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There’s an old saying that goes “behind every great man, is a great woman.”

But in the Bloomer family, we believe there is no greater man than the one who can acknowledge the woman standing right next to him.

My late father-in-law’s booming voice made this clear at all three of his sons’ weddings.

“That’s the thing about Bloomer men, we are descendants of Dexter C. Bloomer, husband of Amelia Bloomer,” he would say. “It’s in our bloodline to vehemently support our spouses. We all share one thing in common, which is that Bloomer men have always married strong women.”

And that was the moment, nearly 11 years ago, that my fascination with Amelia Bloomer — the publisher of The Lily, the first U.S. newspaper for women — took hold.

Dexter Bloomer was intensely proud of Amelia’s position as a pioneer of the women’s movement. The original Lily, founded in 1849, advocated for the temperance movement as a feminist issue, called to end slavery, and argued for a woman’s right to vote, own property and wear pants.

Her husband wanted to immortalize her legacy, and in 1895, just one year after her death, he published “The Life and Writings of Amelia Bloomer.”

This book contains extensive details about her life’s convictions and passions as well as excerpts from her writings, including one lecture printed in full.

Most people only know Amelia Bloomer as the woman bold enough to wear pants, but she was responsible for many other contributions to women’s history.

She provided a platform for women to express their arguments about reforms in a world that previously excluded their opinions.

Her work has been a great source of inspiration in my own endeavors personally and professionally since the day I married a descendant of her nephew.

Amy Bloomer sits with her daughter Zoë. (Courtesy of Amy Bloomer)
Amy Bloomer sits with her daughter Zoë. (Courtesy of Amy Bloomer)

I was hiking my favorite mountain that morning and when I reached the pinnacle, my water broke. Just six hours later, she shot right out of me. It was a foreshadowing of the strong-willed kid she is today. Lillian, her middle name, is a tribute to the memory of The Lily and a nod to the strength of women in her heritage.

Like Amelia, my journey has been unexpectedly vast. After obtaining two degrees, one while working full-time, I was recruited to work on Wall Street, where I spent the next 10 years. After a few more years in senior roles at other global corporations, I took on the most challenging job I’ve ever known: being a full-time mother.

Despite these accomplishments, I still felt that I had not yet realized my full potential and purpose in my life.

Two years ago, I had the courage to start a second career at age 39 working as a self-employed professional residential organizer. I make my work transformational, not transactional. It’s not about making a junk drawer look like a Pinterest post, it’s about revolutionizing space and empowering clients to live their best life.

My methods help clients transform their spaces, allowing them to discover more time, resources, balance and bliss.

“The costume of women should be suited to her wants and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort, and usefulness,” Amelia once said.

I’d add that it’s not just the costume of women that impacts her life, but also her environment. Everyone should live in a space that is intentionally organized, one that suits their wants and needs and also enhances their mental and physical health.

Every day, I’m able to move about freely and comfortably as I work in my clients’ space.

Amy Bloomer shows her daughter Zoë a pair of bloomers. (Courtesy of Amy Bloomer)
Amy Bloomer shows her daughter Zoë a pair of bloomers. (Courtesy of Amy Bloomer)

Without Amelia to pave the way, I wouldn’t have had this daily opportunity to put on my pants one leg at a time.

I am honored and privileged to carry on this legacy in my work, but more importantly, in my daughter as she blooms into the woman she was intended to be – Zoë Lillian Bloomer.

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I thought ‘I love you’ was reserved for romantic relationships only

You won’t find these women in textbooks. But in their families, they made history.

For Women’s History Month, we wanted to document lesser-known firsts

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