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Q&A with Colleen Crivello & Maria Benetos of MINIMODE

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Posted: Nov 18 2015

The 2 masterminds mamas behind the fantastic shopping site MINIMODE understand that becoming a mother does not mean one must lose herself.  A sentiment we couldn't agree with more! Colleen Crivello and Maria Benetos created MM as a destination for stylish mothers to explore and shop cutting edge fashion for babies, toddlers, tweens and new moms looking to regain their fashion edge.

Read below as we learn more about these incredible ladies in our exclusive Q&A!

CC: I love the way my daughter looks at me and how her hug can change my day.

MB: I love how these two tiny people now mean the world to me. The love you feel for them is so huge there is truly no words to properly express it. Being a mom makes you selfless to some extent, which is definitely something I needed… I just didn’t know it at the time!

 

CC:  I’ll never only be able to think about myself again, my actions - all of them - effect the well being of this amazing little creature.

MB: It made me realize how much I was living my life just for myself. It’s refreshing to now have my girls as priority – nothing brings me more joy. But it’s also not all roses and sunshine! My life has become a lot more planned since I’ve had kids. I was often very impulsive in making decisions on what I did or where I went – those days are over.

 

CC:  Yes I breastfed—but it didn't effect my wardrobe at all, neither did pregnancy for that matter.

MB: I did breast feed both my girls. With my first daughter Kaia, it was such a huge adjustment and such a foreign thing to me! All very positive but from a sartorial point of view, it definitely limited my post-pregnancy choices. First, I had no idea they leaked so much! Second, I’m relatively flat-chested so suddenly having these massive, swollen beasts made it hard to fit into my regular clothes.

 

CC:  My style didn't change—which is what MINIMODE is all about and the woman we’re speaking to; gone are the days that becoming a mom meant becoming doughty. Honestly, what really dictates my style more than anything is wanting to walk everywhere in NYC. I mix vintage destroyed Levis with a cool heel or a short and easy silk dress and a leather motorcycle jacket with sneakers. I have always loved pieces that can be easily thrown on and while I love fashion, I have never been one to labor over my look for any lengthy period of time…too much to do!

MB: My style hasn’t really changed and that actually was one of the big motivators in starting MINIMODE. Most of the new moms I knew didn’t change from a fashion and style point of view – why should you? So we wanted to speak to those moms just as they were spoken to pre-children. If anything, I actually think I dress a bit more edgy now. When I was at Conde Nast and Hearst I often got dressed up for client meetings in dresses from Givenchy, Celine and Rachel Comey but now that I don’t go into an office anymore, my uniform is leather pants or jeans with a tee, motorcycle jacket and stilettos or boots.

 

Colleen:

2-in-1 shirtdress

Crew neck sweater cream melange black

Magolian leo print sweater

The stencil sweatshirt - pink tint

Amash smock shirt - black stripe

Ruffled feathers blazer

Faux mongolian lamb bolero jacket

Rhapsody coat

Faux mink bolero

Asla pleated skirt

Tea length mesh opera skirt

The tiger sweatshirt

Mini milly unicorn tee

 

Maria:

 Villa dress

Sereno dress black with white bib front

Zare smock shirt

Amash split scarf in silver turquoise neon-yellow sea-green stripe

Shora gauze shirt

Westside pant rail

Split back button down - ice wash grey

Hipster dress - black/white

They’re simple and easy yet still chic. Apart from the Lemlem items, all are black and grey which are colors I live in. I want to look good but there needs to be a feeling of an outfit being effortless. I don’t like fussy.

Shop Colleen & Maria's Tastemaker Sale >

 

CC: We originally met through mutual girlfriends and one evening at a ladies dinner we began knocking around the idea of a kids' shopping site. As I say, thoughts become things…

MB: We met through a mutual friend who is also a downtown mom. At a girls’ dinner one night at Soho House I was saying how frustrated I was as a mom that there was not a site that I felt spoke to me as a woman and a mom. Colleen had a retail site at the time so I started to pick her brain about launching something on my own and next thing I knew, we were partners in MINIMODE. Our goal was and still is to have a shopping site that speaks to women who are into fashion for themselves and their kids, beauty, travel and hearing the stories of other inspiring moms.

Tell us more about life pre MINIMODE....

CC: I ran a children’s brand called CHALK NYC, before that I was a womenswear designer for Jeremy Scott and Under Armour. My design and retail experience together with Maria’s publishing and marketing background is what led us to launch MINIMODE together.

MB: I was the integrated marketing director at InStyle and previously at Teen Vogue, Allure, Interview, Bon Appetit and Harper’s Bazaar. All that marketing experience for such big media brands definitely helps with MINIMODE.

 

CC: Inspiring. The women in my life that are moms are total rockstars and I’m constantly blown away by each and every one of them. I feel so fortunate that my job means working with these inspiring women on a regular basis as we raise each other up.

MB: To me, it means to be nurturing—but not at the expense of your own life goals and passions. Being motherly to my girls, apart from the obvious taking care of them and showing them love, includes them seeing me go to work every day and creating something on my own, socializing with friends and staying active and healthy.

 

CC: No two days are created equal. Some days are spent mapping out new content strategy for the site and other days are filled with brand partner meetings.

MB: It truly differs from day to day. Some days we are running around the city going from meeting to meeting and other days, we’re able to sit together for hours doing editorial and discussing strategy. That might be what I love about it most – there is no “typical” day.

 

CC: It’s a struggle at times and smooth sailing at others. Scheduling is hyper-important and realizing that you can’t be everywhere all the time - as much as I’d like to be - therefore really being selective about which events I attend and the meetings we take plus attempting to balance that with having time to do girly things with Alba. I realize, especially as Alba gets older, time with her is fleeting and each moment special, I don’t want to neglect any of it. However, at the same time I’m so proud that she sees me work hard and I hope that will make a positive impact on the way she shapes the world for herself…hopefully she’ll know that as a woman she can do anything that she sets her mind to.

MB: You just figure it out, day to day. I wish I could say I have this amazing plan to keeping all things in check but that’s not the case. Some days it’s a breeze and some days, I’m forgetting about appointments, losing my temper and feel like I’m letting someone down. But I don’t focus on those days once they’re in the past. And making lists. Lists definitely help me!

 

CC: We live in Tribeca NY and Alba goes to school in our neighborhood which is such a blessing. It means we run into parents on the street from her school and there is definitely a sense of community. Neighborhood restaurants, I love The Odeon, it’s great both for an early family dinner and late night dinner sans kids, plus The Greek is just simply delicious. For an easy glass of wine I love the Smythe Hotel lobby. We live near the Hudson river, where there are a ton of amazing new parks for kids…if the weather is nice that’s a great spot to hit up.

MB: We live in New York’s West Village and I wouldn’t change that for anything. We love it! I get to walk my girls to school each morning and we have so many amazing restaurants, parks and activities all in walking distance. You don’t realize what a large parent community there is downtown until you become a parent, so there is this sense of being a smaller neighborhood in this very big city.

Some of favorite restaurants are Westville where our girls live for their burger and pancakes on weekends, The Standard for breakfast and brunch with the kids, Soho House (surprisingly amazing with kids!) and L’Artusi for a night out without the kids. We also love running around on the High Line, especially in the mornings before anyone else is up there, and taking bike rides on the West Side Hwy. And my girls adore Horatio Park, mostly because all their friends are always there.

 

Colleen: 
mother: Affectionate 
wife: Partner
New Yorker: Faux (LA girl at heart…YES WAY LA!)
business owner: Passionate
friend: Outgoing

Maria: 
mother: fun-loving
wife: silly (he’s the one person I can 100% be myself with)
New Yorker: grateful
business owner: fortunate

 

Bedtime Story: An Awesome Book of Thanks, by Dallas Clayton

Lullaby: Scary, I can’t sing…mostly Alba sings to me

Vacation Spot: Both Greece and Italy with kids are amazing and ask me after the holidays about Jose Ignacio, Uruguay because I think that may be high on the list of great spots as well.

Restaurant: Bar Pitti 

Children’s Brand: Simple Kids, Zef and AKID

 

That your heart will forever live outside of your body.

 

‘Thoughts become things’ and ‘Energy never lies’

 

 

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