Everyone can appreciate a good love story.
You can fall in love with people, with places, with passions.
All of the above are true for our next blog feature, Taryn. “I grew up in Sonoma, California. I decided to go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to earn a degree in Landscape Architecture. My degree never stuck after college, but my college crush on my next door neighbor did.” He accompanied her to Maui for a work project, building a waterfall on an estate up in Kula. This would be a temporary project, but she fell in love with Maui and she and her husband have been here since. “We ended up getting married at the estate we worked at in front of that waterfall we built.” Together they have a 13 year old son and a 9 year old daughter.
“It was definitely love and overwhelming awe at first sight with both my kids. I still remember the first day of being a parent, I kept staring at our son and thinking, “I’m your MOM!!” It just felt so amazing.”
It was during those early years of motherhood that she fell in love with a new passion, sewing. The restlessness a woman feels during the constant yet reclusive action of caring for a newborn. She began sewing things for her daughter, and began to offer some extra items on ETSY. The product has been simple designs inspired by nature and filled with love.
Taryn describes her creative process: “I always start with a color palate that I’m drawn to at the time. After that it truly is a matter of scouring through fabric for hours on end to find the right fit for that palate and to compliment each other. I do prefer to keep the overall silhouette and design of the dress fairly simple. Focus goes to beautiful fabrics and trims and small details, while making sure that they will also be comfortable and durable.” She described how her community here in Maui has helped shape her style, “I feel like kids in Hawaii are presented with more outdoor time than any others. We have so many beaches, waterfalls, hikes, etc., and practically year round nice weather. I really think about making sure my dresses are comfortable and hardwearing. I want girls to play hard in them, get dirty, explore, climb trees and stash seashells in the pockets.”
Having a children’s clothing company was always a dream that whispered from the back of her mind, but she would often dismiss it as something she could never pull off. But luckily, it was her love of what she was doing that continued to foster growth and as she says she feels so lucky to being to doing what she loves as a full time gig. But this self-employed gig, is much more than she imagined.
”I always wanted to have my own business so I could be there for the kids after school, when they’re home sick or on break, etc. Little did I realize just how many hours every week I would have to put into running my own business. The irony too is that their holiday breaks (fall, winter, and spring breaks) always coincide with my peak busy times. So now I struggle with feeling guilty during those breaks. If I’m working I feel guilty I’m not with the kids, if I’m with the kids, I feel guilty I’m not working.”
Oh, yes. The mom-guilt. When you are torn between the love of your children and the need to support them. Something no woman can escape. I asked Taryn to reflect on ways to overcome mom-guilt. “I think the main thing has been to talk to my kids about it. For example, if I feel bad that it's spring break and I can’t take the week off to play with them every day because of workload, I discuss it with them. I remind them (and myself) that if it wasn’t this job I would have another job where I’d likely still be working during their breaks. At least with this job I am afforded much more flexibility than most others.
Still, the decision is up to me since I’m my own boss, and it’s a struggle to feel okay about the choice I make. If I take too much time off I get behind on my accounts and ultimately that increase my overall stress level. If I work the whole time it's nagging at me that I’m missing out on fun experiences with them. It’s really all about finding that balance and communicating with them a lot.”
The ultimate rewards of all these efforts, Taryn feels, is that her children are proud of her.
The intricate balance of parenthood resembles that of Bitty Bambu creations, a little lace here, coordinating prints, communication, attention, understanding, love. Not too much, not too little, just right.
Thank you, Taryn, for sharing your love story, perspective and wonderful designs. You can check out our selection of Bitty Bambu here.
Photos by Kristy Copperfield Photography and Jamie Taylor Photography.