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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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Mamas Makin’ it Work: Saving the Planet with the Latest Fashions

Written by Melissa Robertson
Andrea Mercer

A strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit led this mom to find ways to work at home.

When most five-year-olds were playing with dolls or pretending to be a superhero, Andrea Mercer found herself spending her days running her own grocery store. While the customers and products were make-believe, her entrepreneurial spirit was very real.

It wasn’t any surprise when Andrea took this strong work ethic with her as she entered the working world. She soon found herself project managing at a boutique marketing agency. She had it all: a great career and marriage—but then parenthood came in and turned her entire world upside down.

“I was naive in the beginning,” she said of her journey to parenthood. “I was just going to balance it all.”

Changing priorities

While Andrea’s company would have been supportive of her needs as a working mother, she realized that leaving the house at 7 a.m. only to return at 7 p.m. was not going to work for her family.

“In downtown ad agency life that is standard,” she said. “I realized that didn’t really go well with my new role as a mother.”

Andrea decided that instead of simply dreading her return to work, she needed to become innovative. She reached out to her networks and started looking for opportunities to work at home. She soon began work as a marketing consultant and started a blog called “The Modern Mommy Collective”. Her ability to encourage parents to trust their instincts rather than try to fit into the mould of a ‘perfect parent’ gained her quite a following as well as more writing opportunities.

Her ability to encourage parents to trust their instincts rather than try to fit into the mould of a ‘perfect parent’ gained her quite a following as well as more writing opportunities.

With the birth of her second child, she found herself re-evaluating her priorities again. This time she chose to step back from her marketing work and focusing on being a parent of two small children. The time away gave her a chance to once again find her entrepreneurial side and a passion for second-hand clothing.

Putting her passion to work

Little Saturday Market began as an answer to the problems facing parents who wanted to purchase or sell kids’ second-hand clothing. She saw parents struggling with swap groups, meet-ups and other methods to sell clothing that was in great shape. She decided to create her own solution through an online store that specializes in high-quality second-hand clothing at low prices. The best part was that it would not only be a win for parents but also for the environment.

andrea mercer

“Fashion production is the second biggest polluter in the world,” she said. “I can do my part by getting people to consider second-hand fashion.”

Andrea admits that the way she originally viewed buying second-hand has completely changed. Instead of being an option for those who have fallen on hard times financially, she says that many of her clients are simply environmentally conscious and they chose to supplement their wardrobe with good quality second-hand clothing.

“I kind of thought the only way to dress my kids in great brands and stylish clothes was to go to the mall, but there is another option,” she said. “If I can change my perspective, I can help others change theirs too.”

A better way to buy

Andrea strives to make buying and selling second-hand items easier through her online store complete with easy pickups and shipping to your door. She also has a strict screening system for the clothing she offers so customers can trust that the items they purchase will be in great shape as well as have great style.

Speaking of great style, Andrea has also dipped her toes into the world of fashion design with her small line of rocker-inspired children’s wear. She also supports local artisans by partnering with them to sell their handmade items. While her work is rewarding, Andrea says finding a balance between running her business and motherhood is not easy.

“There is a lot of guilt involved,” she said.” With motherhood, guilt is just part of the gig.”

She adds that while it may seem work-at-home moms have it all, to have a career while staying at home with their children, the reality is that it is really hard to juggle all of her responsibilities.

“I want to be engaged and I don’t want to be on the phone. The reality is I often have to coordinate my pick-ups when my kids are home,” she said. “It’s a constant juggle…I am proud and happy to see them seeing me working on something I am passionate about.”

It is a disservice to yourself as a mother when you don’t figure out how to take time for yourself…

Andrea has made peace with the fact that she sacrifices sleep to work towards her next business goal or has to ask others for help with her kids.

“It is a disservice to yourself as a mother when you don’t figure out how to take time for yourself,” she said. “It’s not healthy to give 200 percent to your kids all the time and not to focus on your own goals.”

Andrea wants to give PLNers a chance to score some great pre-loved clothing for a great price at Little Saturday Market. By entering the code PARENTLIFE25 you will get 25 percent off your entire order while helping to reduce your carbon footprint!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.