An interview with a beautiful soul; Olga Cher. She is a mother, an artist, business woman, yogi, and a spiritual being. Here we talk about her upbringing, spiritual path, lifestyle, and the rise of her business; Hippie Baby.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD
I grew up in Israel by the Mediterranean Sea and the seaside is where I spent a lot of my time as a child. I loved exploring the natural environment - I remember collecting snails after the rain, ladybugs, or other insects, then studying them. Animals drew my curiosity and at some point I wanted to become a veterinarian. I was always intrigued by my surroundings and the natural world. As for my family, my father is an artist and he would often occupy me with creative projects such as jewelry making, painting murals on the walls in our house, making sculptures out of metal, photography, and more. He was one of the first photographers back in the little town he lived in in Ukraine in his late teens/early twenties, so he was my first photography teacher and he bought me my first camera. I had complete creative freedom as a child. I could experiment and create whatever I wanted while being provided the tools, I am truly grateful for that.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR ART?
Somewhere around the age of five. I remember in art classes, I would often get praised and receive attention for my art. My parents would often praise me calling my paintings masterpieces, no matter how simple they were, and then sometimes frame and hang them on the wall. I believe that made me think of art as not just a hobby, but as a part of life.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ARTISTIC STYLE?
Bohemian, nature inspired, and motivational. I have been experimenting with different styles and mediums for many years. When I was pregnant with my son, I started sketching animals and fantasy characters with positive, yoga and meditation themed messages. After my son was born I re-discovered block printing, carved out my sketched drawings on blocks and made the first prints on my son’s clothes.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LIFESTYLE?
I strive for simple, minimalistic, and slow living. I believe in the buy one, give one principle. So basically if we buy a new item, we give one of the older ones away and that way we can control how much stuff we own. I love being outdoors in nature as much as possible and I get recharged by being near water. I guess this has been deeply engraved in me since childhood.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
I like clothing with simple elements that make me feel unique yet relaxed. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen. My favorites are boho dresses and skirts, loose tops, retro high rise jeans - Comfortable items I can wear on long walks or bike rides.
WHAT MADE YOU START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
First I experimented with selling paintings and doing some photography, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do long term. When I got pregnant, I didn’t want to know the gender of my baby and was struggling with finding Gender-Neutral clothes that I liked. After my sunshine boy Kai was born, my creative energy was in full swing. I started sketching and block printing on clothing. I decided to open an Etsy shop and share my creations with others. At that time, I didn’t really have any expectations, I was just going with the flow. About 6 months later, my Etsy shop really picked up and I was getting lots of positive feedback. Meanwhile, I was also working full time as a dietitian and breastfeeding educator, so I didn’t have the time to put 100% of myself into my business. Slowly, I created a website and sales started coming in. After the birth of my moon baby Lua, I left my full time job and dedicated myself to Hippie Baby Co - I assume this is the moment I considered my little store an actual business.
WHY KIDS CLOTHES?
It all started when my son was born and I was inspired in creating mindful clothes for him. Then my business grew and now I also sell kids, youth, and adult items.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE? WHO?
Nature, yoga and its philosophy. Every design comes with a positive message that also inspired the design. Sometimes it's my customers themselves; they may ask for a certain design or illustration that represents something in particular and I take it from there. For example the “Travel Mood” design came after I was asked to create a travel related drawing.
WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL TO YOU?
I see beauty in the things that are natural. Looking at a tree; the texture of it, the veins of its leaves, how it changes with the seasons. The changing moods of the lake and the clouds above it. That is beautiful to me. In people, that would be the same, someone who exudes their natural essence and compliments it with a smile, being grounded and vibrating with positive energy. I would say it must be something internal.
HOW HAS YOUR MINDSET EVOLVE OVER TIME?
When I was a child, I didn’t always feel like I belonged; I tried fitting in but something was off, I think it was something within me and how I viewed my environment. Then, years later, when I did yoga teacher training and met other yogis and spiritual people, I found myself connecting to them as I never did before with others. Through those connections and learning the yoga philosophy, I learned more about myself and embraced who I am now - calm, artistic, reserved. I always had friends in school, I was not a loner, but I think when I embraced the teachings of yoga and met people in that sphere was when I understood myself better.
WHAT KEEPS YOU GROUNDED AND MOTIVATED TO KEEP GOING?
Creating art is a part of me; it comes from within. I need it for my inner peace. I am motivated by my family, books, and beautiful things I come across.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE CREATING AND BEING A MOTHER?
It is definitely not easy. Motherhood and art give me purpose though. I believe the success is behind good time management and being flexible at the same time. Despite all the challenges, I wouldn't change a thing.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN TEN YEARS?
I honestly never plan so far ahead into the future. I like to live in the present so I truly don’t know - Maybe I’ll be living in a different state or country; I am open for changes as they come. But the one thing that is certain is that I will continue creating art.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR SPIRITUAL PATH?
When I first moved to the US, I used to take a lot of walks alone; reflecting and connecting with nature. I would contemplate a lot about life, its meaning, and our connection to the universe. Then in high school, I met a friend who invited me to a yoga class taught by her cousin. This was the first time I have ever attended a yoga class and loved every moment of it. The instructor was very zen and intuitive. I was so intrigued that I wanted to learn more about the practice and its philosophy. However, it wasn’t until I started going to UIC when I purchased my first books on yoga, meditation, explored different Chicago yoga studios and practiced independently. I discovered different spiritual gurus through books that I found in those studios as well as talking to other yogis, which lead the way to a more mindful and spiritual way of living.
I also found yoga to be extremely healing when I was a full-time student at UIC majoring in biology. The environment at the university was very competitive and I felt very stressed. I would often get terrible migraines that would throw me off completely and yoga practice regenerated me. I remember a particular instance when everyone in my class was terribly stressed before an upcoming exam. I decided not to study the night before, instead, I went to a yoga class to keep sane. It helped tame my anxiety and I approached the exam with a much calmer state of mind. I did well and everything was alright. Ever since then yoga and spirituality have been an undeniable part of me.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL STORIES RELATING TO THE LAW OF ATTRACTION / SYNCHRONICITY?
I live by it. I believe that if you have a vision and you want it to become your reality, you need to put it out to the universe. It all starts with a thought or a note and then your subconscious mind takes you there. When you have a thought of what you really want your brain starts searching for solutions and you have to act upon those solutions that come to you.
For example, before my yoga teacher training, someone asked me if i was thinking of becoming a yoga teacher to which I answered “me?! That is way above me” I really wanted to but there was no way I could afford it at the time. My husband suggested I wait a few years, stabilize and then do it. However, something within me clicked and I felt this passion that I must do it now. I set it as a goal, I worked harder, saved every dollar I got, now that I had this serious goal in front of me, and shortly after I found the perfect studio that gave me a payment plan and allowed me to start my yoga teacher training that same year.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE? WHAT DO YOU LIVE BY?
Everything is going to be okay in the end, and if it's not okay, it is not the end. - John Lennon
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO KNOW? TO GROW UP TO BE?
I always teach my kids that different is good. We are all different and weird in our own special way and that is a wonderful thing. I even have a design with this quote “We are all different and that’s beautiful”. I want them to follow their creative path and be truly passionate about whatever they decide to do in life.
WHEN REFLECTING ON YOUR PAST, ARE THERE ANY THINGS YOU WOULD’VE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
Nothing - I believe our past paves our path for the future. We must live in the present and dream about creating the future we wish for ourselves. Everything we’ve been through or done has led us somewhere or taught us something.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO CREATE ART BUT STRUGGLES TO MAKE ENDS MEET?
I would suggest getting a part time job and working part time on your art. Never stop creating and doing what you love. Even if you only get to do it on the weekends. Keep going.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK? AUTHOR?
It varies, my favorite books are mostly on yoga philosophy and spirituality. I don’t have one favorite author in particular, I like many different ones. I also enjoy reading autobiographies, such as Freud’s autobiography, The Autobiography of a Yogi, Einstein, and more. An author I recently discovered and love is Richard Powers as his books are usually about the natural world and written like poetry!
WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
I like to read several books simultaneously. I tend to pick up the book that matches my mood at the moment. Right now I alternate between The Overstory and Ishmael.
WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO THE WORLD?
That positive energy can heal our world so be kind and don’t judge.