What inspired you to launch Owl & Oak?
Anna: Ultimately I wanted to create a safe space where we’re free to talk about mental health and our parenting struggles without shame. And to connect more deeply with our children and our own inner child. Growing up, I constantly felt so much shame and insecurity about who I was. And recently, while on a self-discovery journey I thought about how different our childhood experiences would have been had society given our parents permission to ask for help, tools to deal with their children's as well as their own emotions, normalized discussions about emotional health, and celebrated parenting as a team effort rather than a competition. Even though I do not have children I realized that I owed it to little Anna to redeem her childhood experience and to pay it forward for the next generation of children and parents. Cue Owl & Oak.
What’s the key message you’d like to convey through the Owl & Oak brand and products?
Anna: To make parenting a guilt-free community effort, create calm moments in families and empower parents to trust their intuition.
Who do you want to reach through Owl & Oak and how do you want to make them feel?
Anna: The parents behind Owl & Oak are the wide-awake millennials who are sick of mental health stigmas and cookie-cutter narratives – the cultural leaders taking the match and burning the rule-book for how and what it means to be a parent. Living ecologically, independently and curiously, they’re choosing to make themselves seen and support the brands that are sustainable for creating an ethical future for their children; where it’s ok to try and fail, to be scared and unsure, to embrace your darkness and to show up as your 100% authentic self regardless of who’s watching - snuggles and struggles alike.
At Owl & Oak, we believe that parenting doesn’t end at taking care of our little ones. We also have to make sure we are good parents to our own inner child. Just because we are walking around in a grown-up body doesn’t mean that deep inside of us, there is still a little child who is overwhelmed with all that adulting and responsibility. By judging, shaming, or belittling other parents (or ourselves!) we’re judging, shaming, and belittling the scared and hurt inner child in all of us. We’re all trying our best, and with that, we should treat ourselves with more patience and kindness.
Explain Owl & Oak in five words…
Anna: Empowering, Inclusive, Thought-Leader, Community-Building, Authentic
Why is community so important to Owl & Oak?
Anna: We want parents to know that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. It’s normal to have postpartum depression. And we have to make it normal to talk about it, to show vulnerability, and to ask for help without shame! Too many parents think there is something wrong with them if they are tired and frustrated. In the end, it’s ever-so-normal and some are just better at hiding a breakdown than others. We created a community that supports beautifully imperfect parents on the quest of keeping their sanity while stepping on a lego at 3 am. A place where they can share their struggles and get met with support and resources instead of judgment. Even a little chuckle once in a while about all those little parenting disasters that follow us throughout the day.
What projects has Owl & Oak got in the pipeline?
Anna: Tired-out and stressed parents need our help. We are serving our audience with meaningful resources and content. And beyond our people, we have a give-back program where we donate up to 5% of each purchase to small local organizations that provide services to families in need.
Finish this sentence...you’ll love Owl & Oak if you’re……
Anna: Ready to talk about your failures without apologizing and agree that the last thing you need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.
And finally, what’s the goal for Owl & Oak over the next year?
Anna: We have so many ambitions, but these are a top priority for the next year:
- To create a wonderful Community hub on the website and through our Instagram with lots of thoughtful and engaging content.
- To grow this digital Community and provide guilt-free, accessible and real support to parents and caretakers all over the world.
- To design, create and release our ranges of stylish and modern baby and kids products that bring calm moments in families and nurture the open conversation around mental health and what it means to have big feelings and emotions.
- And finally to remove the stigma around asking for help and admitting that life as a parent is sometimes really, really, really hard. At the same time, we’ll empower families to be the best they can be that day, even if that means cartoons and spaghetti. Knowing that we’re enough as we are, and how we’ve shown up that day, that’s our key goal.