One of the fun things about growing up is watching everyone else you knew as a kid do it, too. (Or at least we all try.) I met Andrea Hydeen of the pinkadink via church and high school, when I moved to Orange City, Iowa at the age of sixteen. She was Andrea Smits back then, and has since married, had three darling children, and started her own business! Since I’ve been spotting her lovely creations in town and online, I wanted to find out more about what she’s doing, and share it with you. Read on. (All photos courtesy of Andrea Hydeen.)
KoH: When did you start the pinkadink, and why?
AH: I started the pinkadink in Feb of ’09 because I had ordered a headband from another company that I wasn’t completely happy with. I realized that I had fallen in love with the photo of the product more than the actual product. So I ripped it apart, found something I liked better, and made my very first headband. So, the pinkadink started as an interchangable hair accessory business, and over the course of 4 years has turned into something completely different!
KoH: Where did the name come from?
AH: I wish I had a better answer for this one, since it’s a common question for me. The truth is that I like polka dots. I love the look and also the word. So, even before I had a name I knew I wanted polka dots in the logo, and I knew since it was a little girls’ business, I wanted ‘pink’ in it. So it went something like this: polka dot….pinka dot…pinkadink! And it stuck.
KoH: Where do you draw inspiration from?
AH: I feel like this could be two different questions so I’ll answer both. As far as getting ideas and that type of inspiration, I just really love browsing other children’s boutiques and Etsy and such, finding either patterns, or fabrics, or styles that I like, and figuring out how to make them fit into the pinkadink. I tend to like my things to be more on the classic side than the super duper trendy side. I want them to be in style, of course, but not so over the top that in 3 years you’ll wonder why you ever bought such a thing. But I do like looking at all that weird stuff too. and sometimes it gives me ideas. And for fabrics and stuff, I am really drawn to browns and grays and greens and yellows, and nature based prints (not CUTESY flowers, but natural flowers, etc.). I have to make a very conscious effort to purchase anything in the pink and purple color schemes because it’s not naturally my first choice. It often prompts the question, “Why is your name the pinkadink if you don’t have any pink stuff?” Good question. See #1.
As far as “inner inspiration” goes, the main thing that inspires me to work this business is the ability to be home with my kids. I have Spanish and Elementary Education degrees, but after a year of teaching I just really really wanted to be home with my kids. My sweet mom (who died much too young) always told us kids to make sure that if we were working, that we LOVED what we were doing. Well in our family’s situation, I have to be working, and this is a way I can work AND do what I love (both the sewing AND being home with my kids).
KoH: What surprises have you had along the way?
AH: Oh golly. I’d have to say the whole sewing part of the business was a huge surprise. My mom was a master seamstress and even worked in a bridal shop for a while doing alterations, etc. She could do ANYTHING, which is why none of us kids ever really had to learn to sew! I did LOVE watching her, though, and would sit for hours, facing backwards on the couch just watching her. I loved watching the fabrics feed through, and the way she sort of sucked her lips in while she worked, and of course the end result. So after my first semester of college, she “taught” me to sew, and we made a pair of pink cheetah print pajama pants. Really, she did all the work, and I just sewed the straight lines. But that week, she swore up and down that I was “a natural.” So many many years later, after one year of doing only hair accessories, I decided to bust out my mom’s old machine, and try making a dress to add to the line up. And it was a huge hit. I had a few other sewing items I added, and it just took off from there. As it turns out, this is a HUGE love of mine that I never knew existed! My only regret is that I never got to share that passion with my mom.
Of course there have been other surprises too, good ones and bad ones, but discovering that passion is by far the biggest surprise.
KoH: Do you have a favorite pinkadink product?
AH: Hmm…good question. I might have to say the personalized towels. I just love personalized things, but the problem with them is that you can’t pass them down to younger siblings or cousins or friends! But the towels I make are perfect for boys OR girls, from babies to teens, and can be used year after year after year, so there is no “passing down” problem! They are made with a full size bath towel, so they never get too small! I love giving them as baby gifts, birthday gifts for the bazillion parties my kids go to, and I’ve even given them as graduation gifts! and a bonus for me as the creator is that I get to find out all the very unique and beautiful names people are giving their children these days! I love it!
KoH: What advice would you give to others who might want to start their own home-based business?
AH: Well, I have to be honest here, and say that it’s really a LOT of hard work. You have to put a certain amount of money into it (more or less depending on the business) before you’ll get anything back out of it, and it becomes a little bit hard to balance your “other” life with your “work” life, because it’s such a big part of you. And if it’s hobby-based, I’d say some of the magic you experience with it as a hobby is taken away when it becomes a business. BUT…when you’re able to do what you love to do, and earn money for your family in the process, and experience the thrill of building something from the ground up, it’s totally worth all the work. It becomes your dream that keeps on changing and growing. And it comes true. And that is a beautiful feeling when you’ve worked that hard for it. So my advice? Stay positive, set boundaries, work hard, and reap the rewards!
KoH: Anything else you’d like to share?
AH: I’ll go ahead and use this question to plug my business! If you have any little people in your life (or big people, but mostly just little people), please check out my website. It’s www.thepinkadink.com. I also have a facebook page, which is the best place to see the new fabrics, new products, and custom orders I’ve been working on. Thanks so much for taking the time to get to know me and my business a little bit more, and of course for being regular readers of Erica’s wonderful work at Kinds of Honey.
I’m loving the fabrics and the joyful expressions of these kids! Thank you so much, Andrea!