Love this artistic mama and her watercolor artwork! Midwest native and mama to two precious babes. She creates awesome custom portraits for you and your family. Below you'll see a snippet of her beautiful work, so when you're done reading about this amazing mama and how she stays creative and loves her kids, check out her Instagram account @lachlanandlenny
Des Moines, Iowa
Tell us a Little about yourself, your family and your business.
I'm currently located in small town near Des Moines, Iowa. I paint watercolor portraits. I capture memories or moments with paint. I really believe that you've already created the art, whether that be your family, your children or your home--I'm just trying to capture it in a new way.
What did you do before starting Lachlan and Lenny?
I have a degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Public Health, and I worked for a little while as a Medical Assistant and Medical Receptionist--so basically the opposite of what I'm doing now! I've actually never had any sort of formal classes or training in art, just a passion I've had since childhood. After I had my son, Lachlan, I decided that I wanted to stay home with him full-time, and then shortly after we had our daughter, Blythe. Up until I opened my shop back in April, they were (and still are) my 24/7 job.
How did you come up with your company name and why?
I played around with a few names, initially, but the one I kept on coming back to was Lachlan and Lenny. It's a mix of my two children's names. Lachlan, pronounced LOCK-lan, is my son's name and Lenny is a nickname we call our baby girl; it's short for her middle name, Lennon. It just seemed fitting that I named my third baby after my first two.
What inspired you to start your own business and how did you start it?
I have always had a job and gone to school. I loved school and I loved to work. I was good at both and for a long time I really let that define me. Then all of the sudden I was thrust into this new space of motherhood where I was at home and giving my all to this little person who couldn't speak and give me good grades or pay raises to let me know how I was doing. I had to define myself in other ways and to be honest for a little time I was lost. I no longer knew what I looked like as a person outside of motherhood. Don't get me wrong, I adore my children, and I chose this way of life, but it doesn't mean it's easy. Then I started to paint again. My sweet sister-in-law saw one of my paintings and told me that I could sell them, (this was about two years ago), and I kind of shrugged it off as she was just being nice, but the seed was planted. For about a year and a half it was in the back of my mind, but I always had excuses as to why I shouldn't bother. Finally, after my husband started graduate school and seeing how passionate he was about it, I finally felt like it was something I needed to do. It was something I needed to do for me. Not because I was a mother or a wife, but because I was Georgie, and I love to paint. This is FAR from get rich quick scheme, it's a lot of work, and sometimes without pay. I'm far from where I hope to be one day with it, but I'm just happy I did it!
Is there a specific tool you use that makes managing a business easier?
I'm a bit of a Grandma when it comes to technology, so my biggest tool has been my list making. I've always made lists--it helps to keep the day's goals in your sights and it feels so good when you can physically put a line through one of your goals! Also, I have to mention that connecting with others and networking has been HUGE. I couldn't've grown this endeavor past my family and friends if I didn't take that first leap and reach out to those around me.
What Were some of the learning curves of just starting out?
Everything! From deciding which website builder or platform I wanted to use, down to how to order proper packing materials and branding products. I had no idea how to do anything and I spent many hours just googling and reading blogs. Navigating social media and using it as a tool for growth has also been difficult, but my most favorite part. I've loved the friendship I've fostered through it all.
What's it like being a business owner and mom, how do you schedule both?
It's difficult. There are days when I feel like I'm not giving my business enough attention, and then there are days when I feel like I'm not giving my children enough attention, so it's hard to feel like you're doing the best at both. I'm not sure there's such a thing as balance, but I sure try hard to create it. Most of the time I make a rule that I do most of my work while the kids are sleeping--so nap-time and bed time. I can get away with e-mailing and answering messages during the day, and the kids love going to the post office, but I save painting for when they're sleeping.
What has been your greatest lesson in business and motherhood?
Do not compare yourself to others. Your journey is completely different from anyone else's. Social media is a double-edged sword. I can see so much good in it, but it can also be toxic. I find that I have the most joy in motherhood when I'm on the floor, playing with my children, NOT when I'm scrolling through an app, comparing myself to the pictures I see. When you do that you're on the fast-track to nowhere. The truth is, we've all got a little 'hot mess' in us, some are just better at hiding it than others. It's the same in business. I can only focus on what I am doing. I can't compare my business and my success to the success others might be having.
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and mothers?
Just do it. There's always going to be excuses as to 'why not' or reasons for 'later' but if it's something you can't get out of your head, then I think you've already got your answer. The only regret I have in putting myself out there and starting Lachlan and Lenny is that I didn't do it sooner.
What does a “normal” day in your home look like?
It looks like a normal day! haha. My kids wake me up way too early and we stay in our pj's way too late! Anyone who knows me really well knows that on the days I don't leave the house I'm in my house dresses or leggings all day long. I clean up a lot of messes, while other messes are being made. I break up a lot of fights (we're still working on sharing), but I also get a lot of snuggles. We play and dance in the kitchen, and somewhere in there--I paint.
Besides business and your family, do you have any hobbies you love to enjoy (when you have the time)?
I LOVE to read. I'm always looking for new suggestions so if anyone reading this has a few, please share! I also really like to do DIY projects. I have a problem where I see something and I almost always think I can make it, or do it myself. Sometimes this is not always true. It's the challenge of trying something new that I really enjoy, though, so I do it anyway.
I’m a huge coffee lover, and I'm always looking for new types, do you have a particular favorite?
I don't drink coffee but my husband and I do enjoy Choffy--it's brewed cocoa bean. So, hello--who doesn't like chocolate? Also, cherry Coke.
Who has been an inspiration to you in your life and why?
My Mother. She's had a tough life but has always remained my number one cheerleader and my ray of positivity. It's because of her that I think I can do almost anything because she has never told me otherwise.
If you could travel anywhere or do anything in the world what would that be?
I've always been so wildly interested in European History. I'd really like to travel to that part of the world and really just dive into the history, and maybe check-out some of my own family history while I'm at it.
If your children learn one thing from you what would you wish that to be?
That I always tried my hardest. That I didn't give up when things were tough.
Any other comments or advice you would like to share?
Just take the time to do something for yourself, every day. Find what interests YOU and makes YOU happy, and do it! You deserve it, mama!