If you’ve been struck by the beautiful photography on this blog for posts like Conscious Buys or Lauren’s Letter, you’ve seen the talent of our editorial photographer Nathan Kraxberger. Creative talent seems to be something the Kraxberger household has in spades. Nathan is married to fashion rock-star Marissa Kraxberger, who is both VP of Creative at Rag and Bone and author of the blog Lady & Prince, which chronicles the NYC adventures of Nathan and Marissa and their three sweet (and fashion-forward!) kids, Alexa, Hayden and Rowen.
When thinking about a family to help us launch our new Mini FEED Bag for kids, the Kraxbergers were top of mind, not just because of their picture-perfect family style, but because of the authenticity, compassion and kindness they radiate.
We took some time to chat with Nathan and Marissa about the joys and challenges of balancing demanding careers with their present approach to parenting, their favorite life-hacks of 2016 and how they instill awareness and generosity in their children, FEED Mini and beyond.
You both have demanding jobs, but it’s obvious to those who know you that your family comes first. How do you work together to make sure you can both invest in your careers and be there for your kids? Any tricks you’ve learned over the years?
M: Both of us are very aware that we couldn't pursue our career dreams without each other. We also wouldn't be able to be the parents we want to be without each other. It really is a bit of a dance between us, and we have figured out a way to take turns or split responsibilities. Normally I walk the kids to school so Nate can get to work early. He gets home early to relieve our nanny, while I work a bit later. We are lucky that we work in the same industry and both understand the demands.
Our best trick? Divide and conquer. We know and appreciate each other’s strengths. I'm good at being the parent who chats with teachers, makes play dates and orders supplies. Nate is the early-to-rise breakfast and lunch maker, and he holds down the fort in the evenings, often cooking our Blue Apron meals in time for me to get home.
N: I totally agree with Marissa in that we both need each other in order to do what we do. For us, raising kids is a team effort. Every single day seems to offer a unique challenge, and in order for everything to work and flow, we have to adapt and figure out how to overcome the challenge of the day.
We love your daughter Alexa's style (where can we find her glasses?!), and get the sense it really reflects her personality. How would you describe each of your kid's personal style?
M: Alexa has had a strong sense of self since she was two. It might be due to her exposure to the fashion industry, but we think it is just how she is wired. We took her to get her glasses in Greenwich Village and she chose her frames from over 100 options. They are perfectly her! Alexa is very much a Brooklyn kid—a little downtown cool with a bit of hipster woven in. Hayden is far more in the athleisure realm—he likes to wear track pants, jeans and tees. Rowan is a full-blown Zara-baby kid.
N: I give Marissa 100% of the credit when it comes to the kids’ style. She shops for all of the kids' clothes. The kids are lucky that they don’t have to rely on me in this department!
You've both built careers on your ability to create, whether a beautiful photo or a compelling campaign. How do you inspire creativity at home with your children?
M: Photography is a big thing in our home. We take a lot of pictures so it makes sense that the kids want to as well. We have a stock of disposable cameras for the kids, so they can capture moments on their own. It teaches them patience to not blow through the film and wait for the images to be developed.
N: Our kids understand that we love what we do in our creative jobs. I think they feed off of this and it frees them up to be more creative themselves. Alexa already describes herself as an artist, which is pretty awesome.
We made the FEED Mini to empower kids to help kids, but childhood hunger is not an easy thing to talk about with little ones. How do you have conversations with Alexa and Hayden about hard things in the world, while helping them see that they can make a difference in their own little contexts?
M: Conversations like this are hard, but necessary. We always encourage being loving to each other and to others. These foundational lessons start at home...sharing with siblings, being kind and thankful. From there, we think it becomes easier to extend the conversation to those outside of our home.
N: When a toy has run its course in our house, we all agree to send it to someone who doesn’t have toys. They really understand this and get excited when they know they are helping someone else. We also try to teach them the importance not wasting food because there are children who don’t have enough to eat.
Proudest moment as a parent?
M: When people stop us to tell us how well behaved our kids are. We work hard to instill good manners and friendliness, and are always happy when people notice! We are very proud of our kiddos!
N: I tried to think of something different, but Marissa nailed it.
Proudest moment of your career?
M: I think it's still to come. There are a lot of things that I’m proud of, but I am my own worst critic. I feel there is still a lot left in me to do.
N: I was at an event when Tommy Hilfiger told me he loved my work. That was pretty cool.
Most memorable family trip you’ve ever taken?
M: Probably different for both of us, but mine is a split between two. Disney world was one of my favorites because it was just magic! The kids were so excited and enchanted; it made my heart burst! Taking the kids to the south of France was pretty incredible as well. Nate and I love France and being able to experience that with our kids was so special.
N: Before we had Rowan we were traveling with family in France and, because of flight issues, we were split up as we tried to get back to New York. Marissa and I ended up with then one-year-old Hayden in Paris for an extra night while Alexa made it back to NY with family. It was a special night for the three of us. Hayden understood that he had our undivided attention and really took advantage. It was so cute.
Favorite kid-friendly space in New York?
M: Bare Burger for food and Brooklyn Bridge Park for play!
N: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2. The kids love riding their bikes there.
Three words that describe your home?
M: Inviting. Joyful. Chaotic!
N: Busy. Fun. Loving.
Album always playing in your car?
We play Spotify and it’s all about the 80’s!
Coolest thing about raising kids in New York?
M: I love the fact that they are surrounded by diversity: diverse people, diverse food, diverse beliefs and diverse languages.
N: Endless opportunities for cultural activities like opera in the park or only-in-New-York museum exhibits.
M: The schlep. Everything is a schlep. A stroller isn't just a child carrier, it's a car carrying your kids and all of your belongings and somehow it all has to fit in a taxi if it rains! Ahhhhh!
N: Absolutely the schlep! Also, the space constraints.
Go-to family meal?
M: Homemade pizza! We buy local dough and make the pizzas together.
What about parenting inspires your work? Vise versa?
M: For me it’s about creating a brand that is authentic and celebrates individuality.
N: Knowing that I have a family to help take care of inspires me to do the best work I can do. It pushes me every day. Also, I try to take the same hard work ethic from my work life and apply it to my relationships with my kids.
Ideal date night?
M: Margaritas and guacamole at La Esquina in Williamsburg, followed by dinner and a move at the Nitehawk.
N: Put the kids to bed early, grab a bottle of red wine and just relax at home with a movie.
Favorite way to spend an hour to yourself?
M: Sadly, probably reorganizing my room in peace!
N: Browsing the web for new cycling gear.
Best life-hack discovery this year?
M: Hmm. It's a cross between Blue Apron, Nurture Life and Rockets of Awesome.
N: This is an older discovery, but for a family like ours, we couldn’t do NYC without Fresh Direct.