Meet Angela, the founder and designer of Mamachic Co (mamachic.co)., a company committed to making sustainable and beautiful accessories geared towards new mamas, but worn by all. Angela completed the Factory45 program with me last year and has been a great friend and resource. Her first signature piece, the Mamachic Scarf, is an all-in-one reversible scarf made with sustainable bamboo fabric and strategic snap buttons; it can be used to nurse, burp and swaddle a baby, then seamlessly transition into a wearable scarf, top, headwrap, or even skirt. Angela travels the country full-time with her actor husband and two small children (isn't that just amazing?) and needed something like the Mamachic to embrace the minimal, eco-friendly and stylish lifestyle she leads — so she decided to create it herself.
Describe your work in a few sentences:
I'm designing versatile, luxury and sustainable accessories aimed at helping new mamas reclaim their "swag". My first piece is the Mamachic Scarf, which easily converts into a nursing cover, burp cloth, swaddling blanket, you name it! And the "non-functional" styles we're discovering with the Mamachic seem to be endless — it's clear that non-baby-mamas will want in on these scarves too!
How is your work influenced by the environment?
In a strange but very wonderful way, I feel like the environment is a co-parent to my kids! It was when I became a mama that I began eyeing everything that came into contact with Max and Eva in a whole new light. I started reading food labels, inquiring about where and how meats were produced, and using non-toxic cleaners for my home. I became more thoughtful about my consumption decisions, knowing that I could do my small part to keep the earth as healthy as possible for my kids and grandkids!
So when it came time to design The Mamachic, I resolved to go the sustainable route and work with materials and people who embraced those same ideals. I am manufacturing in Colorado with a small sew shop run by a fellow mama. The Mamachics will be sewn with bamboo fabric using low-impact fibre-reactive dye, plastic snaps that have been tested for lead and phthalates, and packaged with post-consumer recycled materials. Even my labels and branding booklet will be eco-friendly.
Describe one place on Earth that inspires you.
Ah, just one? Last year, my family was lucky enough to spend a couple of months on the island of Oahu, Hawaii for my husband's work with The Lion King. We shared a home with a few other tour families, in the neighborhood of Kahala, in Honolulu. Whenever I needed to take a break from the chaos of my kids and the energy of the full house, I'd wander across the street to the quiet, secluded Kahala Beach and spot the whales breaching beyond the break. There would be a few people trying to fish as well, but it was so peaceful and truly felt like home — which is a huge deal to my gypsy ways! I was even mistaken for a local many times, which I loved.
I also got to play with wild dolphins on a small chartered eco-tour. I know it sounds terribly cliché, but that was life-altering — I swam with them as part of their pod, truly feeling connected to their spirit.
My goodness, Hawaii was just magical; I can close my eyes and smell the island again. That sensuality, coupled with the warmth of the locals, made it extremely hard to leave. In some ways, island life was truly grounding, placing my worries and stresses in perspective.
What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Hands down, I love to swim. It's my getaway, it's a great workout, and even a time to get some meditation in as I let the water carry my weight.
Do you have any go-to items of clothing for that activity?
Well, ahem... once I am "back" to my pre-baby body, I will be ordering some cute bikinis from Patagonia. I really respect their sustainability tenants and fair labor practices. They take a visible and loud stand on lower consumption all around, which is unheard of for a company their size. And their products are so durable!
Name one Eco-friendly practice that you regularly incorporate into your life or business.
I was raised in a pretty frugal Chinese household where my father pinched pennies, turned old underwear into cleaning rags, and kept the air conditioning switched off during the most brutal heat waves. So I guess that's not so much being eco-conscious as it is being super cheap. As much as I tried to rail against it growing up, it's in my DNA to try to scrimp and save. The biggest daily eco-friendly practice I instill in my own family is to not waste food. We try to buy organic and local when possible. I'm militant about leftovers, and not buying more than we think we can eat.
As far as business, I am on an ongoing mission to try to source materials all within 300 miles of my sew shop in Golden, Colorado. It's my aim to create the smallest carbon footprint I can!
What do you do every week to find your Earth-Life Balance?
My family is in a new city every month, so it's definitely a challenge to lock down a "usual" balancing activity for myself. But I will say that we almost always find a small park with a play structure for my kids; and committing time almost every day (if weather permits) to being out there with Max and Eva, even for just a a half hour, truly grounds me; I put away my smartphone and just play. That's the magic of having kids — they remind you constantly how invigorating and necessary it is to swing up high and slide down low!
Name your top 3 favorite animals.
1) Cats. Our sweet rescued tuxedo cat Turkey is with us on the road, and he's probably the best traveler of us all! He loves exploring new places, and just rolls with the punches. He's remarkable. As much as he's mischievous and gives us near-heart attacks when he slips outside on occasion, we adore him.
2) Dolphins. See my answer above on Hawaii. Dolphins are pretty much my BFFs.
3) The mimic octopus, because come on. Is there a weirder creature?
Pre-sales for The Mamachic Scarf are here on Kickstarter — PS it's not just for mamas, it makes a great biking scarf, too! Thanks Angela, and congrats on hitting your funding goals. I can't wait to get my own Mamachic!