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ReggioBaby LLC - An Interview with Elysia Contreras Springer

Posted by Mary Clavieres on

A new interview in the Mommin' It Business Series is here! Featuring mom owned businesses that support pregnant and new moms.

Today I’m speaking with Elysia Contreras Springer, owner of ReggioBaby LLC. Elysia is an artist, educator, and mother of two little "studio assistants." She founded ReggioBaby while developing provocations and creative experiences as the atelierista at an early childhood center in St. Paul, MN.

Tell us about your business. How do you help expecting or new moms?

ReggioBaby houses a collection of beautiful, high quality sensory toys for infants, toddlers, and people of all ages and abilities that are greatly inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy of early education. We help new moms by providing uniquely curated toys for their infants and toddlers to safely explore a wide range of materials.

What makes you unique as a mom & business owner?

I think what makes me unique as a mom and business owner, is that both titles emerged together. I became a mom, and the prototypes to these products were created in my scramble to find "me time" in the studio. My kids have seen every stage of growth with this business: from being literal guinea pigs for products, to seeing the side hustle become full time work. They see this work as a huge part of our lives, and I'd like to think they see their mom doing work she is deeply passionate about.

What's the hardest part of running your business and being a mom?

Time management is undoubtedly the hardest part of running my business and being a mom. We chose to homeschool and virtual school which has certainly been a shift that wasn't anticipated these last two years.

I carry a lot of guilt when I feel like I'm not "getting enough done," or that I "should be working." I have to remember that being a mom is a full time job in and of itself, and that I won't get this time back. I am learning to treasure the moments in play where I take in the spark in their eyes.

What is one "messy" thing about being a mom/biz owner that you would never share in public?

The literal floor of my studio. I have an endless supply of enticing, tiny treasures that sneakily get collected and then very obviously strewn everywhere. I have created a "kid shelf" to keep the materials I plan to actually sew with off the floor.

What's your favorite thing about being a mom/biz owner?

I get to make small works of art for others to enjoy every day, and that drives me to keep going. I work all the time, but I work on my time.

What advice and words of encouragement would you give to expecting or new moms? 

Your life will be changed forever. You might completely lose a self you thought was you to your core, but there will be another self that emerges that is stronger, more compassionate, more loving, and actually more realistic. You will be more gentle with yourself. You will get past periods of time that you don't think are possible to get through, and when you get through it, it will take a minute to even notice the triumph. Humble losses, humble wins.

How has motherhood changed you?

I struggled with post partum anxiety that I didn't realize came around until my kids were well beyond their baby days. Motherhood has pushed me to give myself grace and attention that I wouldn't have before being a mom.

What is one toy, item, product, book, resource, podcast that you would recommend to a new or expecting mom? 

I WILL shamelessly plug the sensory toys that I make. I get asked all the time what I would recommend, but they all are very unique and everyone gravitates towards one or a couple that is/are special to them.
As a mom, and a former caregiver of dozens and dozens of infants, I'd have to say not to give up on a product if it doesn't work/help right away. So before investing in a whole other batch or bottles, or a new bouncer, or baby carrier, or toy, give it a little more time! I have appreciated NPR's Life Kit podcast as my kids have gotten older, and bigger questions and concerns have come up in our conversations.

About Elysia Contreras Springer

Elysia Contreras Springer, owner of ReggioBaby, LLC, is an artist, educator, and mother of two little "studio assistants." She founded ReggioBaby while developing provocations and creative experiences as the atelierista at an early childhood center in St. Paul, MN. After relocating to Bentonville Arkansas in 2019, Elysia took the leap into running her handmade business full time.

Elysia started her business as a solution to the challenge of finding safe materials for babies to explore that were provocative and easy to clean. When she saw how much they were loved, and how well they held up to wear and tear, she knew she had something to run with.

Find Elysia Contreras Springer:

Website: www.reggiobaby.com

Instagram: @reggiobaby

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