Mother Essentials: Shennel Fuller
Written by Erin Feher
Shennel Fuller was a fashion executive with brands including Levi’s, Converse, and 7 For All Mankind on her resume, so like many expecting mamas with a keen fashion sense, she wasn’t thrilled when all the boldly colored, fire-truck and baseball-themed outfits started showing up from well-meaning friends and family. After her son Jackson was born, her long-time dream of becoming an entrepreneur synced up with her desire to build a minimalist, gender-neutral wardrobe for him. Miles and Milan launched in 2017, and already counts fellow fashionable mamas Eva Chen, Tyra Banks, and Aya Kanai as fans. Shennel is raising her two boys, Jackson and Quincy, in Los Angeles, alongside her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband. She lets us in on what she needs to start her day (hint: coffee), how she ends it (spoiler: wine), and all the other must-have items that get the busy business owner through it. Check out all her Mother Essentials below!
Letter Necklace. “Like most moms, I wish I could be with my boys every day. They will always have my heart, and the way I keep them with me is my Bychari Spaced Letter Necklace.” Spaced Letter Necklace, $235, Bychari.
Miles and Milan Happy Tee. “I love when I see babes in the wild wearing my clothes, but nothing brings me more joy than to see my boys wearing the clothes that would not be here without them. My go-to favorite this season is The Happy Tee. With so many microclimates in California you never know how to properly dress, so layering is key. The Happy Tee is perfect for those cool mornings and late afternoon marine-layer arrivals.” The Happy Tee, $28, Miles and Milan.
Books That Represent Us. “I am mom to two Black boys; sadly, but honestly, I know the world will put them in a box and view and treat them unfairly. I pray every night things will change as they become adults—but the reality is some boys are viewed as adults as young as 13. I take my job as their mother very seriously, and I want them to know how amazing they are. That is why I seek out books to promote confidence in their beauty, characters that look like them, and an accurate history of those who came before them. Current favorites are Dream Big Little One, by Vashti Harrisoon, Cool Cuts and Happy Hair, both by Mechal Renee Roe, and I Am So Brave! by Stephen Krensky.” Dream Big Little One, $8.09, Amazon; Cool Cuts and Happy Hair, $19.99, Amazon; I Am So Brave! $6.68, Amazon.
Chanel Mules. “During the holiday gift giving seasons we have a strict rule in our house: If you ask for it, you don’t get it! I am 99.9 percent in agreement with that rule, as gifts given in love are far better than anything else. With that said, there is that .1 percent that is in full favor of dropping hints. Just before Mother’s Day I was dropping hints all over the house for these Chanel Mules.” Calfskin Mules, Chanel.
The Perfect Scent. “When it comes to fragrances, I enjoy those that are subtle, and last, but don’t linger. I’ve been wearing Hanae Mori—the name means ‘flower of the forest’—for years. The notes are jasmine, almond, and berries. My sweet husband gave it to me as a Valentine’s Day gift back in high school and I haven’t found another parfum that compares.” Hanae Mori Butterfly Eau de Parfum, $69, Amazon.
Quality Accessories. “My whole brand is based on using basics to accomplish effortless style, and my daily uniform reflects that. If you see me out you’ll spot one, if not all, of these accessories on me—they make up my effortless mom uniform. Sunglasses, usually to hide that I have no makeup on, not because I think I’m cool; hat, to get in and out unnoticed; comfortable shoes, ’cause I am usually running from one place to the next.” Saint Laurent Jerry Sunny Glasses, $450, My Theresa; Rose Packable Straw Hat, $214, Janessa Leone; Comme Des Garcons Play x Classic Chuck Taylor 1970 Sneakers, $150, Far Fetch.
Red Wine. “My day may start with coffee, but you better believe it ends with wine. Trust that if you are looking for me on Sunday night, I will have a glass in hand watching an episode of GOT. My vineyard of choice, 2015 Stag Leap’s The Investor Red Blend. A beautiful blend of Merlot, Cabernet, and Petite Syrah that’s perfect out the bottle. If you’re ever in Napa visit the vineyard, as they have the most amazing history.” 2015 The Investor Red Blend, $60, Stag’s Leap.
Truffle Hot Sauce. “I am from Boston and I cannot say that too loud in L.A., especially not in sports bars, which means I’m cheering on my teams in the comfort of my home. For game nights we have wings, and naturally we need hot sauce. The Fuller household hot sauce of choice is Truff. A step above Tabasco with the flavor of black truffles and agave for a hint of sweetness. It’s delicious—I mean 3000+ five-star reviews can’t be wrong.” Truff Hot Sauce, $17.98, Amazon.
Chocolate Chip Cookies. “Anyone who knows me, knows I would eat dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have a massive sweet tooth and when I first had Mae Mae’s Cookies they were earth shatteringly delicious. They are super moist and the perfect chocolate chip to cookie ratio. I highly recommend treating yourself or someone you love.” Mae Mae’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, $38, Mae Mae’s Cookies.
Vitamin C Serum. “I don’t really have a skin care routine, but I probably should start one. I admire the vloggers who have time to mask and use rollers. Meanwhile, I just keep my face clean and moisturized. But the one and only special routine I have is applying Vitamin C serum by Obagi to my face and neck. This anti-aging serum is light and provides nice glow. Most importantly, as Diddy says, it ‘helps me preserve my sexy.'” Obagi Professional-C Serum 15%, $102, Dermstore.
Bath Time Fun Bar. “Even with my hectic schedule, I do my best to be present every night for bath time. It’s my way to get the skinny on what’s happening on the playground from my 3-year-old and sing the latest nursery rhyme for my 1-year-old. We have tons of bath time toys, but my boys’ favorite is the Rainbow Fun Bar from Lush. It’s like Playdough but soap. My 3-year-old loves to make sea creatures with it and my 1-year-old is just amazed to see the water change colors.” Rainbow Fun Bar, $12.95, Lush.
A Night at the Ritz. “At times my house is busier than LAX—everyone moving in different directions. Whenever we can, a family getaway to spend quality time is the best gift we can give each other. Our go-to family getaway spot is The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara. Just a short drive from L.A. and you get beach, fine dining, tranquility, and family activities. An absolute must while there is the Santa Barbara Zoo.” The Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara.
Good, Strong Coffee. “I’m a mother of two toddlers and an entrepreneur, so I run on coffee. Lots of it! I get my everyday fix from Alfred, a local coffee shop with the cheeky motto: But First, Coffee. Oddly enough, I feel those words are figuratively tattooed on my face every morning until I have finished my first cup.” Alfred.
Car Seat and Stroller Combo. “Nothing is worse than wrestling your toddler—who has the strength of 1000 men—in and out of their car seat to their stroller when you’re already running late. In swoops Doona Car Seat & Stroller with the best invention for parents since the pacifier. One round and boom, we good to go! To be honest, I am dreading the day my son grows out of it, because it makes life so simple!” Doona Car Seat & Stroller, $550, Amazon.
Crop Tops. “The best trend from the fashion gods are high waisted pants and crop tops. Looking for a good crop top can have you feeling like Goldie Locks; too short, too tight, too boxy… The answer to my crop top dreams is the Hanes X Karla collaboration. Famed stylist Karla Welch created the perfect crops. Simple, sexy, chic and the perfect fit all in one. I seriously have them in every color and style.” Hanes X Karla Crop Tee, via Revolve.
Statement Earrings. “I am a busy mom and always on the go, so I like to keep my attire classy, yet simple. But when I have somewhere special to go, my general minimalist wardrobe moves closer to futuristic. I like to elevate my looks with statement jewelry, and right now I am feeling statement earrings. I’m loving my Ellery faux pearl ear cuff. It takes a simple, black slip dress from basic to bad ass. Also, it’s a great conversation starter.” Ellery Faux-Pearl Ear Cuff, $440, Net-a-Porter.
Journaling. “Running a business can and will cause stress. Quite honestly, worrying is easy. Staying positive is hard. I grew up in a home strong in faith and it’s a part of every aspect of my work and home life. I recently started journaling. The Five Minute Journal helps me to take a pause each day to reflect on the blessings in my life and not allow the negativity to consume me.” The Five Minute Journal, $29, Amazon.
Spa Dates. “I’ve been with my husband since high school. When our boys entered our lives, we focused on them, but we didn’t lose sight of us. We try to have at least 3 dates a month. Our favorite romantic local getaway treat has been Tomoko Spa in Beverly Hills. You walk into the spa and you are transported to the peaceful nature of Japan. There is nothing nicer than a few uninterrupted moments with your spouse to laugh and enjoy the spark that is in each of you.” Tomoko.
Dinner Out. “When we are ready to wine and dine, my husband is always looking to the latest and the greatest. We love Jose Andres, so when he opened a new concept, Somni in L.A., we jumped at the chance to go. An immaculate kitchen and just 10 seats, this place satisfies all the senses. The creativity in food will blow you away. It’s by far the best dining experience in L.A. I predict 3 Michelin Stars in its future.” Somni at the SLS Beverly Hills.
My Family. “Finally, the most important Mother Essential is my family. My boys inspire me, my husband lifts me, and above all they love me. I am grateful to God for their blessings on my life.”
For more on Shennel Fuller, check out her Instagram feed. And for more Mother Essentials, peep our columns with Cold Picnic co-founder Phoebe Sung, Sach Paneer founder Jasleen Kaur, Essential Labor author Angela Garbes, The Mamas author Helena Andrews-Dyer, Olivia J founder Shae Jones, author Brynne Barnes, Tisha Thompson of LYS Beauty, Blueland’s Sarah Paiji Yoo, Heirloom’s Sri Bodanapu, Lady Falcon Coffee Club founder Buffy Maguire, the mama-duo behind Spring & Mulberry chocolate, Dear Bella Creamery co-founder Alice Cherng, designer Becky Hui Chan, author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, ByHeart co-founder Mia Funt, Backdrop founder Natalie Ebel, 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, and Minimalista author Shira Gill.
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