I am a huge fan of Bee & Mae’s products and the values the brand stands for. Amanda, the founder, is mother to two daughters, wife to a “really great guy,” and she considers herself a “somewhat business woman.” Naturally, I wanted to dig deeper with Amanda — to learn what drives her and how she launched her business while being a mom. If you live in Orange County, keep an eye out for Amanda and her family and be sure to say hello!
How did the idea of Bee & Mae come about?
Bee & Mae originally started as Wild Frays when my first daughter, Blake, was born. I was staying at home but needed to still find a creative outlet and wanted to contribute to the family somehow, so I started making bows. Truth be told, I wasn’t the greatest, but I made it work. I did that for about a year and then that transitioned into making baby/toddler infinity scarves. I made these scarves for about a year as well and then I moved onto baby blankets. I liked making the blankets, but each one took too much time to make. I had a toddler running around and a new baby daughter, Olive, and the blankets took too much time away from them, so I just couldn’t do it anymore.
I took a break for about a year and in 2016, I started Bee & Mae (Bee for Blake and Mae for Olive Mae). I originally started making enamel pins. Drawing, and creating in general, has always been something I’ve loved. I did that for five or six months and was pretty successful and then I came out with a couple of shirts, although they were not mom-themed at the time. Those did well too, so I decided I wanted to make something I could really connect with and that a lot of people could relate to. In June 2017, I came out with the “Mother Deer” shirt and then “Mothers are Magic” a few weeks later. It snowballed very quickly with more shirts and pins. I think now we have over 20 different adult shirts and 15 children’s shirts along with more pins! I’m so grateful for the success and support thus far.
It’s very cool to have a hobby and something that has helped me get by mentally to just explode and become a legitimate business. It’s pretty awesome.
What surprised you most about motherhood?
Both of my daughters have special needs, so the dreams that I had expected were very different than what our reality ended up being. I think getting over what I had planned was definitely a challenge. Of course, now there are new goals and dreams for them. Also, the lack of sleep really surprised me. You really can’t understand that until you go through it and man, I think I’m still recovering from newborn stage years later.
How do you find balance between your personal life, motherhood and work?
This is something I still struggle with and definitely need help with. Running my business from home is hard because I constantly feel like I need to be working since it’s right there, literally five feet away. BUT, I’m trying to designate specific times where I try to get some work done. I am also really trying to stop working at 5 p.m. and no weekend work. That’s really hard to do with a small business, but I think to stay sane and in the moment with my family, it has to be done and has to be made a priority.
Do you have a daily routine?
My routines are a little different. My daughters receive in-home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, so until about 12 p.m., I’m usually involved with that. When the kids are eating lunch I try to answer a couple of emails, print out a few orders, etc. I’ve been trying to find more free time, so a couple days during the week, my parents help out and watch our kids so my husband and I can relax, go to dinner, get work done, etc. This has been SO great for my well-being and just getting a second to breathe.
If you could give new moms one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t try to be a Pinterest mom. Your kids just want YOU.
They won’t care about the fancy room that’s done up for them or the extravagant treats and toys, all the bells and whistles. They just want a mom who will be present and have fun with them! It’s hard living in a world that is social media driven; the comparisons are inevitable. Try to look past all of that and remember the Instagram moms you see have kids who are having just as many tantrums as everyone else’s kids.
Advice for a mom wanting to start her own company?
Don’t start a business thinking that you’re going to make a ton of money; that won’t happen. Start a business because you want to create and share your products with others.
Making a profit is just a bonus. Don’t make/create what you think other people will like. Make what YOU know, what YOU like. Stay true to yourself and what you love to create. Create for you, not others.
How do you teach your daughters about girl power?
We try to instill a lot of confidence and independence in them. We encourage them in whatever they want to do, letting them know they can be and do anything they want in life. We try to teach them to follow their dreams, although it’s kind of hard at this age: my six year old wants to be a dinosaur.
We’re just constantly trying to lift them up and be a positive light in their lives so they know their worth.
What is a challenge you are currently facing?
I think trying to find the balance between wife, mom, businessperson, person in general has been really hard. I think that juggle will always be hard but I’m trying to figure out how to make it a little more manageable and less chaotic. I’m also trying to set specific work hours so I’m not going in and out of my office all day. Working to make those lines and not cross them is hard, but I’m getting there!
What other mom-owned brands do you love?
Edited by Kelly Riechers DiCristina