Growing Up Wild with Kelly Engel

Kelly Engel is a busy mom, to say the least! She is the owner, creator and mom behind Growing Up Wild, an eco-friendly baby clothing company. Kelly is truly a marvel since in addition to being a mommy, running her amazing business, she also makes pottery and worked as an elementary school teacher. We had to talk to Kelly about her biz and being a mom. We just loved what she had to say, so we are sharing it with you!

Growing Up Wild can be found [here].

(NM): What is it like for you to balance being a mom and a business owner? What are some of the challenges that you face and how do you balance your time?

(Kelly): Being a mom is the most rewarding experience that has happened to me. I am enjoying every minute (even the new found temper tantrums) of my 19-month old Jonathan’s life. Running my own business out of my home has allowed me to be there for life’s simpler moments. I try to work solely during his naps or after he is in bed at night. During peak times I fill in the gaps when my husband is home with my son in the evenings or on weekends. So far we are able to make it work but I would be lying if I said that it was easy. I am not very good at carving any time out for myself and this has led to a few tears when I go beyond my max. Fortunately my husband has learned to see this coming and insists that I take a bath, a hike or sit for a quiet cup of coffee before that happens.

What are some of the benefits to buying items directly from those who make it?

I love supporting the homemade movement whenever possible. In particular I seek out fellow work at home moms or dads when I can. I have found that buying directly from the person that creates an item has an entirely different feeling. I am not just supporting a factory oversees. I am directly putting food on a family table, sending a child to dance class, paying for doctors bills or helping someone to purchase their first home. Many of these purchases have led to rewarding friendships. In my experience the items have all been extremely high quality and you can feel the love and attention to detail put into each piece.

You seem to have a strong interest in natural materials and your company takes an environmental approach to business. Why is that important to you?

I have been highly involved with protecting the environment my whole life. I was fortunate to be raised in a family that valued time outdoors and grew connected with nature. I was taught that it is my job to leave the earth better than I found it. My company takes an environmental approach because it is the only way that I would feel good about what I do. Particularly selling items for little ones I feel it is important to be working towards a better world for them as I create.

At naturalmommy, we see environmental issues and parenting issues as connected because the sustainability of our planet is connected to the sustainability of future generations. In what ways is this concept also reflected in your business?

I think that children follow the examples that their parents set, more than what they are told. It is important for me to model for my son what it means to be a steward of the environment in all that I do. I think that the only way that I can really teach him the value of caring for the environment is by getting him out in it as much as possible. It will allow him to fall as in love with it as I have. There are so many lessons that can be taught as we watch the way plants and animals interact in the wild. I believe it will help him to become a more caring and considerate citizen.

We love the name of your business, Growing Up Wild. Can you tell us a bit about what that means to you and how you came up with your name?

The name of business came from a conversation my husband and I had when deciding how we wanted to raise our son.  We had a long talk about what wild meant. When most parents use the word they are referring to when their child is unruly. We have found wild to be quite the opposite. Creatures are free to be who they are and to choose their own paths however there is actually a great deal of order and consequences. Allowing our son to grow wild means to us that we will foster his development by allowing him to explore, but to also suffer natural consequences along the way.  In addition, in a more literal term we want him to be able to grow wild in nature as much as possible. When I started my business the name seemed a natural fit for the type of products I was hoping to create and sell.

Why did you choose to make your business environmentally conscious and what does being green mean to you as a mom and small business owner?

Being green as a mom and a small business owner means to me that I am working to provide for my son in a way that also fosters the type of world that I would like to see left behind for his children.

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2 responses to “Growing Up Wild with Kelly Engel”

  1. Naomi Gradwolf

    Thanks for the great site.

  2. Janice Papazia

    I LOVE this post. What an amazing interview and what a great story. I hope she sells lots of product!

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