Samantha Varvel is a creator, photographer, business owner, and mother to two beautiful children. She joined us for the newest installment in our Reflections on Motherhood series to share about her creative process, making the leap from finance to design, and raising children along the way.

{ Samantha in the Estelle Nursing Dress with her daughter Kit }

    1. Tell me about yourself.

      I’m a creative at heart and now a mother to two young children, juggling the joys and demands of early parenthood. I left New York City and a job in finance to set up a home in Connecticut and have shared much of the decorating process, as well as fashion finds for women and children, on my lifestyle and shopping website,!

      { Samantha in the Estelle Nursing Dress with her daughter Kit and her son Peter }

        2. Tell me about your children.

          They are my greatest joys - Peter, three, is a sweetheart and mama’s boy. My baby daughter, Kit, turned one in March and has had an aura of wisdom since the moment she was born. 

            3. Tell me about your business.

              I feel very blessed to be able to be making a living by combining all the things I love! I’m a very visual person and have always had a penchant for finding and creating beauty - in school I could always be found in the art room. As I got older that transferred into photography, and once my children were born I really poured myself into mastering that craft. As soon as I had a home and my own spaces to decorate, interiors became my nonstop passion project.

              So, I started my website in early 2020 to have a place to go deeper on these topics. It became a home for the culmination of all my interests (photography, children’s and women’s fashion, interiors, and travel) and a way to share it with those who had a similar vision and were looking for inspiration and sources. While I was working in finance, the site was my creative outlet, but after Kit was born it became my full-time!

                4. What helped you take the leap to full-time self-employment?

                  The timing was very lucky, as my side hobby turned into a profitable business the month before I was meant to return from maternity leave. The decision became obvious to me to take a step back from my corporate job to focus on my site. I am so grateful to be able to have a more flexible career at the moment that allows me to explore my creativity and be more present for my children during this very specific chapter of my life.

                    5. What inspires your creativity and style? How do you foster your children's creativity? 

                      We are bombarded with inspiration in this digital era with social media, which is amazing and can be overwhelming at the same time. I like to step away from that sometimes and inform my creativity with real-world experiences, travel, and old coffee table books.

                      I only hope that by sharing the things I love with my children, creating beautiful moments for them, and taking them to the faraway places I love, they too will find inspiration. 

                      { Samantha in the Eleanor Nursing Dress with her daughter Kit in the Emelyn Romper in her mother's house Le Mas Des Poiriers en Provence, France}

                        6. You travel a lot with your family. What advice would you give parents traveling with little kids? 

                          My husband and I both value and prioritize travel because we grew up internationally and traveled with our families nonstop. I think the hardest thing about traveling with children is that the dynamic is different every single time. You may think you’ve mastered the logistics of traveling with an 18-month-old, but by the next flight when that baby is 21 months old, you’re dealing with a totally different situation!

                          I used to think that having the right gear and gadgets was the solution, but I’ve come to realize that there is no “magic fix” to making traveling with children easy. The best thing you can do is roll with the punches and keep in mind that the flight WILL end, and it will be more than worth it once you arrive! It always is. The memories we have made during our travels with both babies are priceless.

                            7. How has motherhood grown you personally and professionally? 

                              Becoming a mother somehow gave me confidence and self-assuredness like never before. I also became much more protective of my time; if I’m away from my children, whatever I am doing better be worth it. This helped me hone in on how I really wanted to be spending my energy and gave me the willpower to pursue what I truly wanted to do.

                                8. Between running your business and raising children, what do you do to take care of yourself? 

                                  I can’t live without a long hot bath at the end of the day.

                                    9. Describe your journey with breastfeeding.

                                      While my birth experiences were tumultuous, I was fortunate to have a very easy time with breastfeeding. I am still nursing my 15-month-old and am not sure how or when we will be weaning, because she is more attached than ever, and I’m also not sure I’m ready to give it up.

                                      { Samantha in the Eleanor Nursing Dress with her daughter Kit in the Emelyn Romper in her mother's house Le Mas Des Poiriers en Provence, France}

                                        10. What advice would you give to a new mom regarding breastfeeding?

                                          I am a big believer that each mother should do what is best for her and prioritize not only the needs of her child but her own mental wellness (we are too!). While breastfeeding can be a beautiful experience for both mother and baby, for some it can be extremely challenging and/or not the best option. Becoming a mother is realizing we are all just doing our best given our own set of circumstances. But for me personally, breastfeeding has been a precious and bonding experience with each of my children.

                                            11. What is your favorite part of being a mother?

                                              It is so rewarding seeing them become their own little people and to be able to talk with them and build a friendship with them. I strive more than anything to be a safe space for them. I want them to know that I will always be here to listen, love, and respect them for who they are.

                                                12. What is the most challenging part of motherhood?

                                                  The day-to-day with very small babies and toddlers can be challenging, even though it is so joyous and fleeting. The transition from one to two was difficult for me because I felt pulled in so many directions, but over time I have found a good groove.

                                                    13. What is something you would want to tell your younger self before you had children?

                                                      I think I felt like I needed to have myself and my career all figured out before I had kids, but I’ve learned that I’ve truly “found myself” now that they are in the picture. It’s amazing to pave a path and pursue your goals and dreams at the same time as you raise them. I’ve never felt such fulfillment or excitement about life and all of its possibilities. Though it’s much more challenging to accomplish anything with babies, it’s that much more rewarding when you do.

                                                      Discover more of Samantha’s creativity and design by visiting her blog

                                                      Looking for an artful nursing-friendly dress?

                                                      Our creative team, at Ellie and Becca, designs romantic dresses with you and your baby in mind. We pull inspiration from the art and nature around us to create nursing-friendly dresses that you can wear long after you're done breastfeeding. Check out our creations today!

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