I first met Esther (owner of cuteheads) when we both were on Great Day Houston on the same day (related post here). We had a very brief introduction, but I knew immediately that I liked her. After a few months of Instagram following, liking and commenting (i.e. modern day bonding!), we met up again with a group of Houston mamas for a splash pad playdate in June. Although we all spent most of the time running around after our crazy kiddos, Esther and I got to chat a bit more, and the craziest thing is that I already feel like I’ve known her for ages and ages. She’s just one of those likable people (a common trait amongst all of the ladies I’ll feature in the #GIRLBOSS series).
Besides being incredibly sweet, this working mama is unbelievably talented. Her clothing is adorable – my favorites being this chambray pom-pom romper (that Isla owns!), this blue and white zebra romper, this seersucker dress, and this (sadly sold out!) Carrie top. I also adore the cuteheads custom dresses that Esther makes and will occasionally post photos of on Instagram (like this one and this one). Her skills are endless!
On top of being personable and talented (I’ll stop girl crushing in just a second), Esther has a heart of gold. After the May floods in Houston, she announced on Instagram that she would send flood victims a t-shirt or onesie for every order placed during June. How amazing is that?
Okay, so now for Esther’s part! She answered the following questions about her background, business, inspiration and some fun personal facts. Happy reading! Lastly, make sure to follow cuteheads on Instagram, and watch out for some fun birthday party pictures in the near future!
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Houston, Texas, and I still live here. We love it here!
WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS?
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN YOUR CRAFT, AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Although my background isn’t in fashion or design, I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I always wanted to start my own business. I came up with the idea for cuteheads while I was the PR Manager at Blinds.com. Having a background in marketing and public relations was and still is incredibly helpful in such a social media-driven business. I love working with children and I love being creative. What I’m doing now combines those things. After deciding to start my line, I talked to everyone who would talk to me and read everything I could about design and production. I still made tons of mistakes, but it’s been such a fun journey.
WHO IN YOUR INDUSTRY INSPIRES YOU THE MOST?
I’m inspired by so many business owners, some big, some small. My biggest inspiration is my dad, who founded Blinds.com from our garage in the early 90’s and grew it to what it is today. I’m inspired by local designers like Chloe Dao and David Peck, who are committed to our community and have been paving the way for other local designers. I’m also inspired by people like Susan Petersen, who founded Freshly Picked. She’s kind of the unofficial leader of the handmade movement. She offers up lots of great business advice, and she’s definitely one of the greatest success stories of this community.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST PART ABOUT OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? THE MOST CHALLENGING?
There are so many great things about owning your own business. I love making decisions, making my own schedule, and being able to spend plenty of time with my daughter. It’s wonderful to watch something grow from nothing through hard work and dedication. I love seeing my customer’s pictures of their kids wearing cuteheads. That’s definitely one of my favorite parts. Just as there are wonderful parts, there are plenty of difficult parts. Owning your own business is like having another child; everything rests on your shoulders, and when something fails it can be incredibly tough on you. I find it a really emotional experience, being a business owner. I’m not very good at separating business from home life, it’s something I’m constantly thinking about, which can be exhausting. It’s also very much a marathon, not a sprint. Maintaining the discipline to keep a business going for going on 3 years is challenging. One year in business owner years is more like 10 years!
WHAT PIECE OF WORK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I love the way the new cuteheads redesign looks. It’s so clean and sleek. I’m also excited about the cuteness, the new cuteheads blog. I’ve always felt like a real blog would make a big difference to my business and be a great complement, and I’ve had the best time writing it. It’s given me a place to share some behind the scenes and collaborate with people I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to work with just having my line.
I don’t know if it’s a specific piece of work, but I was once at the zoo with my daughter and saw a little girl wearing cuteheads who I didn’t even know. It was a very surreal and very rewarding experience.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE INTERESTED IN STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
My best advice would be this: don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel. People only share the best parts of their lives; if you want success, work for it and it’ll happen, even if it feels like it’s not happening fast enough or like other people are doing more than you. I truly believe that if you work hard enough for long enough, you’ll make it. There’s enough success to go around. We can all make it.
BOOK? The Kite Runner, Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Women
MOVIE? The Sound of Music. I think I’ve seen it 100 times.
RESTAURANT? Backstreet Cafe or Buffalo Grill
JEWELRY DESIGNER? I love catbird and Gorjana for simple, delicate pieces.
FASHION DESIGNER? David Peck, Mara Hoffman, Alice + Olivia, Miu Miu, YSL (too many favorites!)
CLOTHING STORE? Locally, I love French Cuff Boutique. When I shop online, I love ASOS.
DESSERT? Íle Flottante, tres leches
ANIMAL? Dogs & Platypi < so cute
EMOJI? Monkey with hands over the eyes or party cones it’s confetti
CUPCAKE FLAVOR? Strawberry or vanilla with colored sprinkles
Photo from Worthit.co