“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
Welcome to Chicago North Shore Mom’s weekly feature, Moms in Business! This is a special time of the week where we pause for a few minutes to celebrate and gain inspiration from the incredible moms in our North Shore community. Moms know how to hustle. We are expert multi-taskers and moment-makers! This week’s feature is the lovely Ronit Galazan, owner and artist of RoGaWear, a truly unique line of activewear. The mother of two teenage boys has been through her share of adversity which has led to her career as an artist today! Enjoy this inspirational interview and treat yourself to a piece of activewear that is truly… YOU (exclusive discount below).
Where are you from originally and where do you currently live?
I was born in Israel, grew up in Detroit, moved to Los Angeles, met my then husband (I’m now divorced) in LA, and then moved to Chicago. I currently live in Highland Park. I’ve been in the Chicagoland area for 21+ years.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have two boys- ages 19 and 17
Ah! A seasoned mama! Do you have a mom “hack/tip” that makes your everyday life a little easier…
Forgive yourself. You tried your best with the information you had. It’s not easy. Every day is new reason to try again.
If you listen to podcasts, what are your top faves?
I listen to a lot of podcasts but my top four are:
- Watch What Crappens
- Here’s The Thing
- Fresh Air
- The Moth
Least favorite mom job?
Explaining why being late is such a bad trait.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Two things that don’t define me! The first one is I started as a bio-pre-med major but graduated with an advertising degree.
The second one…. I’m dyslexic. I am a self-taught artist. Can you imagine, I went through all of my years of schooling with this challenge. I was finally diagnosed at the age of 24, three years after graduating college. I couldn’t figure out why I could learn the material but could not pass tests and definitely could not do math. For example, the number ‘5’ and ‘7’ are always backwards and upside down and I can’t tell the difference between lower case ‘d’ and ‘b’ and don’t get me started on left versus right. (My kids have a field day with that one!) Believe it or not this challenge eventually led to my becoming an artist and clothing designer – a true passion #lovewhatyoudo!
Favorite local places to spend with the family?
We love the Chicago Botanic Gardens, the North Shore beaches and my two favorite restaurants in the burbs are Greenwood and Abigails.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why?
Going to New York City and experiencing the Statue of Liberty with the kids, museums, busy streets and Central Park.
You are a mompreneur! Tell us about your business!
Yes! I am an artist! I am the founder, sole designer of RoGaWear a unique boutique where I turn my paintings into wearable art – activewear. Every painting, and therefore piece of clothing, has a unique and uplifting story or message that resonate with my buyers.
As I mentioned before I had dyslexia and wasn’t diagnosed until after my years of schooling. I was a horrible test-taker and didn’t do well in school even though I knew the material! I couldn’t find a way to express myself and I felt stifled. After years of being told I was lazy, I had to find ways to get by. I started painting as a hobby, and realized I had a lot to say. It morphed into a business of selling art. But that didn’t feel like enough, I wanted to wrap women in my positive messages and inspiration. I also work out quite a bit and found a way to combine my love of working out with art. I decided to try designing activewear! It was the perfect union to create garments that look and feel great on the body and have my positive messages on them.
In my paintings and activewear I express myself with colors, drips, splashes, drawing figures and yes even writing in my artwork. This has set my heart free! I found another way to communicate.
That sounds incredibly painful. How amazing it was that you turned adversity into a true passion. What inspires your work?
I’ve been finding and refining my voice as an artist for over 25 years. I find what I am most passionate about is painting images of women who are inspiring or need inspiration. Sometime this is the same woman. Many times part of this woman’s soul is in me. I love bearing witness to strong women. Watching them navigate life with all its bumps in the road; I find it beautiful. When as women we stumble and are forced to learn lessons the essence of the beauty in the chaos is what we take away for the next time.
This is what I try to capture in my paintings. The feeling after the lesson and before the next learning opportunity. This is when the enlightened is seen. It’s in her eyes. It’s how she’s willing to show vulnerability. The building of her character. Watching her calloused jugular soften and then sharing her message. Sharing her strength so that other women can feel the power of her love; her sisterhood; her message. She wants to share it with you. I want to share it with you. I also create many works using numbers, letters and words. It’s my way of saying screw you to the years of bad grades and suffering with not knowing what was ‘wrong’ with me.
What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?
My first gallery show I sold 12 paintings! And then when I started my activewear business and that took off as well.
Do you have any advice you can pass forward to other mamas out there?
My advice is keep trying. Keep looking for what serves your soul. Listen to your intuition and ask for help – from people you know and your spirit team!
Do you find that it’s important to have a career outside of being a mother?
It’s crazy important. I want to show my kids (and myself) that if you work hard enough and with enough passion and love, you can make an idea come to life. It may not be what you expected, it may just turn out better!
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
I’m not alone. I love my kids enough to keep trying. Sometimes it takes looking at myself and seeing what I need to change in me.
What’s on the horizon for you and RoGaWear?
I hope my art business grows. I want to create and sell more paintings as well as start transferring my artwork onto pillows, bedspreads and other home goods.
Would you like to share a discount code for our Mom Feature readers?
Yes! Please use coupon code NSMOMS15 for 15% all items in your shopping cart over $20 on rogawear.com. Excludes sale items and cannot be used in conjunction with other coupons. Good through Friday, Feb 21, 2020.
Photo Credit: Causography
Makeup Credit: Makeup By Josie V.