If you’re looking for some special gifts this holiday season, then you’ll probably appreciate the mantra Brooke Shepard—aka “Monogram Mary”—keeps in mind at all times: Everything Is Better With A Monogram. Having found a passion for monograms early on (growing up she adored her grandmother’s customized cocktail napkins, dinner napkins and tablecloths) she launched Monogram Mary in 2016. The name itself is also rooted in family—Mary is the name of Shepard’s beloved late mother-in-law, whose exquisite taste and grace remain an everyday inspiration. While growing her business—currently she has partnered with 48 stores and has as a brisk online business across the country–Shepard is also a mom to two energetic boys, Chase, 4, and Crosby, 10 months. The Local Moms Network sat down for coffee with this Greenwich, CT-based mother to talk mompreneurship, being a #boymom and everything in between!
What would you say is the heart of your business?
It’s about celebrating these special moments in your life—whether it’s your wedding day or having a baby.
You often use the hashtag #celebratethemarydays on Instagram. What does that phrase mean to you
I say “Celebrate the Mary Days” because I want it to be a celebration of memories you’re creating. With monograms, you know someone thought about you and planned ahead. You weren’t just running to the store and getting something quickly. I truly love monograms and sharing that with people.
I can tell! So you’re a #boymom! Do you think boys clothes get a bad rap?
I work with a lot of great brands. But through monograms you can make them even cuter, like dump truck sweaters or fire trucks for parties. You can create something special out of the basic boy clothes. I do also have five goddaughters…
What is your biggest challenge in terms of owning your own business?
The biggest is prioritizing your time. It gives you free time but you can work so much that you’re not present. I try to stop and spend that time with Chase and Crosby because it just goes by so fast. I also always try to really listen. But I love that Chase sees me working—that’s something that’s very important to me. He totally gets monogramming now and will say “I’m going to make things for my friends.” I’m doing a program at his school and designing things with the kids in his class.
So cute! I know that giving back to the community is a big part of your business too…
As a business owner I feel like you have to! You wish you could give to everyone who asks but I try to be as generous as I can because we forget there are some many people right here in our community in need.
If you had a day/night to yourself, what would you do?
I am very inspired by Sarah Blakely who created Spanx. She tells people to invest in themselves, not by getting manicures but by reading more books or taking a course and learning something new. The biggest thing I miss is travel. When I worked for Susie Hilfiger and other designers I traveled all over the world. I love India. Traveling opens up your eye sand inspires you with design.
Where do you want your business to go from here?
I’m slowly launching my own products, including robes and cosmetic cases and we’ll be launching little kids sweaters. That was my first job—in designing. I focus on the children’s section because that’s a big part of my life and my friends’ lives right now. But I’ve gotten feedback that they want more home products so I’m meeting with designers in that area. I’m also relaunching my website to better communicate what I can do for people’s wedding, baby showers, personal parties. I want to show people the bundles we create for new babies, from burp cloths to blankets. You can even take a picture of your child’s art and put it on something—it’s not just initials.