You’ve seen the Kardashians rock the look and now everyday girls are embracing the trend. I’m not talking spray tans or extensions; I’m talking about the ultra chic headbands and ponytail elastics you can wear like a traditional head band or over the forehead for a fun, boho look. I personally love the pony tail elastics because they double as arm candy around your wrist. Founder and owner of Haybands, Hayley Childress, is a local NOLA girl pursuing her dreams of entrepreneurship in the Crescent City. Read on to learn more about her, her company and how to score the look for free.
Tell us a little about yourself. What inspired you to start Haybands?
I have always been super sensitive to fabrics against my skin. Being picky is an understatement when describing the ‘feel test’ I have to give clothes before purchasing for my closet. Growing up, I wanted to wear the cute headbands everyone else had, but could not get past how sore my head felt while wearing them. My boycott of the market’s most fashionable hair accessories would leave me with nothing to choose from that wasn’t plastic, an itchy fabric, or cutting off my head’s circulation.
I graduated from the Academy of the Sacred Heart in 2006, Louisiana State University in 2010, and immediately started my first semester of LSUHSC’s Master of Occupational Therapy graduate program in January 2011.
In the summer of 2011, I began researching for a satin elastic sewing fabric made into a hair tie I spotted at a boutique in San Francisco. After weeks of contacting fabric manufacturers and sewing enthusiasts, I finally found the perfect fabric for making my own. What evolved was making hair ties for myself, to then receiving multiple requests from classmates, teachers, and family friends, was the incredible story of Haybands.
There had never been a business plan or chart created to map out our future plans working in a business partnership for Haybands. Tackling graduate school studies and field work clinics left me with little time to focus on the growth of a business. Julie (business partner) saw the potential in this idea and immersed herself in the elastic accessory cottage industry. We both quickly developed into two Southern Louisiana girls filling the niche for fashion, hair care, and most of all comfort. Because of friends who carried Haybands accessories in their stores throughout south Louisiana and the wonderful support of our local small business merchants, Haybands has grown significantly from its humble beginnings.
The wonderful girls at New Orleans’ own Hemline boutique took a risk and began selling Haybands in place of their previous nationally known hair tie elastic supplier. Not only have they been supportive by carrying Haybands, they created the huge buzz that surrounded our Mardi Gras TriGlitter Haylo that sold out within 9 days upon its arrival! Haybands are currently being carried in over sixty local and nationwide boutique, gift, and salon storefronts. Woohoo!!
Haybands do not fray in contrast to many hair ties on the market.
Every piece of product customers receive is hand made from start to finish. We individually pick colors of elastic, glitter or prints; cut, knot, or braid each hair tie or Haylo; and treat the tail ends of each item to prevent fraying. Haybands are comfortable for continuous wear and according to customer feedback, have decreased migraine symptoms caused by previous holders. Haybands prevent ponytail creasing in your hair, and most importantly, they do not damage your hair like normal elastics. We were the first hair tie brand with double band hair ties. Haybands stand out because they are treated, and they appeal to children as well as adults. We cater to our local joie de vivre with New Orleans festivals, holidays, and sports (pro, university, and high school) sets and Haylos (our signature braids and headbands). Haybands takes pride in offering our products for fundraisers and donating a percentage of sales of certain elastics for worthy causes, i.e., we donated a percentage of our pink ribbon hair tie sales to The Susan G. Komen Foundation.
What is your favorite product in the line and how do you wear it?
I wear all of my Haylos across my forehead. It is definitely a representation of my inner bohemian to have coined the term Haylo for our headbands. Our customers have loved it and the Haylos seen on the streets during Mardi Gras were too many to count!
We spent many long days and nights designing what we thought would be the best Haylo yet for this upcoming football season. We chose a new size in addition to a whole new look for Haybands! We think this will be very popular (moms and daughters!) once it makes its debut in a month or two! *Hint – you can see it being worn on our Facebook page’s profile picture model.*
What product would you recommend for a woman with shorter hair?
Well, one of us does have very short hair, and she wears Haybands’ headbands in the standard fashion, while wearing one or two hair ties on her wrist every day. Switching it up per outfit, but definitely keeps her wrists accessorized with our elastic arm candy!
I see you are developing dog collars. What led you to this new product?
We are literally obsessed with our dogs, and we were always looking for little fun collars that were not $50. The “accessory” we were always looking for needed to be affordable and fun – so Pawty Bands were created. We always want to show off our fave furry friends and how precious they can be!
Since we are a moms blog, I am sure girl mommies are wondering if Haybands would work for their children. What items would fit a young girl?
We have always catered to our youngest Haybands girls, too! We offer child sizing for many of our online products. On specific product pages, online shoppers can choose Child or Adult size for many of our Haybands. Child sizing for headbands runs 19-20 inches. Adult sizing for headbands runs 22-24 inches for Haylo styles as well.
What is your future vision for the company?
One of us is a bohemian visionary whose humble exterior expresses her individuality, while the other is poised, conventional and keeps the business Zen in check. For Hayley, shopping for new and fashionable accessories on the market was once a part time specialty, in addition to studying wellness and occupational therapy in graduate school. As a result of her jinxed anatomy with chronic back pain, she was forced to have a spinal fusion last July 2012. The sudden halt in her role as a student working towards a career to become a licensed occupational therapist was more than an obstacle she could defeat; it prevented her from completing graduate school. Now full time, Haybands has grown and hired part time work to help grow their once cottage business into a nationwide hair accessory brand. Hayley wants to stay true to who she is as an accessory designer. She’s on a mission to introduce the revival of the concept of the scrunchie for its simple style, formal flair, and less damaging effects on women’s hair.
Hayley says, “All things happen for a reason. The timing, consequences, new relationships, and experiences Haybands faced this past year has shaped who we are today as a brand. We started this small business in early 2012 and have loved the response from stores, customers, and especially our local customers. Although our backgrounds may not be business related, this New Orleans mother-daughter duo are filling the niche for fashion, hair care, and comfort all within a day’s work.”
And really though, what girl doesn’t need more pony tails or headbands? Personally, I know I’ll never be able to say that I have enough.