park slope Mother-daughter duo launches mask CHAIN business during covid: interview with kathryn mora
During this past year, parents have struggled with how to manage the extra time at home with children, trying to find more productive and fun ways to keep kids engaged. Meet Kathryn Mora, who basically nailed it, and did what many of us dream of doing. She is a Park Slope mom who launched a beaded mask chain business with her 12 year old daughter and CEO, Layla. Kathryn was able to spend precious time creating a business with her girl, who in her words is the “real brains behind the company”! A truly inspiring story for us all.
SSP: What inspired you to launch Mora Mora?
Like many this year, we have been working to adapt to our new reality of keeping our children engaged and off screens. Between schooling online and the normal screen time struggle, craft-time became a huge part of our day to break them away from those screens. One of the projects we worked on was making mask chains just for ourselves. Friends and family saw what we’d created and wanted them too. It became a really special time, especially for me and my 12-year-old daughter Layla – who it’s getting harder and harder to find activities she is eager to do with me…those tween years are coming on hard!
Requests for our mask chains started to expand beyond our immediate circles, so we decided to start selling them. For Layla this was especially a fun prospect because not only does she love beading, but she really loves the idea of having a business, so before we knew it - Mora Mora was launched.
SSP: What makes your product so unique?
Finding ways to involve and engage tweens and teens these days beyond Tik Tok is a real struggle. When you support Mora Mora – you’re not only making your masking easier and more stylish, but you are supporting the creativity of a child and her drive to learn about what it means to run a business. As well as supporting a young woman learning to be empowered by her own vision and dreams.
SSP: Can you please tell me more about your CEO, Layla?
Layla is a twelve-year old firecracker, and the real brains behind the company. I am solely her guide. When you give her a task to accomplish – she will take it beyond the finish line.
But I’ll let Layla tell you a bit more about herself: “I love the Harry Potter series, doing art, writing and acting. I also aspire to be a lawyer because I love to debate and defend.”
SSP: How are the different designs determined and how are they made?
There is a lot of trial and error when we make our mask chains. We spend a lot of time beginning chains and then undoing them until we get something we love. Mostly we start by laying out a color palette. Then we play around with the pattern. We also think about how the colors and patterns will match with different masks. We started a collaboration with my friend and owner of LuluLuvs who makes gorgeous handmade hair accessories for kids with Liberty fabrics. She has been making face masks also with the same beautiful Liberty materials. Layla and I have been creating mask chains that match the different patterns and colors.
Our line of chains for kids is also a big driver in some of our designs. We want to find fun combinations for kids that will encourage them to properly mask. Masking for children is not easy. Making sure those masks stay clean and don’t get lost is a real motivator in the designs we make with children in mind.
SSP: Being that you just launched this past month, what are your plans for this year & will you be expanding your product line?
It looks like we will be wearing masks for a while longer even with the roll out of vaccines. So, we will keep making mask chains! But all our chains can be used as eyeglass chains, necklaces and wrap bracelets.
Layla has been layering them and using them as necklaces. Upon request, we can also add eyeglasses/sunglasses loops to any chain so they are very versatile!
We create new chains all the time and our creativity and interest haven’t run out. We just bought some beads in fun bright colors for the Spring and Summer. One great thing about living in New York is the access to the amazing bead stores in the garment district. Many of these New York treasures have shut down over the past year but we are happy to be able to support the ones that are still around. We also have a friend who is scouting out and buying beads for us in the Southwest, so we are really excited to create some fun designs from those.
SSP: It’s wonderful to see something creative and beautiful come out of this pandemic. What would your words of advice be to other creatives and entrepreneurs, who are considering starting a small business at this time?
I think it’s a great time to start a small business. The whole world is going through a sort of reset, and I think everyone has learned to step back and slow down this year. Now is the time to really explore all those creative ideas and passions that have always been put on the backburner because life has been so busy. Start small and start simple, but start!
Another word from Layla: “Just create beautiful things and have fun!”
SSP: Where can we purchase Mora Mora chains and do you have a social account we can follow to see more?
You can purchase chains from our Instagram account @moramoranyc or online at www.shoplululuvs.com. More styles are created and added regularly.