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IN CONVERSATION: SAMANTHA LISCHKA


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: 

"There were many late nights perfecting the product, printing method, and initial designs when I was pregnant with our son, Cross Aiden," she says. "Fortunately all those late night feedings and working hours led to products we cannot live without in our home." The moment she feels most proud of: "Snuggling our son with our very first blankets — nothing tops that."

 

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." 

On accessibility: 
"An affordable price point has always been important to me, as both a consumer and a brand," she says. "I want all parents to have access for the best for baby. I'm not out to make a quick buck. I'm creating heirloom-quality products at prices I can relate to — even if the margin is small for some of our products."
On motherhood: 
The worst advice she ever received? "' Holding your baby too much will spoil them.' You'll never regret holding them nonstop!" The best? "Someone told me that you don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping, and it's so true. They're used to the noises from the womb. Run the vacuum, dishwasher — whatever you need — when they're newborn. That way they will be used to sleeping with noise." 
On finding balance: 
With three small kids, Samantha tries to restrict work to certain hours, but mostly, she understands she has to go with the flow as the day unfolds. "I try to attend to the most urgent work in the morning, while baby Armor is still sleepy in between feedings," she says. "At the end of the day, flexibility is key. If the kids need mama a bit more one day, they come first. Worst case scenario, I'll play catch up in the evenings just after all of my boys (husband included) go to sleep." 
Photos courtesy Modern Burlap 
Looking for a sweet something for your little one or a new mama? Peruse our kids' store. Tag us in pictures of your finds on Instagram @ShopSaintCloud!  
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