Meghan Folsom Sets an Example By Signing Off

Meghan Folsom, co-founder of Mega Mega Projects & new mother, navigates the uncharted waters of maternity leave when you’re the boss – and finds strength in the permission to slow down. 



Meghan Folsom Sets an Example By Signing Off

“You would think, in this age of female entrepreneurship, that there would be more information on how to handle maternity leave [as a founder.] But there is no guidebook at all. So, I’ve been asking everyone for advice, and was really happy to find that there is a lot of support for truly checking out. ‘It’s not that long a time,’ women have told me, ‘Set a great example for your employees.’”

MEGHAN WEARS THE SCOOP IN MERLOT

Meghan Folsom is the co-founder of Mega Mega Projects: a fine jewelry and accessories showroom in New York City representing primarily female jewelers from all over the world. At the time of this interview, Meghan was thirty-seven weeks pregnant and preparing to take leave from her bustling business to give birth to her first child.

“Motherhood is such a huge part of being a woman. We have babies. That’s what we do. When I first entered the fashion industry in the early 2000s, there was this idea that women could be successful if they were willing to sacrifice… everything. Their health, their families, their happiness. I think it’s important to say, ‘I can run a business and still have a baby. I can honor myself. I can honor my body. I can honor my business. I can honor my family.’”

MEGHAN WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE BIKINI IN BLACK

Mega Mega Projects builds upon Meghan’s earlier career days of freelancing with fashion icons and working at top magazines. As she builds her own business, Meghan takes heed of the more toxic elements of the fashion industry, and builds upon the positive examples of female leadership and renegade spirits that have inspired her along the way.

“My first magazine jobs were at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. I was drawn to fashion because it was an industry of misfits. I don’t know if that rings as true now, with social media putting a glossy veneer over everything and making success seem easy, but, in 2001, the women who were successful in fashion were true individuals. Some were horrible, toxic people, and some were amazing creatives. We’ve all had really toxic female superiors in our careers. I had some great mentors, and some not so great mentors. You learn equally from both those types.”

“When Devil Wears Prada came out, I was a fashion assistant and – I’m not kidding – Anne Hathaway’s character lived in my apartment building on Broome Street. I was exhausted after a shoot and went to see the film with a friend who was also a styling assistant. The opening credits came on and [Hathaway] stepped out of my apartment onto the street. My actual address. It was hilarious.”

MEGHAN WEARS THE SCOOP IN MERLOT


“I saw a lot of craziness when I was freelancing, but I also witnessed great female leadership. I worked with a stylist named Melanie Ward for four years, who became an amazing mentor. She was the creative director of Helmut Lang in the ‘90s and discovered Kate Moss. She was definitely an outlaw and a bit of a renegade. She does her own thing but simultaneously has an amazingly kind heart and spirit. I learned a lot about authenticity and graciousness from her, which tends to be lacking in fashion.”

Meghan has always been a renegade spirit herself. She’s always carved her own path – whether that was shopping at the Salvation Army for vintage clothes in her conservative Alabama hometown of 18,000 people – or what she is doing now: creating a kind, safe space within a crazy industry.

“That’s one reason (among many) that I like working in jewelry. We get to be a little bit outside the main fashion space. I love that jewelry doesn’t have a size. I mean, there are obviously ring sizes, but anyone can wear jewelry. And there are beautiful pieces at every price point.”

MEGHAN WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE BIKINI IN BLACK

“Jewelry doesn’t have to mean diamonds. It can be a really fun piece that makes you feel strong or interesting. We often wear jewelry on very sensual places on our bodies, which makes it such a personal purchase for so many women.”

A diamond is the strongest material in the world. Coincidence or not, Meghan’s understanding of sensuality is rooted in strength. Along a bumpy pregnancy road, however, Meghan had to expand that definition of strength to include surrender, rest and resilience.

“When you’re pregnant everyone’s first question is, ‘How are you feeling?’ Which is a welcome question, because you are so in your body all day long, but, ‘Do you really want to know? It’s going to be a long story.’”

“I’ve always related strength to my experience of sensuality. I was a competitive athlete. I was blessed with a really strong body. I’m never going to be thin, and that’s fine. Instead of being hyper-critical of my body as it goes through all these changes, I focused on cultivating a feeling of strength and embodiment during my pregnancy.”

MEGHAN WEARS THE SCOOP IN MERLOT AND THE BIKINI IN BLACK

“Some days, however, you don’t feel strong. Some days you’re really, really tired. I’m happy to be getting my strength back, because I had some bumps along the road during my pregnancy. I lost the use of my hands in the middle of the second trimester, because of pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel.”

“You hear about back-aches, swelling and so many of the more typical pregnancy symptoms. Carpal tunnel is not something that’s really discussed, but it’s actually pretty common, because of the swelling and fluid retention in the body.”

“When you are preparing for a child, you want this to be one of your strongest moments. Needless to say, not being able to use my hands has made me feel very weak. I’m a planner. I don’t consider myself a control freak, per se, but I do like to be organized and prepared. I had to completely surrender to this injury.”

“I had to really stop and rest – during a time that any woman who’s become a mother knows is a really intense time of preparation. Mentally, physically, logistically. There’s a lot to do, a lot to organize, before you are responsible for taking care of another human.”

MEGHAN WEARS THE SCOOP IN MERLOT AND THE BIKINI IN BLACK

“Beyond that surrender, I’ve become more comfortable and confident in my body than ever during this pregnancy. Knowing that my body is capable of these amazing things, that it’s strong enough to do all of this, is really beautiful to me.”

Our bodies undergo transformative change as we prepare for a child, but less tangible elements of our lives shift, too. As we become mothers, our responsibilities mount, our schedules shift, and our priorities are rearranged. As Meghan prepares for these changes, she’s intent on keeping her own identity intact.

“Pregnancy has been a really cool experience – you are being welcomed into this new club, but there is an identity shift that comes with that. In some ways, I struggled with the shift. In America, we are often mothers first and women second. In other cultures, you are a woman first and a mother second.”

MEGHAN WEARS THE SCOOP IN MERLOT AND THE BIKINI IN BLACK

“I want to be a woman first. I was a woman for 36 years before I became a mother. There will obviously be times where you have to be a mom before anything else. There will be those days, but I think it’s so important to maintain your relationships, your friendships, your body, your marriage, your partnerships. That’s how you are going to set a good example for your child – and all the women around you who will go through this when it’s their turn.”

Interview and Article by Molly Virostek. Photographed by Stephanie Lavaggi. Styled by Emily Newnam

Tags: bodytalk , Womanhood

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so beautiful x

Meg O

Feb 2020


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