If we’ve learned anything thus far in motherhood, it’s that it can be hard, but good friends make it easier.
Meet Kate and Erika, the moms behind local event planning business, Bloom + Blueprint. Known for it’s funky designs, bright colors, spectacular themes and stop-you-in-your-tracks floral designs, these two have really built an amazing business together.
Names: Kate Mellow & Erika Gammage
Location: Central Phoenix and Laveen
Children: Teddy Mellow (4 months), Trumaine Gammage (3), Jalen Gammage (8 months), Giada Gammage (Coming in June!)
You founded a business! Tell us about your company.
Bloom + Blueprint was founded in 2014 and is a planning, design, and floral company! We specialize in a full service approach to special events that streamline the experience for our clients!
Why did you want to start your own business?
Kate: I wanted to do something creative after going to school for political science/criminal justice and becoming a paralegal for the federal government. I began helping friends and friends of friends on the weekend set their weddings up and viola! Bloom + Blueprint was born. I’ve been a lifetime creative and crafter so making this into a “job” was truly a dream.
Erika: While I had always thought I might be an entrepreneur eventually, Kate propelled me in head first a little sooner than expected. We wanted the freedom to work on things that made us happy and create our own path!
Tell us a little bit about your family!
Kate: My husband and I have been married for 6 years and 5 years in we decided we wanted a baby! We got pregnant in February and delivered our beautiful baby boy in November 2020. He is everything we could have wanted and more and we cant wait to experience parenthood with him.
Erika: My little family has grown quickly! I am married to my perfect compliment, Trumaine, and in just three years became mama to Trumaine, Jalen, and soon-to-be Giada! We have a rescue pitbull, Isabelle, that was my very first baby right out of college. We love to cook as a family, we love to eat, and we enjoy playing and watching sports!
What was your motivation to pivot your career to being an mompreneur?
Kate: Being a mompreneur gave me the flexibility to become a mom and also continue my business. I am grateful I can intertwine my days and devote myself to both my business baby and my teddy boy because of our flexible schedule.
Erika: I feel lucky that I was an entrepreneur before I was a mompreneur. We started our company in our early 20s and really had the ability to fine tune our processes and build an amazing team before we jumped head first into motherhood. My journey to motherhood started unexpectedly and the hustle before that is really what has made me as successful as one can be while balancing a growing business and a growing family!
Were you able to take maternity leave? Tell us about that experience.
Kate: Sorta! Because of Covid I was able to take much longer than expected. I cant remember the last time I had weeks off at a time. Although I was constantly on email, I was able to stay home with Teddy for 7 straight weeks. Without Covid, I would have been back to work much sooner. Although we have the best team ever, owning your own business means you can’t really fully step away.
Erika: Each of my pregnancies had different maternity leave experiences! I had an emergency c-section 5 weeks early with my first baby and worked in the hospital and the subsequent 2 weeks we spent in the NICU. We hired a nanny and I returned to work when he was just 5 weeks old. I delivered my second baby during the Arizona stay-at-home order, which effectively shut down our business in terms of executing live events, so while I worked continuously through his scheduled c-section, I was able to do some from home for almost 10 weeks and spend some time bonding with my new baby and adjusting to life as a family of four. Only time will tell for baby number 3, but I am hopeful I will be able to step away for a few weeks to snuggle tight our last baby!
How do you make time for self-care in between all that you have going on?
Kate: What do you do to unwind after a long day or week? Hmmmm I would say work is honestly my self care. Creating and crafting is therapeutic to me so going “to work” is actually an amazing outlet for me. I love to work and keep busy and I’m not the type to spend a day relaxing! I do love to indulge in wine at the end of the day to help me settle down.
Erika: I don’t, if I am being totally honest. In 3 years of motherhood and 6 years of entrepreneurship, I have yet to figure this out. I read when I remember, though not nearly enough. I really like to sleep; it makes my mind and body feel better, so while I don’t have many hobbies that don’t include my family, I do prioritize a full night sleep above all things; the dishes can wait until the morning.
What lessons have you learned in your career that you apply to parenting?
Kate: That everything has a solution. We have been put in some pretty compromising situations with our business, but what we have learned is to always fix it, or try to. Whether that is an upset client, a system that doesn’t work, a design that failed… there is always a way to improve. I will definitely keep that close to heart as II begin my motherhood journey.
Erika: Being an event planner is being an out-of-the box thinker and problem solver; so is being a mom. My favorite saying for our team is “be prepared, but be flexible”. I genuinely repeat this to myself while dealing with my kids and all the things that kids come with. They never react how you think they might, they never eat what you thought they might; this list is never ending! The best thing you can do is create a structure that hopefully allows them to thrive, and pivot when it no longer serves them or you!
What do you plan to teach your children about success and failure?
Kate: Failure isn’t failure if you learned something from it. Most of the time when I have failed, I have learned a massive lesson. While it might not be obvious right in the moment, if you take the time to reflect you can find it. I will definitely teach Teddy that failure is okay, it catapults us into something better, and that we should always reflect so we can grow.
Erika: My oldest is still pretty young to have actual conversations about these topics, but I try to instill in him that we only fail when we give up! As long as you are trying your best and working hard; that is what matters in life! What I hope my kids grow up seeing and emulating is a strong work ethic; to out hustle everyone!
How has motherhood impacted you personally and professionally?
Kate: Motherhood has changed my whole being. In business it has made me more efficient, and has made me more aware of the time away from Teddy and what I am trading that for. Both my business and my baby are very important to me, I am now giving my best self to two different areas, and that has changed me. I wake up wanting to be better for both parties, and I’m excited to better myself to help my business do better and to help Teddy be his best too.
Erika: Motherhood has taught me to slow down; I still move a million miles a minute and I am probably still a pretty distracted mom sometimes, but if that day’s schedule allows it, I try my best to put the phone and computer down. If they ask I try get on the floor and make dinosaur noises, race cars, or place basketball. My son’s first three years flew by and I spent a lot of them “working,” so as our family has grown I have tried to give undivided attention when I can.
For some fun chit-chat, now!
Favorite East Valley date night activity: Going to Camelview Harkins for a movie!
Coffee orders: K- Iced Venti Decaf Latte w/ oat milk, extra ice! E- Venti Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade with Half Liquid Cane
Favorite restaurant in the East Valley: K- Joyride, E-Nando’s
Greatest challenge in your career thus far: K- Making everyone happy all the time, E-Covid, such a 2020 answer.
Most embarrassing mom moment: K- I haven’t gotten there yet!, E- I called the pediatrician to schedule my kid’s 2 year old well visit. The scheduler said “ma’am, Trumaine is 3”
Best mom advice you’ve been given: K- To just love them. You cant mess up if you just love them so hard, E-Let them be little
Last Netflix show you binged: K & E- Bridgerton