Rest Easy Series: Stephanie Cleary
Stephanie Cleary is our co-founder and creative director. After years in the fashion industry, the LA native was inspired to team up with Michelle (co-founder) to create a home textile brand that was centered around creating beautiful and timeless pieces while also focusing on sustainability and longevity. Here, we discuss her path before Morrow, balancing work and family life, and her nighttime rituals.
Hello! First off, tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve been up to lately.
Hi! These days I've mostly been focusing on work and family after a really hectic year. I’m practicing saying ‘no’ to more things (I usually say yes to everything and over do it). On the weekends, I try to relax and find some space to do nothing. At those times, I just find myself dreaming about future projects we can do. As a family we’ve been on a hunt exploring and finding different caves around LA with our 2 kids.
You are the creative director and a co-founder of Morrow, can you tell us a little bit about your path leading up to this?
Before we started Morrow, I had been in fashion design for 10+ years. As a design director, I learned all aspects of the business, planning, design, marketing, and most importantly production. It really helped me become a stronger designer as well as a better business owner.
Outside of fashion and work life, Scott and I were always building and making pieces for our home. We’re both quite handy and crafty. We tend to DIY a lot and just figure out a way to do it. We have the same nature at Morrow - we tend to DIY and be scrapy.
What are a few of your favorite parts of co-owning and growing Morrow?
I’m really proud of our team. We’re small but mighty. We get to work closely together to create beautiful products. As a small business, we also have a lot of freedom to be creative and make decisions quickly. It’s also rewarding to see it grow and we’re very grateful for what we have done together the past few years.
How do you approach decorating your home? How does that compare to your design approach for Morrow?
I have really a similar approach to decorating my home and designing for Morrow - classics with a little twist or touch of quirkiness. I really try to add items that feel personal to me in our home - framed kids drawings, a vase from my childhood, traditional Korean pieces from my mother as well as items that reflect my personality. I want my spaces to feel warm and inviting.
What do you do to unwind at the end of the day?
Several things and it changes depending on what I really need to do that night. I usually start the night process by talking to myself (it’s like journaling but without writing it down). I try to reassess how I’m feeling, how I’m doing - a few good moments of the day - especially with the kids. I often feel like I'm rushing through life, so this is the time where I try to reflect on small moments like that happy dance the kids did when they had dinner or just a simple smile the kids gave me. It’s a way for me to stay present and grateful.
What are some of your favorite pieces in the collection at the moment?
It’s become a joke at this point because I take every opportunity to talk about it, but Gia Coverlet in Willow is one of my favorite pieces. It’s an oversized blanket that I use for story time with my kids and we sleep with it every night. It’s a piece I drag from one room to the other. A few other pieces I really love at the moment are our Nola Robe and Ribbed Terry Towels. I’ve never really had nice towels and I'm now obsessed.
You have two adorable sons, how do you balance being a mother and creative directing + running a company?
It changes week to week. Some weeks I feel like I can handle it and then 2 days later I'm exhausted and overwhelmed with it all. This is something I've been trying to work on, to stop putting so much pressure on myself. I’m trying to just take things day by day and enjoy the little moments, especially with the kids. On the weekends, I hardly make plans so we can spend more time relaxing, exploring and being a little family unit. As a family, we try to go on hikes and stay outdoors as much as we can because it helps us connect and reset.
Can you walk us through your bedtime (or night time) ritual?
Most nights, Scott (my husband) and I watch 30 mins/1hr of TV to just veg out. Usually 15 mins before the show is over - I sneak off to wash my face and apply serums. Ps. I don't know anyone at Moon Juice nor do they sponsor me, but I love their products. I use their Acid Potion, Plump Jelly, then Cosmic Cream almost every night. Some nights, I’ll skip the plump jelly and gua sha with an oil from 100% Pure.
I try to read about 5-10 mins of The Miracle of Mindfulness - random pages each night and it really helps me chill. My mind tends to wander all over the place and this book has really helped me to pause throughout the day. Finally, I take either a magnesium supplement or Magnesi-Om (from Moon Juice) and apply a lip mask each night. It’s a long process but I feel so much better the next day when I actually do all the steps.
What does self care mean to you?
Anything I can do that is for me - which can be pulling weeds for 10 minutes or a shower in the middle of the day. It’s really hard to carve out time for myself between work and kids. If I feel a real need for self care that day, I'll take more time out for my night time ritual. Those are the nights I do gua sha and actually apply night creams. It helps me relax and slow me down.
What’s the last thing you do before sleep?
I lay on my back and try to straighten out as much as I can for 10 mins or so and take a few deep breaths before I curl back up into a ball to sleep.
What do you have on your nightstand?
It’s rotating but at the moment I have flowers, The Miracle of Mindfulness, a lip mask and a dish to put my jewelry in.
Tell us about the last dream that you remember.
I can never remember my dreams after the morning, but they’re pretty wild. Magnesium gives me the craziest dreams. I think my last dream had to do with a pig farm.