#startupmom: Bergen Anderson

Bergen Anderson

ON MOTHERHOOD

I’d like to think that I’m a laid-back mom. Don’t we all? As a family we’ve followed a lot of attachment parenting principles: bed-sharing, breast-feeding, baby-wearing. I’m still all about snuggling. Our daughter is very independent and secure, and I’d love to think that’s because of our parenting styles. Or she was just born that way….and I’m fine with that too.

Johanna will be 4 in October. She’s a riot: so curious and silly and smart and strong. She loves princesses and her skull leggings.

I think we’d like to have one more, but the timing really depends on when I’m ready. I work from home and also work as an actor throughout the city so I’m waiting for just the right time for a second kid. There’s never a right time, though, right?

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU'VE GOTTEN FROM ANOTHER MOM? 

“Do what feels right for you. Don’t worry about what anyone else does or says.” This is a culmination of advice from other mothers. I think it’s good to constantly remind ourselves that we need to do what feels right for us.

One of my close mama friends also told me, “No kid ever went to school still in diapers.” It’s a good reminder for me that kids do things at their own speed.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE DOING THIS MOM THING REALLY WELL?

The other day Jo threw something at me or hit me or did something that hurt. I told her that she hurt me and it made me sad. Without prompting from me she said, “I’m sorry, mama. Are you ok?” That made me feel like the work we’re doing is paying off.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR MOM FRIENDS? 

This is a tough one. I think meeting mom friends is super hard…maybe because I’m an introvert? It’s usually really random. I have a lot of mom friends that I’ve met through theatre. We’ve done theatre together and then we all started having kids. 

I also meet mom friends through work. Since I make kid clothes, I meet moms and families all the time. Just like with everyone else, there are moms and kids I just click with.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR "ME TIME"?

Work? That’s a tough question. My work consists of creative designing and sewing so I enjoy doing that for “me time.” If I need to totally recharge I will read a book or watch a movie I’ve been wanting to see. Pedicures help too.

YOUR FAMILY IN THREE WORDS

Crazy. Loving. Tall.

BESIDES THE USUAL HANDBAG STUFF, WHAT WOULDN'T YOU DARE LEAVE HOME WITHOUT?

Snacks.

ON BUSINESS

My company is Lilla Barn Clothing. We make clothes and accessories with an urban edge for kids and babies (and now women) everywhere. Handmade in Chicago. 

I’ve always been a maker. That was a really important part of my growing up. My mom and siblings are also makers. When I was pregnant with Johanna, my nesting manifested in sewing. I couldn’t find the type of baby clothes I wanted for my daughter, so I just made them. Then after Jo was born, I just kept making them.

Friends and family suggested that I make clothes and sell them, so I opened an Etsy shop with my mom and sister. That was in 2011. My mom and I design and stitch and my sister designs and prints all of our tees and does our graphics. It’s a great team.

Last year we decided to launch our own site independent from Etsy and we’ve had great success with that.

LILLA BARN CLOTHING

WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK? 

I love meeting other mamas who have their own businesses. That’s so inspiring to me. It’s nice to hear that we face the same challenges and enjoy some of the same rewards.

Since I work with design and textile, I get a lot of inspiration from visual art. I love bright colors and abstract patterns. I take a lot of inspiration from Nordic design and styles (I have Swedish heritage and also have lived in Sweden and Norway at different times in my life). Marimekko is a favorite of mine. I also love Lotta Jansdotter who is a fabulous Swedish textile/print designer.

WHAT'S THE HARDEST PART OF BEING A #STARTUPMOM?

Finding a balance. Argh. Is there ever a balance? I feel like my priorities are always shifting back and forth. If I’m focusing on work, then I feel guilty about being a “bad” mom. If I’m focusing on family, then I feel like I’m not working enough. Does anyone have a good answer for this? When I start to feel like this I need to remind myself to be gentle. Be gentle with my family, and be gentle with myself.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? 

Ha! Typical day. Ok. Jo wakes me up at the butt-crack of dawn and I get her fed while I drink lots of coffee. If she has preschool or summer camp I get her off to that and get as much work done as possible while she’s gone. She’s still napping every once in a while, so I work as much as possible during her naps. Then we play or do something with other families in the afternoon until my husband comes home. Dinner. Bath. Bed for Jo. We try to do all of these together as a family. Then I work as much as I can before hitting the sack around midnight. I’m really a night owl, so it feels good to stay up late and get stuff done (not so fun in the morning, but I deal).

WHY IS BEING A #STARTUPMOM SO FREAKING AMAZING?

I love that I’m doing something that I absolutely love! My passion is making and I’ve built a business to do just that. I love having the ability to work and create and also be at home with my daughter.

http://www.lillabarn.com/

 

WHAT'S YOUR MOST RECENT BRAG-ABLE ACCOMPLISHMENT? 

I’m Scandinavian. I have a really hard time tooting my own horn...Um, I get pretty pumped when I hear that people love our clothes. That makes me feel really good. Does that count as a brag-able accomplishment? 

WE ALL KNOW IT TAKES A VILLAGE, ESPECIALLY FOR A #STARTUPMOM, SO HERE'S A CHANCE TO SHOUT OUT THAT LOVE AND THANKS TO YOUR VILLAGERS

Here we go...

My mom, Anne, has been a huge contributor to my success as a #startupmom. Not only is she part of the business, but she is one of my biggest supporters. She is creative and inspiring and loving and kind. She is also a #startupmom with her own business.

My husband, Nick, has also been immensely involved in my success. Not only is he an amazing life-partner, he happens to have a business background and is always willing to help when needed. Oh yeah, he also deals with my craziness.

I also have to give shout-outs to the other #startupmoms I’ve met since I started Lilla Barn: Melissa Salvatore from A Little Photo Studio and Heritage Littles, Kate Marie Grinold Sigfusson from Babies4Babies, and Annabella Sardelis from Indigo & Snow, just to name a few. These mamas are all rocking it with their businesses. I get to learn just by watching them.

Obviously we wouldn’t be successful without the extreme support of the local Chicago community. There’s a very strong maker-community here and we love that! Between the people who have graciously included us in their local events (Dose, Show of Hands, Art Girls, etc…) to the individuals and businesses who are big fans (Laurie/Land of Nod), I can’t imagine a better city to live in and make in.

Now I feel like I’m gushing… 

Now that you've met her, make sure you follow Bergen's #startupmom story on Facebook, Instagram and at Lilla Barn

**Photography credit to #startupmom M. Lindsay Photography (top) and Rebecca Marie Photography (striped outfit).



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