One of the wonderful things about this small business community is just that…the community. In supporting handmade and small businesses, I have made some awesome connections and my kids have made lots of new friends.
I really stumbled into the mom community on Instagram haphazardly. Lots of small businesses use the social platform as their main source of marketing and connecting with potential customers. I admit, this is where I find most of the shops I support. The thing about small shops, you generally can’t just google search and find them. These are small businesses that don’t get the kind of traffic to their sites as the Targets or Zara kids of the web. Most are also considered “slow fashion” meaning they only produce new clothes a few times a year rather than every other week like mass-production brands. These variables (and others) make it harder for these shops to rise in the ranks of web-search positioning. Ok, that was a really long intro..I’m done.
I say all that to give you an idea of just how important platforms like IG are for these brands. Finding and supporting and falling in love with brands in this way is really special. I love how I get to peek into their everyday lives, talk to them directly and connect with other parents that support them…those parents usually support other amazing brands and I get introduced to new & amazing lines all the time in this way.
This is also how I got into the “brand rep” community. A lot of these brands offer samples or steep discounts for their products to parents who have a decent following on IG. In our case, we usually work with this awesome photographer who specializes in brand/commercial shoots for small businesses. She partners with brands and then sets up photo shoots with local brand reps. That’s us!
We’ve done several shoots with her. Makenzie always has a ball;she loves being in front of a camera.
Photographer for all shoots featured: Iridescent Photography
If you follow my IG account @aliceonsunday, you know that I am completely obsessed with taking photos of my babes. Especially of Makenzie because she genuinely likes it and has fun. Most of my photos of RJ are candid which I also absolutely love but my baby girl has a gift for posing.
When I realized this, I decided to send her photos to a few agents and see what feedback I received. A couple of months went by and I had pretty much forgotten about it. My mind is in the habit of jumping from idea to idea at a ridiculously fast rate.
That was when I got the email. One of the agents whom had told me that she was going to keep Makenzie’s photos on file thought that she might be a good fit for Gap’s holiday campaign and turns out, she was right! Gap requested Makenzie to come in and get in front of the camera for an audition.
Honestly, I was a little confused at first, scrolling through my emails trying to figure out how that even happened. Then I found the communication between myself and the above mentioned agent and my memory was jogged. I was so excited because, how it was explained to me, a casting by request is way less hectic, fewer kids (as opposed to an open-call) and your child is already on the radar of the casting director because s/he chose your child specifically.
Here was the catch: the casting was in New York. New York, in regards to me traveling there, is not a big deal.
Love New York.
Any chance I get, I want to go.
The tricky part about this trip, specifically, would be that I’d be traveling with a small child to a city where I love the subway but only if I’m alone or dealing with other adults. I had many reasons for dreading the idea of moving around in the big city with Makenzie:
1- NYC is too fast paced for me to be aware of my entire surroundings AND keep up with a toddler that absolutely loves to walk on her own and then takes off running like she is in some kind of “Tag” game that goes on for all of eternity.
2- I would need a stroller. Have you been on the subway? There is barely enough room for a slender individual with a fanny pack let alone an object on 4 wheels.
3-I am not comfortable driving in NYC. It’s like driving in Puerto Rico (yes, you too, mom). People are crazy or aggressive or a scary mixture of both and I don’t have the nervous system to handle it.
4-If I were to rent a car, I would need a car seat…I wasn’t about to travel with a car seat to the airport. Airport travel is already crazy enough. Add a child and the stress level, easily, bumps up 3 levels. But adding a car seat to the equation?! I would need an hour with a therapist and a shot of tequila after it was all said and done and I don’t even drink.
Luckily, my day job requires me to plan events and coordinate travel on the drop of a dime. I went into “Corporate-Mom” mode and got online to find some solutions to my issues because I had already decided that I was going to take her to meet these lovely people at Gap. I mean…come on, right?!
This was when I found Kid Car, a business specific to NYC, reminiscent of Uber, that gives you the opportunity to reserve a ride with a car seat included. Kid Car has gotten rave reviews on a national level for answering a problem for travelers who have children and locals alike. The drivers are put through a series of qualifying test–drug, background–which is great because they are asking you to trust them with your child(ren).
The app lets you set preferred drivers (if you use the system a lot), put in the location and time of the pick and where you need to be dropped off, pick a car seat specific to your needs based on your child’s age/weight (that way your driver doesn’t show up with a front-facing car seat while youre traveling with a 4-month old), and it also gives you an estimated cost.
It was perfect. I reserved our plane tickets, hotel and Kid Car rides for the entire trip and we were all set.
This was Makenzie’s first time traveling (out of the womb) so I was a little nervous but she was a ROCK STAR. She went through security on her own, sat in her seat, drank the juice the flight attendant gave her, and went to sleep for the majority of the ride. Not one tear. Not. One.
We got there late on the night before the go-see and got settled in our room.
Side Note: The Kid Car experience, through and through, was great.
When we got to the studio, the energy was high, the holding room and shoot area were all crisp white and open–very industrial looking,at the same time, with concrete floors…it was as you have seen in it in the movies (I guess Hollywood doesn’t alwasy lie)!
In all honesty, I had never seen so many gorgeous kids all in one room. Even more incredible, I had never experienced so many well behaved kids all in one room. Everyone was happy and playful and well mannered….not at all like the little terrors I am use to seeing in my own home from my own children. Makenzie, thankfully rose to the occasion and was a complete delight….until they called her name….she had a melt down. Of course.
Luckily, it was the shortest melt down (all of 5 seconds) I have evered witnessed and she said “Pictures?”, I said ” Yes” and she walked over to the set and showed out. I was a proud mama bird. I was a little intimidated by all the kids and their big time representations : Wilhelmina, Generation, and Zuri just to name a few…but Makenzie impressed the casting crew because she got a call back for the final cut! I think I am officially a “momager”.
We headed back to New York for the final cuts and she was right at home. I think I may have a star on my hands, people.
I have learned a lot from this experience. Mainly that the modeling/acting life is no joke. It is a whirlwind. A fun whirlwind but a whirlwind, nonetheless. I was exhausted after both castings and so was she. During the experience, she had an amazing time–I could tell she was happy and having fun and it only confirmed what I already knew: she loves being the center of attention.
That was the best part.
I hope everyone has started their week out well! I am already craving next weekend. As a corporate mom, my weeks are full– as well as most holidays–so the weekends that are completely free from work, I try to jam pack adventure in with my kids. I have a lot of ideas for next weekend but we will see how it all works out.
Until next time!