Biz Mama: Heather Lins of Heather Lins Home

Heather Lins; her newest product, the Stitch the Stars Calendar; and Heather with her twin kiddos.

Heather Lins; her newest product, the Stitch the Stars Calendar; and Heather with her twin kiddos.

Biz Mama columnWhen Heather Lins was a kid, she wanted to be an interior designer. In college, she got interested in graphic design because it blended art and writing. However, as a practicing graphic designer, she kept having ideas for designs that were outside the traditional client/designer relationship. So she took her graphic design skills and used them to launch her own line of home textiles. Heather Lins Home is a product and surface design studio focusing on eco-friendly home textiles and stationery. She licenses designs and also produces her own products. Fellow Midwesterner Heather and I met at the HOW Design Conference in Chicago in 2011. I attended her workshop on starting a product-based business. Little did I know just how useful her advice would be when I launched my baby & kids apparel line several years later. I was also 7 months pregnant at the time, so I made a mental note to ask her how she balances a business with kids. So, here we are, finally!

 Heather Lins of Heather Lins Home

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I am creative director to market analyst to chief box filler. Mainly, I am a doodler who likes to see her sketches become real things.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

We have three and a half year old twins. Avery is our little boy and Marta is our little girl.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I launched my business August 2008. The kids were born January 2010.

How did your business life change after having children?

My children have acted as my true north. I asked myself: What do I want to show my kids about the world of work? I realized that I wanted to show them that work can be enjoyable, meaningful and lucrative. It’s not something to dread or be stressed out about or cast a shadow over our weekends together. In order to teach this, I’ve had to live it. I am the happiest and most content I’ve ever been. Overall, I have become more focused, confident and resilient. When starting my business, I didn’t know how we would balance family and work and I wondered if I had waited too long to have children. Perhaps this is why our 20s can be such as anxious time. (It was for me at least.) I didn’t know if I’d find a life partner, if marriage was for me or if I wanted to have kids. At 40, I’ve made all those decisions and they’ve turned out great. Why did I worry so much? Blogs describe motherhood as being frazzled and drained. Of course, there are long days. Somehow, I’ve become more laid back and centered. (My husband might not agree with this.) Having kids has brought more fun into my life. I sing more. I use my imagination more. I get outside more. I play with play dough. Kids demand 100% attention, which means I’m in the present more.

Describe a typical workday.

We all wake up between 6 am and 6:45. I usually get the kids going while my husband gets breakfast ready for them. Then it’s reading, playing and getting ourselves ready until their nanny arrives at 7:45. We blast out the door for work. We’re back home at 5:15. Then it’s dinner together. Usually our nanny has prepared the main part of the meal and we throw the rest together. Then it’s a walk to the park or a bike ride, their bath and some books. My husband and I clean up and do a few chores, talk and it’s off to bed by 10 pm.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Agree with your husband or partner that sleep is a high priority in your lives second only to your children. Sleep is the ultimate mood lifter, marriage smoother, energy booster, wrinkle cream, anti-depressant, weight loss stimulant and (is my mother reading this?) aphrodisiac. In order to get more sleep, Mike and I cut out TV. It’s not recommended for young kids and we realized we’d stay up later than we should to catch a show or finish a movie. It’s been over 3 years and we don’t miss TV. About once a month, we rent a DVD or watch an episode of Modern Family on DVD. As we’ve gotten more free time, we’ve added working out into our weekend routine. Mike even gets a bike ride in before work some weekdays. Caring for newborns made me realize that we’re all big babies really. Adults don’t function well without sleep, nourishing food and exercise. We want these things for our kids; we have to do the same for ourselves.
Heather’s 2014 Stitch the Stars Calendar will be available in September. Watch her website for details.

Heather Lins Home

Madison, WI Twitter: @heatherlinshome Facebook: heatherlinshome