October. That magical time of year when black and sparkly gold just feel right for pretty much everything. When October box curator Natalie Borton selected Swell Made Co.’s Oui Oui print for the October box, we were all smitten. Designer Lesley Pocklington created a special edition of the print just for Mommy Mailbox in black with goil foil lettering – the perfect statement for fall.
The whole Swell Made line is a treat for the eyes – clean, crisp and a little bit cheeky. As a designer with plenty of experience in the corporate world, Lesley made a very conscious choice to create a freelance business that would offer her time with her young children. Read more of Lesley’s story below and get her print in the October Mommy Mailbox here.
Tell us a little about you and your background, both personal and professional.
I’ve always had a creative life; from childhood to career. Professionally, I became a graphic designer and art director many moons ago. After working all over Canada for different agencies, having a family made me realize a freelance career was a priority. I’m so grateful to have a career that offers personal and creative flexibility, but I’ve also worked hard to maintain that. I’m not afraid to hustle and believe grit goes a long way.
Personally, I’m often conflicted. In a good way! I appreciate the outdoors just as much as big cities. I’m an introvert that loves meeting new people. You get the idea. The conflicts allow me to explore and learn. You might see a bit of that in Swell Made Co. My morning cup of coffee, and a continued love for wine, yoga and my family are consistent.
I love to laugh and appreciate subtle humour. I also love simplicity in design and life. Why complicate things? As a mom, I don’t have time for that ;)
How did Swell Made Co. come to life? What have been some of your BOOYAH moments along the way?
Swell Made Co. was always a dream of mine, but things finally fell into place in November of 2014 (almost a year ago). I’d established my freelance career, honed my style and developed the confidence to just go for it. That was definitely a BOOYAH moment. Other moments have included not comparing myself to others and a focus on building things organically and at a sustainable pace.
I loved this interview you did about making a small business work with kids. Tell us more about how you deal with the mom guilt thing and the multitasking thing.
On guilt, I had to make an active choice to not feel guilty. I had a life before kids and I’ve made an effort to re-purpose it as a mom. Of course, my life turned upside down just like every parent’s. But, once I was getting sleep again, I used my judgment and a newfound perspective to create a life that works for everyone in my family. It’s hard to get it just right, but we work together to make sure each person in the family has their dreams and goals realized. Whether it’s starting a business or trying bubble gum for the first time. Nothing is too big or too small; it just takes time and effort.
On multitasking, I’ve also had to adjust my expectations with having a family. Nothing is perfect and that’s okay! You have to learn to balance a lot more, and sometimes that means your house is messy or little people end up in your bed. That said, I am committed to trying my best and it usually works out. I wear many hats throughout the day. At times it’s tough, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Life is real and ever changing. Being flexible is key.
What do you do to relax when you need a break or time for yourself?
Being a mom makes you realize how lovely the simplest things can be. The thought of going “home” to my mom’s cozy house for a home cooked meal would be the ultimate way to relax. I hope my kids fee the same way when they grow up. Sadly, she lives very far away so it doesn’t happen often. Instead, I resort to getting outside, doing yoga, drinking a hot cup of coffee… The little things. And, who’s kidding who. We’re at home a lot and we love to de-stress with Netflix and wine!
What are some of your favorite things to do as a family around Toronto?
As a family, we love to be outside. From spring through fall, you’ll often find us walking, cycling, playing at the beach and parks or just exploring the city. Evergreen Brick Works, which has a farmer’s market and exploratory children’s garden and walking trails, is one our favourite places in the city. We also love visiting Toronto’s many neighbourhoods, which are like mini cities and towns. In the winter and on rainy days you can find us looking at rocks, gems and dinosaur bones (in that particular order by request) at the Royal Ontario Museum.
What has surprised you most about motherhood?
I suppose, how hard it is. From labour, to the daily trials and tribulations (there are many triumphs too), I’ve tapped into just how resourceful and strong I can be. That said, I don’t do it alone! My husband and I are such a great team and for that, I am very grateful. When one of us falls, the other one picks up. We compliment each other in so many ways which helps create a loving family where we can all laugh. Even when times are hard! Focus on building the fabric of your family. It’s the single most important thing you’ll ever create.
What do you love most about being a mother?
I love reliving childhood all over again, and seeing wonder through the eyes of children. I had a pretty great childhood with lot of time to explore outside and I just want my kids to have the same opportunity to create magical memories that will carry them through life. We take lots of walks in the forest and search for treasures at the beach. These simple moments are so fun and I’m glad I get to tag along with my two littles. I hope they never lose that sense of wonder.
What can we look forward to from Swell Made Co. going forward?
You can look forward to a growing series of statement art prints and greeting cards. They’ll still explore typography and gold foil, but with new inspiration and fun collaborations with other great businesses in our creative community Like Mommy Mailbox!