We officially launched Casa del Rio Collection in July of 2011. My husband and I were married a few months prior, and when the inevitable (yet still cringe-inducing) question of if we would soon have kids was asked, I simply smiled and said CDR was my child.

Up to that point, I never experienced anything as exciting, or terrifying, gratifying, and, sometimes soul crushing, as repeatedly introducing my designs to the world and hearing the responses. I sought to find what was missing in our client’s closet. Each new style, while inspired from vintage silhouettes, carried a part of me, and each trunk show, or editor meeting was like my kid’s first day of school. Would my creations be appreciated? Would they be overlooked?

Finally, after traveling and meeting so many wonderful storeowners, clients, manufacturers, and mentors, my husband and I decided it was time to make our lives even more hectic (I mean wonderful) and have a real-life baby. We were so incredibly thankful to swap a suitcase for a diaper bag and we had a new reason to be simultaneously excited and terrified.

Somewhere between our first and second child my artistic perspective shifted. My designs still employ classic silhouettes to emphasize the genuinely unique texture of wild Florida alligator, but now I have an increased focus on what my clients covet. When our lives are so incredibly busy with work and family schedules, what items make us want to get dressed. What do you plan your entire outfit around?

When I was a newlywed being asked when we would have children, it seemed so obvious to me that making that choice would be a detriment to my goal of building our fledgling company. But now after ten years, two children, and countless designs, I feel growing our family at the same time as our company required an intense focus and has made our line stronger and more cohesive.

As for my first child, Casa del Rio Collection has grown into something of which I am truly proud. And for the rollercoaster that is parenting, I am eternally grateful for all of our amazing ancestors who loved fiercely and blazed their own paths.