When we talk about women supporting women in this small shop community, it’s people like Lindsay Devins-Towell who come to mind. Lindsay is the owner/maker of Hayva Kids Co., a small-batch jewelry and décor shop geared toward providing beautiful and sentimental pieces for women and girls. When Lindsey is not running her shop or spending time with her two daughters, she’s embracing her career as a dental hygienist by teaching at her university’s dental school. She’s the epitome of a team player, as she’s used her shop as a way to connect with and build up other women in the virtual maker community.
Get to know more about Lindsay, her shop, and how she balances the maker lifestyle with motherhood and family life.
We want to know more about you! Let’s start off by hearing more about you and your family!
PP: Hi Lindsay! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
LDT: My name is Lindsay! I am from a huge suburb in Kansas called Overland Park. I live within minutes of both farmland and downtown Kansas City. I have been with my husband, Andrew, for 12 years and we have two daughters; Hayden who is 3 and Ava who is 1. I am a dental hygienist and my husband is a physical therapist. I work one day per week teaching at our university dental school and spend the other six at home.
PP: That’s wonderful. Now that we know a little more about you, tell us about your shop.
LDT: My shop is called Hayva Kids Co. and consists of small batch, limited edition jewelry and décor pieces. The items are marketed towards girls ages 3+, but I have a few things for women. The décor works great for any age group. The design esthetic is simple, modern and boho-chic. I use a lot of natural wood beads, faceted beads, ethically-made tassels and organic dyed yarn. When I initially opened I was hand painting a lot of beads and making more of what I consider play jewelry. The esthetic has definitely matured with the brand. I still sell some painted jewelry, but not as often as I use to.
PP: On this blog we’re talking with a number of women who have different relationships with their creative business. Some consider themselves business owners or entrepreneurs, while others look at themselves more as makers or side hustlers. How would you describe yourself?
LDT: I am 100% a maker and side hustler. I do not consider myself a shop owner or entrepreneur. I am literally making things that I love and sharing them with my following, friends and family. My ultimate goal (aside from making pretty little things) is to own a photography business that revolves around styled, product-related photo shoots, but as candid and natural as possible. I am obsessed with interior design so that business dream would tie in all of my passions: photography, design, small shops, etc.
PP: Totally not surprised, as your emphasis on esthetic is truly reflected through all of your product photography. I just love how you’ve carved out your own space in the world of jewelry and found a way to make it relevant to women of all ages. Can you talk a little bit about what keeps you inspired?
LDT: I love the design and photography aspect of the ‘business’. Growing up I was always drawing, creating, painting, etc. So for me, if my photos look gorgeous, the items are fun to make and stay within the aesthetic I mentioned, that’s a win for me. I do not do this for the ‘money’. However, my FAVORITE thing to see/read is when a mom messages me and says, ‘my daughter will not leave the house without her necklace and bracelet on!’. My motto is ‘if it’s not a pleasure, don’t do it’ so If for any reason I am feeling uninspired or overworked I always take a break for a few days or a week.
PP: As moms and ‘shop owners’ we easily find ourselves doing all the things. What are three ways you keep yourself organized?
LDT: I use baskets to organize my supplies, list making and inventory control. I only list the amount of goods I am willing to make because I refuse to spend my nights up late and alone making jewelry. I worked so hard when I was in school, I spend so much time raising toddlers, this is truly just a pleasure and creative outlet for me. This is also something that I find helpful; I have a small group of moms that I am really tight with. We are constantly helping each other out, giving advice, listening to each other. It’s fantastic!
PP: That’s amazing! It truly takes a village, right? And, like you, it seems that so many of us have a ton on our plate. Can you give us some tips on how you balance everything?
LDT: You have to set some reasonable goals. Ask yourself ‘how many times a month do I want to release a line? How many hours do I want to work on the weekend? When, during the day, can I break away from kids to work?’ You need to ask yourself these questions and figure out what you’re willing to do. For me; I pick one morning each week to photograph products for posts. I usually have one seasonal launch, one re-stock/capsule launch and one sale per season. This works for me. I do no more than three photo/product collaborations per month. I also don’t like to spend every nap time working because let’s be honest I have Housewives to watch and a house to clean!
PP: So true! And you fully operate your shop from your home, right?
LDT: I operate this shop in my kitchen. Specifically, my island counter top.
PP: Especially working from home I feel like it can be tough to separate work from personal life. Do you have any tips specifically on how to separate them? Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, ways to integrate the two?
LDT: I don’t think you can really separate the two if it’s something you truly love and look forward to doing. My kids come with me to buy supplies all the time. Hayden my oldest tries on all of my pieces. I talk to my husband about launch plans … I think it can become a problem if those conversations and outings are negative or stressful. Now that I think about it, I actually love that my kids are involved because it teaches them how to be creative and they get to see their mom having fun.
PP: Let’s talk a little bit about self-care. As moms especially, we find ourselves so busy focusing on everyone else that we often forget to take care of ourselves. Can you give us a couple ways that you incorporate self-care into your life?
LDT: I always get up in the morning and wash my face, brush my teeth, put on simple make up, a casual outfit and mom bun. If I don’t have time to do this before the kids wake up, I turn Frozen on for Hayden, put Ava down for a quick nap (or she will play in her crib), and get it done! I also try to make plans with friends once a month and I spend just about 100 percent of my nights at home relaxing with my husband.
PP: Tell us a little bit about your life before this chapter of motherhood. What did your career look like? How has motherhood impacted your professional choices?
LDT: The biggest change for me has been reducing the amount of time I work outside of the house. Working full-time for 10 years down to one day per week is interesting. I felt like I lost part of my identity, but I am starting to realize my identity has just changed a little. Once my kids are older I have the luxury of being able to practice more, and I will. I feel a strong sense of responsibility when it comes to my profession. Nonetheless the bottom line for me; I choose to stay home with my kids because I will never get this time again. I would live in a cardboard box if it meant I could be with them almost every day. We have made a lot of financial adjustments to keep me home and we’ve even discussed downsizing our house if needed.
PP: Going back to your shop, can you tell us a little bit more about anything you have coming up? What can we look forward to?
LDT: Well, I just collaborated with this amazing artist that owns Polished Prints (hehe). We worked together to launch Hayva Kids Co’s first sets of Gender Reveal and Milestone Cards! I will also add mini tassel bracelets and a Halloween capsule this September. It should be a fun!
PP: You really seem to have mastered the art of collaborating on Instagram. For a new business owner who may be a little intimidated by the process, how would you recommend they approach their first collaboration?
LDT: That’s a nice thing to say, thanks! You definitely can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. People will say no; don’t get discouraged or question yourself. I definitely recommend having an authentic, inspired, community-based shop. Now that I am a tad more experienced, I have learned how to categorize my collaborations (am I looking for exposure or images?) and I always make my needs known because I have been screwed over a few times. I use a lot of professional photographers for my feed and website. They receive free items in exchange for photos. If you have a vision, I suggest reaching out to professional photographers. I also shoot my flat lay images with a DSLR camera to keep things cohesive. Again, I come from an esthetic perspective. If you are coming from an exposure perspective, brand reps with a large engaged following is the go to. Last thing, giveaways!
PP: Lastly, what is the #1 piece of advice you would give mamas who are considering launching their own businesses?
LDT: Pick something you love not something that you think is a money maker. In other words, have an authentic, inspired, community-based shop and don’t try to do it all at once. Take your time and grow an engaging, ‘organic’ audience.
PP: Amazing advice, Linds. So tell us, where can we find out more about you and your business?
LDT: Please check out my website, www.hayvakidsco.com and find me on Instagram at @hayvakidsco