Audrey McLoghlin, founder of Frank & Eileen and Grayson, jokes that she should write a book called “How to Get up at 5 am. and Still be Late to the Office.” As a new mom and CEO of two retail brands, she says the challenge of balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship “took her breath away.” But it also opened her eyes to what she calls an undeniable truth: women, especially moms, are real-life superheroes.
“Growing up, my mom had three kids and zero help. I knew she was a ‘supermom” but I didn’t understand the extent until I had a daughter and had to create a small village of delivery services, babysitters, housekeepers, and assistants to keep up the pace at work. It’s been eye-opening to realize just how much my mom did without anyone really noticing,” says McLoghlin.
“It’s been eye-opening to realize just how much my mom did without anyone really noticing. “
McLoghlin has always worn button-up shirts as her personal uniform; she thinks of them as a kind of armor that help her fight the fight required of a female entrepreneur. But after becoming a mother, she felt compelled to create a shirt—and a company—dedicated to making sure women feel their innate superpowers, every single day.
She spent two years working with 30 different women (not fit models, but real women, with real bodies) and questioning everything about the way shirts are made. An engineer by training, she analyzed and remedied every problem her focus group reported, from boob gap to hugging and tugging in all the wrong places.
Finally, McLoghlin felt she’d nailed a single button-up silhouette that any woman could throw on without thinking, dress up or down, go anywhere in, and feel instantly put together. She calls it The Hero, in honor of the women it’s inspired by, and named the company Grayson, after her fearless four-year-old who started it all.
“We are living in an extraordinary moment where women are using their powers in new and incredibly inspiring ways.”
Grayson’s mission is to recognize, enable, and amplify women’s power, which McLoghlin believes starts in her own offices. Determined to help the women in her company navigate career and motherhood, she built a two-story, life-size dollhouse in Grayson HQ to welcome employees’ children. It’s common practice to schedule conference calls around breastfeeding schedules and for toddlers to veer into meetings.
“We are living in an extraordinary moment where women are using their powers in new and incredibly inspiring ways,” says McLoghlin. “It’s happening in the headlines, but also in everyday work and life, in the small choices we make. I hope it all adds up to world-shifting change.”