Ali Dover is not only a mother of three, but also a business owner, photographer, stylist and a truly inspiring woman. We discovered her and her breathtaking photos on Instagram years ago and have been moved by her images ever since. And not only her photos but also the thoughts behind them are beautiful, discussing life and motherhood with its ups and downs. We are so happy to have her here on ManyMiniThings telling us a bit about her life…
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
My name is Ali Dover and I’m a photographer who also designs and sells woven wraps to carry babies.
When and why did you start your business?
Whilst I was pregnant with my youngest child (who is now 7), I discovered woven wraps online. I had carried my middle child in rings slings, stretchy wraps and structured carriers, but didn’t know about woven then. It was a revelation to me, enabling me to combine my love of fabrics, designs and colors whilst keeping Lucy close. I was so enthused by it all, I took the plunge and started an online shop selling woven wraps from manufacturers in Europe, but always yearned to create my own wraps.
You are also a successful photographer and stylist. Where do you get the inspiration for your photographs from?
Not sure about the successful bit, but I do love taking photos! I might be inspired by a color, or a flower, or just the light that I see. Sometimes Lucy and I work together on an outfit that we think will look great. More often than not, though, my shoots are reactionary rather than planned.
Next to your business life you are a mother of three. Describe a typical day in your family’s life.
If I’m in the middle of a woven wrap release, it’s pretty frantic around here whilst I try to fulfil orders. In this situation, the kids sometimes help out by stamping labels and bags and assisting with carrying parcels to the Post Office. Otherwise, we live quite a spontaneous life with no structure to their home education, simply learning through living. If they show a particular interest in something, then we find ways we can learn more about whatever that something is. I am often away on shoots and mostly take the younger two children with me.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a mother?
Having three children with very different personalities and interests is certainly challenging, but the responsibilities of motherhood can sometimes be overwhelming (I try to go with the flow with that!)
What’s the best thing about being a mother?
Realizing the miracle of growing babies and watching them grow into their unique selves.
How has being a mother changed you?
I’ve always been a sensitive soul, but becoming a mother has made me far more empathic, far less judgmental, with a strong desire to help society understand the importance of creating strong attachment to our young.
What does sustainability mean for you, and how do you integrate that in your family life?
Supporting people who manufacture their products slowly and with great care and attention to being mindful of the planet and the people who live on it is very important to me – for example, I would rather buy one pair of jeans for £150 that have been made here in the UK than 5 pairs from the realm of ‘fast fashion’. This also helps keep our possessions to a minimum. Experiences, not things are a mantra of mine!
What do you wish for your future? And for your children’s future?
Hoping that we experience healthy and happy lives with the confidence to believe into only in our own dreams, but those of others too.
What two lessons have you learned about being a mother which you can pass on to other mothers?
The biggest lesson I have learned is the importance of listening to our instinct in every respect; secondly the importance of really listening to our children – when we really take time to listen to the seemingly small things they want to tell us, when they’re older, they will tell us the big things.
Thank you so much for this inspiring interview dear Ali! We wish you al the best for you and your beautiful family!
When you want to see more of Ali’s photos, you should definitely follow her Instagram. And if you are interested in her woven wraps, you can find them on her website.