Mallory Halverson, owner of Pop & Nod


Mallory Halverson Pop & Nod Des MoinesDes Moines Mom recognizes that moms wear a lot of hats. You are a mom, wife, friend, diaper changer, nose wiper, meal planner, lost toy finder, the list goes on and on!

This summer we are thrilled to feature some local moms who are thinking outside the box and making a difference in our community through the businesses they own, organizations they are involved with, and work they do. Check out the rest of the series and read profiles from previous years here.

Mallory familyMallory is an Urbandale High School graduate, Iowa State alum, and a current Johnston resident. She has two wild boys ages 5 & 7. And when she says wild, like truly, wack! Hilarious and fun and loud!

What do you consider the biggest challenge of motherhood to be? Biggest joy? 

The biggest challenge for me personally, if we want to get vulnerable for a second, has been raising a child who is not neurotypical. The invisible struggle to meet the emotional and physical needs has been so hard. Navigating mental health services and finding other moms who understand the struggle has truly been one big challenge. BUT with hardship also comes enlightenment, growth, and so much learning.

My biggest joy is truly the small stuff. Early morning snuggles. The ‘I love you’s’ and being the source of comfort when they need me. I find a lot of joy from simply being their person they love so much!

How did you start Pop and Nod? What was your inspiration?

My kids were my inspiration, for sure. Long story short, before I had kids I was a social worker. When we moved back to Des Moines I stayed home with my boys for several years. I knew I wanted to work and do something outside the home but didn’t want the high-stress job of being a social worker anymore. My kids needed me and I needed to put my creative energy somewhere. I brainstormed ideas for about a year of what kind of business I could start that would be able to give back to my community, bring joy to people, something that would be fun, and allow me to make my own hours. And that’s how POP & NOD was born. Bringing colorful, fun apparel and gifts while donating a portion of every sale to Count The Kicks (My son is a Count the Kicks baby save!)

What’s the best part about being your own boss?

Everything. It’s the best. I don’t like rules. I don’t want anyone in my business! HA! So I’m grateful for the autonomy. 

What’s the hardest part about running your own business?

Knowing there’s more potential for growth but as a mom and a business owner I have to remain balanced. I stay focused on my priorities as a mom, friend, and business owner. It’s all important. I know if I extended my hours I could make more money, but I want to be home when my kids get off the bus. It’s just one of those things of knowing I could do bigger and better but choosing to keep balance and perspective of my entire life to keep my cup full.

What advice do you have for moms who want to start a business?

Use whatever advantages you have. For example, I was a stay-at-home mom so we weren’t relying on my income. I used that to my advantage to start something that took a lot of planning since I had a flexible schedule at home. I used most my free time doing my business plan. Similarly, if you’re good at XYZ, use your skills. You can learn anything from TIKTOK (yes, I said it. And I stand by that statement!) Don’t wait for the perfect time, don’t wait for your idea to be perfect, perfect doesn’t exist and it’s a journey. Learn along the way. Life is short. Go.

Also, do not underestimate the importance of knowing how to do social media. Business is nothing if nobody knows about you.

What do you wish you knew when you started?

I don’t know what I wish I knew exactly but I am so very impressed with Des Moines and their generous support of small businesses. I feel so lucky to be at the Roosevelt Shopping Center where I feel supported every single day. It really makes me appreciate our city and the awesome people within it!

What do you love about raising a family in Des Moines? 

Freakin’ everything. I love Des Moines. We lived in Chicago before moving back here and we had friends that would say “why would you go back?! There’s nothing there!” and I’d be like, we have 10 libraries within a 15-minute drive! We have the zoo, wineries, Grays Lake, Iowa Cubs, great restaurants, 100 amazing parks, great public schools (shout out to the best teachers!!)… the list goes on. We have all of this within a 15-minute radius. People totally underestimate Des Moines and all it has to offer. Oh, and practically zero traffic. #blessed 

Quick Takes

Favorite local restaurant: Centro (this is a hard choice. There are so many, but if I’m truly being honest with myself, Centro is so damn good)

Best place to take kids: Jester Park for hiking and playscape, plus they have a cool indoor space.

Favorite summer activity: McHenry Park splash pad 

Do you have any hobbies? I teach fitness classes 5x a week at Lifetime and Pulse Dance Fitness Studio. My favorite class to teach is Dance Jam. The absolute best time! 

How/where do you relax? Relax? I’m allergic to that word. But ok, relaxing for me looks like sipping on a pinot grigio on my patio listening to Lake Street Dive with my husband.

If your life had a hashtag, what would it be? #LetsDoTheDamnThing

Connect with Mallory

Pop & Nod



movers & shakers series Des Moines MomKnow a Des Moines mom we should feature? Let us know! Email [email protected] with details and we will be in touch.


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