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Mar 14, 2016

Working Mom: Designer Kelli Murray

  • Name: Kelli Murray
  • Company: Rylee & Cru / Kelli Murray
  • Title: Owner / Designer
  • City: Encinitas, CA
  • Kids: Rylee - 4, Cru - 1
This is one creative mama on our business blog today. Those of you who follow Kelli Murray on Instagram already know her keene eye for design – whether it’s illustrating beautiful prints and figures, or sketching up outfits for her kids clothing brand, Rylee & Cru, she is using her talents all over the place. We loved getting the chance to pick her brain and take a peek into her San Diego home with husband, Sam, and their two sweet babes – yep, you guessed it – Rylee & Cru.

NO. 01

Tell us a little bit more about you and your beautiful family!

My name is Kelli and I’m married to my best friend Sam and we have 2 wonderful kids, Rylee, 4, and Cru, 17 months.  We live in a small beach town in Southern California.  I work as a freelance artist and illustrator, and a little over a year ago I launched a children’s clothing line inspired by my own little ones called Rylee & Cru. My husband Sam owns a curated mens retail shop in Del Mar called Loneflag as well as a design agency called Other Sons where he specializes in branding, sales and marketing.  We are both pursuing our passions while raising a family, which comes with it’s fair share of challenges, but I’m proud of where we are and feel very fortunate to get to do what I love for a living.

Working Mom Kelli Murray - Inspired by This

NO. 02

You've dabbled in graphic design, fashion design, & illustration, have you always had a knack for the creative?

Yes, I’d say creativity has always been my strong suit. Right out of high school I knew I wanted to work in fashion. What I didn’t know was that illustration and graphic design would become such a passion….not to mention a job that could actually pay the bills.

Working Mom Kelli Murray - Inspired by This

NO. 03

Everything you create is so fresh and different. Where does your inspiration for your art come from?

Thank you! Honestly, inspiration comes from all over.  I’m constantly inspired by nature, travel, nostalgia, my kids and other creative people in my life.

NO. 04

Do your kids love to draw with you?

My son is a bit too young, but Rylee loves to draw with me.  I’m pretty sure we were both born with the same spirit. I’m convinced one day she will be far more creative than I will ever be.

Working Mom Kelli Murray - Inspired by This
Photos above by Taryn Kent

NO. 05

You recently launched a super cute kids clothing line, how did it come to fruition? Were your kids your inspiration?

They were, hence the name, Rylee & Cru 😉 When I had my daughter in 2011 I had a hard time finding clothes that spoke to my neutral loving artistic aesthetic.  I always knew that one day I wanted to create something of my own….to merge my passions in art, fashion and childrenswear and fill what I thought was a niche in the market.  It took a few years to get the courage to actually get the ball rolling.  But here we are, a year later, and I am completely blown away at the growth we’ve had.  I am excited to see where the brand will take me in the coming years.

NO. 06

Do your kids have favorite pieces to wear from the line?

Rylee will always choose a dress over any other piece of clothing because it “twirls”.  So she’s always wearing the dresses.  Cru has zero opinion and fortunately I get to dress him however I want.  I’ll hang onto that as long as I can 😉

Working Mom Kelli Murray - Inspired by This

NO. 07

What has been the most surprising thing about motherhood?

I think I have been surprised at how I continue to fall deeper and deeper in love with my kids as they grow.  It was hard to imagine my love could be any greater for them than the day they were born….but it just continues to well up as I watch them grow and see their little personalities develop. They’ve changed me in the best ways. I want to be a mom they are proud of and for them to know how very deeply they are loved.

Working Mom Kelli Murray - Inspired by This

NO. 08

What does the work/life balance look like as a freelancer working from home and a mama of 2?

It’s really hard! As most work-from-home moms would probably tell you. Two days a week the kids have a nanny come to the house to watch them so that I can work. These are the days that the bulk of my “creative” work gets done. 1 day a week they spend the day with Grandma, and the rest of the time, it’s just me working during naps and late into the night to get things accomplished and meet deadlines. The tough part about owning your own business, especially a creative one, is that the wheels never stop turning and there is always always something more to do. I’ve had to really discipline myself with my time and create boundaries. I have to be intentional about the time I spend with my husband, my kids and my friends…otherwise my workaholic tendencies can easily take over.

Working Mom Kelli Murray - Inspired by This
Above Photos by Becky Kimball

Quick ?'s

Favorite activity to do with your kids:  


San Diego date night spot:  

Blue Ribbon Pizza

Style Icon:  

Mary Seng

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My Phone

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