Mother Essentials: Natalie Ebel, Co-Founder Of Backdrop
Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
It’s a common parenthood conundrum that led L.A.-based mama Natalie Ebel to become an entrepreneur. With gigs at Simon & Schuster and Pencils of Promise under her belt, Natalie and her husband Caleb founded Backdrop—a modern paint company—after the couple found themselves overwhelmed with color options for their first child’s nursery. With its launch in 2018, the two set out to simplify and transform the process of painting, from rethinking the sampling process, the supply kit, and the antiquated design of the paint can itself (Backdrop‘s version is recyclable stainless steel, and the packaging is compostable). Fast forward to 2022, and the couple is helming a buzzy company known for its 50+ varieties of finger-on-the-pulse colors (with really fun names), a brand-new line of premium wall coverings, and for being the first Climate Neutral Certified paint brand. Plus, they’re juggling the care of two sweet daughters—Colette, 4, and Daisy, 10 months—along the way. Below, Natalie shares the current Mother Essentials that are getting her through her busy days—from sleep training advice and Magna-Tiles to top-notch coffee and her favorite Backdrop hue of the moment. Enjoy!
Go-To Jacket. “I wear this jacket every day. It looks good on work calls and I can throw it over a t-shirt for pick-up and drop-off. It makes me feel pulled together.” Madewell x Backdrop Studio Hours Oversized Chore Jacket, $135, Madewell.
Tiny Cottons. “I love Tiny Cottons kids clothes because they are ethically made, gender-neutral, and super stylish. I splurge once a season and buy my girls something, more for me than them, but I can’t resist.” TinyCottons.com.
Triangle Book. “My favorite gift to give and our favorite book to read. Triangle is one of the only books we can read night after night and it is still joyful for both parents and kids. As one of the reviewers said: ‘Perfect dead-pan humor and artistic precision.'” Triangle, written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen, $14.71, Bookshop and Amazon.
Soft Services Smoothing Set. “Since moving to L.A. from NY and having my second daughter, my skin has been dry and crepey and all the bad things. Soft Services, launched by two early Glossier employees, has been the only bodycare line that has worked. The buffing bar is the best exfoliator I have used, bar none, and the Smoothing Solution fixed my sandpaper ankles.” Smoothing Set, $102, Soft Services.
HAY Crates. “These HAY Crates are in every room and I love their versatility. They store everything from art supplies and toys in our daughters’ room. I love the color combinations and they work equally in a kids room as they do in other spaces of our house.” Colour Crate, $6.75, HAY.
The Nue Co Cleanser. “The Nue Co cleanser is the only face wash I use because it’s gentle and doesn’t strip my skin. It’s a pre + probiotic for your face.” Barrier Culture Cleanser, $42, The Nue Co.
Magna-Tiles. “If we could only have one toy, Magna-Tiles would be it. We got them as a hand-me-down from our neighbors in NY who had them for 8 years. These really hold up and are worth the investment. Like the box says, for ages 1-99!” Magna-Tiles 32-Piece Set, $49.99, Maisonette.
Sardines. “My kids (and I) love tinned fish, specifically these sardines. A super healthy and easy dinner.” José Gourmet Canned Portuguese Seafood, $26.97, Food52.
Gaetano Pesce Mini Vessel. “These vessels are so fun because they look like Murano glass but they are made of resin! I use them to hold random items, like car keys, remotes, pacifiers. Plus they are totally kid-proof and won’t shatter.” Gaetano Pesce Mini Vessel, $95, Coming Soon.
DISCO NAP Paint. “The reason and inspiration for starting Backdrop was because painting my daughter’s nursery in 2017—even with a hardware store on our street in NYC—was more difficult than buying a vintage rug from Morocco. My current favorite color and what my daughter has been asking for her room is DISCO NAP, a light acid-yellow. It also comes with a kid-friendly playlist.” DISCO NAP, starting at $45, Backdrop.
Peacock Toy. “This Peacock color toy by MoMA Design Store is the toy of the moment for my 4-year-old. I love it because it teaches her about color and color mixing. We take it on walks with us.” Peacock Colors Toy, $28, MoMA Design Store.
Morning Coffee. “My husband and I take turns every other morning getting up with the kids. The one rule we have is when one of us is on morning kid duty, coffee must be made before the other one gets up. Our favorite coffee right now is La Golondrina by Counter Culture.” La Golondrina Beans, $22, Counter Culture.
Ghia. “I’m obsessed with Ghia and have a glass a day. While I was pregnant, this non-alcoholic aperitif became my go-to and now postpartum, my body can’t really handle alcohol, plus I prefer this over the booze.” Non-Alcoholic Apéritif, $33, Ghia.
Backdrop Painters Tape. “This tape is perfect for hanging our kids’ art, labeling snacks, the possibilities are endless.” Painters Tape, $8, Backdrop.
Childcare. “Our nanny Paola is the true hero. She holds us all together and truly loves our kids. Just a shoutout to her because it really takes a village!”
Brittany Sheehan. “The GOAT of baby/kid sleep. Truly the baby whisperer and she does it all virtually. Before we had our second daughter, Daisy, my then-3-year-old Colette went on a sleep-strike and refused to sleep in her room. A friend suggested Brittany and I’ll admit I was skeptical, but after a consultation and a very thorough meeting, we had our daughter sleeping through then night with the door shut after two nights. It was the best money we’ve ever spent.” BrittanySheehan.com.
Sing 2. “This movie has the best soundtrack and it’s a very entertaining movie. My daughter Colette now requests, ‘Alexa, play BONO!'” SingMovie.com.
For more Mother Essentials, peep our recent past columns with Oui The People founder & CEO Karen Young, author-illustrator Grace Lin, the co-founders of ODDOBODY, Happy Family Organics’ CEO Anne Laraway, YA author J.Elle, kid-lit authors Karen Chan and Suzanne Greenlaw, the founders of EADEM, Minimalista author Shira Gill, Domino’s Chief Content Officer Kate Berry, the two-mom duo behind Morrow Soft Goods, mega-influencer Nabela Noor, Angela O’Brien of Cleobella, Nikki Osei-Barrett of District Motherhued, Blair Paysinger of Post 21, Idia Lanlokun of Ola & Mide, Karam Kim of Bluecut aprons, children’s authors Evan Sargent and Joanna Ho, Eli Yonas of Toki Mats, Shaina Kerrigan of Molly J., Jenna Levine of LINNÉ botanicals, Eunice Byun of Material, and Sandra Lin of Kiwi Co.
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