10 Things That Inspire Me: Sarah McIlroy of

Sarah McIlroy

As part of our series on enterprising moms, entrepreneur Sarah McIlroy, CEO of, shares the top 10 things that inspire her.

10 Things That Inspire Me: Sarah McIlroy of

1. My children. I love their innocence, beauty and pure honesty. Love their raw emotions and their genuine abandon. They can articulate their emotions so clearly; they cry when they are sad, and literally jump for joy. The most difficult part of running a startup is trying to find that balance between work and family. The best part of my day is when I get home and my children run to the car to greet me with hugs and kisses, jockeying to be the first to tell me about their day.

2. My Mom and Dad. Every entrepreneur should be lucky enough to have such an incredibly supportive, inspiring family. My Dad showed me early on that you can achieve anything if you have the drive and passion for the journey, but most of all they created a warm, supportive, wonderful home for us growing up. Now the grandkids can’t get enough of them!

3. My Mother’s sewing room. My Mom creates amazing things on a daily basis. Her sewing room is filled with color — bolts of fabrics, trims, inspiration visuals. She has great taste, and a fantastic knack for fashion and style!

4. Other children and girls. We recently established a fashion advisory board where we ask for and receive input from girls. The other day we heard from a young girl named Madison who is confined to a wheelchair. She loves the freedom and fun of designing her own clothes online at FashionPlaytes and being able to wear and show her friends her designs. Providing an empowering experience for girls through design-your-own clothes inspires me every day.

5. Our design team. I’m loving the fabrics and print patterns our team is collecting for our spring color palette. It’s so much fun to review graphic stories and merchandising themes and see an idea translated to final production. It isn’t just about fabric, but color, textures, photos. It reminds me of my Mother’s sewing room, right here in the office.

6. Children’s drawings and art. I love that kids create from the heart, and won’t hesitate to paint a sky green and the grass blue. They are open to all the creative possibilities. Colorful pieces that my kids created are framed and collected throughout my house, many with intricate borders and colors that will revive any gloomy day.

7. Photography. Photography reminds me to slow down and see the beauty around me. I take more and more pictures to capture everyday moments, because it seems like the years are passing now as quickly as weeks passed growing up. It’s unbelievable to me that my oldest is now 9 years old.

8. Dance. Dance Energy classes kick my butt into gear and give my body and mind a chance to escape the daily routine. Adore the challenging choreographed routines and classes, often starting at 5:45 am. As a “So You Think You Can Dance” addict, the graceful art is powerful and mesmerizing.

9. Maine. I’m from a small town in Maine, and every time I go home I’m recharged by the simple beauty and sense of community there. From the pie-eating contests at our local field day, to diving into a freezing spring-fed lake or watching the fireflies at night going home to Maine helps me slow down and enjoy a different pace of life.

10. My coffee and (sometimes) morning peace. Often dawn is the only time of the day to spend a few minutes to myself and a strong cup of coffee in the quiet of my backyard is a great way to start the day. As a mom to three kids, those quiet times are few and far between, and I’ve learned to make the most of them!

Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

Be sure to check out, where girls can design their own clothes!


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For more from Rachel, check out her beautifully curated blog: Handmade Charlotte. You can also follow her on Twitter , Facebook and Pinterest!


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