Welcome new followers - and hello old friends!
Yes, we're one year into a pandemic. Yes, we all have fatigue.
At Cece DuPraz, we're proudly a team of four women, who also happen to be mothers juggling the day to day of pandemic parenting (and all that it means - with yes, hybrid school included).
We recognize that one of the things women do best is sharing personal experiences with each other, in the spirit of providing comfort or lending an emotional hand (ok, sometimes we personally overshare!).
Told in our own words, we wanted to share some real talk about how we ended up here, and also to say -- we get it, we're in it with you, and this too, shall pass. As a way of an introduction (or re-introduction), here’s our coffee talk, wherever you are, when we're all craving human connection.
Marion - Founder & Creative Director
Channel your energy.
"I've struggled with anxiety and mental health my whole life, except didn't realize what the feelings were until I was an adult. When my girls were 2 and 5, I needed a creative outlet. I felt like I was stuck both literally and figuratively and that all I did was worry-- all the time. Worrying, (as a practical mind would remind anyone's natural inclinations), doesn't achieve anything. If I was going to get "unstuck," and be a power of example to my daughters, I needed to create. Cece DuPraz (pronounced doo-pray and named after strong women in my life, naturally) was the creation.
Channel your energy, and go for it. When you're a better you, you're also a better parent, spouse, human."
Marion lives in MA with her husband, daughters (ages 8 and 10), and two dogs. She is a fierce feeler of energies (some may call her "one with the universe"), and is the queen maker. You'll find her hand stitching after 8pm (but only until 9p at the latest), with her heart on her sleeve 24/7.
Kate - Customer Experience
"I had been staying at home with my kids since my oldest was born in 2009. When my youngest started pre-school, I was so anxious when she was away from me. What was I supposed to do?
My friend Marion had just started her small business out of her sunroom and asked if I wanted to help her out by taking some pictures for her website. I didn’t think I could actually be of any value professionally, but I agreed to give it a go.
I started working with Marion whenever my kids were in school. And eventually, I was feeling like I was actually helping her business grow- and that felt really good! Five years later, as our team and business grows, I realize how much I’ve gotten from Cece DuPraz. Just start."
Kate lives in MA with her husband, two daughters (ages 8 and 11), and her new puppy, Trixie. She is the (maker)Loft's in house DJ, and spins a mean early 90s mix.
Nutty - Head of Production and Clothier
Hands busy, mind healthy.
"My son is now 11 years old, but when he was in school, I only had 5 hours between school drop off and pick up. It was not easy to find a job that was flexible for me, because I had to take care of my child and the house. I did odds and ends, made things and kept learning new skills to keep busy.
With the free time that I have, I've always used it to make things and learn something new. Anything other than that, to me, is time wasted.
When I was a teenager, I always loved to cross stitch. I learned how to professionally stitch and sew after college. I've made countless needlepoints and cross stitch patterns, and I design elaborate costumes for my whole family (Halloween is a favorite holiday and yes, people ask me every year to take photos with them when we're out).
When I met Marion a few years ago, I started helping her organize her life at home. It worked for me because it was flexible, and I really like to keep things organized, nice and neat. Last April, Marion asked me if I knew how to sew. When I saw a photo of her canvas mask, I asked her if I could tweak it. After that, I taught Marion how to sew certain areas, and together with Kate, we started making masks for all the orders that had so quickly come in.
In everything that I do, I want to do my very best with all that I have. And that includes being a mother, a wife, a friend and a maker."
Nutty grew up in Thailand and met her (American) husband while he was living and working there. Nutty lives in MA with her husband and son (age 11), and encourages all those around her to be their best selves.
Side note from Marion: "I would come home and things would be color coded and perfectly folded and curated (down to the underwear that started to look like CDs lol) in my daughters' drawers and I was astonished and said to myself -- this is a waste of talent."
Alex - Marketing & Operations
There are other paths.
"As a self-proclaimed "recovering corporate person," I didn't realize there were other career paths than the corporate one until my first stint in a start up a few years ago. With the global pandemic and now all the old systems out of place - or even no longer in play, I think it's important to share that there are other ways to "do life" and make money than maybe what you were once told. I do believe in silver linings, and I've recently learned on my life's journey that mindset is literally everything. It's the lens you view the world from, so make it your friend. There isn't always one right answer for things, and I guess I want to share that: we're all figuring it out together, and that your path can always be changed if you don't like the one you're on. And then the goal is to find joy in the process and in the every day, because we're all a work in progress. And that, in itself, is beautiful."
Alex lives in MA with her husband and two kids (ages 8 and 5). She worked in corporate for 14 years (Nickelodeon, Publicis/Sapient), and has gone start up side for the past few. She's finally leveraging her art school degree and learning that when it comes to the universe, there are no hard stops.
There's no sugar coating that times are tough a year into the pandemic. Every day is an opportunity to CHOOSE the positive -- or negative.
Every day, the four of us (try to) choose positivity and believe that things will be better. If you believe things will be better, they will. Because if you have hope -- you have everything.
And from four women (yes working at a small business in this environment, yes mothers who are shuttling their kids around and leaning into remote learning and all the things), we wanted to just say: We're in it with you. And we still choose to believe in a better tomorrow.
Marion, Kate, Nutty & Alex