Taste Maker: Sabina & Valerie of Blanqi
It's no surprise to us that the brains behind Blanqi, a collection of highly technical, fashionable supportwear, consists of 2 gorgeous and innovative mamas. Inspired by their love (and need) of fashion and practicality, Blanqi products smooth, lift and secure - all while making you feel feminine and fabulous. With unique backgrounds - Valerie, an American girl born in Chicago, now lives on the East Coast and finds inspiration in NYC Street Style while Sabina, raised in Sweden continues to be influenced by the simplicity of Scandinavian designs.
The Blanqi products are ideal for any BURU mama, and we are so thrilled to have Valerie and Sabinia as Tastemakers.
Shop their Tastemaker Sale HERE
BR:What do you love most about being a mom?
S: The flutter in my heart that I feel at the end of the night, when I’m watching them as they drift off to sleep. There is nothing in this world that compares to the love of and for your child, and having the privilege of experiencing this everyday of my life is extraordinary.
V: The impromptu moments of laughter that only children can create with their innocent silliness, and snuggles!
BR: What is the number one way in which motherhood has changed you?
S: It has taught me the virtue of patience and that “not-so-perfect” is perfectly okay
V: It’s made me want to be alive and live for something more than just myself. I lived a pretty reckless youth and have always been a bit of a risk taker- for better or for worse. Motherhood really made me look at my priorities and make decisions with more than “me” in mind. Truthfully, becoming a mother saved my life.
BR: Did you breast-feed? If so, how did it affect your wardrobe selection?
S: Yes! I expanded quite heftily up top and found that absolutely nothing fit. I pretty much lived in lose-fit boyfriend tees.
V: Yes. I suppose I fall under the ‘extended breastfeeding’ category, although I never thought of it that way. I nursed my first until 16 months, my 2nd until 24 months, and my 3rd until 20 months. That lifestyle of nursing while wanting to live comfortably, but with style was a driving force behind the design of our BLANQI High-waist Support Leggings. The waistband comes up high, but isn’t too tight, and covers an after-baby belly. I’m a “lift up” breastfeeding mama, so I need that smoothing coverage. I didn’t want to buy an entirely new wardrobe, but having key pieces like that makes it easier.
BR: What are your must-haves from BURU and why do they work in your mommy lifestyle?
S: Sam & Lavi Iva Blue Tencel pants: super versatile and comfy, these can be worn to a business lunch and a playdate
10 Crosby by Derek Lam – A 2-in-1 Sweatshirt: A tummy hiding sweatshirt disguised as a perfectly-polished ensemble – my dream shirt!
By Malene Biger Miljas Hat: I love hats, but when I cut off all of my hair and lost the luxury of throwing it in a top-knot on those crazy mom/work days, they became an absolute must-have.
Goldsign His Jean: love boyfriend jeans, especially on days that take me from the office to a kids function – pair with a blazer for the office and flats for the soccer field.
S’well Bottle: Genious! I’m always drinking water and always writing reminder notes to myself. Also perfect for writing notes and reminders for the little ones. Like “drink me” ;)
By Malene Birger Venedy Unicef T – love the style, and even more so, that it helps children in need.
Kestrel Beauty Clutch: Gorgeous and mama-proof, as in “oops, I spilled my Starbucks while on the phone and wrangling the kids,” proof ;)
Perry & Bleeker matching mama + child bow tie bangle: These are precious! My daughter loves matching anything with me, and these sweet-yet-sophisticated bangles are perfect!
V: Goldsign Coated Zebra Long Legging: Goes with everything dressed up or down.
Sam & Lavi Noelle White Fleece Crop: Love wearing cropped tees and tanks with our BLANQI High-waist Support Leggings. Makes it look effortlessly cool, less like gym-only activewear.
By Malene Birger Minona Black Jumpsuit: The front draping helps minimize the size of an engorged chest when still getting the hang of pumping at work.
Ark & Co. Heather Grey Side Zipper Tunic: Super comfortable for keeping up with the kiddos
10 Crosby by Derek Lam Sleeveless Poplin Plaid Blouse: Shows off toned arms from holding a baby- talk about a workout, and flowy texture is easy to wear.
Bella Dahl Knit Jogger Pant: Weekender perfection, need I say more?
Erin Dana Evan Belt Bag in Champagne: I love and wear, like daily… the modern fanny pack, so-so practical.
BR: You each have your own style aesthetic. Tell us a little about your personal style and what is the one item that you will never give-up (no matter how impractical it may be as a mama)?
S: I definitely gravitate toward simple pieces that are comfortable and versatile – I’m all about fashion that works with me I live in black and neutrals, and prefer sleek over fussy.
V: I tend to like things girly, black and detail oriented. I will opt for something well fitted than overly trendy. A blend somewhere between fancy and rock-n-roll grunge. I will never give-up buying something that has to be dry-cleaned only. I feel like it’s not worth sacrificing great fabric for the sake of sticky little fingers. Ha!
BR: We are all about mama owned businesses, and we would like to share a little more of your story with our BURU Moms. Can you give us a bit of background on how the two of you met and what made you take the leap to start Blanqi together?
V: Sabina and I had just become first time moms and suddenly both our friend circles changed, so we found friendship by way of motherhood. We were on a playdate, pushing our Bugaboos with our sleeping babes and the conversation came up about maternity clothing. We had both invested in a few key pieces, but mainly wore non-maternity throughout our entire pregnancies. What we realized was we both had made a version of our BLANQI Bodystyler support tank using makeshift tanks and tube-tops. It was totally one of those ahhh-ha moments, where we were like "if we both did this, there has to be other women who want and need this too!
BR: The signature Blanqi compression garments are not only a treat for the tummy, they chic and stylish too! What was the most difficult step in creating your own, patent-pending garments?
V: When we first launched, there was no ‘support’ category in the retail market. We had to convince buyers that there was an actual need for them to stock our BLANQI Bodystylers. Sabina wore a fake babybump to our first meeting with a Nordstrom buyer to show off our support tank in use. The buyer had a 7 month old, so having just been pregnant, she totally ‘got it’ and bought BLANQI on the spot. They didn’t know where to place us- next to tops or accessories?!, so it’s taken a lot of product knowledge to educate buyers- and customers- of the benefits of our built-in support styles.
BR: The two of you spend a considerable amount of time sources and developing these technical garments. How do find time to balance family and work?
S: There is no such thing as balance. I’m always running late and always dropping the ball on something. It’s constant madness! ☺
V: I’m not going to lie, I find the struggle is real in finding balance between family and work, espycially when I don’t want to delegate my children to full time childcare. So I live in a certain state of organized chaos. My kids have come with me to the knitting mill, I’ve breastfed through numerous vendor conference calls, and pretty much everyone at the BLANQI office knows just to keep talking to me on the phone even if there sounds like a baby bomb is going off in the background.
BR: Any tips for other working moms on-the-go?
S: Don’t be so hard on yourselves. You can’t do it all and you can’t do it perfectly!
BR: How do you make time for yourselves?
S: I go for a long walk with the dogs early in the morning. I’m an outdoorsy type of girl, and need to breathe in some fresh air before the tackling the day.
V: Does taking a shower count? I’m big into clean, crisp bedsheets, hot tea and Netflix binging these days. It helps me wind down and shut off my brain for a bit, which is hard for me.
BR: What do you find is the biggest challenge of running a successful and growing business while also raising successful and growing children?
S: Separating work and home. I never want my kids to feel as though they take a backseat to BLANQI
V: I almost prefer that at this time in my life my work and children’s growth is parallel. I feel like I have youth on my side to help keep me going. It is manic and demanding, but both so rewarding. I’m not much of a quitter, so I think the challenge is actually what keeps me driven.
BR: How do you tackle this challenge?
S: I always put the kids first, no matter what. Everything and everyone else can wait. I may have to work until the wee-hours, but it’s worth every second of it as I want to be present and give them my all when I’m with them – it’s their time.
BR: Your little ones are SO cute! If you wouldn’t mind sharing, please tell us a few of your favorite mommy moments.
S: Oh, where do I start! There are so many everyday-life kind of moments that I wish I was collecting in a journal. There’s no way to even make these things up! Honestly, they keep me entertained everyday and never cease to surprise me. I love watching them grow and see their personalities blossom!
Tell us your favorite...
S: Art & Max by David Weisner. It’s a funny, beautifully illustrated story, celebrating art and creativity, and encouraging “drawing outside the lines”, literally and figuratively.
S: My parent’s mountain home.
V: Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe. My husband and I honeymooned there, so excited to take the kids back there someday.
S: The optimist
V: Anything sushi
S: Scotch & Soda (Scotch Shrunk & Scotch R’belle)
V: prefer a mix of high and low. My kids love thrift store t-shirts, H&M jeans (they are they best as some styles have the pull-on waistbands up to size 6- perfect for my littles to go to the bathroom by themselves in, Diesel Kids, Freshly Picked Mocs, Little Hip Squeak Headbands.
BR: What’s the one thing you wish you would have known before becoming a mother?
S: That sleep is way underrated. ;)
V: It would be how bad postpartum depression can be. With my first it hit me hard at about 3 months postpartum. It was the first time I had ever had a panic attack and all I could think is that I must be going crazy. I went to the doctor, had lab work done and finally was able to find a phone call support line by Googling “New mom afraid of knives and totally exhausted”. I felt all this pressure with the responsibility of a new baby, but didn’t realize that what I was experiencing was more common and wouldn’t last forever.