Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, where do you live now, what do you do for a living?
Hi! My name is Joyce, and I live in Los Angeles with my husband of 9 years, my 2 energetic kids (aged 2 and 5), and our Maltipoo furbaby.
A year ago, I launched BLOOMAIRE®, which is a modern motherhood company that creates beautiful, functional, and comfortable nursing-friendly clothing. The idea was born when I had a tough time finding ethically-made clothes for breastfeeding and pumping mamas. Most that I came across were constructed of 100% synthetic fibers that trap sweat and odors, or they weren’t well designed.
Navigating the first year of motherhood was a lot more intense than I had anticipated it to be. Postpartum depression was a ruthless beast, and I just didn’t have the energy nor patience to constantly dig through my closet for different nursing-friendly tops. So I started sketching out possible solutions. I dreamt of effortless, put-together pieces that mamas could rely on to conveniently feed their babes whenever and wherever. Ones that weren’t frumpy or constricting. Ones that were soft and breathable. Ones that would help boost confidence, and were versatile enough to help carry mamas throughout the day’s activities: errand runs, meetings, school pick-ups, naps, play dates, and so forth. Most of all, I wanted the clothing to be comfortable because I believe we’re able to feel most like ourselves when we’re at ease.
What does your typical workday look like and what do you love most about your career?
Oh gosh, staying at home with the family during this pandemic means there’s nothing typical about a typical workday! I have a more solid footing now, but finding the harmony between growing a business and being a mother/wife/teacher/chef/cleaner/andeverythingelseinbetween - even after months of acclimating to this new lifestyle - is still very much a daily thing.
I’ve gotten into the rhythm of working at night after the kids are asleep. Not only is it more efficient, but it allows me to be more present with my family throughout the day. The flexibility in setting my schedule is definitely a perk I don’t take for granted.
It’s immensely rewarding when someone shares with me how amazing they feel in the clothes (in fact, many women who have purchased the styles aren’t mothers!), or how nursing outdoors is less daunting because of the discreet nursing access points. I know firsthand the physical and emotional toll breastfeeding struggles have on a mother, so designing products that support other mamas in the community is by far the aspect I love most.
What advice do you have for someone thinking of launching a business?
Progress over perfection. As a society, we tend to view perfectionism as a highly valued trait. It’s often synonymous with being detail-oriented and seeking excellence, when in fact the pursuit of perfection is the pursuit of unattainable standards.
I used to wear perfectionism like a badge of honor, and then I realized how toxic my relationship with it was. How crippling it was. Perfectionism was actually masking my fear of not being able to live up to those standards. It was a fear of being judged for failing and disappointing family and friends. And the results of that pursuit? Self-criticism, burnout, anxiety. Too many small steps forward, uncelebrated. Too many ideas that stayed ideas and projects that never saw the light of day.
If there’s something you’ve been wanting to start on - something you have passion and purpose in - pursue it now. Tap into your curiosity! Don’t give perfectionism or the fear of failure the upper hand. Don’t wait to create the perfect thing or to begin at the perfect time. They say a good start (not a perfect start) is half the battle, so do the best you can with what you have because it can be improved on.
Normally we would ask, what has been the biggest challenge you face? Given that we’re all facing the fear & uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, what are your hopes and any actions you are putting in place to come through the other side of this? How are you keeping motivated during this time?
When contractors’ facilities temporarily closed due to the city’s mandate, production was suspended and I saw a decline in sales. To stay current and afloat, I pivoted the business by introducing our first non-nursing-friendly item, the Mama Hero Organic tee. It’s what’s been propelling me this season.
The idea behind the tee is celebrating mothers. For many of us, identifying ourselves as heroes doesn’t come naturally. We’re oftentimes quick to pick at our shortcomings and mistakes, despite some of the amazing qualities we possess and work hard at for our kids: selflessness, strength, sacrifice, support, resilience, forgiveness, care, determination, and love. We’re heroes in our children’s eyes and I thought the shirts would be a beautiful reminder of that. Going hand in hand, I’ll soon be introducing a blog of stories from different mamas and their perspectives of what makes them a hero.
When we’re pushed during challenging times, I think a lot of creative ideas and strategies can arise so that’s the mindset and energy I’ve been trying to focus on. A strong support system is key, and I’ve been keeping motivated through honest conversations with my friends and my husband, who has been the most supportive since day 1. Being around my children has also been uplifting my spirits. I’ve been enjoying witnessing the quieter parts of their growth that I most likely wouldn’t have otherwise noticed had they still been in school. Yes, my kids are why I’m exhausted and I’ve most certainly had to give myself extra grace, but I’m soaking it all in. The good and the messy. The tears, the hugs, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on repeat, the dancing, the storytimes, the 20+ daily snack demands, the never-ending milk spills, the meltdowns (all of us), the exhaustion, the kisses, the naps together, the sticky fingers, everything.
How would you describe your personal style?
You know, I’m still figuring that out. Motherhood has changed my core in countless ways as cliché as it sounds. And I know the changes of motherhood are much bigger than my body, but I was really hard on myself and my postpartum body. It took almost 4 years to physically declutter and donate the pre-pregnancy clothes that were collecting dust, and I realized then how much mental space they took up. I was so fixated on preserving the old me that there wasn’t much room to practice self-acceptance.
We don’t have to be bound by a certain path of our past. We can shift courses. And when I gave myself permission to redefine my identity, it was powerful and liberating and it was like a huge weight was lifted off my entire being. Witnessing my emotional and spiritual growth particularly this past year has been awakening. I’ve also been getting reacquainted with this person in the mirror. The body that housed and birthed 2 beautiful human beings. Despite the weight gain and rolls and stretch marks and wrinkles and everything else that is frowned upon in today’s time, I feel more comfortable with myself than ever before. I’ve been listening to my own voice and respecting my needs, and that definitely translates into my sense of style. Now, if it’s not comfortable or serving me well, I just won’t wear it. That means more loose-fitting, breathable, machine-washable, ethically-made clothes are slowly taking over the closet, and I’m more than okay with that.
What are your favorite quotes to live by?
“Just because someone carries it well, doesn’t mean it isn’t heavy.” - Unknown
“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” - Brené Brown
“Yet God makes everything beautiful in its own time.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:11
Here are some of my skincare go-to's:
- Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm by Farmacy
- The Essence Plumping Skin Softener by Tatcha
- Skin Dope Argan Oil + Hemp Seed Oil by Josie Maran
- Instant Detox Mask by Caudalie
- Divine Drip Honey Butter by Josie Maran
When it comes to palate, I’m a creature of habit! Anything and everything lavender flavored brightens my day - particularly iced lavender lattés. St-Germain with club soda, garnished with orange peels (or lavender sprigs) are usually what I’ll mix together when I can unwind. Food-wise, I’ve recently been craving Mul Naengmyun, which is a popular Korean dish of cold noodles served in a chilled broth. It’s perfectly refreshing for those hot summer days.
I’m super late to this office party, but I’m currently on season 6 of The Office and I am hooked. Jim and Pam are my new favorite power couple, and I can’t even go into how entertaining Dwight and Michael Scott are. The binging was interfering with my work, so I’ve been rewarding myself with episodes of the show after completing a certain amount of tasks. It’s been an effective motivator!
Playing and chasing after the kids count, right?
Gretchen Lieberum has been an all-time favorite since her first album, Three A.M., debuted. I saw her live at a small concert and even though she was an arm’s length away, I couldn’t muster up the courage to squeak hello. Jill Scott is also a brilliant singer-songwriter and poet whose artistry I’ve admired for a long time now. Some others I’m really into are Billie Eilish, Rhye, James Blake, Late Night Alumni, Kaskade, Coldplay, Tash Sultana, Melody Gardot, Hillsong UNITED, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Hans Zimmer, and Philip Glass.