How Motherhood Inspired For Love & Lemons to Create the Cutest Kids Line
Photos: Lil' Lemons by For Love & Lemons
For BFFs and designers Gillian Mahin and Laura Hill, their first "baby" came in the form of For Love & Lemons — the sexy bohemian-babe label that's now beloved by stars like Alessandra Ambrosio, Taylor Swift, and Vanessa Hudgens.
Five years after founding FL&L, the duo launched SKIVVIES, their first lingerie line, and today, the duo just unveiled their debut bridal collection. All while their business boomed, they each "grew up a little bit" and got hitched, says Mahin, "and I had a baby!"
Enter Lil' Lemons, the designers' first foray into stylish kids clothing that arrived earlier this year. Offering everything from charming bloomers, ruffle dresses, and (of course) lemon-print everything ($36 to $81) in eco-friendly fabrics, the Los Angeles-produced label perfectly channels its mother brand's fashionable "lemonade stand days" aesthetic into the most adorable pint-sized pieces for girls and boys.
Here, we chat with Mahin to learn more about her career journey, why it was important to her and Hill to create an organic brand, what's coming own the pipeline for Lil' Lemons, and much more. Read on below, then shop the line here.
What's your career journey been so far, and how easy was it to jump from creating FL&L to LL?
We started FL&L in Jackson Hole, WY in Laura's mom's kitchen! We set up a sewing machine there and would sew our own samples so we could throw a mini runway show in our hometown for all our friends. After a year of selling our garments at trunk shows and craft fairs, we found a showroom in NY. This ended up launching our brand as the line got picked up in really great stores, which helped get our image out even more.
After finally getting on the radar and feeling like a legit brand, we launched the lingerie collection, SKIVVIES. This was such a fun line to launch and it opened up even more doors for us! After the business was about five years old, Laura and I grew up a little bit as well, got married, and I had a baby! Of course, I spent hours perusing the internet for baby clothes and found a real gap in the market for cute, eco-friendly and non-toxic baby clothes. So we decided Lil' Lemons was the next venture. It was definitely not an easy one because we had to start from square one. We had to find our correct "fit", start to build base patterns, find models to fit on (which you can image is not easy when they are so little and can only take so much changing)!
Why was it important to you and Laura to incorporate eco-friendly, non-toxic, and organic elements into the line?
We just want the best for our babes! Their newborn skin deserves the softest and cleanest materials. We wanted to the collection to not only be cute, but also safe for a baby's delicate skin — so that meant finding non-toxic fabrics and natural printing methods. We had to do a lot of research, but found some great options! We also manufacturer all the baby clothes in LA, which is different from FL&L, so we spend a lot of time at the factories now doing little tasks. But it's such a fun adventure, it's all worth the hard work!
What can we expect from Lil' Lemons in the future?
We are hoping to expand into more outerwear, grow the boy's line, and introduce swimsuits soon!
What are your favorite productivity/organization apps and/or top tips for working/busy mamas?
Honestly, I need advice on that one! With all I have going on, I feel I could be a lot more organized. But I really do recommend the app CALM. When you are a working momma, life can be stressful and it is so important to take time out and take a breather. It's a cool little meditation app with good advice that I would recommend to everyone!
How has becoming a mama changed your approach to running a business?
Well, I definitely make every hour at work count now, I don't goof around as much anymore because I know I need to get stuff done so I can leave at a reasonable time and spend quality time with my little one! It's hard when she goes to bed so early, there is such a small window after work I get to hang out with her.
Describe your perfect day with your little one.
Sleeping in 'til 8 am (I wish, hehe) and making breakfast together! She loves to watch and help and it's so cute how she picks up on things and repeats them herself — like organizing the cereal boxes or throwing away the trash. Then the whole family strolls down to get a coffee and walk around the park. Lily usually takes her morning nap then. Then we love to do one big activity during the day, usually, we find a museum, garden, hike, or concert in a park to go to. That is the best time because everything is so new and exciting to Lily. I love watching her take it in and get excited over it. There is nothing better than being in the moment with your little one.
There are so many distractions these days with phones and technology, that there is nothing better and purer than just being in that moment together on the same page, enjoying and laughing at the same thing. It's truly the best! At the end of the day, we will usually make dinner at home, have a bath and put Lily to sleep. Just having a mellow day where we explore are usually the best days!
Beauty or skincare product you currently can't live without?
When I was pregnant I switched all my facial products over to Juice Beauty, an organic brand that was safer to use during pregnancy, and I haven't switched back because I love it. I can't live without their cleansers and eye masks!
Finish this sentence: Balancing work/mom life means...
You are a superhero!