It always feels like there’s something to stress about, especially when you’re a parent. When my son was young one thing I consistently did to keep my spirits up was to dress him in fun, stylish clothes. That could mean an avocado printed Gerber two-piece one day and a stripped Ralph Lauren onesie with a coordinating hat the other… there were no rules. Seeing him dressed well always got me excited about taking him out and interacting with him (and buying most of the items on sale kept my sanity in check when he had a blowout or spilled something all over himself).
How we dress – and how we dress our littles – has a huge impact on how we feel and our mood, so as “crazy” as it sounds if you’re in need of a boost, try taking the little who is mostly crawling around in a diaper and put them in a onesie that makes you smile (even if it’s a Halloween costume!). That’s where Kenny Flowers comes in. I love the brand’s mission of positivity and happiness. It shines through in their vibrant and upbeat prints – and you know you’ll always spot your kiddo when they’re wearing one of the brand’s pieces.
To find out more about this brand that epitomizes summer fun in the sun I turned to co-founders Kenny and Christina Haisfield.
Momtastic: Can you tell us a little bit about your background before starting the brand?
Kenny: I grew up in Colorado and went to college at UNC-Chapel Hill before spending my first few working years as a consultant for IBM. I honestly didn’t mind the job and found ways to spend that time thinking creatively, learning from the higher-ups and traveling immensely for work and vacation. Outside of the office though, I was always the guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt – yes, even in New York City. But it wasn’t just any thrift shop find, it was my Dad’s faded pink, hand-me-down Hawaiian shirt. It was more than a shirt for me, it was always a feeling, a statement that I was making the decision to have a great time. Even before starting Kenny Flowers officially, the brand was already in place.
Kenny Flowers was founded on this very principle of always showing up as your best self, keeping a smile on and being in the mindset to have a good time, which spreads and positively impacts those around you.
So in January 2015 I quit my job at IBM and moved halfway around the world – from New York to Bali – with no background in fashion design, e-commerce, production, international business, etc. There was no business plan either, just a goal to make a few hundred shirts for my friends and see where the adventure could take me.
Christina: I was (and still am) a luxury travel blogger, running JetsetChristina.com, before helping Kenny expand into women’s swimwear and kids. I love getting the chance to design swimwear inspired by the places around the world we travel to and giving my travel-loving audience something beautiful to pack in their bags for their own vacations and bring back beautiful memories, wherever they’re wearing Kenny Flowers in the world.
Momtastic: It’s not easy to balance running a business with being a parent – how are you preparing for it?
Christina: Our business has always been integrated with our life and we’re excited for this next chapter bringing a baby into our world! In our time before having kids, we’ve worked hard to strike a balance between work, travel and life, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way that we look forward to bringing to our family life.
Kenny: As far as how we’re preparing, our small business is growing fast. We’re building a team of amazing people that are getting more and more confident in their roles, acting as extensions of ourselves when needed and helping to bring Kenny Flowers to the next level. With more family responsibilities outside of the business, we think it will help us prioritize the most important business needs when it’s time to focus, so we can make it all happen. We’re also excited to continue traveling, which blends well with our work, getting inspiration around the world and show-casing our products in action.
Momtastic: What have been some of the biggest challenges when it comes to the business?
Kenny: Growing in multiple verticals at the same time is a challenge that first comes to mind. We’ve been so fortunate to have so much demand for our lifestyle brand and resort-wear business, from women’s swim and men’s Hawaiian shirts, to golf polos and now kids clothes, that it’s always a challenge to focus on all areas of the business at once. Something we pride ourselves on as a company is our attention to detail and making sure no product or person is an afterthought. Our goal is to be a brand that everyone can enjoy and find something they love from – so even while we’re in the heart of focusing on men and women and having the best summer season ever, we also have to balance working on next year’s launches – which leading into this year, involved bringing our kids swimwear line to life.
Momtastic: At any point did you think about giving up? If so, what kept you going?
Kenny: When times are challenging I keep the reminder that there is a need for Kenny Flowers out there in my mind and I’m the right person to bring this to the world. Being an entrepreneur is always a roller coaster, but when you’re committed to what you’re doing, you know to stay on the ride.
Momtastic: Can you tell us, in general, some of your favorite parenting must-haves as you’re preparing for the baby?
Kenny and Christina: We’ve been stocking up on all the Kiddy Flowers prints for baby’s summer swimwear and tropical looks and some mommy-and-me and daddy-and-me vacation outfits that we can’t wait to wear to match with baby!
Other than that, our must-haves to prepare for the baby have been setting up our ‘nest’ at home to welcome baby home to, and making sure we enjoy our last months just the two of us with babymoon getaways and date nights before the new adventure begins!