Mother's Day Feature: Ani and Wren
For sisters in law Lauren and Lani Levy, the concept that women should not have to compromise their style during pregnancy was a no brainier. Like many good concepts, the idea for Ani + Wren came naturally and out of necessity. Throughout her pregnancy, Lauren had a hard time finding maternity clothes to suit her style - and an even harder time navigating the racks of contemporary clothes at her favorite boutiques to find the elusive pieces that could highlight her bump.
To provide expectant moms with the most exceptional shopping experience, Lani and Lauren have carefully curated a collection of exclusive maternity and coveted contemporary brands to ensure that all pieces can be worn before, during and after pregnancy. Ani + Wren is also stocked with everything else a stylish mom-to-be could desire to complete her look including jewelry, shoes, bags, hats and other accessories.
With a focus on a high level of personal service, Ani + Wren is the go-to destination for fashion conscious moms seeking sought-after pieces that are an extension of their already stylish wardrobes. These two sisters-in-law have mommas covered from bump and beyond!
You both have several young children. How are you able to balance home life while having a full time job?
Honestly it takes a village. We are both lucky enough to have nannies and very involved grandparents that help out with the kids on a weekly basis. There is never a balance to be honest. Some days it feels like you're neglecting your kids for work, and vice versa. The important thing is, we are hard-working moms, and we're proud to be role models to our kids, showing them we can juggle it all ... well most of the time, ha.
How do you organize your home while keeping your kids in mind? How are you able to manage all of their stuff?
We both are extremely organized people at home and at work. We find the busier you are the more organized you need to be, or you would get nothing done. In terms of our homes, weeding out is key. We both clean our closets and our kids closets at least every season. Especially with the kids clothes, they grow so fast that their wardrobes are always revolving. Thank gawd for hand me downs ;) As soon as the kids grow out of things (clothes, toys, baby gear, etc) we pass it on to each other, friends or donate it. We also try to clean out the kids rooms/playrooms twice a year (they tend to be hoarders). We keep art work organized in x-large ziplocks and paper awards/pictures/report cards in shoe boxes labeled by the year.
Which parts of your own life are the most and least organized?
Lani - currently my entire house is not organized - I just moved - my nanny isn't working - and I have boxes in every empty room in my house to unpack :( However my walk in closet is still color coordinated, does that count for anything?
Lauren - most organized is my closet! I go through it 2-3 times a year to keep it clean and organized. It's like my sanctuary lol. Least organized is our playroom! No matter how many times I try to clean it, as soon as the kids go there it's like a tornado blew through ... all of the toys seem to be missing pieces, puzzles get mixed up ... That room drives me crazy!
What are some of your favorite pieces that you sell at the store right now?
Online our best seller is currently sweat suits, especially if they are tie dye. It's the quarantine uniform - cool and cozy to wear at home but still feel cute.
Your number one tip for a new mom:
Take help if someone offers. You're not in this alone, and lean on people when you need it. There are a lot of changes going on at once, and support and love in the first few hazy months are the most important. Get support any way you can. It's crucial.
What is the perfect gift for a new mom?
A massage at a spa, away from the chaos
Food delivery - no time to cook
Coffee, coffee, and coffee, always bring coffee
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
Lauren was pregnant with her first child 8 years ago and Lani was in the fashion industry. Lauren really struggled with finding cool and stylish maternity clothes that weren't frumpy dumpy, polyester, empire waisted , etc - you get the picture! So we worked together to come up with a concept for a lifestyle store that catered to expectant moms in a different way. We wanted to make "maternity" clothing approachable, cool and something that would make women excited. We curate stylish maternity pieces with a mix of contemporary brands that work with a bump. The whole idea being you can wear these pieces throughout your pregnancy and beyond! And these pieces are really an extension of your already existing wardrobe ... You shouldn't have to change your style when you are expecting!
How do you divide up your responsibilities?
We deal with different components of the business. I (Lani) have a background in fashion and I handle the buys and inventory management, where Lauren is responsible for all third party businesses and marketing initiatives. All in all, we make every decision together - we love and respect one another, so at the end of the day, we both need to be on board and aligned or we just don't do it!
As sister-in-laws, what is it like being in business with a family member?
We spend a lot of time together personally and professionally! We travel together as a family and have regular get together, dinners, and celebrations. And for work - we see each other pretty much every day! So it's important for us to separate our professional and our personal relationship. That's not to say we don't discuss business at the dinner table - but if we are having a disagreement about something we talk it out and move on. We don't let our opinions affect our relationship - family always comes first for us.
What’s something you didn’t know about starting your own business that you learned along the way?
It's never what you think it will be. Try to stick to your vision to stay on track, but also listen to what the customer wants. You don't know what outcomes will arise until you go through it, so just be open to change, and be reactive to what is going on.