Natalie Alcala, Founder of Fashion Mamas, on How to Build a Community of Like-Minded Mamas
Natalie Alcala has made her name loud and heard to stay in both the creative industry and the motherhood community. As founder of Fashion Mamas, a network for mothers in fashion and creative fields, Natalie wanted to combine her two passions motherhood and fashion. Little did she know that there was a huge void to be filled and soon a tight-knit community of like-minded mamas was born. Based out of Los Angeles, Natalie has only decided to make her voice present in our home in New York City. Catch both Fashion Mamas and Mitera at the Mamas Making It Panel on Thursday, June 22nd.
What started your idea for combining fashion contributors and mothers? Was the process of founding Fashion Mamas more difficult than you thought it would be? What is your core mission?
Fashion Mamas is meant to connect influential mothers in two ways: career and motherhood. We were the first organization to create a members-only community just for industry-related mothers. I felt very alone when I had my son, and quickly discovered that it meant the world to surround myself with like-minded women who are all working towards the same goal of being a badass businesswoman and a good parent. Once a woman is part of the Fashion Mamas community, she is immediately embraced — it truly is like a family. I've met a few sweet women who have shared with me that once they found out they were pregnant, their first thought is "Yay, now I can join Fashion Mamas!" That fills me up with so much joy.
Can you describe your pregnancy and breastfeeding experience? How did you balance your personal style with the demands of motherhood?
Ask anyone and they'll tell you that I am obsessed with being pregnant. I loved it so much! The first trimester was hell, but after that, I loved watching my body transform. Breastfeeding was very difficult for the first three months — Diego had trouble latching. I had Mastitis three times, and it was a nightmare. But something told me to get trying, and by month four Diego finally got it down, and we were in pure breastfeeding bliss for 17 months. Regarding personal style, I never changed my look from pre-baby to pregnancy to motherhood, despite the judgment of other mothers (outside of FM, of course!) I like short dresses and wear lots of black.
How do you see Fashion Mamas evolving in the future?
We'll expand to more cities, create more product, and produce more large-scale events, like our upcoming Mamas Making It Summit.
Natalie with her son, Diego
What have been some surprises along the way?
I didn't realize how much of a void we were filling until I saw the mother movement start to transform around me. When FM started, there really wasn't anything for the modern and stylish mother. Now, there are so many wonderful resources out there, and I believe we were at the forefront of the change.
How has being gluten-free and vegan affected your role as a mother?
I may be the most difficult dinner guest on the planet, but I promise that I mean well! I eat a ton, despite what others may think with my limitations. Diego is vegetarian, so he gets to enjoy cheese. He also takes a daily iron supplement to ensure he's getting the proper nutrients.
What is some advice you have for new moms who also are juggling a career (or two!)?
There's no better time than now. If you have a great idea, or you want to take on a project, motherhood will not limit you. In fact, it may provide you with even more creativity and drive. I launched Fashion Mamas when my son was three months old, and while it was definitely a lot to take on, it gave me a new purpose and motivation to maintain by career identity while also embracing my new identity as a mother.
What does a brand like Mitera mean to you?
I love that you create breastfeeding-friendly pieces for stylish mamas to enjoy! No more dingy muscle tees or having to carry around a cover. (Although I do want to say that mothers should be free to nurse in public whenever they damn well please. #NormalizeBreastfreeding!)
What does mindful parenting mean to you?
Staying in tune with your child's needs while also incorporating them into your lifestyle. It also means doing your own research to see what methods work for you and your family best.
Just for Fun:
What is an average Sunday in the Alcala household like?
Smoothies, park play, and an epic lunch outing. (Diego loves Mexican food.)
What would you do if you had one more hour in your day?
Get a facial!
What is your morning routine at home?
Meditate, check emails, feed Diego, play with Diego, workout, work.
I don’t leave home without...___________?
My phone and my Garrett Leight x Clare Vivier sunglasses!
What has NOT changed since you became a mother?
The fact that deep inside, all I really want to do is dance to '90s hip hop.