Mother Essentials: Eunice Byun of Material

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
2:00 pm
05/27/21

You might recognize today’s mama, Eunice Byun, from her incredibly poignant essay on anti-Asian hate that we published earlier this year. (Please read it if you haven’t!). Today, the New York-based mother of two young daughters is back again to share her “Mother Essentials.” As co-founder and CEO of Material—a direct-to-consumer brand reimagining what consumers need and want in the kitchen—high-performing, thoughtfully-designed products are always top of mind for Eunice. Below, the inspiring mama shares her current favorites, from books for her and her kiddos to sweet summer wares to, naturally, the best items for the kitchen. Enjoy!

Mamo Glassware. “I love things that are multi-purpose and multi-functional, and these glasses are no exception. They can serve as a jigger for cocktail making or a Wednesday-sized wine pour.” 7:2 Multipurpose Glass (Set of 4), $100, Mamo.

Naomi Dress. “Ruffles? Check. Bows? Check. Flowers? Check. My 6-year-old loves the frilliest of frilly dresses, so this one is a summer dream come true for her.” Maison Me Naomi Dress, $58, Maisonette.

My First Book of Korean Words. “Although my husband and I don’t speak Korean entirely fluently, we want to make sure our daughters are exposed to the Korean language and culture from a young age. Both our girls love this book—they not only learn specific words but about certain similarities and differences between American and Korean everyday living.” My First Book of Korean Words: An ABC Rhyming Book of Korean Language and Culture, written by Kyubyong Park and Henry J. Amen and illustrated by Aya Padron, $10.07, Bookshop and Amazon.

Crying in Hmart. “This memoir by Michelle Zauner is on my nightstand right now. It’s one of those books that I’m savoring slowly, not only because of its powerful narrative growing up as a mixed-race Asian-American, but because I ugly cry when reading stories that revolve around Korean mothers and their daughters.” Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, by Michelle Zauner, $24.79, Bookshop and Amazon.

The Good Shears. “I could not live without these kitchen shears. My 17-month-old is a voracious eater (like her mama) and has decided that chewing slows her down. We have to be extra careful to cut her food properly, so these shears come in handy on the regular. Sure, you can pull out a cutting board and knife, but The Good Shears makes it that much easier (and they can go right into the dishwasher afterwards).” The Good Shears, $35, Material.

Natur Shampoo & Conditioner Bars. “A friend of mine recently launched a sustainable haircare product with shampoo and conditioner bars, reducing the need for single-use plastic. The scents are transportive—like I’m showering outside on some mysterious island—and they leave my hair feeling clean and silky.” Shampoo or Conditioner Bar, $26, Natur.

Elk and Friends Water Cup. “I’m slightly maniacal when it comes to toddler cups. It may have something to do with the fact that I’m constantly thinking about kitchenware designs, but I wholeheartedly believe this cup is the holy grail of all toddler cups. It is stainless steel, which makes for easy clean-up, but has a silicone sleeve that is easy to grip. But the magic is in the lid. It has a thin silicone ring that ensures little leakage at the top, but is not connected so it is easy to remove for cleaning (and avoid the dreaded surprise mold). The straw is designed so that it has a tiny ring mid-way down so that (this is the genius part) your child cannot yank the straw out and whip it around.” Stainless Steel 10oz Drinking Tumblers + Food Storage, $36.99, Elk and Friends.

Lorena Canals Rug. “For me, rug shopping is one of the things I dread the most because it takes me forever to find one that I’ll love. But for my toddler’s room, this Lorena Canals rug was a no-brainer. It’s made with natural dyes, soft to touch, and doesn’t shed, but the most important thing is that it is washable.” Lorena Canals Washable Kaarol Rug, $269, The Tot.

Food Plus People Pancake Mix. “As someone who cooks a LOT of pancakes and has tried virtually every mix, this one is hands down the best. You end up with a perfectly fluffy, pillowy, kid-approved pancake each and every time.” Pancake Mix, $10, Food Plus People.

Whiled Folktale Puzzle. “Growing up, my mother would tell my sister and me Korean folktales. These stories rarely included princesses and princes, instead centering on animals and brothers and sisters. This puzzle takes me back to my childhood days (although with much more beautiful designs than way back when!).” Sister Sun & Brother Moon Puzzle by Hye Jin Chung, $37, Whiled.

J.Hannah Signet Ring. “My best friends and I are scattered across the country, so when it comes to birthdays or gift-giving occasions, we regress to our junior high days and buy matching items. One of my favorites was this pinky signet ring that was engraved with an ‘H’ after my older daughter was born. We all have one engraved, so it not only reminds me of my 6-year-old but also my closest friends.” Demi Signet Ring, $198, J.Hannah.

Step Stool. “We spend 80% of our time in the kitchen, so we wanted a stool that could serve many purposes. This Skagerak one has a bottom step that slides in and out (making it a great kitchen helper when my older daughter wants to cook with me) and a comfortable sitting stool when feeding my younger daughter in her highchair.” Skagerak Dania Step Ladder, $439, 2Modern.

Bembien Olivia Tote. “I have been on the hunt for a good summer bag that makes me feel a little more pulled together, but also provides ample room for my 6-year-old’s LOL Dolls and my 17-month-old’s sippy cup and snacks. I love the color of natural leather because it goes with anything.” Olivia Tote, $390, Bembien

Audrey Hepburn, Frida Kahlo, and Coco Chanel Books. “My older daughter just started reading and devours these three stories. Her favorite? Coco Chanel. It’s inspired a whole lot of fashion sketches, doll transformations, and requests to watch old Chanel fashion shows.” Little People, BIG DREAMS: Women in Art: 3 books from the best-selling series!, by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, $19.30, Amazon.

Soil Baker X Material Ceramics. “Of all the designs we’ve created to date at Material, this collection is the most personal. We partnered with a Korean ceramicist who mixes five different Korean soils to create the clay for our tabletop pieces. They are delicate yet sturdy, which is a combination I find challenging to find in the world of ceramics.” The Round Bowl (Set of 2), $70, Material.

For more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with photographed & director Natasha Lee, best-selling author Joanna Ho, Brave + Kind Bookshop owner Bunnie Hilliard, TV personality Leslie Antonoff, author Rio Cortez, Kido Chicago owner Keewa Nurullah, small-space mama Laura Fenton, Curasalve founder Kelley Williams, Trade Street Jam Co. founder Ashley Rouse, Weelicious and One Potato founder Catherine McCord, interior designer Susan Work, author Tiffany Dufu, Les Gamins founder Veronique Nguyen, Lonny editor Angela Tafoya, Wiley Body founder Vanessa Wade, designers Anna WallackCynthia RowleyRebecca Atwood, and Dana HaimOlympian Alysia Montano, cookbook author Hetal Vasavada, model and muse Slick Woods, wellness influencerJoanne Encarnacion, author LaTonya Yvetteand many, many more!

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