Monday, September 1, 2014

Moms on Mondays - Kristin from Miss Ainsley Mae

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This week I am featuring Kristin from Miss Ainsley Mae.  People just kept tagging me in her pieces over and over again, because she had such cute Lemon stuff, so of course I had to ask her to be a part of this series!  She makes kids clothes that I've never seen before, with fun fabrics and colors, in ways that I've never seen them done (and now I know it's her fashion background shining through!).  I think Kristin's clothes really set her apart and will be what really grows her business.  They are impeccably made and I just can't wait to see what she does next!  Make sure you check out her Instagram to see all of her fun pieces and then go shop her site!

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you?

Our shop name is Miss Ainsley Mae and you can also find us on Instagram.

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.

Miss Ainsley Mae specializes in fashionable, comfortable apparel for children.  We work frequently with organic cotton fabric and strive to create timeless pieces that can withstand the active nature of little ones.

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How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

I began Miss Ainsley shortly after the birth of our first child, a daughter named Ainsley Mae.  I started selling baby headbands on Etsy after friends and family showed an interest in pieces I had made for Ainsley.  The business has evolved over the past year as we dipped our toes into the apparel world.  Although our products have continued to change, we still have some of our very first headband customers that have gone on this journey with us.

How long have you been in business?

We are quickly coming up on our one year anniversary in August!

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

I hold a B.A. in Fashion Marketing.  With the birth of Ainsley, I took on the most challenging job of all as a stay at home mommy.  All the pieces seemed to fall into place once I started Miss Ainsley Mae.  I get to utilize my fashion degree daily while specializing in children's apparel.  I love that I get the opportunity to hone in on my knowledge of the fashion industry while making pieces for babies and kids which is pretty much what my life revolves around now.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My husband Dan and I just celebrated our two year wedding anniversary in June!  Shortly (and I mean shortly!) after our wedding we found out we were expecting our first child.  We both knew we wanted to start a family right away and hope to add to it over the next few years.  Our daughter Ainsley celebrated her first birthday May 6th, and she is our whole life.  She is the most strong willed, funny, loving little girl and I cannot remember what life was like before her.  We also have 4 (gasp!) dogs.  Two chihuahua's, a pomeranian, and a mini schnauzer - together they equal one regular sized dog, haha.

How does this company help your family?

This company has helped me regain my sanity (and, at times, consider checking into a mental institution!).  I love waking up everyday knowing that I have a purpose in life as a mother first, and a business owner second.  I'm a creative person and it has been the perfect outlet for that.  My absolute favorite part of what I do is the creative process.  There is no greater satisfaction than envisioning something in your head and seeing the last stitch being completed on it.  I will forever be thankful for each and every customer I have ever had, and to future customers who have chosen to spend their hard earned money on something that I have created.  It really is the coolest job ever.

Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead?

Never in a million years!  After college I thought I'd move to Los Angeles and take over Rachel Zoe's job, HA.  I wanted to work in the fashion industry and would have never guessed it would come true through the world of children's clothing.

Does anyone help you with your shop?

For the longest time I was a one woman show. I did every last thing myself without any help from anyone.  Two months ago I released our first round of apparel and the response was truly overwhelming.  I realized I could no longer do it on my own.  I now have the help of two local seamstresses with one doubling as an assistant.  My main seamstress/assistant, Jaclyn, is truly my lifeline.  She keeps me organized, on track and really is the operational brains behind Miss Ainsley Mae.  I'll forever be grateful that she joined the team.

How do you find time to run your shop and create products? 

There really aren't enough hours in the day and I struggle with this constantly.  It's difficult feeling like my time is being torn in two opposite directions with caring for Ainsley and tending to orders.  When I'm working I feel an insane amount of mommy guilt, and when I take a break from working to hang with her I feel like I'm disappointing my customers.  I don't know that I'll ever find that mythical balance of work and life, but I try my hardest every day.

What do you love about this businesses?

I love creating pieces and the design process.  And, my absolute favorite part of what I do, and the thing that keeps me going when I feel like quitting, is seeing our cute customers in something that I have made.  There is such a sense of gratification.

What is the most challenging part of this business?

Trying to do it all.  Balancing work and family life and pleasing everybody.  I lay in bed every night stressing over what I could or should have done that day and realizing that I just can't do it all.  I wish there were a million hours in the day and that I didn't have to sleep to survive.  [I wish this every single night!]

Where do you see your shop in the future?

I hope to see our customer base continue to grow and begin to include sizes for the older girls.  

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

Each piece holds a special place in my heart, although our watermelon print top and ruffle bloomers might be my favorite.

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

Pace yourself, don't bite off more than you can chew.  There are days where it just won't seem worth it anymore.  When you reach that point, don't feel guilty about taking time to yourself to rest and regroup.  Hire help if you can before you get too worn out. And, when you reach the point where you begin to not enjoy it, remember why you started.

What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?

Oh gosh, so many!  Most of Ainsley's clothing comes from fellow mommy shops.   I'm in love with Briar Handmade bonnets.  What is cuter than a little babe in a bonnet??  We also love our leather gladiator sandals from K and Elphy.  The craftsmanship of Elphy's pieces are incredible, and they're handmade in Greece which makes them even more special.  And, of course, we love our friends over at Ry & Rue Kids.  Ashley makes adorable shorties and just released some awesome graphic tee's.  We also love Crew & Lu, Kenzie Jaws and Paush rompers from Shop Sweet Threads.

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