Soul Sister: Shannon Rihm of Jak & Peppar
Shannon Rihm began her career as a children’s clothing designer on a small scale, creating one-of-a-kind pieces for eBay and Etsy shops shortly after her daughter was born in 2008. Her designs quickly attracted a loyal following, which led to an expansion into wholesale lines geared toward high-end, specialty boutiques. In 2009, Rihm’s inaugural collection of Mustard Pie children’s clothing debuted at ENK Children’s Club International in New York City. The line is now sold in more than 500 stores across the country as well as in overseas department stores, luxury boutiques, and catalogs.
With the success of the flagship brand, Rihm launched a new collection that reflected her own edge, flair, and boho-gypsy spirit—Jak & Peppar. Since its debut in 2014, the brand has grown to be one of the top-selling girls’ collections in the country. Now, Rihm is ready to expand into the boys' and infants' categories. Her mix of prints, colors, and textures is what gives her garments a unique edge and encourages young people to freely express their individuality and to be confident in who they are.
A commitment to social responsibility underscores each of the brands, and Rihm is personally involved in various nonprofit organizations that focus on anti-bullying and the promotion of a strong sense of self-worth among young people and teens. When not designing, she is helping to raise money for such organizations as PACER National Anti-Bullying Foundation and Together We Rise, both of which give back to children in the community. Rihm's ultimate goal is to raise awareness so that our youth will grow to be strong, confident people with bright futures.
How she unwinds:
"Running your own business while being a mom of two can be a bit hectic but, honestly, I am the type of person who loves a challenge! I love the excitement of watching the response of our customers when they first see a new collection and finding ways to work through unexpected bumps in the road that undoubtedly arise at each and every turn of owning your own business. But that being said, we all need a way to unwind. The most important things that help me keep things flowing and stay on track—not only as a business woman, but also as a mom and as a creative mind—are exercise and meditation, which I incorporate every day.
"Both of these things can mean different things to so many people and can work for everyone in different ways. For me, exercise is about more than just physically staying healthy. It's about getting that release of stress, endorphins, and allowing myself to completely focus on what I am doing for those 30-60 minutes a day and nothing else. I find that if I have a challenge at work or with my kids, more often than not I arrive at the answer of how to best handle the situation during a long run. That's when I can focus on myself and not the five million other things being thrown my way that day. Not only do I feel better and have more energy, but I also feel that I am a better mom and better at tackling other things that arise because I have given myself that time to release."
"As for meditation, this also means very different things to different people. To me, it can be as little as five minutes a day where I completely shut down and only focus on my breathing. Most days, I will do it after I have worked out. I lie down completely still—similar to shavasana in yoga—and just let all of my muscles relax. I make sure there are no sounds or distractions around me and focus only on my breathing. If other thoughts try to disrupt me, I go back to my breathing, reciting 'in, out' until I am completely relaxed. This, for me, has been an enormous tool for avoiding the effects of stress. Stress is in ALL of our lives, whether you are a business owner, stay at home mom, or a student! I think meditating is an amazing way to teach your body to relax and decompress from the inherent stresses that fill all of our lives."