LA based mom, Megumi Shackelford grew up in a small town in Yamaguchi, Japan. She moved to America 20 years for college and ended up staying here and starting a family. Megumi is now the founder of ARIGO MAMA, a kid’s clothing company that is designed and screen printed in Los Angeles using high quality USA made materials with environmentally friendly water-based ink. The company was born after she had her second child. She was a graphic designer, but couldn’t go back to commuting 3 hours each day and wanted to be her own boss. The name, ARIGO MAMA, came from her first daughter. When she was a little, she couldn’t quite say, “Arigato, mama” (Arigato means thank you in Japanese) but she used to say, “Arigo, mama.” Megumi decided to use that as the company’s name as she wanted keep that sweet memory of her and also inspire other mamas/papas that your little ones thank you for everything you do even though they might not be able to say it right. Megumi shares her thoughts on perfection, instagram, feminism and more!
“We need to start celebrating our imperfections! Don’t take yourself so seriously. I love how I look, I think I look awesome for a mom with two kids, I have a beautiful flabby stomach that both my husband and my kids love to touch. I mean, who gives a sh*t about those perfect instagram mom bloggers that uses 3 photoshop apps?”- Megumi
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
Every mother is absolutely beyond in my opinion! Motherhood is a trip!!
I was born and raised in Japan. Coming to the States 20 years ago by myself with one suitcase was definitely a wild journey. Now starting my own business with 2 toddlers under my belt is yet another adventure. It is still a very new, unknown world to me but I hope I can stick around for a while to make a mark somehow. I’m generally pretty light on my feet, when I want to do something I make things happen fairly quickly, partially because I’m impatient, partially because I’m ambitious, too.
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a mom?
I am constantly experiencing the nurturing love that just keeps growing inside me. My heart is always filled with so many emotions and in some way I feel super vulnerable. But I guess I am enjoying my soft and more feminine side of myself as a mother. I really can’t express in words how much love I have for my family. I grew up with 2 older brothers and I was always a tom boy kind of girl, very adventurous. But after the kids, I am more careful with my decisions, not so spontaneous and crazy but definitely more patient and focus on the larger picture. I’m very efficient with time-management, calculated, always thinking ahead, now that is a kind of mom-quality that never existed for me before! I also learned that having a toddler always asking questions about life, to explain everything, you have to simplify things and be open minded. They don’t really see obstacles like adults do and that actually constantly reminds me to be optimistic & have positive altitudes towards life.
Do you have a Beyond dream that you are pursing?
I’d love to expand ARIGO MAMA to include story books, art books, or something to educate kids along with clothing that they wear. I was a graphic designer and also a painter and I used to make kids story books before and I’d love to go back to that and elaborate with my clothing line somehow.There’s so much kids design that are just cute and popular. For example, unicorns, pizza, donuts, dinosaurs, these are just classic kids designs that are done over and over by so many brands because they are easy sell. Kids like them and parents buy them. I want to make something little more interesting or unique in a way that promotes positive attitudes, healthy eating, art, mother nature, something that I care and I want my kids to be proud of.
What relationships and activities help you stay connected to yourself?
It’s so easy to get lost in “mommy world” when you are dealing with two toddlers and it is something that I have to make an effort to curve out time to work on myself or my business. Having say that, having a great relationship with my husband is definitely something to keep a good balance between who I am as a woman, as a friend, as an artist versus a mom. I also really value the community, whether it’s a mom community or female entrepreneur community, I use Facebook or Instagram to stay connected with like minded people around me, even it’s just a post that might describe the hard day you had really saves me. I think it’s important to vent it out sometimes to the people who understand your struggles and get some advice. After all, the business nowadays evolves so much around the social network. Why not use it to your advantage.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
Nothing goes right, go left!
I try anything once, twice if I like it.
What causes and topics are you most passionate about right now?
I never considered myself a “feminist” but I have to say I’m all in for the female movement that’s going on right now. Having 2 girls of my own, I do want to move our world forward and for better, more equal opportunities without a judgement. With our current president, it feels so backwards and discouraging but I do feel that female empowerment is building up for a bigger explosion.
How do you think we can change our culture from one in which a woman is expected to be a “perfect mother” to one in which she is encouraged to discover and explore her evolving self?
Well, I think the first step is to admit that there is no such thing as a perfect mother. Our society is a melting pot and it’s impossible to come up with one perfect example that fits it all, we are all individual and different. Secondly, we, the woman, have to stop fantasizing that perfect woman, following that perfect instagram mom! It is not about her, it’s about who you are, who you care about. We need to start celebrating our imperfections! Don’t take yourself so seriously. I love how I look, I think I look awesome for a mom with two kids, I have a beautiful flabby stomach that both my husband and my kids love to touch. Now that makes me happy when they giggle over my soft belly. I mean, who gives a sh*t about those perfect instagram mom bloggers that uses 3 photoshop apps?
Favorite go-to’s for:
Beyond Food (what do you cook & where do you go locally?)
I usually cook Japanese food at home, that’s just what I’m familiar with and comes easy for me to cook without any recipe. My husband also enjoys cooking when he has time which is nice, gives me a little break from cooking everyday. We love going to farmer’s market on weekends and gets lots of fruit and veggies. Tequeria Los Padilla is our go-to for easy weekday option in our new neighborhood. Golden Deli, The Spanglish Kitchen, Luscious dumplings were our favorite go-to’s before our move.
Beyond Content (Books & Podcasts)
Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing but I don’t read books anymore. I’m just way too tired. When I try to read, I fall asleep within minutes. Haruki Murakami used to be one of my favorites. I read tons of kids books! “Even Monsters need haircuts” is currently my favorite (I mean my kids favorite.)
Black Crane is my favorite brand right now, their clothes are so well-made, super comfortable, yet effortlessly stylish.
Yoga. I used to go jogging everyday but now I love doing yoga at night after putting kids to bed. I just enjoy the end of day peace with myself. But more than anything, I like a good sleep as my workout.