Whether you’re looking for the cutest summer swimsuit, gender neutral clothing or the best kids shoes, navigating the world of apparel can be overwhelming! That’s where some amazing women entrepreneurs come in, who’ve taken their experience as moms and turned it into sensory-friendly items, activity-based headwear and the cutest slippers-turned-shoes on the market. And that’s just the beginning! Keep scrolling to see the best and brightest clothing, shoes and accessories on the market––all created by moms.
Debra Schoenau began her career as a buyer for major department stores, but wanted to launch her own brand that incorporated feminine loungewear that could be worn everyday. Inspired by Brian Hyland's “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” song, Schoenau set out to create a brand that was just as cute. Since all of the products are manufactured in the English countryside on rare heritage knitting machines, the name Polkadot England was born! When it came time to expand her brand, her daughter Rachel Schoenau Doneger, came on board with her experience and millennial perspective. In 2018, they rebranded as a mother-daughter team, bringing the comfiest of fabrics in delicate designs that include camisoles, robes, tops and baby styles to an even bigger audience.
No More Lost Lip Balms: LippyClip
Amy Gabriel was a pediatric nurse who found herself at a crossroads, wanting a career change that would allow her to sew and create useful products. So in 2012, LippyClip was launched, selling uber useful holders for lip balms! After seven years of creating and sewing, Gabriel now employs a team of 13 women in her 100 percent women-owned and operated business. LippyClips are made in the USA, by women who work from home and who market, sew, package and ship product all over the U.S.
Activity Hats: Hativity
Dr. Shannon Davis PT, DPT is a mom to two girls from San Diego. When she found herself without enough hands to carry her kiddos hats plus entertainment when doing the family errands, she decided to combine the two, and Hativity was born! The patent-pending interactive headwear combines the must-have hat your littles need to protect them from sun, heat, and cold exposure and adds some fun. Choose from custom-designed Velcro patches that are interchangeable and include objects, characters and emojis. Parents can choose from summer or winter styles and patches in a variety of fabrics, too.
PETA & Physician-Approved Shoes: Ten Little
Frustrated with the trials of shoe shopping for her daughter, Fatma Collins founded Ten Little. The new lineup of PETA-Approved was created in collaboration with physicians and includes vegan shoes that support natural development and movement. Each pair comes with removable insoles that are printed with a fit indicator and puzzle-piece characters to teach kids to put their shoes on the right foot. Additionally, Ten Little uses a predictive data platform and will send parents personalized reminders when it’s time to size up, and will make individualized recommendations based on size, color, and season, and the ability to order via text. When you size up, Ten Little will automatically include a prepaid shipping label to donate your child’s outgrown shoes to Soles4Souls, an organization that provide shoes to people in need.
Cutting Edge & Affordable Jewelry: Hollywood Sensation
In 2012, Mary Hood was pregnant and held a job she didn't love. When she took the opportunity to stay home, she developed the idea for an online jewelry business to keep her overhead low. With only a thousand dollars to invest, Hollywood Sensation was born. Hood's business focuses on signature and handcraft pieces that are designed specifically for women. “We do more than just sell jewelry. Hollywood Sensation empowers every woman, from the workplace to the red carpet, and all while giving back to charity. Our runway-inspired collections and state-of-the-art packaging make women feel confident, inspired, and beautiful.”
Maternity Styles with Attitude: Frances M
When it comes to maternity fashion and what women really want—and need—during pregnancy and beyond, nobody knows better than a mom who has been there, done that. Ariel, founder of Frances M, discovered that when pregnant with her daughter she wanted something a little edgier, fashion-wise but still functional. So she took her sketches from the page and brought them to life. Her Frances M maternity line includes the Charlie Pant, Juniper Jumpsuit and the Poppy Skirt, all made with the pregnant and post-partum mama in mind. Ariel tells us, "Motherhood changed me in ways I didn't anticipate and I want to be part of that journey for other women. I believe in moms, and want them to feel their best everyday."
Uber Soft Hoodies Designed by Kids: TreeHouse Design Studios
Designed by kids and made by adults, TreeHouse Design Studios is not your average hoodie or trucker hat. Founded by mom of three, Gretchen MacIver, this company actually was born from an Instagram post of her daughter’s artwork. When Gretchen received an actual cash offer for her daughter’s painting, it got her wheels spinning. She realized how great it would be to showcase kids’ art screen-printed on long-lasting hoodies and hats, instead of throwing the creation in a box never to be seen again.
TreeHouse Design Studio aims to encourage kids’ creations. Their newest design—called “REESEscape” named for artist, Reese Fox—is translated onto a heather navy hoodie with a combo of screen printing and embroidery. The original piece used a combo of permanent markers and watercolors. Each hoodie is produced in downtown LA and includes an oversized name tag so kids can personalize their hoodies.
Whimsically Printed Swimwear for the Entire Fam: Cheeky Chickadee
Busy mom of four Connie kicked off Cheeky Chickadee when her first daughter was little. The Australian brand is designed in Sydney and features hand-drawn animal prints on soft swimwear fabric in sizes newborn to eight. The family-run business was initially started as a way to create affordable clothes for kids that last and as a way to spend more time with her family. Five years later, Cheeky Chickadee not only features clothes for littles, but matching options for mom and dad, too!
Security Friendly Purses: Score! Designs
A big sports fan and mom of three, Deni Sciano found herself attending a Dallas Mavericks-San Antonio Spurs game back in 2014, stuck in the long security line awaiting bag inspection and missing the start of the game. She was struck by a thought: why not manufacture clear bags, making it easier to get through security? In the time since, many professional sports have instituted clear bag policies, making her Score! Designs that much more in demand. Sciano believes that a clear bag can not only be a fashion statement but also a sign of team loyalty. In addition to meeting the guidelines for clear bags at stadiums, Score! also boasts purses and totes with team colors, the perfect complement to game-day style.
Oh-So-Soft Sleepwear That's Functional, Too: Little Sleepies
Like many mom business founders, the idea of her business, Little Sleepies, was born after Maradith noticed a lack of quality and functional sleepwear on the market after having her son in 2016. Sleepwear was either mass-produced and low quality or luxe with a hefty price tag. So, she took it upon herself to create accessible, functional and comfortable sleepwear for babies and kids. After tirelessly researching and testing fabric, design and fit, Little Sleepies was created. This line of sleepwear is awesome and different in a few ways: it features foldover hand and foot cuffs, turning any romper into a footie and back again. Parents and babes will also love the soft viscose bamboo fabric that's stretchable but won't stretch out, double zipper for late-night diaper changes, and the lack of snaps, buttons or interior tags. Check out their sweet styles at the link below.
Eliminate Wardrobe Tantrums: Choulala Box
As a working mom of two, Rola Amer found no time to shop for her kid’s wardrobe needs at traditional retailers and she couldn’t find any one online retailer that could help simplify the process of what her kids needed each season. She also discovered that her children’s sense of independence started as early as two years of age when they exert their will of what they want to wear each morning (aka wardrobe tantrums). That is exactly why she founded Choulala Box and the BLAST Method as an easy and fun way for kids to learn all five categories of a wardrobe: (1) B for Bottoms (2) L for Layering Pieces (3) A for Accessories (4) S for Socks and Shoes and (5) T for Tops. When they know these categories and how they work together to create outfits each day, they will literally have a BLAST in dressing themselves to express themselves.
Love at First Touch: Saint Haven
Mother of three Jacqueline Sacks watched her kids struggle with the daily routine of getting dressed and never feeling comfortable as most fabrics irritated her children’s eczema and sensory issues. Determined to find a solution, she developed a brand-new, proprietary method for softening fabric with a non-toxic enzyme dip. Using fabric spun from the pulp of beech trees and dyed with non-toxic dyes, Jacqueline created Saint Haven Soft. The breathable weave supports body temperature regulation and is built without tags, buttons or the sorts of stealthy itchy seams that can drive anyone crazy. The San Francisco-based luxe essentials line launched late last year with styles for babies, toddlers, children and women.
Sweat-Wicking and UPF 50+ Clothes for Kids: Lark Adventurewear
When new mama Pallavi Golla was out adventuring with her son, she noticed that she remained cool in her activewear, but her baby was hot and sweaty. Unable to find safe and effective activewear for kids, Pallavi took it upon herself to create a line of clothes she'd feel confident would keep her son cool and comfortable. Fast forward a few years and one more kiddo later, and Lark Adventurewear is a favorite of parents everywhere. The collection features a natural, breathable fabric that keeps kids cool (we tested it ourselves!), is free of synthetic chemicals or fabrics, includes 50+ UPF and is made with eco-friendly bamboo. Sizes range from three months to four years old with styles like their popular footies, bodysuits, tees and more.
Check out the full collection and learn more about Pallavi at larkadventurewear.com.
Luxe Handbags That Last: Coral Chung
As a busy working professional and mom, Coral Chung was tired of non-functioning designer bags that didn’t suit her lifestyle. So she co-founded Senreve, a brand that doesn’t force women to choose between a bag that looks good and one that works well. Within one year of its launch, Senreve’s most popular item—the Maestra bag—has sold out more than six times and has become a staple on the arms of many powerhouse females including Jessica Alba, Sophia Bush, Greta Gurwig and Gabrielle Union.
Shop the lust-worthy collection at senreve.com
Blood, Sweat & Tears: AWE
When you are a three-time cancer survivor and working mother, the word strong doesn’t even begin to describe you. Jill Johnson is all of those things, and she’s also an entrepreneur whose successful jewelry business, Jilco, has been donating to organizations like Children’s Cancer Research Fund since 1989. But true to her tireless spirit, Jill wanted to create something more, and AWE was born. AWE is a jewelry company that honors and celebrates an individual’s triumphs, and the AWE Medallion has become a universal symbol of strength, hope and resilience. The design, which is the anchor of all the items, is four teardrops that represent blood, sweat and tears (of sorrow and joy) of every survivor’s journey. 20% of every sale goes to one of four national charities.
Keep It Chic AND Cozy: Birdies
What if you could go full-on leisure but still look stylish (and we’re not talking about pajama jeans)? Two moms, Bianca Gates (CEO & Co-Founder) and Marisa Sharkey (President and Co-Founder), figured out how! Together they founded Birdies, luxe, cozy flats that are big on style. When they couldn’t find shoes that merged comfort and fashion, they decided to create their own. Not only do they come in beautiful designs with on-trend colors and features like tassels and leopard print, they’ve also got cushioned, latex insoles; are lined with satin or faux shearling; and rubber soles for indoor/outdoor wear. Uh, pretty much perfect!
For Moms on the Go: Kaleido Concepts
“As people who love to travel and are always on-the-go with our kids in tow, we became frustrated with the dull, inflexible carrying options available to us,” said Lisa Hom, co-founder of Kaleido Concepts. So she and Anita Yuen invented something new: an origami-inspired line of transportable products—backpacks and totes—that are as attractive as they are efficient. Hom, previously the CEO of Parasol Co. and the VP of Product Design at Kiwi Co. and Yuen, Product Director at Google, make an impressive team. But more impressive are the little extras: the products are lightweight (most only way a few ounces), durable, can be folded into a pouch and tucked away, have ripstop fabric and YKK Zippers. Plus they work with artists: Ashley Goldberg, Kelly Ventura and Carolyn Suzuki have all come up with unique designs (Pink Breeze, Black Swan and Naval Tidal).
Keeping It Cute: Ice Cream Castles
Founded by two women—Veronique Vicari Barnes and Wells Nathan—who have years of friendship and creative collaboration between them, once they both had children they started thinking about what was lacking in the marketplace. They decided to design a line of clothing that they would want their own children to wear and Ice Cream Castles was born. Wells, with a FIDM and RISD fashion design background, had previously launched a women’s clothing line, and Veronique is the founder of her own line of jewelry. Together, they capture vintage designs, magical elements and plenty of whimsy in their clothing line for kids. The Fall 2017 collection includes retro ski style mixed with sweet graphics, all in comfy styles and designs. Our only question: when will they come in grown-up sizes?
A Mismatch Made in Heaven: Chooze Shoes
Sharon Blumberg, the mommy brain behind Chooze, always loved and embraced her young daughter’s creativity, especially when it came to fashion. And her kiddos signature look? Mismatched shoes. But the wearing of two different shoes can create balance issues and discomfort, which is why Sharon, along with her husband Marc, launched Chooze—a company that sells perfectly mismatched shoes! Since their launch in 2011, they have expanded to include clothing and accessories for kids, too, but their genius shoes are still the signature look. Sandals, sneakers, boots and more in a huge variety of colorful and whimsical patterns will delight your kiddos. You can also “chooze” your cause when shopping: they’ll donate a portion of all profits to one of five charities you can select from on the site.
Back to the Basics: Primary Clothing
Founded by two moms—Galyn Bernard and Christina Carbonell—who braved kids clothing shopping for more than 12 years and had grown beyond frustrated by the poor quality, slogan- and sequin-heavy options out there. They wanted the basics in bright colors at affordable prices and they knew other parents did too. Both veterans employees of Diapers.com, the two have created a brand that is both recognizable and classic, bright basics that have been rated highly by moms around the world. Primary is an excellent clothing line for kids on the autism-spectrum or kids with sensory sensitivities: you will not get a box full of itchy, ill-fitting items that your kid won’t wear. Most recently, they've launched a line of cozy PJs that are comfy for sleep and so soft, you'll wish they came in your size!
—Kate Loweth, Amber Guetebier, Erin Lem and Karly Wood
All photos provided by companies