When Samantha Lischka, of Texas brand Modern Burlap learned she was going to have a baby, the inventive young mother got to work looking for quality products to outfit her young one. There is one area she felt was seriously lacking: swaddle blankets.
She started with blankets, and then expanded to onesies, bibs, crib sheets, burp cloths, and hooded towels — all designed with distinctive black-and-white high-contrast patterns (aesthetically modern, but also practical as it aids babies' eyesight and development) and made with organic muslin (super-soft, breathable and said to reduce the risk of SIDS). The now mother of three found that it's possible to build a successful business, while still being able to be a stay-at-home mom — the best of both worlds. She tells us how she does it.
On starting out:
Though she didn't have much experience in the industry or a lot of extra money to start a company, Samantha launched Modern Burlap in her small Texas barn with her husband, relying on a thrifty budget. "The main thing that keeps people from pursuing a dream is fear of the unknown or not having financial comfort," she says. "My advice is to start small and see where it leads. And remember that it's OK to ask for help."
On creating baby-worthy products:
Parents put a lot of thought and care into what they buy for their kiddos, so every element of the Modern Burlap brand was conceived with their needs in mind. "The black-and-white patterns are more than just design choices," she explains. "High-contrast, black-and-white patterns enhance baby's vision and stimulate brain development." The materials, most of which are sourced from Denmark, focus around the 100-percent organic muslin that is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified and guaranteed to be free of harmful materials. This breathable fabric is lightweight gets softer with every wash and helps regulate body temp, whether it's hot or cold. "Like all parents, I wanted the best for my babes, and I couldn't find what I wanted at the store," she says. "I created the items I wish existed."
On making it:
On finding inspiration:
"I am constantly influenced by my family and surroundings. Our cactus swaddle was inspired by my husband's family's West Texas Ranch," she says. "The wide open views with cactus and untouched land is unlike anything else I've ever seen."
On shopping local:
Even before she was a maker, Samantha believed in the importance of supporting small businesses and the impact that can have on an entire community. "People who shop small support the independent designers directly — the individuals who pour their hearts and souls into creating the products you take home. With success, those designers can expand their lines and dream bigger. They can hire others within the community to join their team."