When we first stubbled onto Tenille’s shop, Baby Lace, we were blown away by how different and fresh her designs were. We caught up with this busy mama to learn more about her booming business and find out how she juggles being an entrepreneur and mama to daughter, Dylan.
Tell us about your family.
Jared and I are both from big families with lots of step brothers and half sisters. We are very family orientated and enjoy spending time together, whether it be at home or visiting with our parents or grandparents. Our home life is always interesting; we are 3 really weird, fun and quirky individuals. Jared is a gamer guy and I love doing housework. Dylan is wise beyond her 2 whole years and loves to chat and sing. A lot! We all are big animal lovers and enjoy watching movies, occasionally eating out and staying in pj’s all day. We have two beautiful rescue dogs, Jeffery and Wednesday who are like our other two children. Our favourite food is not vegetables.
In short, tell us about your leap to owning your own business.
I am a qualified makeup artist by profession and I freelanced for 7 years. I also managed to do some book keeping for my stepfather’s businesses, in between, which has helped me immensely with opening my own business. I was happy yet felt unfulfilled. After Dylan was born I felt the need to tap into my creative side and when I was meant to return to work from maternity leave I took the leap. I am lucky enough that I had an amazing support structure at home and Jared encouraged me every step of the way. Baby Lace was originally meant to be a buy and sell of other great South African brands however once I got involved a little more, I couldn’t help but try my own hand at sewing on my late grandmother’s machine (I had never sewn before). It was all pretty much downhill from there on out, we now do everything from designing, sourcing fabrics to pattern making and sewing up each garment by hand. Dylan Scarlett Apparel is the name of our brand and is named after my little girl. We are blessed to be moving from strength to strength with lots more up our sleeve – from handmade leather shoes to décor and linen. Keep an eye out ….
What do you like most about your job?
I would have to say being able to tend to all of my daughter’s needs at all times. Not having to ask for permission to leave work (and being made to feel bad about it) when your child needs you is probably the greatest gift of all. I love being able to work and live my passion but still be present and almost a stay-at-home mom for my daughter. I really do have the best of both worlds.
How do you juggle motherhood and work?
I don’t really (haha). It is such a crazy task and I am often dropping the ball. I always try to be fully present in whatever I am doing, and I would love to tell you all my secrets as to how I get it right, but the truth is that I don’t always get it right and I am generally a little unsuccessful. When it is mom and baby time, I generally have to answer calls for work and I allow my phone to interfere and when I am in work mode I always deal with whatever Dylan needs. But that is kind of the greatest part, not successfully juggling your tasks but sometimes just dropping the ball because that is when we learn the most about ourselves and life. When life is giving us everything we need and ask for, we don’t learn how to cope under pressure because everything is going swimmingly. It is when things are tough that we build true character, so I really try and embrace having to do 2, 3 or 10 things at once. Being a mom is the toughest job on the planet and I don’t think moms in general are given nearly enough credit.
What is the story behind your daughter’s name?
After a scan at about 20 weeks, Jared and I were driving home and we were discussing possible names. I suggested the name Dylan and despite me running through hundreds of other names thereafter, we ended up back at Dylan: Jared always loved Dylan. I always loved the idea of boy’s names for girls. We paired her first name with a very feminine second name because Dylan is after all predominantly a boys name, so her second name is Scarlett. I would also just like to add in that we didn’t decide on her name until she was about 10 days old. We are crazy like that.
What is typical day like spending time with your daughter?
Our biggest similarities are that we both love singing, animals and makeup. She is only starting school in September so I am lucky enough to have had her most days for the past 2 and-a-bit years. We always eat breakfast together and then have our tea. She catches up on some Peppa Pig reruns on YouTube while I do my makeup (she gets involved here more often than not), we then go and visit some suppliers, pick up fabric, drop of garments and try squeeze in a visit to anywhere that has animals or slides. We come home, eat lunch and thereafter she naps while I catch up on e-mails and do some admin. When she wakes up she plays in her room or draws (I am always roped into this) and then when daddy comes home, he is the hero (haha) and they catch up while I make dinner. After some tv time, we bath and lie in bed together until it’s time to have a bottle and catch some zzzzs.
What inspires you?
My initial inspiration was obviously Dylan. Designing baby clothing was not even a consideration until I found out I was pregnant. I was always trying to find specific clothing and it was nowhere to be seen on our shores. So this inner spark went off in my creative brain and I just had to explore it and that’s when I started with Baby Lace. Since then, I find almost all my inspiration from social media, on the likes of Pinterest and Instagram. I love seeing moms all over the world, such as myself, making a name for themselves in the children’s clothing, décor and accessories industry. I love following European trends! They just seem to be one step ahead of the US market and they truly push the boundaries with design. I love drawing inspiration from both nature and also watching Dylan while she goes through life, looking at what catches her eye and what she takes interest in. I like to think that our brand is very forward thinking. I try steer away from typical baby colours and keep our monochrome look fresh and precise.
Did you ever feel overwhelmed when your daughter was born, or did it just come naturally to you?
Totally overwhelmed! And to some extent I still do. I wished my pregnancy away only to be shell shocked when Dylan was born. Labour and birth weren’t an easy task. I went all natural water birth with little pain relief. I am a huge advocate for natural birth. Dylan was born at the phenomenal Genesis Clinic where I was privileged to have wonderful mid wives and nurses assisting me at all hours and I felt so in love with my new life and family until I got home, that was. I hit rock bottom and suffered with severe baby blues for about a 2 weeks. If it wasn’t for my own mom, I don’t know what I would have done: she rescued me at 3am more than once. Once I got the hang of this baby business, things went more smoothly and we all got into a nice groove. Dylan has always been a star sleeper and a really well behaved baby in general so she made it easy for me. I love my little girl more than all the stars in the sky and I would do it all over again if it meant she was waiting for me at the finish line!
What was the best mothering advice you received?
Stop using Google and trust yourself!
Favourite online shop: Can I say my own? Well if so, then www.babylace.co.za
Favourite family outing: We love being at home together. We are always working so when we have down time, we all cuddle in bed and watch cartoons and eat delicious food.
Favourite beauty product: Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment
Favourite mama spoil: Just buying new clothes for myself I guess. When you’re a mommy you spend all your money on your children.
What can your family not live without: Nomu Skinny Hot Chocolate and our iPad.