Anyone who is active on social media knows what an influencer is — has seen one (or more), has followed one (or more), and perhaps, aspires to be one.
An influencer has an identity and a voice that calls to your personal interests, a passion that you can relate to, whether it be style (petite and preppy), food (paleo-eating), fitness (booty-centric workouts), travel (solo adventure), or being a mom (of six).
An influencer is like having your own personal cheerleader. Every time you scroll through Instagram, watch a video on YouTube, visit a blog, there’s something there for you to learn, to boost your spirits, to inspire you.
These two Boston influencers are more than just an online presence. They have inspired us — we hope they do you, too.
Jackie Hempel aka Finding Lovely
California native Jackie Hempel blows our mind with her astonishingly positive take on life, especially when you consider she has not had it easy, first with fertility challenges and then when her son was diagnosed in-utero with bilateral fibular hemimelia and later leg amputation surgery at 7 months old.
It was these two experiences that initially got Hempel online in 2014. “Blogging came about as a way to document (and keep those who cared in the loop) about infertility and then our son’s journey,” she says. “It was cathartic really, a healing spot and a way to process the hard things we were walking through.”
“It was when our second son was born and we were trying to survive colic that I began to understand the importance of home and why your environment matters,” she says.
As she realized her new perspective, she made some changes to her output. What came next is Finding Lovely, as followers know it today. Hempel’s blog covers home decor, lifestyle, nutrition (Hempel moved to Boston in 2008, so she could complete a clinical internship and masters degree in nutrition from Boston University), travel, motherhood and good vibes. Everything from wreath-making instructions, to seasonal home finds, to easy doughnut recipes, to tales of renovating the 1879 fixer-upper she and her husband bought in Wellesley in 2015.
“Finding Lovely, the blog and instagram account as we currently know it, is a way to pivot my focus and name the blessings in my everyday ordinary, in the hard things we all find ourselves walking through,” she explains. “I still blog about our little dude’s amazing story with bilateral prosthetics and my momma heart moments, but the blog has grown to encompass my love for interior design and lifestyle.”
Ultimately, Hempel considers herself an “encourager” rather than “influencer.”
“Home is something that resonates in all of us, for good or bad, no matter your economic status, your country of origin or where you currently call home,” she says. “Women often seem to be more drawn in some ways to the makings of a home. At the end of the day, home should be a place of safety, a place of hope and a place of lovely that allows you to breath, refresh and love on your dear ones. A place where you can find some lovely.”
Mary Ware aka The Mom Friend
“Mama Mary” Ware still wears her college nickname well, though she’s grown up a bit. Now in her 30s, followers know the East Coast transplant as The Mom Friend. Ware has transported her sunny California disposition to Massachusetts’ oft-gray clime, offering moms and moms-to-be helpful tips, inspiration and ideas for life and travel with young children.
The best part, Ware’s experiences aren’t scripted and perfect — they’re perfectly relatable.
“My goal is to connect with my community in a friendly and genuine manner that is just like having coffee with a mom friend who is an open book about life,” she says. “I want to create helpful content so other moms can find the resources and ideas they need to feel prepared and confident in motherhood. I am not the mom who has it together. I try to be as real as I can be with others so they don’t feel alone in the struggle. We can share what works, and commiserate when everything seems to go wrong.”
When Ware got pregnant with her first child she started researching baby gear and tips for life with a newborn. Much of what she learned came from other women’s blogs. For Ware, the experience was inspirational and motivating. She started The Mom Friend, began working with brands she loved, offered “mom hacks” and became a resource for moms trying to make their lives a little easier.
“I wanted to create a community to help moms feel connected. As a new mom, I struggled to find mom friends the first year,” she recalls. “I lived across the country from my family, and I didn’t have any close friends with kids nearby. Once I started connecting to other moms and made a few real mom friends, I realized how essential that relationship is to our journey as mothers.”
Ware says she would love to build The Mom Friend into a national brand.
“Mom life can be full of comparison that often leaves mothers feeling alone and unable to keep up with the competition. It doesn’t — and shouldn’t — have to be that way,” she emphasizes. “If a mom is out there is without a village, I want her to know she is welcome in mine. If another excels at some aspect of motherhood, I want her to help others find the answers they need. We need to lift each other up and encourage one another — from one woman to another — rather than trying to portray a picture-perfect life that can easily be found on social media and make women feel defeated. We are more than that!”