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Mommy blogging is not a category that necessarily coincides with high fashion and glossy magazine photography. So when Kelly Stuart and Violet Gaynor, two magazine professionals living in New York City, decided to start a blog together, they wanted to offer a different perspective of motherhood: beautiful, informational and aspirational.
In 2011, they launched The Glow, which offers a glimpse into the lives of strikingly fashionable mothers, including fashion designers Rebecca Taylor, Lauren Moffatt, and Cynthia Rowley; actress Jemima Kirke; and celebrity stylist Leslie Fremar. Like The Selby of motherhood blogs, The Glow was such a success that its concept has morphed into a coffee table book from Abrams publishing, which hit shelves two weeks ago.
Racked caught up with the women of The Glow, pictured below, who run the blog while still maintaining demanding jobs in the magazine industry—Gaynor is the senior fashion editor at InStyle and Stuart is a photo director at Hearst. The girls share their story about the blog's early days, how they juggle the workload, and an upcoming J.Crew collab.
Why did you start The Glow?
Kelly: "When Violet and I met at Elle in 2009, we collaborated on a ton of projects and we loved working together. We racked our brains about starting something new and we wanted to do something fresh and personal. We were in our thirties and very much workaholics and when we'd think about kids, we thought, how do they even fit into this picture? From there we realized we were surrounded by all these amazing women living the dream of having a remarkable career while having kids and there was no place showing what we wanted."
Who do you showcase on your blog?
Kelly: "Women in fashion, music and art that have children at home. We wanted to focus on talent where they didn't have to give up a sense of self as a professional or entrepreneur and they balance both. We look for professionals who were mothers and have an amazing sense of style."
Model-turned-beauty entrepreneur Josie Maran.
How have you gotten access to such amazing names?
Kelly: "We started by taking pictures of our friends at their homes and they would recommend people they think we should shoot and it snowballed from there. We had a really good relationship with Rebecca Minkoff so we wanted to collaborate with her. We couldn't wait 'til she had a baby so we could shoot her!"
Is it hard to compete with all the other mommy blogs?
Violet: "We never had a plan to compete with mommy blogs. Our role is important but very specific. What we've tried to do since launch is create something beautiful and inspirational."
What are the biggest challenges you've faced?
Violet:"In the beginning, we were so excited to get it out there. We worked really quickly, and Kelly did the shoots fast, but we're both perfectionists so with all the beginning excitement the challenge was getting it to be the way we wanted it."
Kelly: "Our biggest challenge, to this day, is balancing it all, which is what we try to learn from the women we photograph."
Designer Cynthia Rowley with her children.
How do you manage to blog with a full time job?
Violet: "Balance is a big issue. But we're passionate about what we do, both about our full time jobs we built our career on and what we've created together. It's challenging, we have a lot of late nights, early mornings, weekends, so it's obviously really tough."
Kelly: "But extremely rewarding!"
Do you ever worry that the image you're presenting is too glamorous and glossy?
Kelly: "When we started the website, we didn't have children, so there was a sense of romanticizing the subject. In a good way. A lot of moms go through busy days and it's hectic and they are running around so what we do is slow it down and capture those moments that every mom has but isn't necessarily shown. It'd be interesting if we would have had kids—would the images be the same? Probably, but you never know! As a photographer, you emotionally cast an image when you take a photo. We have vision and sensibility, and we create a beautiful archive of moments. We love that it comes off as inspirational but it's actually just slowing down and just seeing those moments."
Violet: We also show struggles and challenges, because it's a part of every mother's journey, no matter if you're working or not. Now that I'm a mom, I realize even more that there needs to be an honest dialogue of sharing experiences on the site. We get emails and social media messages that tell us how much it means to be able to read other people's stories. Motherhood can be isolating, especially when your working, because life can be compartmentalized so it's nice to hear about other people's experiences, especially people you've heard of and respect.
Designer Rebecca Minkoff in her home.
Who would you love to feature on the blog?
Violet: "One we talk about, that we think really represents what we do, is Jenna Lyons. She's so inspirational, and obviously has created an amazing career. Also, Liya Kebede. She has a really interesting career because she's a successful model and also has a clothing line for women and children that is made in Africa."
Have you learned anything surprising, being behind-the-scenes and around these famous moms?
Violet: "That they are real people, real moms going through journeys. They might look glamorous and have a perfect image, but no matter what type of career you have, in fashion or [anything else], the reality is everyone is just trying to do their best."
Maryam Nassir Zadeh in her home.
What are some memorable lessons you've learned?
Violet: "In terms of style, what the moms we feature represent is being able to stick to their personal style, even during pregnancy and while being a mom. What happens, naturally, during pregnancy and in motherhood is that with so many changes going on and your life being turned upside down, you change. The advice for style is that you can adjust your sensibility so your not abandoning what you've created as your uniform. One of our first shoots, a mom said she kept wearing leather pants because that's what she felt confident in. So she went to the tailor and she got a comfy wide waist band. Obviously it can only accommodate to a certain point, but she said it was important to keep a style going."
Kelly: "Also, you don't have to turn your apartment to kid aesthetic. You can keep your home and ease in and gear some things toward kids in a stylist way. You don't have to paint your room pink. When we shot [French Brazilian designer] Laura Garcia, her baby's room was light grey and she had amazing pink art of Elizabeth Taylor that was a very adult piece but worked beautifully in a kid's room."
Molly Guy of Stone Fox Bride with her daughter.
Violet: "I got a really good piece of advice from Ana Lerario Geller. She had a 10-month-old at the time and she said how it's really easy as a new mom to constantly think of the next thing. You can't wait until a child is at this point or that milestone. She said how important it was to get away from that. As working women, we're so onto the next thing, and she said with motherhood, you can't do that because you wont enjoy the stage your child's in. I heard that, and I repeat it to myself as a really valuable piece of advice."
Violet: "Right now we're working on a few different avenues, but we're focusing on product collaborations. We have a clutch with Rebecca Minkoff, a mom's beauty kit with Josie Maran and beautiful tank tops with Cynthia Rowley. We're also doing a collaboration with J.Crew for Mother's Day, where we are shooting a signature mom in J.Crew, and that shoot will run on our site and J.Crew's as an editorial collaboration."
Can't get enough of the mom-spiration? More below:
- Zoe Buckman, photographer and wife of actor David Schwimmer, and her daughter.
- Fashion stylist Simone Harouche.
- Fashion designer Rebecca Taylor, with her children.
- Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, with her baby.
- Media entrepreneur Rachelle Hruska with her baby.
- Celebrity stylist Leslie Fremar.
- Designer Lauren Moffatt.
- Model and beauty entrepreneur Josie Maran.
- Fashion designer Jenni Kayne.
- Jewelry designer Jennifer Fischer.
- Luxury design curator Jeanne Yang.
- Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.
- Handbag designer Clare Vivier.
- Designer Christina Hutson with her children.
- Alana Varel, co-founder of fashion PR casting agency Starworks Group.