Mama Goals: Lisa Mayock of MONOGRAM
Lisa Mayock is the definition of cool. In addition to being a stylish mama of two (Lucien is two years and Pascal is four months) and a fashion industry vet (she co-founded cult-favorite label Vena Cava), Lisa also has an impeccable eye for not only what's now, but what's next. Proof? Earlier this year, she launched our new T-shirt obsession: MONOGRAM. Here, Lisa shares her inspiring story and top tips for aspiring designers.
Can you tell us more about your company and what you do there?
I started working on MONOGRAM with my husband Jeff over a year ago. It's a brand that's meant to give new life to an iconic wardrobe staple: the graphic T-shirt. We've always been fans of vintage and graphic art — I have a number of amazing vintage graphic T-shirts, some that I've had for decades. We were hard pressed to find graphic T-shirts that capture the same feeling and spirit as a well-loved vintage version. I'll be a vintage fan forever, but great ones are getting harder and harder to source and much more expensive than they used to be. We created MONOGRAM as an alternative for women to find cool pieces using original art, elevated washes and custom fabrics that still let wearers lead with their personality.
You've been in the industry for a very long time. What has your career journey been like?
It’s been fascinating to have seen the industry from multiple perspectives and watch it evolve. When I started my first business, Vena Cava, in 2003, there were only a handful of contemporary brands, and we watched that price point blossom into a whole market through boutiques and department stores. Now with a direct to consumer brand, we're approaching everything from the opposite angle. We're only selling on our website, MonogramStudio.com, and get to have total control over the way the brand is seen, from the packaging to the way the product is shot and the customer experience. Direct to consumer has been a really fun way to create a very succinct brand message.
What is your best advice for running a business with your significant other? How do you two make it work?
To be honest, with managing a family and a home together, we really tried to avoid going into business together! But we both loved the idea behind MONOGRAM and felt there was a real opportunity to make great product and build a very different kind of brand than the ones we'd had previously. We stop talking about work when we get home or on our personal time. Sometimes it sneaks in there, but we definitely make an effort, especially when we're with our kids.
What are your top three tips for launching a fashion brand that sells?
1) Research your niche thoroughly, and know who your competitors are, and where the white space is.
2) Know what your strengths are, acknowledge your weaknesses, and focus on getting help/expertise in those areas. Spend your time on what you do best.
3) Plan out at least six months in advance (or more depending on your business) — everything from product to marketing projects to social media. Getting everything done feels a lot less insurmountable when you have a roadmap.
What are your favorite organizational tools/apps that help you balance work/mom life?
Honestly, Im old-fashioned! I have a to-do list with all different categories, short and long term, and I love my calendar app. I also find it helpful to have a physical inbox on my desk of paperwork that I need to get to. And finally, I keep a notebook by my bed to scribble all the ideas that keep me from sleeping at night.
What are you current favorite games/activities with your little ones?
Our older son is way into books, coloring with crayons and markers, and playdough. I also just got him a watercolor set that I’m bringing home tonight, which I’m so excited to do with him. We sing songs about pretty much everything at our house, morning till night!
We love your aesthetic. Who are your favorite artists we should know about?
Thank you! I love Stef Halmos' squish series, David Wiseman's interior installations, and Brian Thoreen's rubber pieces. I also love Polish and Czech poster art and I'm a sucker for any of the work by Herb Lubalin and Bob Gill.