In honor of National Women’s History Month we’ve teamed with Chrissy Powers to showcase seven female creative entrepreneurs who are inspiring us with their incredible work, but also in the way they support other women! Each of these ladies were photographed wearing pieces by Dôen—another strong, female-led brand. Stay tuned as we highlight these women all week. First up, Neve and Hawk!
The first thing you’ll notice about Neve and Hawk’s Kris Galmarini when you meet her is that she’s warm, down to earth and she leaves you feeling like you’re her new best friend. Not only is she talented, but she’s committed to helping children be creative in their own ways, too.
Point being, Kris was the ideal person to help us kick off our new series, ‘Women Supporting Women.’ There’s no doubt that she works hard to support and encourage women in her industry—in fact, in all walks of life.
Kris (who is 14 weeks pregnant!) happily volunteered her shop as our meeting place along with good friend and fellow designer, Stacie Lucas. We discussed, among so much more, how each of us wants to better the relationships we have with our fellow female-kind in the workplace. As you’ll soon be able to see, Kris and Stacie absolutely epitomize grit and grace. Get the scoop below, and don’t miss our interview with Stacie later this week!
How did you get into doing what you do? What was your mindset when you started your business?
Our business grew completely out of our love for making. It happened by chance, something I think a great deal about. When our second child was born, we found ourselves a tad lost—”we” being my husband, Bob, and me. So, to connect, we would create. We came together almost every night, blasted good tunes and just created, finding ourselves as individuals and as a couple again.
Soon, we built our own screen-printing press in our master bedroom and eventually turned it into a full-blown artists’ studio where we combined my love for sewing and textiles with his love for illustration and screen-printing. It just worked. On many levels.
A few months after we really got into it, we were in New York City and someone stopped us, asking where we got our daughter’s outfit (which I had patterned and sewn, and Bob had screen-printed). That person was in the industry and helped us become a brand, launching our first collection six months after we met at Playtime NY.
What were some key moments in your career that you felt vulnerable or doubted yourself, and how did they grow from them?
I feel vulnerable and doubt myself all the time. I don’t think that is something that isn’t a constant in an artist or business owner’s life. I think the real challenge for me is to push past those doubts and fears on a regular basis—to push them aside and keep going. This, in itself, is a major catalyst for growth. When you learn to push through what could paralyze you, you grow in ways you never dreamed.
Why are you a supporter of women in the business, and why is that so important?
We have to encourage each other. We have to want each other to succeed. Our line of work is set up in a way that encourages failure—people wanting others to fail so they gain. There are a lot of designers these days, especially in the kid world. So, I think people’s first instinct is to want others to drop off the market. I don’t believe that.
I feel like there is enough room in this world for all of us. I believe that encouraging and supporting others in the same line of work creates growth for everyone. Is this hard sometimes? Yes. There will always be people who take advantage of others or copy other people’s creativity. But, at the end of the day, the benefits of supporting other women in the same line of work far outweigh the negatives. And on a basic level, I want to be a person who spreads love. It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village—a supportive village—to live a dream.
What are some things we can do to help support other women in the creative industry more?
Make everyone feel welcome. As in any business, there tends to be a “cool kid crowd.” Most of the time this is created without intent to do so. But, it is very important to be aware of it and try to wash away those perceived lines of acceptance. I also think being open and honest about how hard it is to be a woman, business owner, mother, etc. is detrimental. Painting a picture of ease only perpetuates a major flaw in our society—the idea that we can do it all and do it all well. We need to be real and open and there for support because it is hard, yet so worth it.
How do you overcome the sense of competition within your field—especially on a local level?
I think anyone would be lying if they said they never have felt this before. For us, we feel it even with other stores near our flagship. Everyone feels threatened in a way by others. Personally, I try to just put my head down. I put my head down and I work and stay in my own space. If I pick my head up and start to let competition become the focus, I lose. I then let fear in and start creating from that space instead of with a clear head. Nothing great comes from that space. Nothing authentic, anyhow.
When you feel like someone may be threatened by your success, how do you think it can best be handled?
I think this is, unfortunately, a natural response to their own fear and is quite common—fear of their talents, fear of their self worth, fear of their own dreams not working. I think that, with anything, the best way to handle this is to just give back love. Cheesy, maybe, but being kind back is my way of handling things. I also have learned that it is OK to not necessarily put time and attention into every relationship. If there is someone in your life or in your line of work who is showing signs of jealousy and overall bad vibes toward you, it is OK to send love back from afar and not maintain a close relationship with them.
How do you stay positive when you might not get the gig, job or opportunity you were hoping for?
To be honest, this is hard for me. I do not approach a lot of opportunities because of fear of failure. I try to just go with my old “head down” approach. If I go for something, whether it is a collaboration or opportunity, and it is rejected, I just try to stay focused and realize it is part of the process. I am a feeler, though, so that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with the raw emotion of it all. Maybe something else is around the corner? That is what I try to think.
Kris is wearing the Anka Dress. Stacie is wearing the Serre Jumpsuit. Click to see each of the other posts in this series: Stacie Lucas, Gabi Bridges, Angie Johnson and Emily Petros, Rheanna Downey and Jasmine Commerce.