The Story of Jen Lawrence
The Mummy Ella founder on how motherhood
has changed her life and work.
BY EILEEN BERNANDI
Musician, jewelry designer, entrepreneur and now mother, Jen Lawrence is a strong believer in variety, whether it’s the people with whom she surrounds herself or the life choices she makes. Originally from Zurich, Jen moved to London fifteen years ago to study music performance. She continued on to New York, where she graduated with an MA in music business and marketing. Her music career blossomed in New York, as did her personal life...she met her fellow musician, Brooklyn-born husband while there. Together they started a journey around the world, searching for the next place to put down roots. Five cities and a two-week Berlin stay later, the couple decided to make Berlin their new home. Most recently Jen added mother to her job description with the birth of her twin boys.
Here at Wunder Stories, we love talking with women entrepreneurs, especially those whose business decisions have been influenced by their motherhood experience. This is why we chose to chat with Jen about her jewelry brand, Big Daddy Ella and it’s recent offshoot, Mummy Ella, a line of stylish teething necklaces for women.
Wunder Stories Can you tell us a bit about your jewelry line and what inspired you to create Mummy Ella?
Jen Lawrence After not finding the jewelry I needed for my performances and daily styling as an artist, I started my own jewelry brand, Big Daddy Ella, in 2012. I describe the pieces as bright, bold, eclectic and fun. They’re definitely statement pieces.
I gave birth last year, and once the first postnatal phase was over, and I finally felt like wearing something other than my sweats again, I was excited to start wearing my jewelry again. The first time I wore one of my necklaces though, I realized they were not at all baby friendly! So, I designed a baby-friendly teething necklace for mums who still want to be stylish and not wear a necklace that screams teething necklace from a mile away.
With that, Mummy Ella was born. It’s perfect for mums because it’s safe and it doesn’t require any time out of your day to be cleaned or cared for. It’s dishwasher proof, chewable, swimmable, and stroller attachable, and relieves your little ones teething pains.
WS Did you take maternity leave? How did you like it? How was it going back to work?
JL Yes and no. Because I’m self-employed maternity leave wasn’t as necessary if I had been working a 9-5 job. I did spend the first four months cosy at home with my boys, but soon thereafter started taking on jobs here and there. I loved those four months at home, but it went by so quickly...it felt like only four weeks! I guess between the pumping and breastfeeding and preparing formula bottles for two babies didn’t leave much time left in a day.
I’m only just now going back to work 80%, and I love everything about it! I’m so happy I stayed home so much with the boys this past year, but I’m also loving leaving the house for four hours of time alone. It’s almost become my “me time”. And now, when I come home after that time away from the boys, I feel like I haven’t seen them in weeks. And I also miss them while I’m at work. I now understand why my mum never really needed much of a social life outside of work and family. The time away from your kids (even while working), is basically the only time you need to recharge. Not counting the hopefully numerous dates you still get to go on your partner.
WS How do you approach work differently now versus before kids?
JL The key difference is efficiency. I don’t over-think things as much anymore. As parents, we just simply don’t have the time for that anymore. Sometimes it’s extremely freeing, and sometimes I do wish I had more time...in my creative process, for example.
WS How do you define success?
JL Achieving the goals I set for myself, personally as well as professionally.
WS Where do you go for inspiration?
JL Nature. The quiet. Wherever I can hear my thoughts and wherever they have the space and time to be free. I love walking or running in nature...it definitely gets my brain juices flowing.
WS What have you learned about yourself from being a mother?
JL I was born to do this. I am definitely capable of more than I’ve ever given myself credit for.
WS How is the reality of parenthood different than what you envisioned?
JL It’s more of everything than I envisioned. It’s more love, more beauty, more heart warming, more smiles, more happy tears, but also, more tiring, more exhausting, more time-consuming than I could’ve really known before becoming a mum. Other parents can tell you all about what to expect, but you can really only know once you’re in it.
One thing regarding parenthood that is definitely different to how I had envisioned it, and I wish people talked more about it, is how your relationship with your partner is put to the test in that first year. Whether you have a single baby, twins or triplets...that shift in focus away from you as a couple is definitely a challenge that you both can be proud of overcoming. I would call it the best team building experience ever!
WS What wisdom do you hope to pass on to your children?
JL Treat others the way you like to be treated; with respect and tolerance. Love yourself for who you are, and don’t change just to fit in... unless fitting in is what makes you happy. Keep an open heart and mind.
WS How do you unwind?
JL A cuddle session with my three boys, a dinner with friends, a run in the forest or a swim in the sea.
WS What are some of your personal indulgences?
JL I have several! My husband’s eyes and neck. No explanation needed.
A glass of Amarone, while listening to Gilberto Gil. I stopped drinking 9 years ago, thus have no clue about wines. But since being a mum, I definitely do enjoy the occasional glass of red wine. Especially the nights hubby is out working and the boys are in bed. So cliché, and so true.
A really good facial. It’s been at least two years since I’ve had one, but it’s definitely one of my favorite things to do.
Long showers or baths.These days I take my shower when the boys are awake (no more morning naps!), so I try to get in and out within two minutes max, to ensure they’re not jumping on top of each other, or hitting one another over the head with a toy they’re arguing about. So long showers have definitely become an indulgence.
Binge watching Jane The Virgin.
1. Favorite children’s clothing brand
Gray Label and Bobo Choses (littlehipstar.com)
2. Favorite clothing brand/designer
Stella Jean and The Row
3. Must have beauty product
Clarins Baume Lévres
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
4. Favorite holiday spot
A gulet in the Aegean Sea along the Turkish coast
5. Favorite podcast
6. App you can’t live without
Calm (comes right after the obvious app, the Calendar)
7. Favorite Restaurant
La Esquina (NYC)
8. Fashion Muse
Tracee Ellis Ross
9. Current obsession
Warm hazelnut milk
10. Most impressive person in the world