I would say I'm quite a private person, but there is some happy news that I can’t avoid sharing, especially when my passion over the last 6 ½ years has been designing baby & children’s clothing! Mike and I have been blessed with a little boy that will bring even more happiness to our home from July, so we can’t be more grateful to this life.
Pepa & Co’s wider family is full of extraordinary “little ones” that consistently cheer up our days, by sending photos of their adorable children wearing our beautiful clothes. I can’t be prouder seeing all those happy mums getting so much enjoyment seeing their precious children, looking like children, in our clothing!
For all those that know me and have had the chance to join our photoshoots, will know that I get such joy in working closely with so many babies and children! It comes natural to me, and I love spending time with children, and get great satisfaction seeing them happy, feeling comfortable and at home in our clothes, and seeing the delight on their parents faces!
“How many kids do you both have?” has become a very common question from parents over the last few years since starting Pepa & Co. Note - they directly jump into the question of how many, rather than asking if we have any! Well, understandably nobody quite believes where my strong inspiration & passion has come from with no children.
They are normally quite surprised with my answer when I say “none”, and normally follow up by saying “well, Pepa & Co is your baby”. Although they were probably right, I always resisted seeing it that way, it’s only now that I see that is completely true in many senses… Pepa & Co has been like my first baby in many ways:
- Once you start your own company, you won’t remember how your life was before!
- That feeling of constant worry & responsibility!
- You can complain all day along about how hard running a small company is, but you love it so much you can’t live without it!
- It exhausts you, especially during those first few years. When you look back you can’t quite believe where you found the energy to do all crazy things you did to make it work!
- Takes over the rest of your life – the company is always on your mind and it’s all you can talk about all the time to anyone… poor family and friends!
I have always thought that I am apart of a generation that has difficult choices to make when the times comes to the point where I am now, but should it be?
Many of our mothers have been excellent full-time mothers raising 3, 4 or even 8 children in Spain! They have been completely involved in rearing us kids with no need of reading any self-help books about how to raise children! Many of them didn’t go to University or start a career, as they didn’t need to, as they had a lot to do at home, as a full-time mother. Nobody asked them what they did in life, if they were going back to work, nobody expected that, as was not part of that generation.
But at the same time, our mothers understood how important it was for their daughters to have the opportunity to develop a career in life, just like their sons. They made big sacrifices to give us access to the best Colleges, Universities, encouraging us to take the most challenging professional opportunities around the world!
I am the youngest of 5, grew up in the South of Spain with 4 older brothers! We are all very different but we were all given equal opportunities. I am so lucky to have one of those full time amazing mums that I always find at home for support and advice. My father was born in 1928 in Malaga. He is now a healthy 92, so is definitely from a different generation, passing through many challenging times through all of the changes of life in the 20th Century and now 21st ! What’s so impressive is, how quickly he can adapt to all the changes in life and how he could see the importance of a career for his daughter and so he has always encourage me to love what I do for work.
So, here we all are taking all the chances this great life offers us: becoming directors of big or small companies; dealing with big challenges every day; starting companies that succeed or sadly don’t; becoming excellent nurses or teachers; committing to organisations that we believe in that soon become part of our lives; and most importantly finding real joy in the job that what we do every day!
And then suddenly by chance, our biggest dream comes true in life…. the dream of being a mother!
I realise that I am from a generation that has been questioned so much about any decision we make regarding how to balance work and children, even before we give birth!
What I find sad is when we are judged by other women, some from our generation who have children and some from the older generations who feel women should just be mothers. I think it’s because they don’t realise that we could end up loving doing what we do as a career, and that want to do both in life somehow. This generally leads to us judging ourselves, and we are for sure the toughest judge of all!
The last 6 ½ years with Pepa & Co have been immensely challenging, but also wonderful! Have been working non-stop since the beginning, with an evolving and passionate team: all rolling up our sleeves; long days counting stock in tiny storage rooms; even more hours standing in cold market stalls all across England; uploading large beautiful images to our website and working long, hard hours with amazing children in our photoshoots. I have had many ups and downs, and look back at so many great milestones and highlights that make me so proud of what we have achieved. I have also met so many interesting and wonderful people through the journey, most of them incredible mums that from the start, were there to help me in many different ways. And our most recent accomplishment was being selected to be one of the few chosen British Luxury Brands to join The Brands of Tomorrow Programme 2020, by the prestigious Walpole Association that make me think we must be doing something right!
I am so lucky to own a company and a wonderful brand that I feel so attached to. Yes, it will mean my maternity leave won’t be 12 months, I can’t see myself leaving the office and saying, “just call me if you need anything”, as I am too passionate for this business to do that. I love what I do and feel very privileged to be able to do what I do in life. I don’t underestimate for a second how challenging it will be juggling being a mother and running a company, I firmly believe it is what I want to do, as Pepa & Co is very much a part of me!
Also as I am now expectant mother, it has opened my eyes to all the things Pepa & Co is lacking for new mum’s, and I look forward to sharing these with you all very soon! Watch this space!
I have no idea how this next new adventure will pan out for Mike and I. No decisions have been made as of yet, as we feel it is better to see how things flow first, but as you see balancing life and work has been one of my main thoughts during this pregnancy. Luckily, we an exceptionally strong and passionate team around us at Pepa & Co, and so many supportive friends and families, so am positive that this new life will work.
I recently read this caption and it put a smile on my face: “A woman should be able to be a mother, to have a career, to look pretty, all at once. Or nothing at all. As she wishes!”