How designer Audrey McLoghlin's new shirt company Grayson—named after her cute-as-a-button-up daughter—empowers working moms.
By Tessa Trudeau
Audrey McLoghlin doesn't believe in sugarcoating how hard it is to balance motherhood and a career. As the founder of the clothing line Frank & Eileen (named for her Irish grandparents) and a new shirting line called Grayson (after her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter), she decided to do something about the ever-elusive goal of having and doing it all.
Just launched, the Los Angeles-based company specializes in a button-up shirt that offers women an easy yet stylish everyday uniform in a universally flattering fit—something McLoghlin has worked to perfect for 10 years. But in starting Grayson—now her fourth company—she also made it her mission to support women's roles outside of the office as mothers. "I wanted to create an environment where it makes it just a little bit easier to know that you can lean into being a mom and that you don't have to choose between your career and your kids," she tells us.
Here's how McLoghlin built a female-led, family-friendly company and how she celebrates Mom every day, not just once a year.
Why button-up shirts?
I've spent my entire career obsessing over the button-up shirt. For me, personally, I think it's the only single garment you can wear that makes you feel strong and feminine at the same time. It's so rare to have a button-up that fits really, really well. [Grayson shirts] are made by women, for women, and there's an incredible amount of intention in how I build the silhouettes.
Your daughter is the namesake of the brand. What is she like?
From the day she was born I could tell who she was. She's super fearless, super independent—you can just tell she was born to conquer the world. So she's a huge inspiration in that way.
We hear you have a life-size dollhouse at your office. Can you tell us how that came about?
The hardest challenge I've ever had in my entire life is figuring out how to keep up the pace I've always had as an entrepreneur and business owner and become a mother. When Grayson was born, I didn't take any time off work and I was bringing her to work every day, trying to figure it out. The first few years were incredibly humbling, and it was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life.
So I really reflected and thought, "I own the company—if this is this hard for me, then I can only imagine that it must be this hard for all women, or even harder!" It changed my perspective. So [at Grayson], you can bring your kids to work, and we have a 12-foot, two-story dollhouse [called Grayson House] that you have to see to believe—it's completely bananas. You come into the bottom floor and there's a fireplace that literally puts out heat; there's a TV and a couch; there's an activity table for them to draw and eat lunch; and then there's a sleeping loft and a little library room with a rocking chair. It's this completely unexpected, amazing thing that turns the whole place into this family-feeling, cohesive place.
Do you have any tips for working moms?
Everybody tries to convince you that women can have it all—that we can do it all—and to me, you can't. There are only 24 hours in a day, so I think you've got to give yourself permission to sometimes know you can't do everything at once or to be overwhelmed and cry—and then wake up the next day and be like, "All right, I got it." Women want to be so strong and are sometimes afraid to just admit how unbelievably hard this is.
How do you celebrate Mother's Day with your daughter?
She's at an age where every year is monumentally different than the last, so there's not really any consistency yet, but we always just make sure to spend the day together. Now she calls everything 'girl time,' so she just very much wants to have 'girl time'—no boys allowed. So that's how we'll spend Mother's Day.
How do you spend it with your own mom?
My mom has always been my best friend. She's my closest confidant and my greatest source of strength, so more than just Mother's Day—I always make sure to celebrate her every day. I always want her to know that I appreciate and love her.
What's something you'd love to receive for Mother's Day this year?
A hundred kisses.