Haily Meyers on building a brand born out of her love of motherhood with Lucy Darling
Describe your business in a few words?
Lucy Darling was born out of my love of motherhood and my desire to cherish the moments of childhood. I love being a mom and I love watching my babies grow, which is why creating a brand that helps families cherish those moments has been so important to me. I want to create beautiful products to help them enjoy their moments and also remember them. I know what it’s like being a busy mom but also wanting to make everything special as they grow. I want to take the stress out of the equation for parents so that they can enjoy their time being in the moment.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
When I started Lucy Darling, I originally did it as a side project to supplement my husband’s job teaching. The funny thing is that Lucy Darling sort of happened to me, and not the other way around. It was like I struck a chord with other moms who wanted the type of products I was designing for myself essentially as a new mom. I felt like the leap was just a very natural progression- growing with me as I grew as a mom and saw a need for products that didn’t exist yet for my little one.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was working as a graphic designer before Lucy Darling and really hoped to go into stationary design and greeting cards. I am so glad that those plans changed and I’m so happy I still get to design and illustrate for paper goods which will probably always be my favorite.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I come from an entrepreneurial family and so I was probably less hesitant to go off and try my own thing, but I can’t say that I always had a plan for it. What I can say is that having your own business is a wonderful, stressful, rewarding and growing experience. I love it.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
We started largely through word of mouth on social media. We had an almost zero marketing budget the first several years of our business but moms know when they like something and they are a powerful force. It was purely through their appreciation of our products that we were able to grow exponentially those first couple of years. If you can get your product in the hands of moms and they love it, I truly believe they are one of the greatest marketers on the planet.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
The road to success is definitely marked with lots and lots of mistakes. I think being able to learn is really the key. One of our greatest strengths was that we had never run a retail business selling products. My husband was a teacher and I was a designer. So it would seem we were at a huge disadvantage to someone who had been in the industry, but for us it meant that we already knew we didn’t have the answers. We were determined to find people who were doing it well and to ask them for advice- from large vision down to the tiny details of running a business. Our greatest strength was relying on the knowledge of others and being bold enough to ask.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
To be completely honest, my most proud accomplishment is probably not work related. I am most proud to be a mom to my 3 sweet kiddos. I don’t even know if I can really be proud of that fact as it’s not something you accomplish so much as it’s something you are. But it’s the thing that brings so much meaning to life for me and I wouldn’t trade for the world.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We were impacted like so many other businesses when non-essential businesses had to close their doors. All of our purchase orders from retailers were cancelled in a day as they did not know when they would re-open. That was a scary moment for us. We didn’t know if we would survive this thing. Our customers have continued to find ways to purchase from us and we are so grateful for each and every one. This time has been a tremendous strain on businesses and therefore families and we have so much compassion for other people who have lost business or lost jobs during this time. It has been an unprecedented year.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
As my kids grow and change, I continue to see the opportunity for new products I would love to have myself. We have some really fun things lined up for the next year that are brand new to us. I don’t think I can spill the beans on all the details, but products your toddlers and big kids are going to love are in the making!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
I think I’ve learned in 2020 that every day is precious and that we can find joy even in very difficult circumstances. I feel like I have come away with a more grateful outlook and want to continue to lean into what matters.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I can’t really say that I wish I knew anything different than what I knew starting out because growing has been a part of this whole thing. I don’t think you can shortcut it. As our business has grown, so have I as a business owner. It just goes with the territory. There was so much we didn’t know starting out but we just had to figure it out as we went in many cases.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Gosh who said I stayed grounded haha. I think for me it’s been a year of highs and lows. One moment I am feeling like I’ve got things managed and I can totally handle it. Then the next moment I have felt overwhelmed and like things are falling apart. It was a really crazy year and I think maybe staying grounded was not the most important thing. I’m thankful in some ways that we went through it together as a world even, because at least it’s a feeling I think we can all relate to. I do kind of wish sometimes there were a few people who were not going through 2020 at the same time as myself so that I could tell them what a hard time it was.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I believe in some version of work/life balance where you find this equilibrium of what works best for your family. It’s not going to look perfect, and often it looks quite messy. Like you can’t have quality time with your kids work a full day and expect that the house doesn’t look like a stampede just came through. But I think in balancing the things that mean the most to you, staying focused on those things, and letting the other things go, you can find what is a meaningful balance. You just really have to be intentional about what those priorities are. I go as far as to write them down and to evaluate them every new year. What is working for us? What do we need to change or do away with? What do I want my legacy to be? These questions are really hard to answer but they have really helped me stay focused and know that if some things look really messy or don’t get my attention right now, it’s ok because I’m keeping my priorities in order. Many times these things get out of balance and I have to push the reset button. It’s a constant struggle.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I really don’t like the color red. I don’t know why and I do use it from time to time but overall I’m like a chicken or a bull or something. I just don’t care for the color red.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Sleep – you can’t be productive without proper sleep. Having a consistent wakeup time has also really helped me.
Filling up your tank with things that energize you. I need to get up and have some quiet time before my kids are up to read and pray. I also am so energized by just getting outside for a quick walk. But whatever that is for you, I think starting your day with a few things that fill your tank will jumpstart you into productivity.
Make productivity a discipline. Just like you schedule a workout or a meeting, schedule your productive or creative time and then make yourself sit down at the desk. It may feel strange especially as a creative because the mood didn’t strike you to be creative, but I’v learned to just start. You will be surprised what can happen and it gets easier.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
I think it means taking a leap into your passions and being willing to make mistakes and learn from them. It means going all in for a dream and going where it takes you!