Rachael Mann & Mackenzie BurdickCo-Founders & Jewelry Designers of LITTERPETALUMA, CAPhotography by Lauri LevenfeldStory by Lauri Levenfeld
This week TMP amped things up a bit. Not only do we have the creative, entrepreneurial mom story, but a story of two dynamic and fashion-savvy sisters who created an innovative, sexy jewelry line which became an overnight success when one beautiful headpiece was made from a broken necklace. The LITTER girls are fun, sexy, and experimental, while being present and meaningful moms. After selecting the backdrop of an old Petaluma farm for our shoot, I found out Rachael was a rodeo rider all her life. It was too perfect and the images showcasing their latest creations are full of glamour and edge, just like the girls are. As they say at LITTER, “It may not be for everyone, and that’s just the way we want to keep it”.
I’m Rachael…I am a jewelry designer, and partner in a company called LITTER. When I am not working at LITTER, I am a full-time manager of a home filled with animals and kids. I actually only have one son, but somehow I always have a few extras from the neighborhood at my house.
My sister and I grew up scouring the Santa Cruz sands with our grandmother, a distinguished jeweler who would search for any natural or unnatural scrap of magic she found to create her one-of-a-kind collages and jewelry pieces. Her inspiration helped us to formulate our own love and desires to seek out the beauty in the forgotten materials, and we have cultivated a line from this family tradition. We recently moved to our San Francisco studio to an industrial loft space in downtown Petaluma.
I’m Mackenzie… I am a Mother of one and the co-founder of an accessories company called LITTER. I’m constantly juggling sourcing, designing, and creating new pieces while being an active mother. My daughter is and always will be my greatest life’s work.
Litter has never had a “girlie” approach. “We’re all about the nuts, bolts, and nails.
We started with the one-of-a-kind headpieces, and then quickly moved into body jewelry, and shoe jewelry. As friends and fellow bloggers started wearing our pieces, notable stylists and fashion magazines came calling. Within the first two months of opening our doors, we were featured in ELLE Magazine for our Shoe Jewelry designs. Soon after came Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue. Within our first year, we were discovered by Lauren Santo Domingo of Vogue, and asked to collaborate with CFDA award nominee Christian Cota for his SS2011 New York Fashion Week presentation. We are currently designing for Free People, in addition to, our LITTER collection.
Pinterest is a gold mine when it comes to inspiration. I am always blown away by some of the creativity out there. I always check pinterest for ideas.
Travel of course. I love going outside of my comfort zone and visiting places that pull me away from my everyday norms.
Antiques and vintage. I get so inspired by the past artisans. Things just used to be made better and with care and thought.
I am inspired by Nature. Spending time outdoors always seems to help me clear the mind. A nice hike is always a way for me to recharge.
I am inspired by Travel. Exploring new foreign places with family and friends is one of my favorite things to do. I just got back from a trip to Tulum and I’m in love! The simplicity, nature, and culture have stimulated so many new ideas for our latest collection
I am inspired by Family. Watching my daughter grow and learn new things always inspires me to do the same. We are always growing and kids are life’s indicators of how fast time flies by.
Rachael’s son: Rainer-age 4
I can’t even begin to pinpoint my most exciting moments as a parent, because I am excited about everything Rainer does. Learning to walk, swim, write his name- it is all so exciting!
My most humbling moment as a mom was probably my pregnancy and birth. I had a really hard pregnancy with lots of sickness and bad advice from doctors. And so, halfway through my pregnancy I quit my original plan and planned for a home birth. My pregnancy changed for the better and my birth was beautiful at home. I felt humbled by allowing nature to do what it was designed to do and not interfere.
“Rainer has taught me to be less available to stress and negativity and more available to laughter and family time.”
I am stronger physically and emotionally. I am clearer than I have ever been on what I want and don’t want.
Sadly my son is in a phase of Power Rangers and super heros. Thankfully Lego’s do have the collections featuring the super heroes he likes, but he is required to follow directions to build the toys himself. I love Lego’s for so many reasons and don’t like them for only one reason.
I like them because they build his hand eye coordination, spark creativity, and buy me tons of quiet time. I don’t like them because they are so incredibly painful to step on.
We are big on outside play too, so the bike is big around here, as well as the scooter.
And as a family, we play card games. We play a ton of Uno which teaches him colors, numbers, and strategy.
Mackenzie’s daughter: Dayvie Reiser-age 2.5
What I have learned from Dayvie is patience. Sometimes we can all be reminded of how important it is to possess this quality.
To me, the best advice I have been given is- “Balance is everything”.
Her rooms’ current theme is bugs.
I let my daughter choose her own outfits which usually involves her mixing bold color and prints. She has a great eye. When I dress her, I always involve sunglasses!
I use coconut oil for everything. I never use soap on my face and I try not to use make-up often, because all of the best stuff is full of chemicals and metals. But when I do slap it on, I love it! I use Tom Ford foundation.
“I would never even consider leaving the house without mascara any day though. Mascara makes me feel human!”
I wouldn’t consider Gisele Bundchen an icon for me, but she is someone I identify with for style and values. I feel like we’d be friends or something.
Kiehl’s Midnight Oil is gold to me, I use it every night. I wear light natural Bare. Minerals makeup and just mascara. I cant live without a good eyelash curler and tinted lip balm. For my hair I use any Argan oil products and a root booster. I only use California Baby Shampoo and sunscreen products on my daughter.
My style, tomboy mixed with something sexy. Baggy sweatpants with high heels, ratty jeans with pretty blouse, or an oversized t-shirt with a mini skirt. I have nonoffensive tiny boobs so I love anything with a plunging neckline. If I am wearing a high neck top, showing my legs is a must.
Um, Um, Um. If haven’t already checked out their site, you need to. I am ready to take my mommy game up a notch. And from what I saw of their latest collection, you will be too. On my list, a backchain for Tokyo. Enjoy! xo