Vivacious Guest: Kathleen West
It has been a dream to feature other creatives on the blog since I started it. I've said countless times that this is a space to encourage us all to live more vivaciously. Sharing the words, hearts, and businesses of those who inspire me is my goal with this new blog feature. So, I am overjoyed to have a sweet friend be the first...
She and I met after I started dating my husband, as he is great friends with her hubby! When we all still lived in sunny San Diego, Kathleen asked me to watch their eldest daughter one afternoon. She was just an itty bitty infant at the time. Now, I'm not sure if Kathleen knows this or not, but that afternoon was the first time I ever changed a diaper...EVER...now I'm a pro. But, I definitely had to call my mom who informed me I had put it on backward... woops, sorry kid! Ah, what memories. Good thing that we're still family friends after all these years!
And without further ado...
Tell us about yourself!
Hi! I'm Kathleen, a Catholic wife, mama and business owner (still feels weird to say that last one!) I grew up in Vermont, but now I live near Cincinnati with my husband and two girls. I love flowers and am dreaming of the day that we have our own house so we can plant them everywhere. I'm also really passionate about ethical and sustainable fashion which is why I started my shop, Meadowcress Boutique.
A business? How exciting! Let's hear about it!
My shop, Meadowcress Boutique was started out of my desire to have ethically made clothes for my girls (and myself). I couldn't find anything that I loved and I definitely couldn't afford ethical fashion prices. I figured that I could make us some clothes and then thrift for the rest! Through this I discovered that I LOVED creating pieces for my girls, and
after posting a few pictures to my Instagram I realized that other people might like to have what I was making as well. I started out with just bonnets and have slowly added new items as the years have gone by. I currently sell children's clothes, bonnets, accessories for mama and most recently I've added tea towels and napkins! Since the start of my shop was rooted in my desire to have ethically made clothes for my girls, it is very important to me that the fabrics I use are not only high quality, but that they are also made under safe and fair working conditions. All of my products are made from hand-dyed organic linen, as well as organic cotton saint inspired fabric. I make it a top priority to source high quality materials so that all of my items will last through many years or siblings worth of play!
Ethically sourced, organic cotton, hand-dyed fabrics...what inspired you to take on such a craft & turn it into a shop of your own?
When I was a new mom, and following ALL the mommy bloggers, one of them shared about how she had watched the documentary The True Cost. The film dives into how our garments are made, who is making them and what the impact is on the workers, their families and the environment. Seeing this film lead me down a bit of a rabbit hole of research. And after realizing how expensive it would be to purchase something that was ethically made, I knew I wanted to figure out how to make my own clothes! I started with a shirt for myself (which was a little too complex for my skills at the time) and a bonnet for my daughter and, well, the rest is history as they say. As time went buy I opened my shop and as my skills have increased I've slowly added new items!
The one thing I repeatedly think about when Kathleen lists new items in her shop is: "how the heck does she create such darling pieces and manage her time with two (beautiful) little girls and a husband?!"
Ahhhh this has been a struggle. At first I only worked during nap time and after my girls were in bed. It was definitely do able, but didn't offer me any time for other important things like spending time with my husband or taking time for myself. A year ago my husband started freelancing from home and slowly over the last year we've settled into a new rhythm that gives each of us more time to work during the day while the girls are awake. My husband starts work earlier than normal so that I can have several hours to work after naps until dinner time. We both get time to work without feeling like the other is taking all of the available time, plus he makes dinner... so win-win right?!
Dang. The dedication is real, my friends. And yes, a husband that cooks dinner is a freakin' WIN! God bless you, Ben!
If ya'll haven't caught on, Kathleen's shop has been continually growing the past few years. What can we expect to see from Meadowcress Boutique this fall?
Well, most recently I've been working on my big fall restock/release! I've been doing a ton of work to redesign pieces that I didn't feel were working, to learn new skills (like dying fabric) and to develop new products that I'm so excited about!
And how about 5 years from now?
I love to dream about what my business will look like in the future, and my hope is that 5 years from now I will have my own little workshop with a few sewing stations in it for my small but mighty team of seamstresses (which I will hire sometime between now and then) and we make all the saint inspired things for you, your babies, and your home!
And there you have it, folks! Kathleen is here to serve ya'll with heirloom-quality pieces for you, your babies, and your home.
We're so excited for her Fall Release & Restock! New pieces, re-imagined designs, the same quality of organic fabrics for beautiful pieces
made to bring Christ into your every-day lives.
RELEASE and RESTOCK Tuesday, September 22 11am EST
Featured: St. Thérèse + Lavender Pinafore, St. Joseph Scrunchie, Auspice Maria Scrunchie
Featured: Organic Linen Pinafore with St. Thérèse detail