The life of a “mompreneur”

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mamama, Honey, Babe, Wife, Mrs., Candice, Marketer, MBA, Entrepreneur, Designer, Business Owner, Investor.

These are names I go by, or titles earned throughout my career and education that are parts of my identity. Mother, Wife, Marketer, Entrepreneur, these are all such different parts of me that pull at me and energize me in different ways. I love each of these parts of myself, but I would be lying if I said it’s not a challenge.

Mom in fashion. Mompreneur.

People often ask me how I do it all, well I have some hacks to try and be the best at everything I do, but a day in a life of a mompreneur (who still works full time too) is hectic. Here are a few ways that I stay focused and grounded:

  • No matter what, my family always comes first. My supportive husband ensures that not everything falls on me, but when Adalynn, our daughter is sick, I stay up with her, and I’m the one who stays home from work. The guilt can set in, when I feel like I am not there for my team, but caring for my child is the priority.
    Worklife Momlife
    Work trip to Denver. Adalynn and Ben came along. 

    At our home after work on Friday September 21, 2018.
  • Create boundaries. It’s hard to do this 100% of the time, but when I am at work, I try to focus on work, checking in periodically on the amazing app PreciousStatus which keeps me informed about Adalynn’s day. When I pick Adalynn up from school, and first get us settled at home, that’s her time. We play for a short time, then bedtime routine: dinner, bath, books, songs, tuck her into bed. I will not answer work pings or emails at this time. It’s just an hour and a half of time, and that’s for Adalynn and my husband Ben.
Nightly commute, usually involving some level of tears.
Meals for babies
Mama makes the best dinners.
  • Be flexible. Counter to the point before, I am extremely flexible about when I work. My job is not a typical 9-5, but requires rigor, and a great deal of meetings and collaboration. I often pop open the laptop at 6:30AM, answer a few emails, but myself in order for the day, and work in the office from 8:45AM-4:30PM. After Adalynn goes to bed, I finish up anything time sensitive needing my attention. This also means that I am not 100% tied to a schedule. If I can tell Adalynn needs more sleep, I let her sleep and I work from home a bit longer in the morning and take a later train. This only works if I don’t have early morning meetings, but it helps to give myself and my family some flexibility.
Train commute. Momlife/Worklife.

One last tip on flexibility: be flexible and easy on yourself when it comes to the housework. People ask how you do it all, well you can’t. Something has to give. For me, it’s letting our house be in a constant state of slight disarray.

Photo credit: Instagram @mamadisrupt
  • Maximize extended windows of time. To pursue any of my entrepreneurial projects, I look for longer stretches of time: After bedtime, nap time, weekends. I do try and spend the weekends with our little family, but I try and focus on knocking out a few items on my to-do list for Mod + Ethico and Woolly Roo.
  • Self-care. I am admittedly terrible at this one, but working on it. I try to think about this in little steps: 1) I started cooking for my husband and I more. I used to love cooking, but stopped when I got busier post-baby. 2) We try and do date night every few weeks. 3) I went to yoga today for the first time since January (nearly a year!). 4) Having a home spa day every weekend. I take a long bath, during nap time. It’s a glorious ritual. 5) Reading. I have finally picked reading back up. I was using the train commute to Instagram, and to do work (which I normally do), but I have started prioritizing reading, and writing.


Processed with VSCO with a4 preset
Meta image of me writing this post. Real life – no gorgeous staged photo of a laptop, notebook, and perfectly frothed pumpkin spiced latte. This is my unstaged real life photo from the sofa with the baby gate in the background.

There are often days when I feel like I am not doing enough. Days when I feel deflated, and like I am failing: I’m not moving fast enough; an email I forgot to send; Adalynn gets a naughty report from school. Then, I take a moment, I realize all that I have accomplished in the past year. I think wow, “I did that?” It’s been a crazy past year, and while I wish I were moving faster, I cannot believe the ground I have covered. The feeling of failure motivates, it creates a sense of drive that propels me into action. Taking on the many titles that I own is chaotic, and fulfilling. The roles of mom, wife, marketer, and entrepreneur. At the ends of the day, Adalynn is thriving, my marriage is happy, and my work challenges me and I am growing creatively and intellectually. It’s a wild ride, but I’m glad it’s mine.

– Candice Collison, Mom, Wife, Marketer, Founder of Mod + Ethico and Woolly Roo

Fall Fair-Fashion Staples

Cozy Layers, Sustainably-Made

For us it’s equally important to love how we look and feel in something. We consider fit, fabric, and how something was made. To truly feel good about styling ourselves, that means child and sweatshop free labor, and more sustainable production methods and fabrics.

We are also increasingly aware of the impact that throw-away fashion has on our eco-system. Here are some of our favorite styles for the Fall to help you feel stylish through an ethical, minimalist approach.

Sustainable & Eco-friendly Hats from Groceries Apparel & People Tree

1. Accessorize with hats. This is an inexpensive, and minimal way to update your Fall look. We have a sustainable, sweat-shop free selection from Groceries Apparel and People Tree to keep you warm and on trend this season. I still have hats I bought ten years ago for which I still receive compliments.

Super versatile soft blush turtleneck

2. Capsule sweaters. Choose styles that are fashionable without being too trendy. We love the selection from Nation LTD and People Tree. Our pieces from Nation LTD are flattering neutrals that will look amazing with a variety of looks, from jeans to a pencil skirt, and everything in between.

Grey Shawl-Collar Cardigan

3. Layer with cardigans. The perfect piece to add warmth and a touch of your personal style. We have chosen updated classics so that you feel fashionably relevant today and for seasons to come.

Organic Cotton Jumpsuit for Day to Night.

4. Styles that transition from desk-to-drinks. Do more with less. Select versatile pieces that style up and down seamlessly. We are loving jumpsuits this season, like this green v-neck culotte style jumpsuit by People Tree. Wear to work with a camisole underneath and loafers, transition to night with a simply pair of sleek high heels.

Written by Candice Collison, owner of Mod + Ethico

Ethical Fashion – What’s It All About?


Pictured: V-Neck Dress / Draped Modal Midi Dress / Box Panel Tee / Sleeveless Trapeze Dress

Credit: Brittany Hinrichs, Content Manager, Mod + Ethico Boutique

The ethical side of the fashion realm can be quite intense and confusing for those looking to switch to a more mindful lifestyle. It can be overwhelming trying to learn and make sense of this side of the industry. You might think that your world–and typical shopping habits–have been turned upside down. Depending on who you ask, ethical fashion has a variety of definitions.

Simply put, ethical fashion is a fashion that values people, fair wages, safe working conditions and the environment–or the Achilles heel of fast fashion, as I like to say. It is progressive fashion that considers and takes accountability for its social and environmental impact throughout all of its processes.

Designers, boutique owners, bloggers and conscious consumers all work together to raise questions about industry standards and norms. They do it in the hopes that the idea of ethical fashion will no longer just be a movement, but rather, a way of life.

Here’s a breakdown of the ethical fashion industry, its social concepts, and benefits:


Credit: Suki + Solaine

1. Ethical Fashion – a movement that believes in the sustainable and ethical production, design and sourcing of fashion goods and materials. It is both socially and environmentally conscious.

Benefits of Ethical Fashion

  • Prices are set according to the quality, value, and construction of the garment.
  • It promotes sustainable practices in the garment industry to reduce waste, overconsumption, and future damage to the environment.
  • It considers the lives of artisans/garment workers and their families by providing fair compensation and safe work environments.


Pictured: Reverse Ball Choker

Credit: Brittany Hinrichs, Content Manager, Mod + Ethico

2. Slow Fashion – a cycle of fashion that supports slower shopping habits, mindful sourcing, and quality production. Clothes are produced on a made-to-order basis to reduce overproduction and pollution. Slow Fashion focuses on building a capsule collection with strong basics and investment pieces, rather than frequent, low-quality trend-based purchases.

Benefits of Slow Fashion

  • Slow production promotes slower consumption and production of waste.
  • Considers environmental and social impact of production and distribution.
  • Slow fashion retailers are often mission-based.
  • Allows consumers to build a capsule wardrobe with investment pieces and,
  • Often handmade and ethically produced.


Pictured: Fairtrade & Organic Cotton Kimono / Bamboo Dress

Credit: Lindsey Higgins & Jessina Nicole

3. Fairtrade – an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system (Fair Trade Federation).

Benefits of Fairtrade

  • Ensures underdeveloped countries and workers aren’t exploited by manufacturers, retailers, and corporations.
  • Environmental and social guidelines are taken into consideration with trade agreements and partnerships.
  • Promotes ethical and transparent partnerships between manufacturers, retailers, factories, and workers.
  • Empowers local and indigenous communities/artisans.


Pictured: Fairtrade & Organic Cotton Kimono / Veja V-10 White Sneakers

Credit: Lindsey Higgins & Jessina Nicole

4. Sustainability – A characteristic of a process or state that can be maintained at a consistent level indefinitely. A sustainable process meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (MSLK).

Benefits of Sustainability

  • Products are made from highly renewable, oftentimes natural, sources–bamboo, wood pulp, dirt, beech trees, etc.
  • Sustainable processes reduce the need to exacerbate human resources and production times due to the focus on synergistic, zero waste policies
  • Sustainable textiles and materials reduce landfill, CO2, water, and chemical pollution

Brands and retailers are starting to use post-consumer materials for shoes and apparel (eg. recycled plastic, bottles, rubber, and discarded hardware).


Pictured: CAM Rose Gold Stamped Studs + Ear Jackets

Credit: Brittany Hinrichs, Content Manager, Mod + Ethico

5. Upcycling – taking something considered waste and repurposing it (Upcycle That).

The repurposing of a material into a product of higher quality. An example would be a purse made out of woven candy wrappers (MSLK).

Benefits of Upcylcing

  • Promotes environmental and social awareness
  • Reduces amount of clothing and household items contributing to landfill pollution and/or lost in the travels of oversea charity sales

Product value, including its potential value, is determined and restored by the owner.


Pictured: Sheer Floral Bomber Jacket

Credit: Alain Milotti, Photograher, Mod + Ethico

6. Cut n’ Sew – the process of manufacturing a product from scratch; The sewing process starts and ends in one place — meaning the design is cut out from raw fabric and completely finished (Leaf.TV).

Benefits of Cut N’ Sew

  • Allows for more customization
  • Fabrics are cut and altered in their raw state, instead of undergoing mass alterations once purchased by retailers
  • Garments are designed, cut, sewn, and finished in their entirety
  • More care for fabric selection and quantities produced
  • Promotes locally sourced, handmade, and made-to-order processes

Cuts out middlemen and general questions of ethical production.


Pictured: Knee High Sock Pack

Credit: Mod + Ethico

7. Indigenous Techniques – Traditional methods of hand-making garments practiced by indigenous cultures and artisans, which have been practiced for generations. Indigenous clothes are typically made using one of three carefully selected handmade methods: hand-knit with needles, hand-held knitting looms and hand-woven looms (Indigenous Clothing)

Benefits of Indigenous Techniques

  • Garments are produced by the indigenous groups and artisans that specialize in that specific construction and design.
  • Original construction techniques are typically of higher value and quality and are priced accordingly.
  • These techniques put the spotlight back on traditional craftsmanship and undervalued communities.
  • Clothing is more personal, meaningful, and is an exemplary example of natural artforms.

Ethical and slow fashion brands work with indigenous groups through fair trade programs to ensure proper pay and recognition for the skilled artisans — eg. Krochet Kids, Indigenous, Bead & Reel, and The Root Collective

Written and researched by contributor Jessina Nicole, of Love Leather and Lace

5 Eco-friendly Lifestyle and Beauty Hacks to Save you More Than Just Time & Money

As a the founder of Mod + Ethico balancing both my start-up, my full-time gig in advertising, AND with a baby on the way, I am always seeking life hacks to save time. The great news is that these hacks not only save time, but also precious natural resources, cut-down on energy use, and minimize waste.

Some beauty & lifestyle tips, good for you and the planet:

  1. Wash your hair less often. I grew up in humid Virginia, where I avidly washed my hair daily for most of my life. I have since trained my hair to go longer stretches between washes. The benefit of washing your locks less: accelerate growth, maintain hair health, and clearer skin. Eco-reasons to love washing less? Saving water (saving 2.1 gallons of water per minute saved)  and energy from skipping the blow dry. Other reason? Time. I save minutes in the shower and even more substantial time blow-drying. This means I get extra snooze time on days when I skip the wash. Help stretch time between washes with dry shampoo. I have tried several over the years, from salon quality to drug store brands, and right now I really like L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo. I plan on trying this DIY Dry Shampoo for its eco-friendliness and minimal ingredients.

    Day 3 Hair – After using cornstarch today with just a tad of L’Oreal Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo.
  2. Make-up removal & facial cleansing. Opt for natural DIY makeup removal and facial cleansers. Here are some fabulous ideas from Wellness Mama. Rinse with a washcloth which is washable and reusable, reusable biodegradable eco cotton pads by S.W. Basics, or opt for biodegradable cleansing wipes such as Klorane Make-up Remover Biodegradable Wipes.

    S.W. Eco Cotton Rounds
    Minimize waste from your beauty routine with these organic, reusable cotton pads for $22.
  3. Freshen clothing without washing. I have researched ways to extend time between dry cleaning and washing – saving time, water, and energy.
    • Use mixture of vodka, water, and a few drops of lavender oil. A theatre wardrobe expert claims the mixture works beautifully, and I have to agree.  Get a giant bottle of cheap high proof vodka, mix it in a spray bottle with water. The ratio should be about 60%-70% vodka. Spray it on the clothing, or . The vodka dries odorless, kills bacteria and helps remove icky smells. (Reddit)
    • Freeze your jeans. Save water, and help preserve the vibrance and integrity of your denim by forgoing frequent washes and throwing them in the freezer once a month. The recommendaton comes from Levi’s VP of Women’s Denim Design Jill Guenza. (

      Giving these Henry and Belle babes to a little freeze treatment to preserve the fit and fabric.
  4. Kick petroleum-based products to the curb. Petroleum found in your beloved lip balm is sadly a by product of the petroleum industry. I have also been told by my wedding makeup artist that petroleum-based lip balms can further dry out your lips. I have not found concrete evidence supporting this claim, but I always prefer to opt for more natural and sustainable options. Lately, I am loving 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Shea Moisture. I use this to hydrate dry patches on my cheeks, my chapped lips, very lightly at the ends of my hair to protect from heat, and on my body post-shower in lieu of lotion. Since I just started my third trimester, I am liberally using coconut oil (with vitamin E) on my belly to hopefully prevent unsightly stretchmarks. So far so good.

    100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Shea Moisture
  5. The 30-wear minimum rule. Invest in capsule pieces you truly love, that are versatile, and can stand the test of time. The average article of clothing is worn just less than 5 times, and are kept for less than 35 days, and produce over 400% more carbon emissions per item per year than garments worn 50 times and kept for a full year. Bonus benefit, you will tap your own creativity to pull together new outfit ideas and feel good doing it. (Forbes)

Versatility is key, I put great use to this beautifully Chicago-crafted vegetable-tanned Horween leather moto jacket by Production Mode ($750). While $750 may sound     like quite the investment, if I consider how often I style this jacket with an outfit, my   cost per wear in just the past year – at least 30 times – is just $25. However, I will get a lifetime of wears out of this jacket. When you buy fast-fashion pieces for relatively a relatively inexpensive price, let’s say $50, and you wear it 4 times, then this jacket ends up actually costing you quite a bit more per wear. I style this jacket with anything from boho shorts to black jeans, dresses, and everything in between.

These little changes can help simplify my lifestyle, and I feel like I am making steps to minimize my carbon footprint. I reflect daily on how I could do more. The great news is that these changes not only help keep our planet a little cleaner, but my sleep has improved by saving time, my skin has improved since adopting a new routine that is more gentle, and my sanity is spared by cutting down on laundry and my beauty regimen so I can savor a slower lifestyle as I await the arrival of my little one and balance my career.

– Candice Stewart Collison, Founder & Owner

Show Me the Money: How buying ethically-made clothes can be cheaper in the long-run

While I’m extremely passionate about sustainably- and ethically-made clothing, I’ve always said I’d never turn down a good deal. I’ve since proven myself wrong. While perusing my inbox recently, I saw a deal offered at Victoria’s Secret for a sport pant, sports bra, and beanie—all for $55. I found myself reeling and loudly asking my laptop how this could even be possible.


What has been sacrificed to bring you this price? Quality, fair payment and treatment of workers, and environmentally friendly materials and production practices surely top the list. At prices like this though, it’s hard to think about anything other than “just buy it, it’s so cheap!” But what if you were able to silence that impulsive mini-you to really think about what you were buying? What if spending a little more upfront could actually save you money in the long-term?

Let’s focus strictly on quality for the purposes of this analysis.

Assume that these lower-priced pieces will last one year—and that’s an ambitious estimate—if used and washed regularly and that you’ll replace them each year when they fall apart, fade, stretch out, etc. with similar pieces at similar prices.

Rather than spending $550 over ten years and throwing away your worn-out fast fashion finds,—really, even thrift stores don’t want them—take a bit of time to find pieces you absolutely love that are made responsibly and will hold up to your active lifestyle. Items produced with care and emphasis on quality will stand up to whatever you throw at them for years.

Search for well-made pieces like the Tempo Criss-Cross Back Sports Bra and Carry on Legging from NUX that will give you the high-performance you expect out of your athleisure wear and hold up to daily sweat sessions and subsequent washes. Top the look off with the good hYOUman Slouchy Black Beanie. All three pieces are made in the USA with an emphasis on innovative design, quality construction, and performance.

Especially when it comes to fitness, quality can enhance or hinder your activities in the clothes. I’ve certainly found that my poorly-made activewear went quickly from the gym, to my couch, to the “donate” pile. Since higher-quality pieces are both optimized for physical activity and look great, they’ll take you from the studio to the airport and everywhere in between.

Let’s assume the pieces above will last five years if used and washed regularly and that you’ll replace them when they wear out with similar pieces at similar prices (I’ve made this assumption based on the life cycle I’ve observed for investment items—both athleisure and ready-to-wear—that I’ve purchased over the years). The full outfit comes to $170. Over ten years, you would spend $340. That’s over $200 in savings compared to buying those fast fashion clothes!

If you’ve examined your budget and really can’t buy slightly higher-priced clothes, then by all means, purchase what you’re able to. But if you have the ability to save up and buy fewer, better, more versatile pieces less often, then you should, if for no other reason than long-term savings.

This isn’t about spending a fortune upfront. It’s about thinking just a little bit farther down the road than “right now.” It’s about being mindful of what you’re putting on your body, what you open your wardrobe to, what you want your clothes to say about you, and the principles you’re willing to put your money behind. Mindfulness is a huge emerging trend in the fitness world—why limit the practice to your yoga mat when you can expand it to what you wear on the mat?

Written by Amber Vignieri, Urban Hippie and Mod + Ethico Contributor

Behind the Brand: Meet VARYFORM designer and owner Masha Titievsky


Behind the brand: VARYFORM

Meet Masha Titievsky

Age: 25

Born: Kiev, Ukraine

Grew up in: Louisville, KY

I met Masha Titievsky this past summer, and was immediately impressed by this young, motivated woman and her easy going style, poise, and wealth of knowledge in the domains of fashion and retail.

Masha and I spent about an hour together in our first meeting, never having met before except for email exchanges, brainstorming and bouncing around ideas for retail experience and collaborative opportunities between VARYFORM and Mod + Ethico (M+E). Not only is Masha the lovely creative talent behind VARYFORM (designing, and often sewing her designs), but she is so incredibly collaborative and giving of her time, expertise and has a warm and calm disposition. Since that summer day, Masha and I have become wonderful collaborators: Masha regularly consults me from a visual strategy and styling perspective, and this weekend, 11/26 during small business Saturday M+E will host a sample sale for VARYFORM – celebrating the accomplishments of female entrepreneurship in Chicago.

Event details:

VARYFORM Sample Sale at Mod + Ethico

When: November 26th 11AM-6PM

Where: Mod + Ethico

27 N. Morgan St.

Chicago, IL 60607

What: Small business Saturday is a gift-shopping event specifically celebrating small businesses. We will feature samples from Masha’s elegant line VARYFORM, and will also offer 30% off the entire store, and will be featuring a mimosa bar throughout the day.

More info on VARYFORM:

VARYFORM is a ready to wear womenswear line designed by Masha Titievsky in Chicago. VARYFORM expresses change over time and the transformative nature of clothing.

Aesthetically, Masha is strongly influenced by natural phenomena such as plant growth patterns, wave movement, the structure of crystals, and the reflective surfaces of water and glass. Her designs transform these natural elements into special staple pieces with a sense of glamour and sophistication.

Masha Titievsky is a current Designer-In-Residence at the Chicago Fashion Incubator at Macy’s on State Street. Her collection may be viewed in full on

Contibutor: Candice Stewart, Founder & CEO of Mod + Ethico

True Cost: A testament to the importance of ethically-made fashion

When I mentioned SEWN to a friend, she immediately recommended a documentary she had recently watched on Netflix, The True Cost, and how impactful it was on her. She mentioned that this documentary transformed her views on how she purchases any product, but most especially her clothes.

I quickly decided that my next Netflix rainy afternoon would be dedicated to watching this documentary, which quite frankly left me ashamed of some of my own clothing purchase behavior patterns to date. It’s no secret that younger generations (yes, notably Millennials) love a wardrobe revamp, so long that it doesn’t do too much financial damage. They cannot be seen, especially on social media, repeating outfits within a few months (for some, this time period could even be years). Taking note of this, retailers, and even services like Rent the Runway, provide cost effective ways to constantly rotate out clothing without breaking the bank.

However, The True Cost sheds light on the danger this ever popular fast fashion trend has impacted the livelihood and places unbeknownst to most. As you watch this documentary, you are reminded that while this trend might be wallet friendly, it certainly isn’t friendly to humanity. The irony of it all is that all modern advertising promotes the notion that increasing consumption leads to happiness. However, most people in the Western World seem more depressed than ever.

In the 1960s, the U.S. produced roughly 95% of the clothes domestically. Today, this figure is closer to three percent. Most of the textile production is outsourced to developing countries where labor costs allow for clothes to be merchandised for low prices in stores. What isn’t know to most are the life-risking conditions people must work in to attain production goals set by fashion mega-companies, which are in turn set by increasing fashion consumption trends.

What I found particularly interesting about this documentary are the environmental impacts that clothing overproduction trends have. I had no idea that both crops and people are affected and the earth is being abused. It is estimated that only 10% of donated clothes get recycled or up-cycled, and thrift stores can’t sell a lot of the garments that come in, so they end up in a landfill. Because it takes takes 200 years to break down textile, the clothes just sit in the ground releasing harmful fumes in the atmosphere for centuries.

The lasting takeaway this documentary left on me was the careful choice on the clothes that you consume could essentially save a life. This notion pairs so perfectly with the SEWN mission of highlighting the importance of socially and environmentally responsible fashion. Our planet and our people have suffered enough and it is time for us all to change our behaviors in an effort to stand up to inhumane working environments and textile production practices.

We curate some of the most stylish and unique responsibly-made designers available, and are just loving our new arrivals from Suki + Solaine, Me to We, Good hYOUman, and Argaman & Defiance, . Here are a few essential pieces to help build your sustainable wardrobe:

Suki + Solaine Sheer Striped Caftan, loving this now and will pair with a moto leather jacket in the fall.



ME to WE Kipande necklace that we have been pairing with everything. ME to WE is handmade in Kenya by female artisans who are paid a fair wage for their stunning craftsmanship.


Good hYOUman Simone Keyhole-back Sweatshirt is a stylish, cozy essential piece for the fall. Good hYOUman’s entire production process: from knitting to cutting and sewing, is all done in California.


This long Grey Marbre silk Argaman & Defiance scarf is a perfect transitional piece from summer to fall. Wrap around your neck, or wear draped – this piece is versatile and handmade in Chicago. 


Contributor: Alex Hart