Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mama Spotlight: Shirley

I remember the first time I walked past Wolfbait & B Girls clearly. I was pregnant with my son, waddling around Logan Square and in all honesty thought this shop was way too cool to carry my little magnets. After a lot of urging from my husband and a good month or so of self-esteem boosting, I got up the nerve to email them photos of my work, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. Three years later I sit here writing my very first ‘Mom Entrepeneur Spotlight’ on one of the two lovely owners. Meet Shirley.
Shirley and Jenny opened Wolfbait & B Girls 10 years ago, aiming to create a unique retail shop that also doubled as studio workspace for their clothing lines. Starting with just 12 local artists, they've grown to sell 207 artists’ work and have become a staple of the Logan Square neighborhood. On top of the shop’s impressive success, Shirley has also made two humans in the last 3 1/2 years! She has some seriously impressive Mama-work-life balance happening.
 Me: How has Motherhood affected your work?

Shirley: I’m just sort of settling in now, you know, about 7-8 months after my second child. But from the first pregnancy through now has been very difficult.

As many of us can relate, time is a struggle. While Shirley feels lucky for what she has and grateful for her husband’s support and partnership, this type of small business takes a lot of dedication and physical presence from the owners.

“There’s tons of overhead, rent, utilities, internet, gift-wrapping…. that’s why brick and mortar stores really struggle, there is not a large profit margin. It’s truly a labor of love”.

But that’s just it, the love. You feel that love from the second you walk through the doors. They’ve made Wolfbait & B Girls more than just a shop, it’s a beautiful representation of the city- a pride filled room. These women welcome patrons into their creative process, and elicit this incredible 
Me: What’s your favorite part of being a Mom and an entrepreneur?

Shirley: It’s given me a new pride, because I’m going to be proud to tell my girls about what I do and the ethics of what I do. This is the whole reason why we’re about shopping local, shopping small, stopping sweatshops, you know? Creating a new sense of individuality… So it kind of reminded me of why I do the things I do.

Me: What’s something that you wish was a little easier in balancing everything?

Shirley: It’s hard for me to find a flaw in it since I’m just more of a half full kind of person, but I guess the only thing I do genuinely dislike is pumping. (AMEN)

I originally wrote this post for Mumzy Blog as a Mom-entrepreneur spotlight.