The Brokenness of Entrepreneurship and Motherhood with Mary Beth Johnson of Everywear Kids (Stand for Mom Show Episode No. 9)
Mary Beth Johnson turns thirty this year. In the last decade, she has flipped a fixer-upper with her husband, moved more than ten times, been a working mom for more years than not, and narrowly escaped birthing her third child in a borrowed car during a blizzard. She discovered she is an ENFJ and launched her newest entrepreneurial venture: a children’s line of super soft tees and sweatshirts called Everywear Kids.
It’s also been a decade of brokenness and rebuilding, deserts and oases. In a May 2016 Instagram post, Mary Beth writes, “the beautiful thing about being broken is that it strips away all of your tightly clenched, pre-conceived ideas...God looks at your withering, primped body with pain crackling out of your insides and He says, ‘You. You are someone I can work with.’ And then He does.”
Mary Beth has learned the hard way that truth doesn’t come in neat compartments and neither do people. To follow along with her is to feel free to be yourself--wherever you are on that journey. She explains, “by my 26th birthday...I started to see the wisdom of inviting other people in.”
In the shadow of the innate “walls of preservation” she had so “painstakingly erected,” Mary Beth discovered what most of us do, eventually: hurt happens anyways. But the deeper lessons Mary Beth learned are worth leaning into; “when the walls come down you'll meet and get to know some really amazing people who know the power of ‘sorry’ and have experienced what it means to be redeemed and in turn, offer redemption.”
Most entrepreneurs have a host of ventures behind them, and Mary Beth is no exception, creating acclaimed content (like this delicious recipe and this poignant piece on fear) published across the internet. Now a mom of four, Mary Beth is admittedly a woman who likes to keep her kids close. In the midst of the chaos, however, she’s managed to run a thriving photography business and blog.
One of her longest-running projects is #theeverydayproject on Instagram, a hashtag Mary Beth began as a phone photography series on her blog. Today, it’s been shared over half a million times. Mary Beth created the prompt as a way for moms to find the beauty in the midst of diaper changes and meal prepping, but the idea caught on as people around the world were drawn to the idea of celebrating every day.
Today, Mary Beth is harnessing that same collective lust for travel and everyday adventures with her line of children’s clothing that celebrates diversity and multiculturalism. Each carefully chosen and beautifully lettered tee or sweatshirt is stamped with a word or phrase in a different language. In a world loud with hate, Everywear Kids strikes a joyful, beautiful note.
Everywear Kids’ creation was not without hiccups, however. In an Instagram post more than a year ago, Mary Beth’s daughters, seven and six, sit at a table in a warehouse with their mom. One flips through a book, precious and bored in a way that only a six-year-old can be precious and bored. The other finishes a snack, talking animatedly with her hands.
Mary Beth’s caption reads, “this photo means a lot to me. I brought the girls to a work meeting yesterday for a business launch that scares me big and has brought out all my insecurities...I'm not smart enough...I've never done this before...I can't compete with fast fashion...Will anyone want to buy my product?...Can I pull this off with four kids? I don't even have a college degree! But there was something about having my daughters there to see their mom trying. Hard. To learn. To grow. To figure it all out. It did something powerful for me.”
It does something powerful for us, too, Mary Beth.