5 years ago, Very Fine South was born from a mother needing a functional bag during busy toddler days. Today, not much has changed….a busy mom is still designing bags based on her needs and wants, managing 2 kids and a busy one-woman business. In the last 5 years, we’ve sold a lot of bags to a lot of moms, also searching for the style and functionality that are the hallmarks of our brand. It makes our hearts sing to see our fellow mamas using our bags to ease their day and brighten their style.
Graciously, many moms have helped spread the word about Very Fine South. Social media, word of mouth, gift giving and more has helped this business grow. So, who better to shine the light on than our perfect models, the mothers who give our bags the ultimate test and keep us on display as they juggle their days. This campaign excites us to highlight the unyielding manner of mothers.
Each month we will share the story of a mom and the unique ways they navigate through life. We are excited to share many fun and inspiring stories with mothers we’ve connected with. They don’t just model their own style alongside our bags, but the strength, values, courage, compassion, love, and lifestyles they share with their children.
Susi is one of my favorite supermoms who inspires on every level. She works hard to better herself, for the sake of bettering others. As a high school art teacher, she shares her creative gifts and talents (along with a lot of love) to growing teenage artists every day. Carrying her teaching talents beyond the classroom, Susi also is a devoted yoga teacher. Her classes are informative, nurturing, and fun. Even with a busy schedule as a mom and teacher, she makes time to further her yogic knowledge and awareness with teacher trainings and workshops. If that’s not enough to fill up a calendar, she also channels her creativity through her jewelry line, HoneyBird. Her pieces are fun and unique, just like Susi’s effortless boho style. She’s an endless source of new ideas.
How did we meet? Ten years ago my husband and I moved back to Atlanta from San Francisco, 4 months pregnant with our first child. We rented a 1920’s duplex in town, and fortuitously shared the building with another couple also expecting their first baby. Susi and I had our sons a month apart and shared the fun (and sleepless) experience of being new moms. Since our days as neighbors, our friendship has grown into a genuine and invaluable gift. Susi is truly always there when you need her. She gives selflessly, listens openly, and can always find a way to get you laughing. We connect in a lot of ways, but especially through our love of yoga, our obsession with the beach, and simple get-togethers at home laughing over pizza and beers.
Following along with Susi on Instagram would lead you to believe she may have a clone. In addition to all of her endeavors, she spends just as much time devoted to her 9 year old son. Traveling, hiking, doing yoga together, exploring Atlanta, creating, playing soccer…the list is endless of where you’ll find them sharing days together. Not surprisingly, Aiden is as kind and caring as his mom (and his dad, Travis, too!). Lucky for us, our son and Aiden are still best buds. Their first hang out session in the pack-and-play was the start of a great friendship for them, too.
Susi showed off her signature boho style for our shoot, which included some of her latest (and some of my favorite) HoneyBird designs. Scroll right for the more.
A few more words from our Model Mom…
When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a model for a minute, but mostly I wanted to be an artist I dreamed of living in New York and living in a big art studio and showing my work in galleries and museums. I’ve always known that being creative and making art was my calling and it’s what I was good at. I pursued it in college and got my BFA in Drawing and Printmaking.
What do you love most about your job? Or jobs.
Well I have three jobs, I’m a high school art teacher, a yoga teacher and I have my own jewelry business HoneyBird Jewelry. All of these rolls allow me to be creative and work with people on a regular basis, seeing my students create art that they are proud of and be successful makes me really happy, teaching yoga has taught me a lot about myself and how to be in the world. My yoga students leave feeling better then they did when they walked in and I couldn’t ask for more than that, it’s ultimately about helping them learn about themselves too. The jewelry business is an outlet for my creativity but still connects me with others and often has the ability to bring a little joy and happiness to their lives through some shiny new earrings. It’s a great feeling to share yourself in the service of others and all of my jobs let me do that.
What are you proud of? My son Aiden, he’s the apple of my eye and everything I’m doing is for him, I hope my creativity, entrepreneurship and work ethic rubs off on him. He’s already a better human than anyone I’ve ever met. He has a huge heart and cares deeply for others and the world.
Favorite way to indulge? A really great glass of wine and bowl of pasta at 246 after an hour long massage. I’m not a dessert person, just give me all the pasta!
Favorite act of self care? My favorite act of self care is a trip to the beach, nothing restores me like sitting in the sand near the ocean. I prefer it to be sunny and warm but I’ll take the beach in any condition!
Favorite VFS bag? The George is my favorite bag. I bought it for a trip to New York two years ago and I wanted to be hands free and be able to carry a bouquet of flowers in it from the market. It handled the job beautifully because it’s so deep. It’s Hands free and hand made with so much love. I love that George matches everything! I get compliments every single time I wear it, which is everyday.
Like a lot of my “mom friends”, I met Averi at school pick up. Her bright smile and magnetic personality are always refreshing as everyone is rushing during their hectic days to grab the kiddos. We quickly realized we had a good bit in common, from our passion to creating clean nontoxic lifestyles, to having family who live in remote towns in Montana.
In addition to being a mama to Lemon (7) and Nora Gold (4), Averi is a talented Beautycounter Consultant (she has me hooked!). She uses her Instagram reach and local community to educate on the importance of using nontoxic products, like all of Beautycounter’s, on our skin. Averi is a wealth of information sharing the variety of products and services her family uses to live and eat as cleanly as they can. A week of Instagram stories will teach you about the best ceramic waffle iron, clean recipes using whole foods, a composting service, and sustainable toilet paper - just a fraction of daily habits she infuses into her family that are a little gentler to our planet and our bodies.
While Averi’s enthusiasm and energy toward all she does is enough to impress, what stands out the most is how she includes her 2 girls in all of her efforts to inform their good choices as well. I stopped in to hang with them at their house before dinner prep started one evening to have some fun with this family in action. All within an hour, they were communing with neighbors who dropped in, cooking dinner, drawing pictures for grandparents, dressing up and and jumping on the couch. Their boundless energy is infectious and inspiring.
To follow along with Averi and partake in all she shares, find her on Instagram @lemon_and_gold
Averi shared a little more with us and how she finds a balance to her full life as a working mom.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A model and a singer- I couldn’t understand why people would giggle when I would tell them that. But looking back at pics, I was super awkward and never could hold a tune.
What do you love most about your job?
I love learning and sharing about natural health related issues so to be able to create a sustainable business around that is incredible.
Favorite way to endulge?
A Netflix documentary with my husband, which happens way too infrequently.
Favorite act of self care?
A hot yoga class or a long walk on the Beltline or a Beautycounter Charcoal Mask on Sunday
Favorite VFS bag?
The Sling Bag is everything I’ve been looking for: minimalist and chic and I can easily throw in my phone and go to dinner or preschool pickup without it looking out of place at either.
Averi brought some of her favorite pieces and Beautycounter products for a fun day of her style in the studio. We didn’t ask her to sing, but she seems to be over the “awkward phase”.