DREAM CATCHER: KERRIE VACALIS
As a child, Kerrie Vacalis desperately wanted to be Wonder Woman when she grew up. So naturally… she became a commercial litigator instead! The legal research skills she honed in her years of practicing came in handy when she became a mom who wanted to understand the truth about various toy recalls and the impact of environmental toxins on her child. What she learned inspired her to seek out safer alternatives, for her own child and all children, and to unearth the types of toys that help children’s imaginations flourish and allow parents to reconnect to the magic of their own childhoods, before the never-ending sea of batteries and flashing lights and disposable products became the norm. Kerrie is the Owner and Founder of Smitten for the Wee Generation, an online children’s boutique filled with products that encourage interaction and open-ended play and that celebrate childhood at its simplest. And just maybe give moms and dads the chance to tap into their inner superhero after all.
What makes you different from your competition? I’ve sought out emerging designers from around the world who share my love for the simple beauty of childhood. I’ve worked to become an outpost of design-centered children’s items that are quirky, unexpected and unique. I wanted my kids to have products that inspired them to create, to imagine, and to discover the world around them, and these are ultimately the type of products we stock at Smitten.
What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream? Be patient and give yourself the time you need to let your ideas grow and take form. Don’t give up on yourself and your dream just because it’s taking it a while to come to fruition. Everyone has their own path and it takes them their own time to get there. Allow yourself the time you need for your idea to become a reality.
My favorite time of the day is… Dusk. The light of this time of day really resonates with me. I remember seeing my great-grandfather sitting on his front porch at this time of day soaking up the last few moments of the day’s light. I didn’t really understand it then, but I’m beginning to really appreciate it now. I try to take a brief moment of time at dusk to take a look back at all the day had to offer (and be thankful for it) and bask in the last few moments of the light.
My best advice, in one sentence, for launching a venture is… Just keep swimming! The work may seem insurmountable at times, but if you just keep at it you will be amazed at how much you can do.
I’m doing this all for… Me! While that may sound entirely selfish at first, I think we all need to answer the call we have in life and this venture was mine. Working really hard to bring my dream to life ultimately makes me a better wife, a better mother, and a better person because I am more fulfilled, which makes me better able to help fill up those around me.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
What are three words that best describe you? Playful, Faithful, Determined
What’s your favorite scent? Mountain Laurel blooming in the springtime.
A woman who inspires me is…My mom. She’s an independent woman with an amazing work ethic who stands firm in her convictions. She is also incredibly playful, has great compassion for others, and quite possibly the kindest heart I’ve ever known.
What does being a mom and an entrepreneur mean to you? Learning to really maximize your time. You’d be amazed what you can do during nap times, quiet times, and once everyone’s in bed at night.
What your favorite thing to do with your kids? Whittling away an afternoon at home. We turn on some good music, turn off the phone, and just roam from one activity to the next together at their speed. Our journey often ends up taking us outside and into every room of the house. I love to see where their imaginations take us, to watch their ideas come to life, and to see the spark in their eyes when they discover something for the very first time.
What’s the best thing about motherhood? Seeing the world through a fresh pair of eyes. It teaches you so much about what’s important, what’s meaningful, and what can wait until another day.
What’s the toughest thing about motherhood? Seeing the world through a fresh pair of eyes!
What one thing do you hope to pass along to your children? A desire to do good, to be good, and to love well.
I wish someone would have told me…that it is often the small things that make the largest impression.
The key to balancing it all is…realizing and then accepting that it is never actually going to be balanced. Once you let go of the idea that there is this state of perfectly balanced bliss out there, things miraculously seem to work out better.