A little about Natalie ... Not only is she the founder, designer, and CEO of our sneaker-shoe company Jibs, but she is also now a mama! Being a successful serial entrepreneur herself, she knows how to wear the many hats of growing a business while enjoying the journey along each step of the way as she does it all. Now her shoes, Jibs, are showing her she can do it all in this exciting new chapter of motherhood as well.
Who: Natalie Kathleen
Where: Miami Beach, Florida
Find her: @natkathleen
Creative Portfolio: nataliekathleen.com
NATALIE, HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THAT JIBS WERE SO PERFECT FOR PREGNANCY?
You know it's funny, I didn't actually create Jibs to be these "perfect-for-pregnancy" shoes yet going through my own 9 month journey as of recently growing a human (with very much growing/swelling feet since early days!) made me realize that's exactly what they are!
Fun fact, I've always had my right foot larger than my left, and even non-pregnant days had swelling moments due to obvious factors like NYC hot humid summers - and some lesser known factors such as running too much on adrenaline and not getting adequate sleep, depriving my circulation - where the diamond perforations in leather uppers were a life saver to naturally giving room for unexpected wider feet throughout the day while keeping comfy and breathable in the heat.
And then - now with pregnancy, on the days my feet were massively swollen and a whole shoe size bigger than they usually are, my Jibs are still able to stretch along with my feet and keep me super comfortable. Such a treat! Bonus also, that on the rare days (most likely a thank you modern technology of air conditioning ;)) when they shrink at times back to my so called "normal" the same pair of Jibs still fit with ease. Voilà - pretty humbled and proud to have created a chic sneaker that can withstand volatility in my very own up and down feet sizing!
WHAT'S ONE THING YOU LEARNED DURING YOUR PREGNANCY THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER FEMALE BUSINESSWOMEN CONSIDERING MOTHERHOOD?
Oh I believe there is going to be LOTS of learning coming up very soon as my little one enters the world! More on that in a few weeks, along with my backstory and journey of actually becoming pregnant... I will foreshadow this by saying just how much respect and awe I have for women going through baby making stages in life. There is so so much more behind every birth than many of us know. Sometimes the gift of pregnancy can happen naturally with ease (or even with an an "oops"!) and for many of us it's taken real strength and dedication, and possibly some pretty incredible modern science, to create our mini-me's.
Along all these lines, and definitely including my passion for being creative and building businesses, the importance of community and relationships with like-minded individuals is essential. I am super grateful to have become involved with Mysha Pods early on in pregnancy (shout out to Marika for turning her personal desire into this amazing reimagined "mom group") where quickly I've bonded with other woman who share my desire and motto that yes, I can do-it-all! It doesn't mean it is easy one bit, however being grouped with other women also going through birth while heads down in running and growing their businesses has been integral to keep my confidence high and come up with key solutions on how to find harmony in having a very present and joyful pregnancy while keeping momentum bolstering with Jibs.
HOW WILL BEING A NEW MOM IMPACT YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE AND RUNNING A BUSINESS?
Immediately comes to mind is an evolved appreciation for efficiency. I've always admired mothers for their ability to simply get things done. It was early in my Sienna Ray days (my first handbag company) that when I sent an email to a dozen friends asking something like "huge favor to ask: please follow this link to vote for my design in contest ABC, will take you 2-3 minutes, thank you!" the first responses always came from the moms as simply "done!". My other friends would eventually offer their support however I am seeing now how Benjamin Franklin was onto something when he said “Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” - a true guiding principle when one's task list stacks ultimately higher than ever as balancing mom life and business life!
WHAT AH-HA MOMENTS HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED IN YOUR CAREER WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTHY LIVING WHILE STAYING ON STYLE?
Our love for fashion can easily make us forget that our feet carry us through it all and deserve to be supported as much as they support us! My meandering journey through style up to now in life has had many curves, from super-sporty sneaker style youth to teaching myself how to strut in stilettos on the cobblestones of London. Hence, with much of my adult years taking pride in being a high-heeled queen, when I created Jibs initially as a casual slip on shoe brand (aka perfect post/pre workout, walking on the weekend and evenings and on vacation shoe) the original Classic style didn't fully match my own personal need to feel elegant and confident as I ran around NYC taking sales and investor meetings to grow the business.
It was this need to feel strong and powerful, while pretty and fashionable, that the Slim style took shape - literally. Tweaking the design by adding a much more sleek sole, dainty pointed shape and metallic capped toe, allowed me to keep up with high fashion while taking part in meetings, traveling, or even just lounging by the pool - all in one pair of actually comfy shoes!
Even throughout my pregnancy, I am strictly a Jibs wearer and have learned to understand also how important slip-on style is when bending over becomes challenging! Being able to have chic shoes that are effortless to put on is amazing as I do enjoy keeping stylish especially when my changing body shape continually challenges my wardrobe :)
Opportunities don’t just fall in your lap, they arrive at the right time when you place your lap in the right place.
- Natalie Kathleen
A WOMENS'S BODY IS SO INCREDIBLE IN IT'S POWER TO LITERALLY GROW A SECOND HUMAN INSIDE... WHAT OTHER MAGICAL LIFE MOMENTS DO YOU ATTRIBUTE TO WHO YOU ARE TODAY?
Oh the magic journey of life! Yes, I am so lucky to have lived a very very full life up to now - and at times I was nervous to use the word "luck" to describe all the adventures I've gotten myself into however the more I look back I do enjoy the spontaneity of luck and the feeling of right place at the right now that accompanies it.
A perspective shift happened when I realized that life doesn't happen to me, I create my life with each and all the little actions / ideas / positive steps I take start to add up, and in return great moments of opportunities arrive. Example I believe that opportunities don’t just fall in your lap, they arrive at the right time when you place your lap in the right place. There are so many occasions in life where I've taken 10+ actions that I feel are the right steps to achieve a goal however the end results doesn't arrive. It's often after those 10 actions of trying that a magical 11th moment arrives unexpectedly to secure the win!
Reminding myself of this keeps me equally enjoying doing the work towards my goals while keeping kind to myself and eyes open that when the time is right the rewards will follow.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR GO-TO MATERNITY LOOKS?
Haha this has been ever evolving over the months! I will say my discovering a little triangle of elastic in the side of denims was a WOW moment like no other... for the cooler months at the early days of pregnancy (when I was still traveling outside of always warm Miami Beach) being able to wear skinny jeans with a growing belly was amazing - and then transitioning to my very much nearly every day denim shorts and tucked in body suit comfy and easy to move around in style.
Of course, flowy and stretchy dresses have been my go-to staple, with not even needing to go outside of my usual favorite brands - and equally discovering a new love for Zimmerman which their latest collection had me saying "oh and I can wear this after birth too" on repeat.
Then last and my no means least I've become slightly obsessed with all things Hatch. Their weekly countdown emails are hilarious - rather than the typical "your baby is the size of a (insert fruit)" they insert dildos and diptique candles :) and extra kudos to their design team for making actual cute compression socks... not the sexiest of looks yet at least not quite the granny style of most!
AS WE PUT ALL THIS FUN MOM-TO-BE STORY TOGETHER IT'S NEARING SUPER CLOSE TO THE SPECIAL DAY YOUR LITTLE ONE WILL ARRIVE! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING TO PREPARE?
Sleep! Ha they say you cannot pre-sleep however I can definitely appreciate the zzzz's more than ever as this is #1 advice from all mamas out there :)
And then really it's been keeping present every day. Which is not something to overlook, as it's super easy to get sidetracked by ALL the extra things that need to be planned and purchased in preparing for little one's arrival. Therefore everyday I do my best to wake up and remind myself wow time flies and this whole pregnancy era is finite. Best to make the most of each day and savor all the newness that will miraculous swap to a whole new type of day once she arrives!
Which translated to plenty of relaxing and reading (fun plug: check out our recent Book Pairing story!!) and keeping mind and body fit. Which I will say has been my most enjoyable times... I've managed to run 5km each week of pregnancy up until week 38 then tapered to 3km and even near 2km in due date! Another one of those "well, why not?" ideas that came to my mind and happily surprised myself that I reached my goal :)