The Woman Behind THE Goose: Meet Illustrator Alice Heise!

We’ve introduced you to the Mama Goose team and the Mama Goose founder and owner, but there’s one more woman we’d like to celebrate. She gave our beloved Mama Goose and her gaggle life – our incredible illustrator, Alice Heise!

With a ton of creativity and a sense of adventure, she began her career as a freelance illustrator in Ithaca, and hustled to make a name for herself in the area. When approached by Kelly and Michelle to create our original Mama Goose illustration, Alice was delighted and bartered for Michelle’s doula services – despite not yet having a child! The result of the collaboration between Alice and our founders was our iconic summer Mama, who perfectly captured the spirit of the Ithaca Mama at that time. Over the years, she helped us add to the gaggle – allowing our family to grow along with the store.

Upon turning 15, we decided to give Mama a fresh new look for colder weather. It was obvious to us that Alice was the only artist for the job. Alice dusted off her supplies and jumped in enthusiastically. She created our new tween goose (debuted HERE) from the ground up, and brought our winter goose up to date with timeless fashion and thoughtful accessories. She’s the quintessential Ithaca mom-on-the-go, with baby tucked under her arm (and close to her heart).

Alice is no stranger to local business – her husband of 15 years Kevin Cuddeback founded Gimme! Coffee, and Alice herself started their Krums Corners Bakery after taking a bit of time off to raise her two daughters, Elsie and Bea. Alice now uses her passion and creative prowess as a real estate agent in the area. Her collective professional experience – her creative mind, her attention to detail, and her ability to imagine new things – helps her guide each new client through the home buying process and imagine themselves in their new space.

So we’ve done it. We’ve introduced you to most of the incredible women that have played a part in the evolution of Mama Goose. So how do we celebrate 15 years? A trip to Vegas? Nah. Not our style. Bungee jumping? Hmm. Seems too risky. Let’s celebrate with you instead! This weekend, March 16th and 17th, stop by Mama Goose and save 15% on your entire purchase! Grab a snack while you shop and get your picture taken with our life-size Mama and our tween goose cut-out! Shop new gear like ErgoBaby carriers and Barefoot Books, or stock up on stylish spring and summer duds for your gaggle – it’s all 15% off! This celebration is all about you – the people behind the Goose, and all of our success!

Look of the Month: March

It’s a Look of the Month first, y’all: a collaboration between Mama Goose and the dynamite derby darlings of the Ithaca League of Junior Rollers. We’re feeling the rebel girl spirit with our bold and brave models and the newest addition to our gaggle – our very own tween goose logo!

This month’s models — Wee Beastie, Speed Seed and Red Hornet — combine items from the Goose and derby gear for some killer looks worthy of these totally rad athletes.

Red Hornet (above left) layers her black and white pinney over a two-piece Body Glove outfit (tank and dance tights, size 7/8) and paired with knee-high socks ($1.95) and a Balera jacket (size small)

Speed Seed (pictured above) rocks her red jersey with rainbow tights (size 10/12) and purple mesh shorts (size 12) and a hooded denim vest (Children’s Place, size 12).

Wee Beastie (pictured above) layers up with pink tights (Hanna Andersson, size 140), Under Armour shorts (size 7/8) and a pink racerback tank (X-treme. size 7/8).

Keepin’ the derby girl spirit alive, we would like to introduce our BRAND NEW tween goose to the Mama Goose family! She is serving up a funky layered look with a smidge of sass. And just like these mini masters of mayhem on the track, she is strong, empowered and ready to tackle any challenges headed her way.
We like to think this new goose would be the perfect addition to the Ithaca League of Junior Rollers. Maybe we should get her some skates?

Do you (or someone you know) want to learn to skate, gain strength and confidence on and off the track? Girls and boys ages 8-17 are invited to join the upcoming spring session, starting April 23rd. Gear rentals are available and no previous experience is required! For more information check out the Ithaca League of Women Rollers/ILJR website or Facebook  or even stop by our sister store Mimi’s Attic and chat with our very own derby-playing Violet Crimes!

Look of the Month: February

Splish, splash! Winter may still be hanging around, but things are slushy enough to make us think ahead to the rainy days of spring! Sweet pea (and puddle enthusiast) Kaleb stopped by Mama Goose to help us show off this season’s selection of brand new rain gear!

This one-piece rainsuit by Splashy (size 3, $35.00) goes perfectly with Western Chief firefighter rainboots (size 12, $25!)! Super protective, you can throw one of these easy-zip suits on over your gosling’s school clothes or special occasion outfit and not have to worry about last minute changes or soggy socks!

A full suit not your little one’s style? Not to worry! Check out how adorable Kaleb looks in our two-piece rainwear option! His blue Splashy pants (size 4, $25.00) and hooded jacket (size 4, $32.00) tuck right into fleece-lined dinosaur boots (size 12, Western Chief, $30.00.) These separates are easy to move around in – making them perfect for those soggy spring sports!

If you’re ready to start doing puddle prep for your little ones, the Splashy suits and Western Chief boots come in several other colors and styles. Some of our boots even light up! Pop on down to the Goose and check them out!

The Women of the Goose (Part IV): Meet the Team

Throughout the start of 2019, we’re celebrating 15 YEARS of Mama Goose! Ever since our beginnings on Seneca Street, Mama Goose has been powered by the energy of strong and discerning women. Our current staff is no exception. From our all-female management team to the ladies on the sales floor, there’s no doubt at all – who run the world? Girls, for sure.

It’s lucky for us that our current store manager, Rebeka Livingston, loves a challenge. Her first project upon joining the team was to plan and execute the 2017 Coat Sale Extravaganza. She hit the ground running and has approached her role with energy and decisiveness ever since. Top priorities for Rebeka are leading and inspiring her team, overseeing new products and making sure that community stays at the heart of Mama Goose.

Rebeka is mama to an adorable two-year old daughter, and loves bringing that mama experience to work with her every day. She enjoys getting to know other new mamas and helping them find the parenting tools and products that will work best for their family. Whether she is engaging with customers or staff, Rebeka thrives on building up other women, and helping them recognize (and own!) their individual strengths and capabilities.

The girl power behind the Goose runs all the way up the ladder. Our Company Operations Manager, Violet Goncarovs, came to work at the “Little Goose” when she was a senior in high school and now runs the show! Owner, Kelly Moreland, still recalls how composed and self-confident the young Violet was when she approached her for a job.

Violet continued to work for Mama Goose while she attended Ithaca College and received her Bachelors of Music in 2012. After graduation, Violet went abroad for several years to Jordan and Palestine and then (lucky for us!) found her way back to the company in 2015 calling it “one of the most rewarding jobs (she’d) ever had.” Leading comes naturally to Violet which is probably why she makes her high-pressure role look effortless. Violet also has a management trick up her sleeve – she blows off steam at night by playing roller derby with the Ithaca League of Women Rollers!

Violet’s many years with the company, as well as her thoughtful and discerning approach to management, have made her an invaluable company leader who inspires us all.

One thing we strive to create at Mama Goose is a sense of loyalty. And who better to foster the feelin’ than Assistant Manager Theresa Knobel, who has been with the family for nearly 10 years (and her sweet 10-year-old son has obligingly modeled for us most of his life!). Theresa’s down-to-earth attitude and her personal connection with many of our customers are just two of the attributes that make her such an intrinsic part of our success. She also bakes, purchases and selects the perfect unique birthday gift for every staff member! When asked about her favorite memory of her time at the Goose, she cites the friendships she’s made with staff and with the customers. “Everyone I have had the pleasure of making acquaintances with has in some way enriched my life.”  And when you ask her what every mama needs to succeed? “At least one person who she can confide in without judgment.” As she trains incoming staff, she’s able to pass along her attitude and her vast repository of Mama Goose knowledge. (For real, test her – she’s basically our personal encyclopedia.)




Because there’s so ding-dang much to do at Mama Goose, we have two Assistant Managers. Anya Barta joined the management team in 2016, and her special area of responsibility is ordering all of our new products and making sure they get out onto the sales floor as quickly as possible. A mother of two boys (2 & 3 years old), Anya has a special understanding of what mamas need and how precious time is to busy mamas.

The Women of the Goose (Part III): The Big Cheese?

Hi there! I am Kelly Moreland, the owner of Mama Goose and Mimi’s Attic. I am so grateful to be celebrating 15 years in business, and am super psyched to have our winter Mama Goose get a new outfit and welcome a sassy tween to our gaggle. Stay tuned for the unveiling later in the month!

We talk a lot about “The Big Cheese” at both Mama Goose and Mimi’s Attic, and the interesting thing is we are rarely referring to me as the Big Cheese. I think this is because, when I first opened Mama Goose, I read a book called The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, and was inspired by the concept that business owners should work on their business rather than in it. I definitely miss the early days when I did everything and knew each and every customer, but I also know that – most days – the most helpful thing I can do for my staff is to get out of their way.

This is former Mama Goose Manager, “Cheesin’ it” as we like to say. When Managers are on vacation or otherwise unavailable, senior staff takes their turn as “Big Cheese”.

So with all these “Big Cheeses” around, what exactly do I do? For many of the last fifteen years, I spent the bulk of my work days on marketing communications and print graphics (such as flyers, forms, signage, email blasts and ads) because I love that stuff and love collaborating with the team on creative endeavors. Those projects are now spearheaded by Communication Assistant, Heather Eriole and Operations Manager, Violet Goncarovs, but we all continue to collaborate as much as possible.

Another big part of my role in the company is what I call “connecting the dots”. This is basically a lot of communicating and making sure everyone, throughout the company, is on the same page. It also means tirelessly working with the team to hone organizational systems, policies and procedures. These systems may sound boring, but I have always believed that they are our secret sauce. Not only do they help us make sure the customer experience is consistent, they also create a work environment that allows each team member to shine and bring their best game because they are not bogged down and burdened with inconsistencies.

One of the true pleasures of being a part of these stores (besides shopping at them!) is seeing the growth and empowerment of each staff member. As I look back on the old photos we have unearthed for this anniversary, I feel grateful and inspired by all of the amazing women who have helped Mama Goose grow and flourish.

This is a photo of my daughters, Olivia (left) and Geneva (right) that was taken about a year after we opened. The idea for Mama Goose grew out of my love for seeking and finding gently-used clothing for my daughters that appealed to their ever-changing tastes. I still enjoy finding gently-used bargains that I think they will like!

Last, but certainly not least, I am truly grateful for you – the fabulous community of Mamas, Papas and goslings who continue to inspire me every day with your commitment to live your values and shop locally and sustainably.

The Women & Goslings of The Goose: Part II

Our anniversary celebration continues! Over the last fifteen years, we’ve hosted art shows, porch parties, diaper & baby wearing workshops, “Meet the Doulas”, yoga classes, ICG Sprouts, Extravaganzas, reading clubs and more. Ithaca families – the heart of the Mama Goose community – where would be without you? We thank you for the years of inspiration to have fun, do a little good and to celebrate… a lot. Do you recognize anyone in these photos? We wish we we had photos of all of you!

Coming up with creative ways to build community with our customers has always been a collaborative team effort. A huge shout-out to senior staffer/Assistant Manager, Theresa Knobel, for revving up our social media day after day and to Meryl Phipps, the author and photographer of our popular “Look of the Month” blog posts! And of course, we would be nowhere without Heather Eriole’s creativity that she brings to all our marketing campaigns.

Beyond all the soirees and celebrations, could the gaggle have grown without a Mama? The real deal, nest-tending, joke-bringing mama to end all mamas? That’s right. We’re talking about the original Mama Goose herself, Kelly Moreland. Check out part III of our series to learn a little more about how the original Mama reflects on 15 years of Mama Goose.

The Women & Goslings of the Goose: A Photo Review (Part I)

December of 2018 marked the fifteenth anniversary of Mama Goose! This momentous milestone has inspired us to pause and reflect back on all of the women who have helped envision and grow Mama Goose since its inception in 2003. In the coming weeks, we will be posting lots of photos and stories of the past and present “Women of Mama Goose”. Plus, we will also be unveiling a new look for the Mama Goose icon (as seen in our logo) and a new goose to keep her company!

In honor of our anniversary, we decided to give Mama Goose (the icon herself!) a stylish, new winter outfit more appropriate for 2019. And, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, a new tween girl goose will be joining the gaggle! The unveiling of Mama’s new look and the introduction of our new sassy gosling will happen in February, so stay tuned! When we do reveal the artwork, we will introduce you to the awesome artist, Alice Heise, who sketched out Mama and goslings with pencil and paper waaaay back in the day. We love our hand-drawn logos and the artist who created them! In the meantime, here’s Part I of fifteen years of Mama Goose in review…

Mama Goose started with a partnership between Kelly Moreland and Michelle Stuhr in December 2003. Both Mamas who loved reuse and their lil’ goslings!
Opening Day of the 800 sq. ft store we now affectionately call “The Little Goose”. We put flyers on doors and play spaces, and car windshields, and our first customer was Wendy Gutman!
Geneva (Kelly’s daughter) and Savanna (Michelle’s daughter) pushed each other around while their moms were hard at work. They remain friends to this day and are both juniors at Ithaca High School.

In 2006, Kelly Moreland became sole owner of Mama Goose and in 2008, she relocated the store to 430 W. State Street formerly the home to Bishops Pro Home Center. Everyone on the Mama Goose team was a part of creating the vision for the new store which hatched and grew to four times its original size.

Mama Goose has always been a project of love for the merchandise, our customers and team collaboration. Ever noticed the goose tiles on the front of our building? They were made by none other than Julia Dean of The Clay School who was then a hard-working team member!

From the beginning, even the littlest women have played a huge part in the success of Mama Goose. Whether they’re strutting their stuff on the catwalk, patiently waiting for their own Mama Goose, or starting their own entrepreneurial hustle, these goslings definitely prove that girls run the world.

The scenery and staff may have changed over the years, but one thing always remains the same – our amazing Mama Goose community. Over the last 15 years, we’ve watched our customers’ families grow, celebrated many milestones, and seen a lot of smiles along the way. Could we have done it without you? No. Would we want to? NEVER! Check out some of the great times we’ve had with you over the years in Part II of our review.

Look of the Month: January

Got the New Year’s Resolution Blues? It’s hard to have a “New Year, New You!” with the same old closet of clothes. Luckily, Mama Goose is in a makeover mood, and this month’s model Linnea was happy to play along!

Linnea warmed up to the idea of a makeover in a super cute sporty look featuring a KidPik tee (size 12, new w/tags, $7.95) and Hind leggings (size 10/12, $5.50) with Nike sneaker boots (size $4.95.)

After a good stretch, and the addition of a Nike sweatshirt (size 10, $14.95) she was ready to hit the ground running!

Of course, some occasions call for a little bit more than an athleisure look. Linnea effortlessly explores casual chic in a J.Crew tee (size 12, $5.95) and Gap denim high-waisted trousers (size 10, $9.95) plus a Zara puffer vest (size 12, $17.95) and adorable wedge booties by Toms (size 5, $13.95.)

Totally upping the makeover stakes, Linnea shows off some extra ladylike looks, beginning with the ultimate piece in versatility: a reversible dress! (Emily West, size 10, $8.95) Check out these two-for-one outfits, completed by Arizona leggings (size 10, $1.50) and accompanied by patent leather Doc Martens (size 4.5, $22.95) and hot pink leopard Vans (size 4, $16.95.) It’s double the cuteness!

Why stop at ladylike? Linnea rocked this 77 kids skirt (size 10, $5.95) and Arizona tee (size 10, new w/ tags, $6.95) plus a super cute cat patterned hoodie (Gap, size 12, $8.95.) The trusty black leggings and super rad Doc Martens pull the whole thing together.

Starting the New Year with a fresh new look can change your outlook on… well, everything! Stop by the Goose to get your style on, and be on the lookout for our fresh new Mama as she debuts her new look and a new member of the gosling tribe!

New Year, New You? Starting Small: a New Hobby!

Winter in New York is an absolute wonderland – there’s tons of outdoor activities to choose from, but when the temperature takes a turn for the arctic, you can head inside to warm up and learn something new. With our great selection of new and used toys, games, and books, Mama Goose is the perfect place for your little one to discover their newest hobby. Check out some of the great selection of hobby items we’ve currently got in stock – and January 2nd through January 13th, all toys, games, puzzles, and books are buy two, get the third FREE!

With all the great cooking shows on tv these days, more and more kids are eager to get into the kitchen. But not all parents are ready to turn over control of the stove and oven to their little one. A logical first step? An Easy Bake Ultimate Oven! A stylish upgrade from the Easy Bake so many of us learned on, this is the first to bake without a lightbulb! Your budding Mary Berry will be whipping up bite-sized treats in no time. ($16.99, does not include baking mix)

STEM toys are helping train the next generation of scientists, builders, and coders. This Osmo Base turns screen learning into interactive fun with colorful game pieces and tokens. Paired with Coding Adventures with Awbie, your iPad turns into an awesome game that teaches your child coding fundamentals and computational thinking. ($65, includes iPad base and coding game)

Think your little one is ready to take their building and thinking skills into the 4d world? This wired building kit from Roominate is the ideal toy for the little kid who thinks BIG. This RV building kit allows your child to design, build, wire, and customize their own functioning vehicle – and it really drives!  ($6.99, is missing screwdriver)

Embrace the color and wonder of the art world without the mess and cleanup of painting with this Paper Weaving kit! Your child could discover a lifelong love of weaving and textiles with this Little Hands activity, customizing loomed pictures with colorful strips of paper. Parents, breathe a sigh of relief as your kiddos flex their artistic muscles without staining… anything. ($2.99)

What new hobby will you and your little ones embrace in 2019? These are just a few of the get ways to get started in the new year!

 

Shower the ones you love with holiday gifts from Mama Goose!