impressive career women who have made flexible working work for them – these women have achieved the work-life balance that so many of us are yearning for.
Entrepreneurship; designing, launching and running a new business is not for the faint-hearted. However, more and more mothers, set up their businesses after having had a baby. Meet Alysia Thomas, designer, businesswoman and a mother to her 16 month old son Fynn.
The Designer and Business woman Alysia Thomas
M&C: Tell us how you got here. Who are you, where do you live and what is your business?
Alysia: I am a California native now living in London with my husband and 16 month old son. We live in Peckham Rye which is a fantastic, diverse and creative community. I founded A . T London which is a scarf company specializing in beautiful artisan crafted scarves for Maman, Papa, Femme, Homme and Bebe. I actually studied Marine Biology and this does influence my business as we try and be as environmentally responsible as we can be by using water soluble inks, as little water in the process as possible, and ethical manufacturing practices.
M&C: Tell us a little about your journey to start your own business. What inspired you? When did you get your business idea and when did you launch your business?
I started making scarves about 3 years ago, mostly luxury cashmere scarves through Italy. When I had Fynn a year and half ago I was trying to find a scarf that I could use as a nursing cover and all around cover (for naps in the pram, or in the carrier). Mine were too nice and muslins were too ‘Mommy’ and I really didn’t want to use one of those covers that were functional but so ugly. You know the kind with the big square canvas front and big tie back. I couldn’t find anything that felt as sexy and cool as before I was a Mom.
So the A.T London jersey wrap scarf was born…..and a year later here we are. It takes 2 minutes and easily fits into your bag. It is made of the softest jersey cotton so it is super cozy against even a newborn’s skin and is very breathable. The great thing is you can wear it as a regular scarf baby or no baby. Half my customers don’t have kids which was the whole point of what I wanted to create in the first place. Something functional, beautiful and luxurious. Why should Mom’s suffer and not have fashionable options!
As a Mom though, I needed it to be practical so it had to go in the washer and dryer and it is also had to be ethically made. They are all screen printed in small batches in India. The A.T London jersey wrap scarf works great as not only a scarf but a baby blanket, nap shade, car seat shade, park blanket, etc. We even used it to tie Fynn into his high chair in Paris. The other great use is for yoga. I use it on my yoga mat laid out flat as a yoga towel and as a ‘belt’ to do stretches. It works for everything really. My husband loves it too.
Motherhood and running a business
M&C: Tell us about a typical day.
Alysia: I wake up at 7 am when Fynn decides to get up, do a bit of play time in his room, then I switch off with my husband, one day he does yoga and I make breakfast and the next day I do yoga. We find it is the best way to settle your mind and try and keep some balance.
Juggling motherhood and a business is a real challenge. For a long time I was just tired. But now it’s easier as Fynn is napping regularly and I get to have a rest and do the work that needs to be done.
I still find it hard to get everything done in a day, however I wouldn’t change it for the world. I also know this time is precious and pretty soon he’ll be in school so I’m just trying to enjoy watching him learn about the world.
M&C: What are your favourite ways to relax and unwind? What are your top three inspirational books, blogs or websites that you read? When you wake up in the morning, what do you look forward to the most?
Alysia: My favorite way to unwind is with a glass of wine and a bath. My husband has his own wine company called Tiger Vines (www.instagram.com.tigervines.official/) so I am lucky to always have an amazing glass on hand.
My top three inspirational books are Diane Keaton’s memoirs, Angelica Houston’s memoirs and Diane Von Furstenberg’s memoirs. Anything really by inspirational women who just go out and get’em, don’t take no for an answer. I love that. It’s important to remember when you get a no or feel things aren’t going right that everyone who was ever successful has felt this way.
For blogs, I love my friend and fellow mom’s blog THE MILK SPOT . She is so funny and I love Louise’s sense of humor about being a new mom. I also love SF GIRL BY BAY which is just great for home décor and travel. Really takes your mind off things.
The thing I look forward to in the morning is a cuddle from my son. That always puts a smile on my face!