Stephanie Wilson, on Creativity and Showing up for Yourself

As the first of our series on matriarchs, we asked our team's very own Alice Wilson (the e-commerce and marketing specialist at SIDIA) to reflect back on her own family, and the women who have played a part in raising who she is today. 

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Stephanie Wilson is a pastry chef and entrepreneur, athlete, and hands-on mom of three. Alice looks up to her mom's strength, grace, resilience and character. 

What is the fondest memory you have with your mom, and how did she most inspire you?

My mom’s creativity truly inspires me. I think my fondest memories are whenever we were doing something creative together, just sitting at our kitchen table. She could always make what we had go such a long way, and always brought such excitement and resourcefulness to everything we would do together. We would make our halloween costumes from fabric and bits and bobs we had around the house, or give beautiful handmade paper fans or felted ornaments as Christmas gifts. No matter what our physical reality was, it was like a challenge or a puzzle to figure out how we could make the best of any situation.

What is the most valuable life lesson you learned from her?

It’s funny because if I was asked this years ago, I would have said that I valued how much she put others before herself. But over the past few years, I’ve truly had the chance to see my mom blossom and truly show up for herself and her needs in her own life. I grew up with this idea that if you weren’t sacrificing for something or someone, then what you were doing wasn’t worthwhile or meaningful. But in seeing my mom stand into her own power - which sometimes meant saying no to the people she loved (my sisters and I included), or taking time for herself - it almost liberated me to do the same thing. Knowing that I will always be there for myself, and my needs matter as much as anyone else’s, so that you can really show up as your best self for those you care about. And that has been such an amazing transformation to witness.

I grew up with this idea that if you weren’t sacrificing for something or someone, then what you were doing wasn’t worthwhile or meaningful. But in seeing my mom stand into her own power - which sometimes meant saying no to the people she loved (my sisters and I included), or taking time for herself - it almost liberated me to do the same thing.

What characteristics does she possess that you would like to have?

I love my mom’s energy when she becomes passionate about a new project or opportunity; her eyes literally light up. Once her mind is made up or she sees a plan in her head, there is literally no stopping her until the goal is accomplished. She also has the best sense of humour - I’ve always admired that quick wit she has!

What three things do you remember when you’re reminded of her? 

Three strong images definitely come to mind; firstly, a pair of deep purple cowboy boots that she’s had and loved as long as I’ve known her - Just so cool, and definitely part of the dress-up wardrobe when I was younger! I also remember a trip to Oceanside Oregon we took a few years back. My mom is American, and whenever we visit places that remind her of home, she really lights up and you can just feel that she’s in her element. Another image is the old silver Toyota4Runner she had when I was a kid; to this day I’ve never seen another like it! She loved that car, and would always tap the dashboard as a ‘job well done’ after especially long drives. We drove it until the bottom rusted out!

If you could gift her one thing, what would it be and why? 

I would love to gift my mom a space to do pottery, with a kiln and a wheel and somewhere where she could be herself and just explore her creativity. She’s always had such an appreciation for handmade things and artwork, which she definitely passed onto us. But as life happens, I think oftentimes our artistic passions can be pushed to the side and deemed less important. So I would love her to have the time and space to make that a priority again.

In which aspects of life do you resonate with her the most? 

My mom and I both share a love of being outside and in nature, whether it's hiking or being by the ocean or going on a walk; I think it represents time where we are doing something for ourselves, and having time to think and reflect. I would say my mom is a little more adventurous in that aspect, she loves camping and mountain biking and I'd rather sit and read on the beach, but the importance of grounding in nature is definitely a shared aspect in our lives. 

What’s one piece of advice that you got from her and plan on following for the rest of your life? 

“You will handle it, no matter what it is.” Be it in career or relationships or life in general, my mom has always instilled the idea that no matter what happens, we are all more capable and stronger than we know. And instead of feeling down on myself or frustrated when things don’t go to plan, it’s that resourcefulness that asks, ‘What can I learn from this,’ changing my perspective from frustration to amazement at what always comes from hard times.

Who do you look up to most in your family matriarch?

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