She’s one of the most popular OG Instagram influencers, but Mary Lawless Lee is only just getting started.
With the bone-structure of a supermodel, a wardrobe to rival every fashion editor in the industry, and as determined a focus on her ever-growing career as she has on her equally blossoming family, it’s no wonder she’s racked up almost a million loyal followers who dote on her every move (or, rather, every upload).
But she’s by no means ‘just another influencer’. At just 31-years-old, Mary’s story is already a fascinating one. She used to work in an ICU, for a start. She was also engaged to her now-husband within five months of dating and invited just 35 guests – their immediate families and four friends each – to their intimate ceremony.
We caught up with the down-to-earth Nashville native to discover her best bridal tips, thoughts on shopping sustainably and her current experience dressing for her new pregnancy body.
Q Your Instagram has almost hit 1 million followers – talk us through that journey. Did you always intend on carving a career from your blog or was it more of a hobby that grew a life of its own
A I actually studied nursing in school and worked in ICU prior to Happily Grey. I’ve always had a passion for taking care of people. I started Happily Grey as a creative outlet while I was in nursing residency. It grew organically from there – nothing that I ever expected, but I’m grateful every day.
Q What do you think it is about you and your brand that makes it stand out and become such a success in a wildly competitive industry?
A I work hard to remain true to my aesthetic and style. Being genuine in this industry has always been a priority for me, and I think that resonates with my readers!
Q What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion, and how do you make conscious, environmentally thoughtful choices in an industry that encourages constantly new, unseen outfits.
A I’ve always worked hard to build a lasting collection of pieces that I love from designers and shops that I believe in, and I hope to inspire my audience to do the same. Fast fashion may offer trend-driven cheap-thrills, but I’d rather save and splurge on something made with intention then spend constantly on a mass produced disposable wardrobe.
Q You made such a beautiful bride in 2017 and it’s coming up to wedding season again – what would be your words of wisdom for brides-to-be reading this and feeling overwhelmed?
A Thank you! I would say- take a deep breath, and remember that no matter what happens, the most important part of that day is that you are marrying your person! Every wedding is going to have its hiccups, but when you go in focused on what’s most important, everything else falls into place.
Q You announced last month that you’re expecting your first baby. How are you finding dressing for your new body, what with your style being so integral to your career? Was it daunting or are you enjoying the challenge?
A We are so excited! I actually haven’t transitioned into many maternity brands; I’ve been sticking with the styles that I love and just sizing up. I’ve been living in flowy silhouettes and oversized sweaters lately, which helps!
Q How do you think your Instagram will evolve once she’s born, will you be including a lot more home life or will you try and keep the two separate?
A We actually just launched Happily Grey Home, which I think will naturally transition into making the brand more lifestyle focused! I’ve really enjoyed building our new house, and now I get to
bring the same curated collection of home goods to my readers! Baby will obviously be the next chapter!
Q And finally, can you talk us through what a typical working ‘day in the life’ of Mary looks like…?
A Every day is so different! Emails, meetings, calls, styling, editing… Lately I’ve been upstairs personally packaging Happily Grey Home orders! We are currently running fulfillment out of our house, while we build out a new office space, so that has kept me busy. And of course, the fashion! Fashion will always be the foundation of Happily Grey, so I’m working on expanding that more this year. Lots of exciting things in the works for HG!
Visit Happily Grey to discover more about your new favourite influencer…