President & Creative Director of uber cool brand Loeffler Randall, Jessie Randall balances running her company with raising sons Casper, Liam and Harry (we’re sensing a serious opportunity for a boy band here!) who are all under the age of 7. Randall talks to The Hive about how she carves out personal time, instills a strong work ethic in her sons and the rituals she practices to keep her sane while juggling a million things at once. Even as someone who seems to have it all figured out, Randall admits it is definitely not stress free, saying, “I think the important thing to remember is that we are all doing the best that we possibly can. We all need to give ourselves a break and not be so tough on ourselves.”
How would you describe your personal style?
Laid back, comfortable, cool.
What was the impetus for starting Loeffler Randall?
I couldn’t find the kind of shoes I wanted to wear. I was working in fashion and my husband and I wanted to go into business together. I quit my job and designed the first collection. We found a factory in Italy to make the samples and that first season we sold into Bergdorf Goodman. Nearly 10 years later, we are still carried there, as well as in over 200 doors worldwide. It’s been such an incredible journey both personally and professionally.
How would you define the brand aesthetic? How would you describe your customer?
Our customer is confident, driven, creative and cool. She’s stylish, not trendy. Our brand aesthetic and approach to design helps our customer communicate that.
Medium Rider Bag, $525
Our brand’s aesthetic is:
Modern, feminine and wearable. We design for the real girl, and obsess over every detail along the way.
As President & Creative Director of Loeffler Randall, which pieces would you recommend from the collection for busy moms on the go?
2) Cat Pool Slide in Leopard, $225
3) Rio Sneaker, $295
4) Industry Bag, $295
As a busy working mom, what is your best advice for other working moms trying to strike that balance between work and family? What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is always feeling like someone is short changed. When I’m at work I feel like I am missing important time with my kids. When I am home, I feel like there is so much to get done at the office. So you end up feeling like you’re letting people down a lot of the time. I think the important thing to remember is that we are all doing the best that we possibly can. We all need to give ourselves a break and not be so tough on ourselves.
As a mom to three boys (including twins) which age do you think has been most challenging in terms of finding enough time and energy to balance everything?
Three kids is three kids – that means three different teachers, three different sets of friends, three different sets of interests, three different, unique kids. I love that all of my kids are so different. But there’s a lot that goes into making sure each child gets what each needs to be happy and to thrive.
When they were little I wanted and needed to be there more. I took more time off work then and I brought my littlest one to work with me for the first six months. So that was a lot to balance. But as they get older, they require more time in different ways. They can get themselves dressed but they might need a tutor in one area or they have an issue with a friend at school or they need more time to work on reading. I once heard the saying: “little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” And at the time it annoyed me because it was a bit negative in tone and also because I thought the early years, especially with twins, were so hard I couldn’t imagine it was going to get harder. But as time goes on, I think that saying is sort of true. Not that the problems are bigger, but that they continue and that there are always challenges and things you are worrying about and thinking about and hoping you are getting right.
What does your typical day look like? Schedule-wise.
Well, my littlest comes into my bed in the middle of the night each night to sleep with us. So I would say my day begins there. He is always the first to wake up. So we get up and one of us makes the lunches and the breakfasts while the other showers. Then we have our whole routine of getting everyone fed, dressed and out the door. We drive our boys to school each day and I love dropping my youngest off in his class each morning and chatting with his teachers and friends. Then we head to work in the city. This is my time to work on craft projects like a cross stitch for the auction at the boys’ school or knitting a hat for a friend’s baby while we drive and listen to Howard Stern (my favorite) or a podcast. Then I get into work and each day is different. It’s a lot of meetings with members of my team, with vendors, our graphic design firm, our PR agency, tanneries, buyers, etc. I am working on mood boards and raw material palettes and editing designs, reviewing prototypes, working with my merchant to balance the line in just the right way, etc. At some point during the day I try to sneak in a Soul Cycle class. Then we head back to Brooklyn and pick up our older kids from after school and we come home and feed them and help with homework, play trucks with my youngest. Once everyone is bathed and fed, then we all read together. The twins are onto the 4th Harry Potter book right now and I love reading that to them. Then it’s snuggle time and sometimes it’s ages before my littlest guy falls asleep. Once everyone is down, Brian and I will read or sometimes watch Portlandia on demand. And then we fall asleep and it starts all over again…
What do you do to carve out time for yourself? Meditation / Exercise / Nights out with girlfriends, etc?
One of the best methods I’ve found for finding time for myself is that a group of my friends from elementary school and I have a secret group on Facebook where we log in our workouts each day. We encourage each other and ask for advice. This accountability has been huge for me. I also try to make a point to spend at least one night out each week. This is usually dinner with my husband or friends. I am trying to be diligent about this because I realize that I need to carve out time for myself and to nurture relationships beyond work and kids.
How do you balance your time between work, your child and nurturing yourself?
I used to spend zero time on myself and then I realized that really giving no time to myself was actually sending a bad message to my kids. I wanted them to realize that it’s important to care about your health, about fitness, about time for yourself. So I thought about it in the context of teaching them how important self care is. That’s when I got serious about exercise and making sure I took time to spend time with friends each week.
Randall’s Cross Stitch Project in Progress
I also started looking at my schedule and trying to find time for myself that I could carve out. For me, nearly every moment is accounted for so I had to get creative. For me, my commute was a big chunk of time that I decided to turn into “me” time. I do craft projects then and I listen to things on the radio that I love. It’s a bit unconventional but it’s one of the only times I’ve got so I use it well.
I have also really gotten into Soul Cycle. I love that the classes are only 45 minutes long. They are so much easier to fit into my schedule than, say, a yoga class. I am hooked.
Cross Stitch Project Completed
What are some of your specific gadgets, organizational tools or aids that help maintain a stress-free work/family balance?
It’s not stress-free! It’s very stressful. But here’s what has helped: my iphone calendar to keep me on track, not bringing my phone into my bedroom at night, making sure I have a good book on my kindle each night, having a craft project going (crafting does help quiet my mind), to-do lists on my phone and exercise – exercise has been so important to me for stress reduction.
I am also reading a really cool book right now called “The Desire Map” that is about planning out your goals not based on what you want to achieve or what things you want to get, but instead planning out your goals based on how you want to FEEL. I love this approach.
Thea Gladiator Sandal, $375
If any, what changes did you make to your work hours/life in order to create more time with your boys?
We recently started spending time at our weekend place and that has been great. We get to spend more time outdoors and the kids have more space to run around. That has been huge for our family. I have a sewing machine there and lots of art supplies so we work on projects together. There is a big beautiful kitchen where I can cook healthy meals for them. It is my happy place.
To what do you attribute your strong work ethic? What do you hope your children learn from watching you work & run your business?
Well, I grew up with two very hard working parents. So I think I learned my work ethic from them. It sounds odd to say this, but I was bored a lot as a child. We did not have tons of toys and my parents were strict about spending. The result was that I had to get very creative and imaginative to keep myself occupied. I also built up an extremely high threshold for working at things – my parents did not swoop in and solve things for me. So I try to create time for my kids to get bored (I know that sounds weird) because I see so much value in it. I think we spend too much time planning out play dates and having highly art directed projects for play dates, etc. I think it’s valuable to give kids the space to play and be self-directed.
As for business, my kids love coming to the office. One of my sons wants to be a fashion designer. Both my twins love to come to the office and color up shoe sketches and design shoes. Someday it would be awesome to pass the business on to them.
With less time to get ready in the morning, what is your go-to look in order to look chic and put together for a full day and possible evening events?
My strategy is great shoes, bag and coat. The rest is sort of a uniform. But if you have a statement coat, shoes and bag – you are all set. My make up routine is super simple: lotion, under-eye cream, mascara and lip balm.
What are your wardrobe essentials?
Skinny jeans, a great pair of boots, beautiful coats and jackets, a nice bag that can hold all my junk…
Sloan Peep Toe Bootie, $395
What is the most valuable thing motherhood has taught you?
Motherhood is everything to me. I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I love my boys more than anything in my life. The love I feel for them cannot be described. Motherhood has taught me so many things, but also motherhood came very naturally to me. It’s what I’ve wanted my entire life. The one thing it continues to teach me every day that I am a sort of terrible student of is: patience. I am still working on that one!
What has been the most surprising thing about becoming a mother?
I guess the thing that surprised me the most was having two twins who I loved more than anything in the world and were my entire world and then to have another baby and instantly love him equally as much. That was surprising to me. You can’t imagine loving someone as much as your first kid(s) but then the next one is born and it happens in an instant. That was amazing to me.
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Top Photo Courtesy of Emma Jane Kepley, Additional Photos Courtesy of Jessie Randall