Meet Kolcraft Mom & Fashion Designer, Hyon Troutman!
During this special Mother’s Day month we are highlighting some moms who work at Kolcraft. We are excited to start our Kolcraft Mom interviews with Hyon who is our Fashion Design Manager. Not only is Hyon talented and vivacious at work, she is mom to two beautiful girls so her work at a baby gear company takes on special meaning.
You have a great story of “love at Kolcraft,” but let’s start at the beginning. How did you decide that you wanted a career in fashion?
It’s a long story. Here’s the short version…I was always a creative person, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue a career in it. I already had plans to study something very different, very structured, but somewhere along the line it was obvious to me and to everyone around me that I was not happy with what I was doing. I had complete support from all my friends and family to go after my dreams and do something that will make me happy. It sounds so cheesy, but it is important to go after your dreams! I will pass this wisdom on to my kids.
When you came to Kolcraft you met the man you would eventually marry. Having both worked in the baby gear world, did you feel a little more prepared to be parents?
Yes and no. Yes I felt more prepared, but only with the technical aspects of baby gear; folding and unfolding a stroller, assembling a bassinet, etc. When it was actually time to take care of the baby…not so much. For me, it was a whole new experience. I would honestly say that my husband was much more prepared than me. He already had experience taking care of babies…he has two siblings much younger than him. I had never changed a diaper in my life! The first week or so was a bit challenging, but you quickly adapt to this unique situation and somehow everything becomes second nature. It’s all worth it!!! And you forget about all the headaches you had with the first one…then comes baby #2!
You decided to be a working mom and Damon is a stay at home dad. What would you say the benefits are of being a working mom and breaking the stereotypes that you would be the one to stay home and not Damon?
As a working mom, the time I have with my kids is that much more special because of the short time I have with them when I get home. The benefit, according to Damon, the kids will always consider me the “treat” at the end of the day. I truly feel that dads don’t get enough recognition when it comes to parenting. Nowadays, dads are very hands on with everything: feeding, sleeping, cleaning, etc. I don’t think parenting stops when one (mom or dad) goes to work. Physically I am not there with the kids, but I am still planning the next meal, what games to play, which books to read, etc. And as soon as I get home, it’s all about kids!
You have been at Kolcraft for 9 years. What unique challenges do you find in the fashion aspect of baby gear that you didn’t find working in other fashion industries?
In the apparel world, generally, the primary focus is aesthetics. But in the baby gear world, functionality plays a major role alongside aesthetics. Just like everything else in life, you have to find the right balance; choose fabrics with structural integrity but also soft to the touch, forecast colors that are trendy but still timeless, etc. The apparel industry has trends that are fleeting but with baby gear, the products tend to get reused, whether it’s for the 2nd or 3rd child or you pass it down to friends or other family members. It’s these kinds of challenges that make my job even more worthwhile.
How has being a mom impacted how you design baby gear?
I tend to think a lot more about the end users: mother, father and baby. If a product only looks good, but doesn’t function well for the parents and doesn’t provide comfort for the baby, then it is an incomplete product.
Hyon at a glance :
Favorite part about being a mom? The out-of-the-blue, indiscriminate “I LOVE YOU, MOMMY”
Favorite time of day? When I get home from work – all the smiles, the hugs and the kisses that I get as soon as I walk through the door.
Best “sanity” break to recharge your mom battery? Sitting in my massage chair for 15 minutes.
If someone was going to make a movie of your life, who would play you in the lead roll? What would the title of the movie be? Beyonce?! Irreplaceable
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to talk with us Hyon. If you have a burning question for our “fashion mom,” feel free to leave it in the comment section!
Posted May 6, 2010