minnow mama : morgan smith

This week we celebrate the heritage of minnow and our classics collection of signature staples. In our newest (and long overdue) minnow mama interview, see where the idea for minnow sparked from our founder, Morgan. Plus see what she carries in her beach bag and the best business advice she’s received!

Where did the idea for minnow spark?

When my first son was 14 months old, I was consulting at the time and decided to take advantage of the flexible work scenario. We embarked on a home exchange in London. While there, we took a weekender to the Amalfi Coast.  Before our travel, I searched London (a city with a large children’s clothing offering) in mid-July for boy’s swim options, yet I was disappointed with the assortment. I just wanted clean, simple with a great fit. It got me thinking about where I had found my son’s swim options back home, and how it always felt like this “find”, either I would buy the shorts way too small for him or find a vintage pair off Etsy so they would hit above his knee. Because knee dimples are meant to be seen! So when I got home from our house swap, I went to work on the first style, the minnow boardies for my little muse.

What are you beach bag essentials?

Where do you find your style inspo from for yourself and your littles?

I love classic style mixed with fresh elements. I feel most me in a dress. Preferably a sun dress!

For my kid's style, I appreciate traditional silhouettes that are cleaned up, I adore Spanish style clothing! I like my babies to look like babies. I don't tend to go trendy on my children's clothes, I wan't to look back at photos with sweetness and timeless sentiment and not be distracted by a fleeting fashion moment.
What are you most proud of?
My three children.
What was most challenging about starting a small business?
I would say the initial leap, going from vision to execution. Initially protect your ideas with people that are going to encourage, support and champion you forward. I gave myself a check list with deadlines Including a launch date. I said, I’m going to do these 5 things this week, then followed my leads. I hit many road blocks (still do) but you just don’t drop it, keep on jumping over the hurdle. 
What do you feel the most nostalgic about from the process of growing your business to what it is today?
The first couple months of minnow, my mom use to come over after my son Theo was asleep and we’d watch a show while hand tying all the strings on the hang tags and then safety pin them onto the suits. I wanted different rope than the label company offered, so I ordered it from a separate place and hand tied them all on  - I actually did (sometimes still do!)  a lot of crazy things like this! Ha ha. The details have always been important to me :) I now look at our hang tags with a whole new appreciation. 
I really enjoy being hands on, but for the sake of growing the business and my family’s sanity - processes have to constantly improve. 
What is the best business advice you've received? Motherhood advice?
I think all founders have different strengths and different ways to go about success for their businesses, but the one commonality I think everyone needs to have is the persistence and resilience. You will have problems, weekly, maybe daily. I’m constantly trying to train myself to thrive off the challenge or be energized by the obstacle instead of resent it or be frustrated by it. Much harder said than done, especially when you have small children to also take care of. Yet, I think the same can be applied for motherhood and what I teach my kids  - we can do hard things. 
What advice would you give yourself when you started minnow?
In the beginning I was juggling guilt in my head, how much time I spent on the business and how much time with my kids. It took me a long time to get significant help, out of my own stubbornness. Being a working mom was a new identity for me that I had to work through myself. I wanted to be a present mother that didn’t miss anything but also grow the business. I learned trying to do both at the same time, wasn’t the best for either.  I believe it’s finding the balance YOU feel comfortable with and what makes YOU happiest. 
When you're not juggling minnow & motherhood, how do you spend your time?
Traveling or at the beach, which involves my kids and minnow! The brand is very authentic to my life passions, where it naturally all plays together.
Who is on your support team? i.e. Who helps you juggle it all!
Definitely takes a village!

My husband Joel. We’re pretty 50/50 these days on kids and work. (...Not that anyone is keeping score ;)). This wasn’t always our role arrangement, but we’ve found a spot where we both are comfortable and happy. As the seasons of life change so might your roles. We just try to be flexible and supportive of each other’s work and evaluate what our family needs at the moment.  

So proud and grateful for our talented + hardworking minnow team.  I’m so grateful for their dedication, care for the brand and thoughtfulness in their work. Having a third baby this year during the pandemic, I’ve leaned on them all more than ever. 

Also our neighbors, the southern hospitality is real. And our sweet + active nanny. We don’t have any family in Charleston, so we’re grateful she loves our kids + feels like family.

What has kept you going thru the ups and downs of this year?

Nobody wanted this year, but if looking at the glass half full - I do like a challenge, I think it pushes creativity out of us all. One of my business advisors told me " opportunity exists when fear is present" this is a time to do a lot of new testing for the business, and push ourselves (because we have to) out of our comfort zones to do new things.

What's next for minnow?!

minnow pop up store at Lido Marina Village (Sept - Dec)
Newport Beach, CA
2021 more product categories that we are so excited to expand the minnow offering!