Les and Lainey
I am so excited to be sharing a stay-at-home mom turned business owner on the blog today! Ashley is the woman behind Les and Lainey, a shop that specializes in handmade items for babies and young children. She is local to Cypress, Texas but ships all over the country. Read more about her story, how she got started and how her business helped her reclaim her identity as a new mom in her interview below. I’ve met Ashley (and even had a play date with our kiddos), and she is truly the kind of small shop you want to support!If you’ve been reading along here for awhile, you know I am all about finding great products for a good value, and that is what I like best about Les and Lainey. Her products are high quality, but the prices are incredible! She kindly gifted me a monogramed hooded towel for Adeline, and I liked it so much, I’ve already purchased another one as a gift! My favorite part about the towel is its size. It’s not an infant towel, so Adeline will be able to use it for years!
My interview with Ashley:
1. Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
My husband Mark and I met as kids through church. He grew up in Houston and I visited family in Houston a lot, he was one of my cousins best friends growing up so we were around each other a lot in the summers. After college our lives brought both of us to Cypress in 2012 and that’s how our family started. We married in March of 2014 here in Houston and welcomed our son Les to our family in November of 2016. February of 2019 our family grew with our little girl Lainey. My husband works for SMP supply in the oil and gas industry and I was a teacher for six years in Cy Fair ISD before deciding to stay home with our son in.
2. How and when did Les and Lainey start? Have you always enjoyed diy projects? What inspired you to get started?
I started my business almost by accident in the summer of 2016. I have always loved making things and being creative, especially if it meant I could save a little money. After having my son and deciding to stop teaching all in the same time frame I felt I had lost my identity as a person and was struggling with some postpartum depression. There were things I wanted to try making so my husband bought me a sewing machine so I could have a creative outlet and something that was mine again. It was so much fun but my son quickly had too many things and I couldn’t just keep making stuff for just him so I started giving them away as gifts to friends.
A few months later my friends started asking me to make things for them to give as gifts and my business formed. I wanted to provide a quality product with a lower price tag in hopes more families could afford and enjoy these products. The first year I did more custom work and then in an effort to get items out quicker and be more efficient I decided to open my website which launched June 2018.
3. Where did you get the idea for the name?
Originally my business was named The Crazy Cactus and after many changes happened to my business and life I decided to rebrand. I started this business when I became a mom. My two littles have inspired the products that I make. I continue to change and improve them based on needs I see from my kiddos. So I decided to rename my business after my kids, Les and Lainey. Without them I would not have started this adventure.
4. What kinds of products does Les and Lainey create and sell? What is your specialty?
I create and sell a variety of kids products. Each product meets CPSC requirements and my clips have been third party tested for safety and durability!
I love simple and personal burp rags and that is where I started. I loved everything on the market but wanted something more unique. A burp rag that was absorbent and not just cute, and also affordable. I offer these on my site in a variety of prints and they can be monogrammed as well.
Next I wanted more options for pacifier clips for my son. There are not a lot of boy options on the market so it was hard for me to find something I liked that was affordable and a good quality. I originally started with exclusively doing boy prints and have added girl prints over time. I also offer beaded pacifier clips as well. My son called his pacifier a papi so I decided to call my clips papi clips.
I make toddler hooded towels as well. These offer a more long term option as opposed to the infant hooded towels we all get at baby showers. They are equipped with a hood and pockets at the top to help toddlers and kids wrap themselves up on their own as they grow.
Looking for more options to offer my customers I started carrying the PATpat pacifier. These come in a variety of colors and are an amazing quality product. It is called PATpat for (Pacifier And Teether in one.) A mom created the PATpat when she didn’t like what was on the market. The PATpat was created with a dual purpose in mind. The pacifier side was made to soothe an infant/baby. The teether side was developed to aid with teething relief. Made with 100% medical grade silicone, the PATpat is safe, non-toxic, BPA free, PVC free, phthalates free, and latex free. The PATpat is US CPSIA compliant and FDA approved. The soft, pliable, medical grade silicone is soothing for babies and their gums. The pacifier features a round, soft, durable nipple.
These pacifiers are perfect for babies of all ages, 0+. PATpat’s one piece design is seamless, from end to end. Its large round shield mimics the comfort of mother’s breast to soothe baby. Larger breathing holes provide increased ventilation. Designed with a teething baby in mind, the handle ridges provide comfort to baby’s gums. Simply pop the nipple in while it’s being used as a teether. The outer handle makes it easy for baby to grip and hold when placing in baby’s mouth. These pacifiers have received high praise by nurses and speech therapists due to its shape and design.
The newest product I have added are teethers from Toothy.life. They are silicone and come in three cute shapes and colors. Each teether has sensory bumps on the back for all the teething baby gums.
5. What items are most popular? Which is your favorite?
My most popular items are the burp rags or PATpat pacifiers. Many customers buy my products as a matching set (burp rag, papi clip and PATpat). Even if you don’t need them for your own little one these sets make a great personalized gift for all the expecting mommy’s in your life. My favorite is definitely the burp rags. Depending on the little one or parent preference not everyone uses pacifiers or pacifier clips but all babies spit up. We are still using ours two years later, not near as often as we used to but they are great for snotty noses or wiping dirty faces as your baby grows into a toddler.
6. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start their own business? Have you had any lessons learned so far you’d like to share?
My advice would be to go for it! It’s so scary and coming from a teaching background not a business background I am continually learning better or easier ways to run my business, but if you never try you will never know what you are capable of. I never dreamed I would do anything like this but it has been great so far. I have learned over the last two years not to compare where I am with my business to where others are with theirs. I remind my self of this all the time and still forget. Someone told me at a conference that you can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. This is so true, I see all these mom owned businesses with so many followers and sales and think why can’t I do that. Then when I take a step back I have to remind my self I am just starting and they have been working at it for a few years. I strive to be like those mommas someday but for now being content with the present is a great place to be.
7. What does the future look like for Les and Lainey?
I hope the Les and Lainey continues to grow! We welcomed our second baby into our family in February so I have taken a step back for just a bit while she needs me the most. In this time off I have been working more in the background, researching materials and designing new products that I want to bring my customers soon. I hope everyone will come follow me on this journey.
8. Anything else you’d like to share about Les and Lainey?
I attribute this business to helping me overcome my postpartum depression and helping me develop as a person and a mom. I may not have a million dollar idea but through all the support and love I have received since starting this business I feel like I do. I have had the opportunity to connect with other moms all over the country as well as locally, I enjoy promoting other small businesses local and far on my business page because we have to help each other out. I share daily quotes that are usually based on things I am feeling. Some are silly and some are very real but I wanted to share all the things on my page. I want some mom who may be struggling and stumble across my page to know that I am not a perfect mom, or pinterest mom but a real mom like her who has struggles.
I am about creating a community for moms and parents. Parenting and motherhood is far from easy and despite me running a business and being a mom I am far from having things all figured out. I want other moms to know they aren’t alone when they are having a bad day but that there are also good days and moments all around us.
Want to ready about other local Cypress businesses I’ve featured? Check out all my Cypress Spotlights. If you are a local business interested in working together, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!