Meet the Makers Interview
We were recently featured in The Camara Crew blog and we’re sharing our answers to her 'Meet the Maker' questions. Get to know the mamas behind The Urban Nursery and how they manage life with two littles, a new business, and a million things.
Selen & Bekki.
Do you have kids? If so, how many & age?
We each have two kids. We met in prenatal class with our first babies who are now 3.5 years old. Our second babies are both about to turn 2.
What are some things people probably don't know about you?
Bekki has a decorated background in graphic design and photography so it’s surprising to know that she’s a farm girl at her roots. She can weld as well as drive a lumber truck and tractor. She’s also broken her nose 8 times growing up in competitive sports!
Selen has a background in business analysis but started off by attending art school for music where she majored in tenor and bari sax. She went on to study neuro psychology, biology and biological anthropology at U of T so nothing she does makes any sense, apparently.
We are both Pescatarians.
Are you a stay at home mom?
Yes, however we are both full time entrepreneurs as well. We both have all of our children at home, full time and also put in more than full time hours on our business as well.
What is your favourite thing to do for yourself?
Selen: Girls’ night out are a requirement for my survival. I work super hard and I love/need to let loose and have those nights out with my friends where we have too many drinks, go dancing and laugh our heads off.
Bekki: I love hiking with my family and being outdoors. Photography is a huge passion of mine. Taking photos of my kids is my favourite creative outlet and stress relief.
What is your favourite date night activity?
Selen: We love to go out to hear live music. We also do a lot of low key date nights where we check out the latest restaurants, breweries and bars that are popping up in our neighbourhood.
Bekki: Dining out. We’re foodies.
What's one thing you couldn't live without?
Bekki: My family, camera and coffee.
Selen: Coffee, dry shampoo and my phone.
Apparently, we need more than one thing for survival these days.
Who's your IG inspiration?
We are really trying to pave our own path with our Instagram feed. We spend a lot of time and effort on our branding and social media content and take pride in creating an account that’s unique and our own. Check us out https://www.instagram.com/theurbannursery/.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Bekki: Know your worth.
Selen: Consistently make good decisions. It’ll change your life.
Business related questions:
Provide a description of your business:
The Urban Nursery makes modern, organic and eco-friendly baby clothing that’s ethically manufactured in Toronto. Our fashion-forward, gender neutral basics are made from buttery soft fabrics with eye catching, unique details.
Where is your business located out of?
We are an online shop based out of Toronto.
How did you choose the name for your business?
We actually chose about 200 other names before we landed on The Urban Nursery. We wanted a name that fit our modern aesthetic and had availability on all domains and social media platforms. You’d be surprised how many ideas are already used in one of those spaces!
How do you balance having kids & running a business?
Selen: We practice work/life integration. My husband works from home and I am my children’s full time caregiver, so we are both hands-on, doing everything for everyone all of the time. Work and family time is fluid and needs-based. Since the launch of this business, my husband has stepped up to a level I am in awe of and so grateful for. It’s a family effort. We all have to be on the same page and supporting one another to keep all the balls in the air. This business wouldn’t be possible without the support of our spouses.
Bekki: Coffee, a supportive husband and a kick-ass partner.
Where can people find your products?
We have an online shop www.theurbannursery.ca and we are currently in a few retail stores; August Kinn in Toronto, Little Labels Boutique in London and Maker’s Mojo in Oakville…and hopefully a few others soon!
What advice can you give someone looking to start up their own business?
You have to really love it and you really have to want it. Before you take the leap, know that it’s so much work. It’ll likely be longer hours than in any other job you’ve had. Your business will be on your mind constantly and there’s not the same separation from work that you would have in a typical job. You pour yourself into it. You nurture it. You obsess over it. (We joke that The Urban Nursery is our third baby.)
That being said, I’ve never had so much energy for my work or drive to work harder than I do for this. I’ve also never been more proud of my career accomplishments, or gotten as much satisfaction from even the small wins as I do now. I’ve never cared this much so the reward is there if it’s what you really want. It’s got to be a passion and almost an obsession to create something from nothing and fuel it into momentum.
What sets your business apart from others alike?
We developed our brand because we struggled to find the kind of clothing we wanted to put our children in. Trendy clothing typically held fast fashion standards for manufacturing and environmental impact and was made from synthetic fabrics and most of the available organic clothing was very basic and didn’t satisfy the modern aesthetic we were looking for.
We decided to marry high quality, organic and eco friendly fabrics and ethical manufacturing with fashion-forward designs that feature eye catching, minimalist details.
What is the most challenging part of running your business?
Sourcing suppliers for the types of eco friendly, design forward materials we are always looking for. We have so many ideas and we are often limited by what’s available or what can be custom made given the comparatively small quantities associated with small shop volumes.
What does a typical day look like for you?
9AM: Wake up and hear all about my husband and two kids’ morning adventures over coffee.
We normally have a slow start then head out for the kids’ classes, play groups, outings, etc. Many days we have lunch with my husband.
Bekki and I chat constantly as we squeeze in emails, create content and prep for photo shoots. We plan and run marketing campaigns, partnerships and sales initiatives as we create and execute fun and educational programming for our kids, referee their fights, deliver snacks on demand, clean the house, run household errands, buy groceries and do the laundry.
5PM: We rush home to meet “Daddy” for the end of his workday. We fill him in on our adventures, spend some QT together, eat dinner and get the kids down.
8PM: My husband and I get a moment to reconnect.
10:30PM: My husband goes to bed and I get into the bulk of my workday. Before I get after it, almost every night, I tell myself I’m just going to do a couple of urgent things and finally get some rest.
3-4AM: I force myself to turn the computer off. I get ready for bed and take a minute to put all the serums on my face and say a silent prayer that they will counteract the effects of chronic sleep deprivation.
Up at 7am, down at 3am. Chaos and tantrums and work in between. Multi tasking at it’s finest.
Favourite song: This is the hardest question! I’m an eclectic music lover. I can’t choose one!
Dream Vacation: Maldives or any island paradise with good music! Bring on the cocktails.
Dream Job: I’m doing it however in my dream version, we are hugely successful already so we can afford to experiment and create more!
Dream Car: I actually don’t know anything about cars. We live in the city so we are big walkers! I guess whichever one is best on environmental impact!
Favourite Smell: The fresh air on the lake at our cottage, grapefruit & my kids’ baby smell.
Dream meal: I’m obsessed with Seven Lives tacos (in Kensington)…paired with and an ice-cold beer for perfection.
Favourite item of clothing: Citizens of humanity jeans.
Favourite song: Too much pressure!
Dream Vacation: African Safari.
Dream Job: This is my dream job.
Dream Car: Tesla.
Favourite Smell: My kids’ baby smell, new puppy and the smell of the forest. And coffee!
Dream meal: Homemade mac and cheese.
Favourite item of clothing: Stretchy pants.