Meet the Artist Behind Pastel Party & Blended: Taira Cominsky
July 25, 2022
Our newest play mat designs have made their debut, and we’re so excited to finally share them with you! Meet your new favorite prints: Pastel Party and Blended. Designed by artist Taira Cominsky, these two prints feature geometric squiggles with watercolor-like translucency. Pastel Party is colored in pastel red, pink, yellow, blue, and green, evoking a calm, yet playful feeling. Blended is equally attractive, featuring a modern palette of beiges, browns, and black—a choice with special intent behind it. A subtle nod to diversity, the skin-toned colors are meant to represent all the different babies who play on our mats. As a Black female, Taira knows just how much that representation matters. You may know Taira Cominsky from her shop, Modern.Mama, which sells baby goods in modern, natural designs that are a breath of fresh air in the industry. In addition to being a business owner and entrepreneur, she wears many other hats: Mother. Photographer. Designer. In just 24 short years of life (yep, she’s only 24!), Taira has accomplished a lot. We’re so inspired by the way she uses her creativity and passion to carve out her place in the world that we just had to pick her brain. Here’s what she had to say about this highly-anticipated collaboration with Toki Mats, her life as an entrepreneur, and mothering two young daughters:
Q: What was the design process behind your collaboration with Toki Mats?
TC: We really wanted to make something aesthetically pleasing that was also significant. I went through a couple of ideas, but really loved the simplest one.
Q: Does this design have a special meaning for you?
TC: Yes. I wanted to include all different skin tones in the Neutral pattern to symbolize diversity. The patterns really just feel fun and kid-like to me. They’re very abstract.
Q: What was your favorite part of doing this collaboration?
TC: My favorite part was working with the team and being able to take part in so many aspects of the project. I especially loved taking the photos—the kid models were so cute, and we had a blast on shooting day!
Q: When did you start your business, Modern.Mama?
TC: I started Modern.Mama in June 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
Q: What inspired you to start your own business?
TC: I’ve always dreamed of being my own boss and wanted to start something that I could pass down to my daughters. When the pandemic hit, I was out of work, and decided to jump the gun and take a risk.
Q: Have you always been a creative person?
TC: Yes, I would say so. I’ve always been into drawing and also loved dancing when I was little. It was a way to express myself through music. I would have so many ideas growing up, and just never knew how to put them into words or action.
Q: Would you say that design is your main passion, or is it photography, or something else?
TC: My main passion is content creation because I have full control over the vision. I am able to be the photographer, the director, and so much more.
Q: What kind of work did you do before starting Modern.Mama?
TC: I was a nanny for 4 years before starting Modern.Mama. It was perfect because I was able to take the kids with me to work.
Q: You’ve achieved so much at such a young age! Who has been your biggest supporter throughout all this?
TC: I have had so much support from family and friends, but when we were stuck in the house during quarantine at the start of the pandemic, my boyfriend was there every day, really listening to my crazy ideas, and giving me the little push to JUST DO IT.
Q: Who would you say is your role model?
TC: My role models would definitely be my parents. They have always been such hard workers and taught me to work for what I want. My dad has his own landscaping business that he started when I was younger, and my mom really was his backbone through it all.
Q: What has been the most challenging part of entrepreneurship?
TC: Trying to find time for everything. It feels like I never stop because my home is my office, so I’m constantly working or trying to think of what more I can do. I don’t just clock out and come back to work the next day. I’m dreaming up ideas for my next photoshoot or product launch.
Q: How do you balance running your own business and having quality family time? What are the challenges in that?
TC: I really try to make sure I give my daughters the experiences I had as a child. My mom always made everything so fun by going to different places during the weekend, and I try to do that with my girls as well—especially since their dad only has the weekends off. I try to take the weekends off, but it's tough because that is when I do most of my photography, since their dad is home to watch the girls for me. So, it's definitely a challenge, and I really want to work on scheduling my time better.
Q: Alternatively, what are the ways that being your own boss makes home life easier?
TC: I love that I am able to make my own schedule. My daughter started preschool this year, and I was able to go to all of her little concerts that I probably would have had to miss if I didn't work for myself. I am also able to keep my youngest daughter home with me and save on child care.
Q: Do you use a Toki Mat in your own home?
TC: Yes! My daughters use one in their room to read on and play. They love that it is more plush and comfy than their regular rug on the floor. We also have a bigger one that we use outside to play on and have little picnics!
Q: What are the ways that you think Toki Mats stands out from other brands?
TC: Toki Mats has so many design options, and Eli is such a sweetheart. Even before working together, we have had many conversations. The brand as a whole is so personable and that is so refreshing.
Q: What is your favorite way to unwind in your free time?
TC: Ordering some takeout and watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians!
Q: Do you have a mantra you say to yourself?
TC: Yes. You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, FINE enough, and STRONG enough. You don’t need other people to validate you—-you are already valuable.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
TC: GO FOR IT! Take the leap, even if you are scared of failure. You will never know unless you try, and even if you fail, get up and try again. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. As long as you believe in yourself, you will succeed.
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to your daughters?
TC: Stay true to yourself and never be afraid to use your voice. In this world, everyone has differences and that’s okay. Be open-minded and listen, but always know the difference between a leader and a follower.
Q: What are the ways your children inspire you?
TC: My oldest has the sweetest heart. I have learned so much empathy from her. She really thinks about everyone and their feelings, and it’s the sweetest thing ever. My youngest inspires me to take more risks. That girl has no fear, and I wish I was more like her. She truly finds fun in anything and I love that so much about her.
About the Author: Alice
Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.