One thing I love about this Mama Takeover series is I get to meet the BEST ladies around. It’s so crazy when I go back and re-read these interviews, I am finding that we mamas are so much alike. Trying to do things we love. Support other businesses. Raise families. Have a little fun.
Thinking there may need to be a Mama Takeover dinner party or get together soon!
This next mama is making **it happen. I purchased my first pair of mocs from Belle & The Bear when Estella was a teeny tiny two months old. Her official “first” pair of shoes were red leather with a beautiful braided detail. It was love at first site (Estella told me so). We had many pairs since (the most recent ones are a black bootie with Aztec stitch detail…swoon)!
Fast-forward to almost a year later and she is preparing to open her OWN shop in Lincoln, NE. From etsy to store front. You go mama!!
Tell us about YOU. Name, family, business.
Hello! My name is Shala Hruska. I am married to my high-school sweetheart, Ryan, and mom to twin three year-old girls, Alice and Cora. I own a little shoe shop called Belle & The Bear that started out with me making little baby moccasins in my basement and is now going to be a full-fledge kids’ shoe shop carrying other top kid shoe brands along with our moccasins.
How did you come up with Belle & The Bear?
I couldn’t find shoes that I liked (or fit our budget) for the girls, so I scoured the internet and made them a pair taking aspects I like from different shoes. Their first pairs were made out of a pink suede jacket that my grandmother had given me (yes, it was as ugly as it sounds). After getting comments about selling them, it took me about 6 months to perfect the pattern and get comfortable enough with sewing leather to open my etsy shop.
What is your dream job?
Obviously, this is it! But if I weren’t doing this….probably a costume designer. Specifically, to either Taylor Swift or Brandon Flowers (The Killers). Because why not?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Netflix. Amazon Prime. Hulu. I really like shows that are meant for ages 14-18.
Biggest mom guilt confession?
I am the absolute worst on getting photos printed out! I’ve probably gotten them printed out maybe two times in my children’s three years of living.
How do you balance work and play?
Moving my studio out of the house. Having it set up in our basement made it too easy to sneak away and get some work done. I would run to the sewing machine everything night after bedtime and stay there till late. Moving the business out of the house set clearer boundaries of “play” and “work” time.
Any fun life hacks you want to share (secret stain remover, how to distract a toddler for more than 2 minutes)?
Unless you feel the complete need to do so, do not fold your kids’ laundry. They’re just going to dump it all out anyway. And no one cares if they’re shirt is wrinkled. It’s going to have food/marker/dirt/unknown stain on it in about two minutes anyway. I just sort and stuff them in their drawers.
What do you wish you would have known then, that you know now?
That it is 100% okay to have no freaking clue what you want to do with your life, at any age. Just follow your gut/passions and it will take you down the road to what your are suppose to be doing. I could not imagine my life would be where it is today even three or four years ago.
What’s a picture-perfect day look like for you?
A picture perfect day would honestly be working in the shop in the morning, talking with customers. After work I would pick up my kids, dogs, and husband and we would go out to the country and explore and have a picnic for dinner and watch the sunset. Ideally, we would magically end up in the mountains, but I’m perfectly happy with any sort of nature.
What are some of your go-to beauty products?
I could not live without my dry shampoo! I don’t have a ton of time to wash/style my hair and this allows me to skip one (or three) days of hair washing.
Where do you love to shop?
I really love shopping online really late at night. Then a week later an item arrives and I have no recollection of ordering it. Oftentimes, this does not work in my favor. But when I am not sleep deprived, I typically try to purchase from small shops. I really like piper & scoot and Hello Holiday at the moment.
If you could give one piece of advice to another mama?
I think as moms we forget that we need to advocate for ourselves when we need a break. It’s okay to ask for a break and do something for yourself. Whether it’s to go for a run, to go shopping by yourself, or even just sitting in your car looking at Instagram.
How do you manage being a mom and a wife or partner?
Date nights are so vital for us! We need at least one night a month with just the two of us and have a conversation without a little person asking for more food.
What is your least favorite chore to do around the house?
All of it. But mostly laundry and folding. I currently have two full laundry baskets just hanging out in my bedroom.
What is one thing you have had to sacrifice for the sake of motherhood?
Having twins makes you body stretch way more than it is every suppose to stretch. My belly button will never be the same. RIP.
What is one question you have for other mamas out there?
I would love to know how other mamas handle sick days with the partner! We recently went through this and really had no idea how to schedule or who should stay home. It was a hot mess!
Shala! You crack me up. From belly buttons to late night shopping. You are my jam.
You can shop Belle & The Bear 1265 S. Cotner Blvd in Lincoln, NE starting on October 23rd. A little bird tells me they are having their launch party starting at 4 pm on that day. OR shop online here at belleandthebear.com.