Conarty Famliy photo

Lily and Llama Founder Michelle Conarty’s Story

How can I be a good mama and friend? I ask myself this question every day.  

Hi, I’m Michelle Conarty, founder of Lily and Llama. I am a #boymom to Aiden and Austin, a wife to Landon, and a lady trying to do my best in life. I live, work, and play in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, Arizona.  

It’s about people first.

I created the Lily and Llama pre-packed hospital bag because I want to help pregnant mamas get a little more balance in their life.

Even before I had kids or got married, I’ve always been complimented on my ability to make time for work, friends and family. The beautiful thing with the Lily and Llama pre-packed hospital bag is that it is created with balance in mind. I designed it to help mamas get some balance by getting back their MVRs (most valuable resources): time and energy.  

My relationships are the most important thing. Because of that, I intentionally make it a priority to stay connected with people that really mean something to me. For example, a lot of my friends have been my friends since childhood. And I come from a big, blended family. I really value those relationships. Because without people around you, what is life? Ya know? 

My path to Lily and Llama. 

As a child, I was very sociable. I think that’s because I’ve always had a sense of what other people are going through. Whether it was my parents, other adults, or kids my own age, I had this capacity for empathy. I just intuitively want to connect with people and help them in any way that I can.   

I also really love sports. Fun fact: my mom runs a football pool, and making my football picks is how I got to know my husband, Landon (more on that later…). Back in the day, I wanted to use my interest in people and love of sports to work in sports broadcasting or sports marketing. So, I got my bachelor’s degree in Communications from Arizona State University (go Sun Devils!). I also worked a couple of summer internships in college doing events and marketing for the sports department of a major news station.  

Michelle Conarty and friend as a kind in soccer uniform.
I was a bit of a tomboy. Growing up I played soccer, did gymnastics, and dance. 

Right now, I work full time for Amazon. Lily and Llama is my actually my night and weekend job. 🙂

I got my start with Amazon working in fulfillment operations. You know how all of those things you order on Amazon get to you so quickly? I had a hand in creating a lot of those centers and systems…from scratch.  

Working for Amazon is like working for one big start-up. For example, when problems arise, it is on me to find a way through them. It can be empowering. But as a mama, I have learned that it’s OK to let other people help, too. At work and in life, I don’t have to do everything by myself. 

It always comes back to people.

Today I am a recruitment manager at Amazon. I wanted to get back to work for people. For instance, as a recruitment manager, I get to welcome new team members, help them get their foot in the door, and then make sure they are successful within the company. I love it. I actually got my master’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Human Relations (woohoo!) so that I could pursue this path.   

While I love and have a lot of freedom at my job, I have always wanted to be my own boss. Landon and I like to end the day with a glass of wine on the patio and brainstorm business ideas (doesn’t everyone?). After we had our second son, Austin, we finally stumbled on an idea that would truly solve a problem. We finally thought of an idea that could really help people, especially pregnant mamas. 

How can Lily and Llama help pregnant mamas? 

I wish I could have bought a pre-packed hospital bag when I was pregnant with both of my boys. I would have loved to do without the trouble and stress of sourcing and packing everything on my own. 

Even though I learned a thing or two about what to pack in my hospital bag with Aiden, when I went into labor with Austin, I STILL needed to send Landon back home from the hospital to grab a Velcro swaddle and a white noise machine.  

Luckily, because I was in labor with both of my sons for over 40 hours (I mean, I guess that was lucky?), Landon was back at the hospital with plenty of time to see the birth of both babies. But I do think about the fact that he just as easily could have missed them.

Michelle pregnant with Aiden (left) and pregnant with Ausitn (right).
I only got maternity photos with Aiden, my first baby. Sorry, Austin.

I wouldn’t have wanted just any bag, either. I would have wanted a hospital bag that was packed with thoughtful, curated items that were also useful, stylish, and unfussy. Nothing like this existed! So, Landon and I decided we would create it. I mean, why not?! 

Three years ago, before the boys were born, I had no clue how to put together a hospital bag. But now I have put together my own hospital bag–twice, with both boys, I can speak confidently about the Lily and Llama pre-packed hospital bag. Because of my experiences, I know how every single item will help pregnant mamas. And don’t worry, I’m gonna show you mamas why I picked each of those items!  

It’s important to have a network that lifts you up.  

When I say that relationships with people are the most important thing to me, I mean it. 

I can’t get tunnel vision on just work, or on just the kids, or just my husband. I mean, I love all these things. Truly. But it’s important to also have a network that lifts you up. That you can laugh with. And to have deep conversations with when the time is right.  

I put a lot of effort and energy into making sure the pieces of my puzzle fit together, and I want the same for you. I do believe you can have it all. Hey, I have two kids three and under, I’m launching a new business, and I work full time at Amazon. I also have “me” time, do date night with Landon, see my family (I still do that football pool with my mom!), and have margs on the weekend with the girls. You CAN have it all. And you don’t have to do it alone. 

How the Lily and Llama bag helps pregnant mamas.

There are 20 items in the Lily and Llama large collection. If each of those items takes you an hour to research, buy, receive, and pack, with that time you could have… 

  • Gone on five long hikes 
  • Gone out to dinner seven times 
  • Watched eight football games 
  • Binged almost an entire season of The Bachelor 
  • Had 20 extra hours of sleep 

See what I mean? And let’s be real. It’s not just about getting your time and energy back. Oh, no. I want mamas to feel good AND look good, too. Just because the Lily and Llama tote is a time-saver, I don’t want to skimp on style. That’s what I want for me and my friends. And I want it for you, too.  

Meghan and Carolyn in the Lily and Llama robe (grey) and maxi dress (green).
The Lily and Llama robe and Lily and Llama maxi dress. Your ticket to babe town.

 

Lily and Llama doesn’t end with the hospital bag! 

I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby. Everything I learned after having Aiden and Austin, I got to share with them. Now, I have the honor and privilege to share it with all of you. The Lily and Llama journey starts with the pre-packed hospital bag, but I don’t want it to end there.  

Michelle, Lily and Llama founder holding the Lily and Llama pre-packed hospital bag.
The Lily and Llama pre-packed hospital bag. It’s only the beginning. 

“Which baby registry is the best for me?” “What do I need to think about for my baby shower?” “How do I get my baby to go to sleep?”  

These are questions that I’ve asked myself while learning to be a mama and am sure you have, too. And, let’s be clear…I am still learning how to be a mama! Every. Dang. Day.  

I want Lily and Llama to be a space where we can share our journey in mamahood. Where you can learn about each of our twenty products, and why I hand-picked them. Where we can ask and answer questions about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and life. I def do not have all the answers. And when I don’t have the answer, I will bring in the folks in who do.   

Thank you for being a friend.

I hope you feel comfortable enough to share some of your own experiences as a mama with us. I want to hear about the other mamas in the Lily and Llama community, too.  

And really, just thank you for being here. It means so much to me. And I’d love to have you back. Any time. 

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