Natalie Alcala is the founder of Fashion Mamas, arguably one of the most influential groups of entrepreneurial women, and a constant source of inspiration. Her energy and commitment to building an engaged and resourceful community is truly admirable. I know many women like myself are so grateful to have this resource.
Her interview truly speaks for itself. She's inspired by life, and you can tell.
Mama of two, getting it done, bringing people together and looking good all at the same time! Thank you Natalie for all the good vibes.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came about founding Fashion Mamas?
Hi! I'm a proud Latina, born and raised in Los Angeles. I'm a writer by trade and was a fashion editor for years before I founded Fashion Mamas. When I was a new mom back in 2014, there really weren't any modern resources for mothers like me: a woman with a demanding career, a strong point-of-view, and an unapologetic passion for personal identity. I wanted to connect all of the incredible mothers to selfishly learn from them and become inspired by them while I embarked on this new journey of motherhood. Turns out, they were looking for those same connections, and here we are six years later with nearly 600 members across the world.
As a mother of two, what are the things you do for yourself to stay grounded and find time to do your work? You seem to have so much energy, and be really well organized!
Ah, thanks. I've actually been quite tired lately because my 2-year-old is going through a wild growth spurt. But for the most part I'd say I'm an energized spirit that must start my day with a homemade smoothie. My go-to is acai, banana, cacao powder, reishi, almond butter, and cinnamon. It's my version of coffee! As for being organized, I'm a Pisces sun with an Aquarius moon, so I like to control what I can in order to make space for my creativity to run free.
I feel that being an entrepreneur has been glamorized in the last few years. What do you feel are some of the pros and cons of working for yourself?
I worked in the corporate world for a really long time, so I've been on both sides.
Pros of working for yourself: creating your own schedule, not reporting to anyone, building something from the ground up, creating freely and without a blueprint, and watching an idea in your head turn into a tangible business that others value.
Cons of working for yourself: wearing all the hats and fully carrying the success or downfall of your concept. Being an entrepreneur may appear to be "glamorous," but any business owner will tell you that you have to be scrappy and ready to work sleepless days and nights to bring your ideas to life. You will be faced with challenges and roadblocks beyond comprehension, but I will say that the reward is so worth every second of that wild ride.
What would your advice be to anyone starting a business and a family at the same time?
Time block like crazy; study your productivity patterns and call those your "power hours" — if you and everyone around you knows that those are your power hours, and you work with your partner to carve out time/work so they can honor a few of those hours and you can get some work done, you'll slowly get to your goals at a manageable pace. Communication is everything. Boundaries are everything. Blending of worlds is inevitable, but if you can discipline yourself to carve out time to build your business, it will grow. Period. People often ask me how "I do it all," and I tell them first of all I don't "do it all" but I am highly productive because I force myself to make it happen. At the sacrifice of my sleep and mental health at times, so my current internal work is trying to pace myself.
What is your philosophy when it comes to 'self-care'?
Prioritize yourself, and the rest will follow. I feel invincible after an epic, long shower, where I can pamper myself with music blasting and all of my oils and potions spread across my vanity. I love those few and far between moments, and they make me a better person to be around.
I recently learned that you are vegan. Can you tell us a little about how you found that path and your philosophy behind it?
I've been vegan for more than a decade. I always tell people that it's a mix of moral and health reasons. You know how some people adopt a sense of style or know what type of music they like? It's just an inherent feeling they have, where they know it's for them. Veganism is that for me. Meat products didn't sit well with me physically and mentally, so when I tested out a vegan lifestyle, I finally felt home. My husband eats everything, and it doesn't bother me at all. I never preach my ideals onto anyone; I believe we're all here literally trying to find a reason to wake up from one day to the next, so whatever motivates you and fills you with joy during this short time we have on earth is fine by me!
What is one of your favorite at home vegan meals?
I am not the best cook; I see food as fuel, so I'm not a big ritual eater. Simple meals make me the happiest, so a kale salad with tempeh, hummus, avocado, carrots, chickpeas, jicama, maybe some sauteed mushrooms, lentils, and a fun crunch like nori strips gets the job done for me. I also love sauerkraut!
Top 3 beauty essentials (products or rituals).
I love all your products, truly! I also swear by dry brushing before showering, and enzyme exfoliating my skin every other day.
You already do so much, but how are you choosing to give back at this time?
Donating to every BLM cause I can, signing every petition that needs our help, being on the 'i am a voter'. advisory board, relentlessly urging everyone to vote and make sure they're registered and donating items monthly to my go-to Skid Row shelter, The Midnight Mission.
You inspire us, but how do you stay inspired?
Music keeps me inspired. Music is my meditation. It takes me so many places, and all I have to do is just sit there and pay attention to the rhythm and lyrics. Music makes me cry all the time. It is the one craft that is pure magic to me.
Photo credit: @morganpansing