Vancouver entrepreneur rocks on to the semifinals of national Total Mom Pitch competition

Lisa Hawthorne's Rocks in Our Pockets designs multipurpose kids' essentials.

Credit: Rocks in Our Pockets

Lisa Hawthorne’s Rocks in Our Pockets designs multipurpose kids’ essentials

After having her second baby, Ireland native Lisa Hawthorne experienced a loss of self-identity. “I had been pregnant or breastfeeding or had a tiny person attached to me for four years,” she says. “I was trying to go back into the workplace, trying to become myself again and not just someone’s mother and I was like, What do I wear? How do I present myself? What do I do? Everything was about the kids.” 

Having been a textile designer for over 12 years, Vancouver-based Hawthorne was inspired to make products to help parents (but “particularly moms”) put themselves back out there—into coffee shops, on hikes, doing whatever they would “normally do” without having to carry too many things around. So she started thinking about multipurpose designs, and given the implication of fast fashion nowadays, consciously wove sustainability into her own kids’ essentials venture, Rocks in Our Pockets.  

Since launching in 2022, Rocks has been trying to make life easier for parents. “We seem to be turning our lives over to our kids and everyone’s like, But my house isn’t my own anymore! So I try and make everything gender neutral, and I also try and make it so that adults like it as well,” says Hawthorne. For example, the Big Throw or Essential Muslin can be used for breastfeeding, as a play mat, car blanket, or, in the case of the muslin, a scarf.  

Hawthorne decided to participate in this year’s Total Mom Pitch Competition, a national initiative run by former pop artist and actress Anna Sinclair to support moms running small businesses. In the annual competition, a judging panel narrows applications down to a group of 100 semifinalists from all over Canada who then compete for a spot in the final five. The winner is awarded $10,000 in cash and $40,000 in business services presented by TD.

Having made it to the semifinals, Hawthorne is participating in incubator calls to grow her business. At the moment, Rocks in Our Pockets products are all online and in Kitsilano’s Chorus and Clouds. “All of our stuff is multi-functional so you just chuck it in a bag and go. And that was really helpful for me to start to feel like myself again,” she maintains.