Rayah, owner of Pocket of Sparrows creates custom, perfectly fitted shirts, hoodies, and more for all ages and genders. She works out of her Milwaukie home, and you can also find her work at Portland’s Hazel & Pear boutique.
She describes herself as “A lover of all things creative, supporter of the small guy, drinker of much coffee. I absolutely LOVE what I do.”
(Photo Credit: Stephanie Young of S.Young Photography)
Although she has sewn for many years, as a tall and plus sized mama she found it challenging to find clothes that fit her and her sense of style. She understands how important it is to feel good in the clothes you are wearing. She also recognizes that mainstream patterns and fabrics are often limiting. “Fit is a common problem for many women - and men too! My husband is 6'5" and about 200lbs, the first time I made him a hoodie, he tentatively raised his arms above his head and then his cheeks exploded from smiling so hard because both his wrists and waist were covered at the same time, and he wasn't swimming in billows of extra width,” she explains. “I absolutely love to be able to make things that fit and make the wearer feel fabulous!”
Rayah’s youngest son inspired her to open Pocket of Sparrows, “My youngest, a little rainbow baby boy, pushed me over the edge to pursue my passion because you never know what tomorrow brings, you can only embrace today.” She continues, “I have a fantastically supportive husband who makes fatherhood seem like child's play. I’m a mom of boys, ages six and one, who continually melt my heart and make me scream. I try to limit that to screaming in the closet or into a pillow but hey, nobody's perfect. My family both anchors me and drives me forward, as I never want my kids to be afraid to try new things and follow their dreams and passions.”
She counts fellow MOB NW members as mentors. “There are so many wonderful women in the MOB I look up to! It's so full of successful, kind women who truly believe in the community, building each other up, and supporting other moms. It's truly inspiring. I really count all the MOB directors as mentors because they are so unique and wonderful in their vocations and personalities. I am so grateful that Aria started this group!”
Her biggest business challenge has been standing out and promoting herself. “Laying out my value and being proud of my accomplishments are things I have always struggled with but I feel that as a mom, it's even more vital to have a strong sense of self-worth to pass on to your children.”
She recognizes that her style of quality, handmade clothing is often overlooked as being too expensive. “I understand very small budgets, but you simply cannot expect someone to work for free. It IS my passion to create beautiful things, but pulling time away from my family is something I will not give away for free!”
Rayah advises new businesses owners join the MOB NW. “Seriously! You have so many different resources here for any questions or needs you could have. We have everything from home repair to accounting to tattoo artists! Not only will you get great quality, you get to work with someone who understands being a mom and a business owner!"
She is also a frequent MOB NW meet up attendee. “Come to the meet ups. No one likes networking normally. I have pretty significant social anxiety. I cried in my car after the first meet up just because I was a bag of nerves. I kept coming anyway and met such incredible people! It's helped me tremendously in that area alone, not to mention all the great business connections! I’m going to shamelessly plug the MOB Alliance as well because it's amazing. It's worth every penny (and it doesn't even cost that many pennies).”
She loves working for herself and says “being in control is both scary and exhilarating! I love the control I have over what and how I do things. Being able to be there for my guys, both big and little, is pretty special too.” She says her biggest accomplishment is putting herself out there and pushing forward, despite fears and anxiety.
She is excited to be a MOB member and be surrounded by business owners who also understand the unique joys and challenges of motherhood. “I feel like the trials and tribulations of owning your own business while being a mom give you a unique perspective on life in general and most MOBs I've talked to are far more likely to let go of perfection, combat mom-shaming, and find ways to support and encourage each other!”
You can find Rayah online at:
Pocket of Sparrows group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/502347679889992/