Hello to all the lovely people who are reading this. Some of you may be Kindred fans from the beginning and some of you may have only just discovered us. So, as an excuse to finally get my blog groove on, I thought I would write a small introduction about me (Hayley), this little brand of mine and how it all got started.
I've always worked in fashion and for the majority of it, I was a photo shoot producer / shoot manager. A job which took me around the world, was so much fun and I absolutely loved it. When the children came along, it started to prove a little tricky... but I juggled, like everyone does. Then, after a terrible pregnancy with my youngest where I was on bed rest (I watched ALL the films, ate ALL the cake), and a problematic birth; she was then desperately ill. So, when it was time to go back to work, albeit in a part time / freelance capacity, I was incredibly anxious and desperately unhappy. I muddled along for as long as I could and probably didn't do very well at being a mother to my girls or as working professional. Finally I decided it was time for a change. I was determined to set up something on my own. Something that I could manage from home, something that was flexible and was on my own terms.
After endless chats and cups of tea around the kitchen table and few ideas that were vetoed, Kindred was finally born. It truly was a lightbulb moment... I decided that's what I wanted to do and I realised that it was within my abilities to do it ... so the next day, I did it. If I had hesitated or thought too long about it, I surely would have talked myself out of it. I jumped naively in and I didn't look back... sink or swim.
Yes, I had worked within the fashion industry but I hadn't set up my own brand before and didn't really know where to start but I ran at it with excited enthusiasm. I did some online research and I found an organic and fair-trade garment supplier (this bit was paramount to me and is the bare bones of the business), I got a handful of images I thought would look great on a t-shirt, found a local printer to work with and set up a website. There were lots of stumbles and falls on the way, but I got there in the end. None of this however, would have happened if it wasn't for my husband, Roger. A constant sounding board who reigns me in
(occasionally) when I go off piste and 100% supports me (he's also been known to model the odd tee or two).
I love every aspect of it, from curating the designs to mixing up colours with my printer, to tagging each item by hand. A lot of love goes into each t-shirt and sweatshirt and hopefully that comes across. It doesn't always go how you want it to, but thats ok, it's something to learn from and believe me... It's been such a huge learning curve (and still is) and it often takes me well out of my comfort zone. However, when it all goes to plan, it's hugely rewarding. I love seeing the designs come to life on a t-shirt, I get so excited at that moment when the screen is lifted up and you see it for the first time in all its glory.
Don't get me wrong, not everyday is a ride through rainbows on the back of a unicorn. Some days I'm sat frustrated, battling my website; annoyed by algorithms or fretting about content engagement (!) Its all worth it, I get so much joy from seeing someone in one of my sweatshirts, or a instagram post from a customer saying how much they love their t-shirt. I've discovered lots of other fantastic independent brands out there that I love supporting. It's so important that we all show the little guys some love. There is a real human being behind each one, someone that has worked their butt off to try to make their brand a success, to keep their head above water, to make a difference to their lives and their families lives. It's so important, now more than ever to keep the indies going. Small businesses are important to the economic and social fabric of our society and we all need to play a part in their survival. Shop local and shop small where you can and tell your friends about your favourite finds. It really does make a difference.
Kindred has kept me sane (and also driven me a little mad at times), it also means I'm there at the school gates every day... something, I've come to realise, that I need probably more than my children do. In addition to all this, I've met so many wonderful & supportive people along the way. I'm also really enjoying exploring new ways to get the Kindred name out there. We have recently started doing Trunk Shows, which have proved super popular, and back in September we became permanent residents of a gorgeous new, and hugely popular shop in my neighbourhood called The Every Space.
So, that's me & Kindred. A kitchen table small business, where the kettle is always on (it really is).
Thanks for stopping by, for reading this post and for supporting an independent business.
Photography credit : Joanne Warren @joannewarrenphotography
Model: Maia Tomasi @maiatomasi
The Every Space
6-10 Central Parade
If you want to find out more about supporting independent businesses or if you're an indie brand, check out @justacard and get involved with their campaign.