There is no doubt Shea Curry and her husband have mad style. This heymama is a true visionary who started out as a theatre and TV performer, and transitioned into a jewelry designer. She took her passion for accessories to Lifetime’s reality show, Project Accessory, making jewelry, shoes, hats, and purses. And now, Shea and her husband have joined forces to create their own original brand called Cool Kids Style Club which is an awesome kids subscription service that sells gender-neutral clothing for every kid with an edgy fashion sense. Read more to find out how she built her brand with her hubby with her twins by her side…
We love the clothes from the Cool Kids Style Club. How did the idea come about for the subscription service?
Kids are constantly growing! With twin girls, my husband and I found ourselves needing to buy new things all the time. However, there just didn’t seem to be any time to shop. We were already subscribing to Honest Company for our diapers and other things and wished we could do the same regarding their clothing.
There are so many kids’ subscription services out there. How is the Cool Kids Style Club different?
When we first came up with the idea, there wasn’t any subscription box of clothing for infants and kids. But yes, there are a few now for kids but still nothing for infants. What makes us different is our designs. We curate boutique brands that have a very specific design aesthetic – nothing you’d see in department stores or regular retailers. We even have hats for kids that are so rad. Our styles are modern and gender neutral in color.
Why did you decide to focus on gender neutral colors?
My husband and I got so frustrated going into stores and seeing shades of pink and purple for girls and bright primary colors for boys. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind some pink or purple, but I didn’t want my girls to have an entire wardrobe of two colors. I also think it starts to set gender boundaries for our little ones by marketing limitations in what a girl or boy should wear or even how they’re expected to be. I follow moms from around the world and in places like Scandinavia; the kids wear mostly gender-neutral colors. I’m an older mom, and my generation didn’t wear a lot of pink and purple growing up. I wanted to bring back what I remembered. Plus, shades of black and blue are so chic.
You work with your husband! Tell us about how you found your work groove together?
Haha! Well, working with a spouse can be challenging for sure. To be perfectly frank, we have different parenting styles so I wasn’t too surprised when I found out we had different work styles as well. At first, I thought, this is never going to work. But at the end of the day, I realized it’s probably better that we don’t work exactly the same because I need that balance with his “never stress” attitude.
What’s the best part and hardest part of working together?
The best part of working together is knowing that we have the same vision and are working together to build a great future for us and our girls. I can also show up in sweats and dirty hair and not worry about being judged. LOL. The hardest part about working together is knowing when to shut-off work talk. I’m notorious for always wanting to talk about work even when we’re ready to fall asleep. Trying to remember that we are also a couple and not just work partners is super important to maintaining a healthy relationship.
What are your ultimate goals for the Cool Kids Style Club?
We want kids to feel good in what they’re wearing. We know that when kids feel good about what they’re wearing, it gives them a sense of confidence. I like to think of it this way – when I’m having a bad day, if I put on my favorite pair of jeans and my best looking top, it can change my whole attitude. Also, by not dictating gender specific colors, we’re allowing our kids to define themselves beyond the commercialized stereotypes.
Finding the balance between my work hours and quality time at home is a constant balance struggle, but a paramount priority.
Tell us about the give back part of the Cool Kids Style Club?
We’ve always been involved with various charities. Giving back was one of the first things we wanted to do when we were coming up with our business model. We wrote a list of charities that were important to us, but giving back to reverserett.org was a no-brainer. I think particularly when you become a parent, you imagine every child suffering as if they were your own. But when you have a friend with a child suffering from Rett Syndrome, you want to try and help in any way possible.
What have you learned about yourself as an entrepreneur?
I feel like I learn so much about myself every day. I’ve certainly learned that when I come to a hurdle that I don’t understand or don’t know the answer, I’ll research, read, watch videos, or even reach out to complete strangers for help. I’ve stalked people on LinkedIn and met some brilliant people. And what’s amazing about doing that is, realizing that people inherently want to help you.
How do you balance motherhood and working on your company?
I don’t know if there is ever a perfect balance. I think, I’m constantly trying to find that balance. I do try and shut off work entirely when the girls get home from school unless it’s an emergency. I will typically keep working after they go to bed if need be. The mornings are the hardest. It’s so tempting to want to respond to emails as soon as the girls come and wake me up, but I like to be present and engaged with them because little ones are just so happy in the morning. These moments are going to be gone before we know it.
What’s the most challenging thing about starting your own business?
The most challenging thing when starting a business is prioritizing the to-do list. It’s also important to be malleable when it comes to your business model. Sometimes you think it will be a certain way and then as you start to build, the model changes, and that’s ok.
Did you have a mentor through this process?
I was involved with Step Up Women’s Network when I had my previous jewelry business. I was accepted in the mentorship program then and had a mentor who walked me through all the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. I had success and failure with that business, and it taught me so much. I’m not shy, so I’m constantly asking other entrepreneurial friends questions or advice on things I may not understand.
What do you think is more challenging: being a good mother or a good boss? Why?
I think it’s more challenging being a good mother because work-stress can sometimes make you less patient as a mom. Also, when you’re starting a new business you’re literally working 7 days a week. Recently, I was telling my husband I felt guilty about: 1) making the girls the same easy quick meals and 2) not having as many play dates on the weekends like we used to.
What was the most surprising thing about becoming a mother and how did it change your perspective on work/life balance?
The most surprising thing about becoming a mom is realizing the enormous responsibility in shaping the emotional security of my girls. These early years are pivotal in influencing who they will be. Finding the balance between my work hours and quality time at home is a constant balance struggle, but a paramount priority.
No parent is perfect. If you strive to be perfect, you’ll constantly disappoint yourself. Just do the best you can in any given moment.
“This too shall pass.” Each phase of your child’s development will have its challenges. These challenges will test you and your partner. But have faith knowing it won’t last forever; so be patient.
Put the oxygen mask on first. Moms can be martyrs, juggling a thousand things and providing for everyone else, but we must take time for us. If we don’t we’ll be left resenting and emotionally and physically depleted. That won’t help to serve anyone.