Made in Fort Worth: Lila+Hayes
In 2012, new moms Amanda and Page were struggling to find clothing for their growing children. So instead of moping, they founded a clothing company. Lila+Hayes is centered around classic children’s clothing made from luxuriously soft Pima cotton. Beautiful monograms, contemporary prints, and timeless styling ensure that Lila+Hayes clothing are a perennial favorite! Madeworthy sat down with Amanda to talk about their brand, e-commerce, and, of course, monograms.
Madeworthy: How did Lila & Hayes come about?
Amanda: As new moms, Paige and I struggled to find sweet, soft pajamas for our growing toddlers that we had loved so much when they were babies. After coming up empty handed, we flew to Lima, Peru, in 2012 to a pima cotton trade show and from there, Lila+Hayes was born.
MW: Tell us about the products you design and carry. What’s your best-selling item?
Amanda: Our product line has expanded over the years as we design things to meet the evolving needs of our own children. Paige and I both love classic children’s clothing with a modern spin. We now carry children’s items that range from newborn to 16, as well as men’s and women’s pajamas. Our best-selling items are our 2-piece pajama sets.
MW: From the beginning, did you know you would be expanding into clothing for the whole family?
Amanda: We didn’t! When we would attend holiday gift markets like Christmas in Cowtown, women would always stop and say they wished we made pajamas in their size… So we developed a women’s line that became a huge hit, and then we started to get requests to be able to match the whole family… thus the men’s lounge pant came along.
MW: A Southern lady loves a good monogram. Is this a current trend or are monograms perineal?
Amanda: Monogramming is definitely a huge part of Lila+Hayes, and we, too, love a good monogram! We have seen this trend hold steady throughout the years, and the ability to personalize our styles has always played into the design process… we pride ourselves on having the best monograms around!
MW: What surprising things have you learned about e-commerce?
Amanda: Number one: photography is the key to a successful e-commerce business!! Customers will only buy what looks good to them on a screen. Putting money behind both lifestyle and white board photography is worth every penny. Number two: how much e-commerce has grown over this past year. We were so fortunate to be selling pajamas and loungewear in a time where people were doing a lot of lounging… [so we] were able to capture a broader audience.
MW: Have you found Fort Worth to be supportive of small businesses?
Amanda: We truly can’t imagine a place being more supportive of a small business than Fort Worth! Our local customers remain our bread and butter, even as we have grown into a national brand. When we opened LOCAL Design Studios 3.5 years ago, we didn’t know if anyone would respond to a store that was only open one day a week, but our Fort Worth customers have… supported us BIG!
MW: What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Amanda: Dealing in international business, communication and imports has definitely been our biggest challenge. We are always researching new ways to improve logistics and workflow… Constant communication and brainstorming with our team keep us in sync and help us overcome small obstacles before they become too big.
MW: What’s your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Amanda: Don’t give up! Starting a business takes so much time and perseverance, and there will undoubtedly be many obstacles along the way. It is so easy to want to throw in the towel. Build up a team around you so that you are supported; you can’t do it all. Don’t be afraid to lean on the help of friends and family and look to other entrepreneurs around you for answers as many have probably faced the same obstacles.
MW: What do you want for the future?
Amanda: Lila+Hayes is on a very exciting trajectory, and both our wholesale and retail arms are growing quickly… We have grown from just the two of us to a team of 14, and we continue to grow. Our hope for the future is that we continue to foster expansion while also being able to focus on what’s most important – being moms, daughters and friends, and spending time with those we love the most!