The Inspirational Woman Project: Andrea Newberry

08/03/2016 06:35 pm ET

The Inspirational Woman Project believes that every woman is inspirational. It’s our mission to tell their stories.

Andrea Newberry is a stay­-at-­home mom turned self taught fashion entrepreneur. She lives and works out of a funky two flat on the west side of Chicago with her husband and her kiddos, six­-year-­old Thora and four­-year-­old Otto. 

 What inspired you to create Leche Libre?  

{Newberry} After the birth of my two children, I had a hard time finding clothing which was easy to breastfeed in.  The only things I could find which were made for breastfeeding were knit dresses and tank tops both of which were not really my style and made me feel frumpy.  My whole life had changed after I became a Mom and I felt really resentful that my personal style had to change as well just to accommodate easy breastfeeding.


I felt like I probably wasn’t the only woman having this problem so I wanted to hear what other women thought.  I did a survey on breastfeeding clothing and put it on Facebook. Within two days I had over 500 responses from women all over the country complaining about their struggles to find clothing for breastfeeding and nursing in public.  I knew this problem needed a solution! I launched Leche Libre as a way to help new moms represent themselves as individuals and easily breastfeed in style.


One always hears stories about women getting harassed for breastfeeding in public.  These stories can freak women out and make it more difficult for them to breastfeed, as they feel paranoid they may get negative feedback at any moment.  I work to create designs with a strong aesthetic which infuses women with a badass confidence to empower them to fight cultural negativity and breastfeed whenever they want, wherever they go shame free.  


I always wonder why clothing targeted toward Moms is always so soft and delicate.  New Moms have just done the most powerful thing a human being can do; to give birth and sustain life with breastfeeding.  I am inspired through Leche Libre to create styles with a strong edgy aesthetic because I believe powerful women need powerful fashion. Leche Libre is making it easier for breastfeeding women everywhere to step out in style without losing their edge.


When do you feel most powerful? 

{Newberry} I feel the most powerful when I listen to my own inner voice about what is right for me and go for it.  We just have this one life to live and I want to live it my way, not making someone else’s choices.


Why are you inspirational?

{Newberry} I am inspirational because I am living proof that you can do whatever you say you want to do. I wanted to start a fashion line with no experience, two young children at home, no additional childcare and very little money.  There is this saying that when you make a decision to do something, the universe will conspire to help you.  I am proof of that.  I made a decision.  I didn’t make excuses of why I couldn’t do it.  I just kept at it.  And you know what?  When you dive into something, you learn how to do it.  The money comes.  The kids grow older and things work out.  I’ve had tons of setbacks but they only have helped me to learn and grow and do it better next time.


Where do you go or what do you do when you’re in need of inspiration?

{Newberry} I go out for a bike ride with my kids to the lake.  I’m at the lake right now.  I’m working on launching my Kickstarter and I’m waffling between confidence that this is totally going to work and fear that I’m going to jump off the cliff and go splat.  When I go to the lake, I feel a sense of expansiveness.  I am reminded that the details of life really are not that important in the grand scheme of things.  Lake Michigan is so beautiful and ancient.  I love coming here and listening to the waves and watching my kids play in the sand.  It helps bring me back to the present moment.  When I’m in the moment, everything is OK and fears of the future disappear and I am reconnected to my deeper passion driving me in my life and work.  


If I can’t go to the lake, floating in the pool and looking up at the blue sky works too, or just a bike ride with my kids.  Beauty is all around us.  Sometimes I just need to go outside and see the trees silhouetted against the sky and I can tap into that beauty which pulls me into the moment. Trying to always come back into the moment is so important for me, because this is where my life is and where I need to be stay grounded and happy.


What is your favorite thing about being a woman?

{Newberry} My favorite thing about being a woman is reveling in the female dichotomy of soft and hard.  Women are both tender, nurturing and gentle, while being powerful, tenacious and capable of giving birth, which is the most powerful thing a person can do.  In this I am not minimizing if one decides not to have a child or for some reason cannot. Those are very valid and intense experiences of womanhood, but they do not separate one from being part of this sisterhood of creators.


I remember after the birth of my oldest, going downtown Chicago for the first time and seeing this sea of humanity everywhere and I was bowled over with the thought that every person was there because some woman gave birth to them and all the love and care that comes with that act.  As women, we know about how to look inside and feel compassion and care for each person.  If we could bring more of this female energy into the world arena, we could help balance a lot of the senseless violence and hate perpetrated today.


What is your mantra?

{Newberry} Success isn’t a place I will get to one day. Success is the journey of living life on my terms. The obstacles I face are helping me to learn to so I can continue to climb the steps of success every moment to be the person I want to be.


What gets you out of bed every morning?

{Newberry} My kids get me out of bed every morning.  The stinkers. They wake up too early.  If it were up to me, I’d get out of bed in the afternoon.


 Learn more about Leche Libre in their current Kickstarter campaign HERE.


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