Trish Gulley is a Peoria native who never imagined she would return to central Illinois to raise her kids. She and her husband Josh lived in New Mexico, Indiana, and Colorado before he was hired as an associate professor in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois. Trish works in the children’s fashion industry (more on that below!) They have three children, 12-year-old Olivia, 8-year-old Ethan, and 5-year-old Elliot; the family resides in Champaign.
See why we think Trish Gulley is a Chambana mom to know.
Q: You sent your youngest child to kindergarten a few weeks ago, and your oldest is now in middle school. How does it feel?
I often feel conflicted. You nurture your little ones to be independent and go off to school, and when they do you are sad. Then, your oldest is in middle school, almost as tall as you are, and wearing a larger size shoe – it makes you feel old. Sad and old is not a great combination. But, when they come home excited about their day and all they are learning and experiencing, it makes it all worth it.
Q: You have a really neat job. Please describe what you do.
I do love my job! I am a sales director for Goldbug, a Denver-based children’s accessories company. I have been with Goldbug for just over 10 years and I work with a talented team to design, produce, and sell children’s socks, shoes, hats, swimwear and other accessories to retailers worldwide. Goldbug designs and manufactures product for store brands (for example, Sonoma and Jumping Beans at Kohl’s, Circo at Target) and national brands (for example, Carter’s, OshKosh, Disney, and Eddie Bauer). I work primarily with the buyers at Kohl’s, so if you have ever bought a pair of Sonoma socks, a Jumping Beans summer hat, or a pair of Carter’s shoes for your child at any Kohl’s store in the nation, you have purchased one of the products that my team and I placed in the store. My family and I really appreciate that I am able to work from home most days. I travel about once a month – to NYC for buyer meetings, Kohl’s headquarters outside of Milwaukee, and Goldbug’s home office in Denver.
Q: Does that mean your kids are the best dressed kids in town?
They definitely have lots of socks! But, unfortunately, they have outgrown most of the other products we produce. To clear out my sample closet, I’ve been known to bring bags of socks to a meeting or book club and let my friends “have at them” for their kids. Elliot, my 5-year-old, is in love with a pair of lion slippers that made their way home a couple of years ago. He loves them so much that he wears them even in the summertime!
Q: Do you have any sneak peeks into fashion trends for kids for the upcoming year?
For fall, dots and stripes are still big along with monkey and frog characters. Look for Fair Isle patterns on tights and socks along with argyle. We are working the spring 2012 lines now and the newest looks will be tribal prints in deep, bold colors and black and white ink graphics. It looks like ruffles for girls will be back in a big way and 80’s neon is going to be even stronger.
Q: You travel a bit for work. What have you learned over the years to make the separation easier for your family and do you have any tips for other parents who travel for work?
Any time one parent is out of town it seems there is juggling of some sort to be done (childcare, activities, etc). It does get easier as your kids get older. I have learned to stress less before leaving town. I use to worry about what my husband would feed the kids or how far behind on laundry I’d be when I returned. So, I’d run to the grocery store or do extra laundry before leaving. I have learned to let that kind of stress go. My husband does just fine with meals and if there isn’t anything in the house to eat, he goes to the grocery store or takes the kids out. And, I’ve found when I leave the laundry, he’ll do it. I’m normally only gone a night or two at a time and I’ve come to appreciate the dinners out, the quiet of a hotel room, and uninterrupted conversation with co-workers. My husband gets extra time with the kids and has a better appreciation for what I do for the family.
Q: What has been your most special family memory from this summer?
My favorite family memory from this summer has to be the last night of our June trip to my parent’s house in North Carolina. My sister and her family from Denver were visiting too and adults and kids were all gathered in the family room for “awards night”. The awards night tradition started a couple of years ago during another family reunion in NC when my parents had some left over medals lying around and my husband picked them up and started handing them out to the kids. The awards were a celebration of something they had done that week. For example, Elliot once got an award for swimming under water for the first time, Ethan got one for his daring ride on the inner tube behind grandpa’s boat, and Olivia was awarded for helping her younger cousin in the pool. Each time a kid’s name was called, everyone would cheer as the honoree walked up to accept their medal around their neck. It may sound a bit corny, but the kids really anticipated this part of the week and they grinned from ear to ear waiting for their name to be called. So this year, on the last night, following Josh’s presentation of the medals, the kids spontaneously took off their medals and started handing them back out to the adults. Each adult’s name was called and something the kids appreciated that week was celebrated – for example, Uncle Dave for taking us on golf cart rides, Granny for cooking great dinners, and Grandpa for driving the boat and taking them fishing. It was a really unexpected and sweet moment where the kids expressed their gratitude in the kind of overt way that kids don’t often do.
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