How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Two kids, two under two; 21 months and 3 months!
What do you love about living in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids Corridor?
I grew up in Cedar Rapids and attended college at Iowa so I lived in Iowa City for those 4 years. Living in Swisher is the perfect in between of two towns I love best. I love the college feel in Iowa City and in Cedar Rapids I love the Newbo area and the blossoming of fun, eclectic places to visit after the flood!
What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in the area?
Favorite restaurants would be Pei’s in Cedar Rapids, or Big Grove in Iowa City. I do most of my shopping online now and try to support local businesses!
Tell us about your professional background.
I went to school for business marketing, had a job in television sales right out of college and then moved to Non profit world for 4 years. After that I worked at Kirkwood as a program developer and ran a summer camp. So kind-of a big mix of things, but that’s the fun with marketing, you can do it all. I love that I had the experience in sales, which helps with Brynnbands, the experience from non profit (doing it all yourself with limited funds) and the coordination from Kirkwood to run a smooth operation.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I have always loved crafting and being creative. I’ve always been an arts and crafts kind of girl. At each job that I worked at, the programs that I enjoyed the most were ones that could be dreamt up and ran with. I loved that creative side of all my jobs. When the opportunity arose that I could grow Brynnbands into something bigger than just a side hobby, I knew it would be something I would enjoy doing.
How did you find your niche?
Randomly! I honestly was doing other crafts before sewing came along. I used to do a lot of cricut crafts and really enjoyed making realistic crepe paper flowers, I honestly thought my path would be making wedding bouquets out of crepe paper (which is what I did for my own wedding), but there just wasn’t a market for that. When I started sewing scrunchies for a few girls because they were coming back in style, I didn’t expect that it would take off. But soon more and more girls kept requesting scrunchies, and different fun patterns and it just exploded from there! I love being able to find cute and unique prints that you can’t just find at the store. I feel like Brynnbands excels at what it is because I truly appreciate each customer and get to know them. I’m there for their engagements, weddings, baby announcements, etc. I love being that internet friend to girls and showing my appreciation individually with every sale.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The flexibility! I’m not made for a 8-5 desk job. I don’t enjoy sitting idle. I love that if I choose to wake up early and crank out some work and spend the rest of the day doing other things, and then maybe at night jump back into work, I can. I just like being my own boss and on the schedule that works for me.
How do you juggle work with mommyhood?
The best I can. I have to keep reminding myself to give myself grace. These kiddos are only so small for such a short period of time. If I don’t get allllll the items I want done, then that’s what it is. I put my family first and job second. Right now I’m in the season of survival with two under two, and things will change where I can focus more time on Brynnbands, but for the season I’m in right now, I split the best I can. 🙂
How has your life changed during COVID-19?
I started working from home March 2019, so I was already at home a full year before the pandemic hit, so that didn’t really change. But being isolated at home with a toddler was challenging. I wished I could just leave the house and stroll Target or Hobby Lobby. I definitely value friendships so much stronger now too.
What’s your advice to moms in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis?
Hang in there. We’re almost done. They always say moms are superheroes, and I’d personally like to agree. I don’t know how we do it, but somehow we do…at every step/curveball