I am excited to welcome our second co-founder story today! Mattye Woodcock and Rachel Coffey are the founders of Namesake Celebrations, which combines their love for thoughtful planning, family heirlooms, and classic beauty. For all my mamas and caregivers that have always wanted that beautiful, thoughtful birthday party but didn’t have the time or creative eye to make it happen — these are your girls!
Mattye and Rachel start by telling me where the idea of Namesake Celebrations came about — they loved throwing their kids bdays and noticed their friends did too but were having a hard time finding all the things they needed in one space. They continue to tell me how their friendship grew throughout the years and through some really hard times personally. I was in such awe of how raw and honest they were with one another while they were going through different personal struggles that created some friendship tension for a little. We then chat about the first brand they started, which was a collective for creative women to get together, and how this jumpstarted them working together and allowed them to understand how to work with a friend that has a different personality (and it wont take you long to figure that out)! We finish with them breaking down how they started Namesake while still doing their own things (which is true to this day) and an open talk about finances and family support.
These two were so fun to talk to and I found myself sitting back and listening to them feed off one another. I (obviously) loved our highlight on Enneagram and the way they lean into their differences! Whether you are looking for some inspiration or want them to take over your next big milestone celebration, don’t hesitate to reach out to these two — you (or your IG feed) will not be disappointed! Make sure to check out their site and IG for all the details!
Dana: Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your babies first would have no idea how you’d give up the security that your nine to five job brings. My name is Dana Graham and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 Hour Workweek cycle either until I did, as the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans we made a terrifying and totally bizarre leap from health insurance broker to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and the newborn in tow. But but I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds life doing it all, amidst the chaos. Hello and welcome back to another episode of amidst the chaos, I am here this week with two different founders of our company for today which is namesake celebrations and I’m so excited to talk to them this is going to be our second kind of dual entrepreneur co founder type episodes that we’re recording and I think it’s so much fun to have the conversation with both of the founders of the company so it’s really really fun to see how they work together and how they interact so I’m so excited about that. I’m going to have each of them like kind of backup until their individual stories and then have them both come together and talk about how it was founded all at once, and how the two of them, founded namesake celebration So Maddie and Rachel welcome.
Mattye: Thank you. We’re so happy to be here.
Rachel: This is so fun.
Dana: Yes, it is so much fun. I joke about this on every episode because it’s funny because all your friends and family they’ve heard the story a million times and they don’t want to listen to you like ramble on about your business anymore but so many people do want to hear that, including me, and then you get to talk about something that you’re so passionate about and interested in to people who might want to do something like what you guys have built. So, Maddy, tell us what you guys do currently, give us a just quick overview of your company before we then back up and talk about your individual story.
Mattye: Yes. Okay, so it’s namesake celebrations, and we started this company because we found that we loved doing parties for our kids and we also realized that we had friends doing parties, and you know they’re looking everywhere for all the pieces and so we’re a one stop shop for moms to throw early childhood celebrations and for us that really means. Anywhere from this, we have some newborn items but really we focused anywhere from the first birthday, all the way up till to about age eight or nine, you know, it kind of depends on the child personality and the gender but yeah we provide party linens, hats, banners and we’re venturing into more avenues such as paper products, we have some party favors so we really just want to be a one stop shop we have table settings place settings, we want to make it easy, not just easy for moms but enjoyable we want it to feel like they’re throwing a custom party, but they’re not having to spend all the time and all the money it takes to do a custom party and we just want them to feel like, I feel so confident inviting everyone over to this party with all these beautiful items but I didn’t have to do what it might look like I had to do to get it all because we did it for them.
Dana: Yes, I love that you’re speaking to me with the spending less time on something like that. It is, I feel like time is the biggest commodity for people right now, especially with kids still home for the pandemic and they’re trying to make it special. So, so that’s great. Alright so Maddie tell us how this came to be, where did you guys start where were you, you know, way before namesake celebrations was even an idea, what does your life look like.
Mattye: Well, let’s uh we won’t go all the way back to the beginning, but I will say, just as a synopsis of, you know, I’ve always had an interest in entrepreneurship, even as a kid, just, I mean, I did the typical things lemonade stand, I made cards and would sell them to my parents, friends, you know, even my best childhood friend and I would have like a massage parlor if we would have her brother, he would come, we would give him like back massages, and he would like give us all his allowance and his mom, their mom like made us give it all back to all his money. So anyway, I’ve always had interest in stuff like that it’s had a creative side writing stories brawling and I’ve always loved beautiful products and Rachel and I actually met and we were working at our church here in Birmingham and it’s a very large church with several campuses, Rachel was on staff, longer than I was and we met when I came on staff in 2012 And so we kind of met through mutual friends and we were both in the same stage of life and staff was certainly growing at that point but it was still small enough that you know it’s like, oh, okay, here are the girls in their 20s. So, Rachel and I, again, we had mutual friends but we probably hung out a little bit in different circles and our just paths kept converging. And it was actually in 2014, where Rachel ended up leaving staff which I’ll let her kind of tell her reasons.
Rachel: So this is about the time I guess a little bit but before that, that Maddie set me down and she was like hey I’m just letting you know, we are going to be best friends, you are my new best friend to do life together. So, you know me, I just kind of went along with it I was like okay, whatever you say, and she was not like we are, But in 2014 My husband and I just started talking about a family and what we wanted our future to look like, and I had always dabbled in photography I went to school for broadcast journalism and did some photography classes there. So it was kind of getting to the point where I was doing photography every single weekend and then working my nine to five job at the church during the week, and it came to that decision making of like hey what do you want your life to look like in the next 10 years and I knew that we wanted to have family, and I wanted to have more flexibility with my kids. So we’ve decided hey let’s go ahead and take the plunge, go ahead and go full time photography, and see where this goes. It’s interesting you know Maddie, and I were talking about this this week but just, I really thought that my life was gonna look a little bit different when I went full time photography and I was going to be this like go getter I wanted to have weddings every week, and I kind of took the plunge into that and as soon as I did, we had our first little girl, Ruth, in 2017, and I had a full year booked that year. And I realized, hey, this still does not quite look exactly what I wanted it to look. I went into photography wanting to have more flexibility and not have that nine to five job and I was still working so much and not getting to spend as much time with Ruth as I wanted to. So, that’s kind of where we started reevaluating
Mattye: well and I think I really appreciate and admire this part of Rachel’s story because she left her stable job, and I think it’s important to clarify, like because when people hear your work at a church it’s like oh that’s cute be like dust off hymnals and like lead Sunday school, it’s like, no, this is a very large church with at that point it was probably what in the 30,000 in weekly attendance, yes several locations in Alabama. I mean, wow, yeah so it’s a large church, and certainly it’s a life giving environment like nothing about the environment, like with people is corporate but the schedule can feel corporate and we both had pretty demanding roles. And so I think it’s important you know just to clarify that we worked hard we worked really hard. It was a great environment but we worked really hard and so when Rachel left in July, well we want to start a family and you’re like, Oh yeah, are you pregnant like, no, no. And I think that that’s really important to hear that, we always want to move to the next thing when we have like we don’t want to jump off of where we’re standing until we have another stable, landing ground, but sometimes that’s the important step we have to take and granted she did have photography, it wasn’t like there was nothing there but I mean, you weren’t making full time income and there wasn’t the expect. Yeah, there was still some risk involved and frankly you knew you wanted to have a family, but at that time I remember you talking about, like I picture myself with kids, but the act of like getting pregnant and like having a child is terrifying. Yeah, I feel like that space gave you time to process through those emotions
Rachel: a little bit, yeah definitely had to process it was, you know, when you envision what you want your life to look like, but getting to there is some sometimes hard for me. And so I was like I know I have to take these steps to do that, I need to, I take longer to process things and some people I don’t generally just jump in with both feet, and that’s why I think Maddie and that we work well together.
Dana: So I take two things away from this that I think listeners should know and be aware of if they didn’t recognize this like I did. So first off, is that you said you took the time to say hey, I know I want to start a family and I know how I want my life to be I don’t know exactly how I want it to look, but it can’t look like this. I have a family, right I can’t be working full time and doing photography on the side, and have a full family, I know that’s not gonna work. I don’t know what it’s gonna look like. But that can’t work. I don’t think a lot of people have that foresight. Being a mom is one of those things where you don’t know what you don’t know until you’re in it, and I am so impressed that you recognize that and we’re able to take steps to say hey this isn’t gonna work for us once we have a family and that is something that I think listeners who don’t have kids yet, or people who are just kind of starting out their family should take a step back and say hey, is this going to be possible is this lifestyle, what I want it to be in 510 15 years and having that foresight, I think is really, really incredible and amazing because I think that that probably has served you well after starting now your business too and we’ll talk about that later. But having that perspective is so important. The other thing I took away from this is that you said no I’m not pregnant. I’m not at all, and you don’t know when you’re going to be and you don’t know what that’s going to look like, but at that time and looking back it probably happened in the span of just a couple of years, but that time of when am I going to get pregnant, and then being pregnant and then having that baby in the moment, it feels so long. It feels like this huge chapter of your life where you’re like, I don’t know when this is going to be over, I don’t know how this is going to look once the baby is born, and even just getting pregnant for some people take so long and I do just want to encourage people who are getting pressure Well, are you pregnant if you’re making this big change, are you doing this are you doing that, you know, are you ready to have babies. You have to realize that yes, it feels so long in the moment but looking back hopefully it’s gonna feel like a shorter chapter of your life than than what it feels like then and all the pressure from people is really overwhelming pressure and I think that’s so cool that you had the foresight to again bringing it back to the first point is that you had the foresight to say hey this isn’t how it’s going to be for us. This isn’t how it’s going to work and we need to figure out how to how to make it work. Okay, so at this point you are now not working at the church anymore, Rachel, Maddie you still are working on yes I’m still working full time. And so at this point so this is like 2017 Ruth is born, you’re having this full crazy year, Maddie, how many kids did you have at this point,
Mattye: Well, I had a two week old because people are gonna listen to you, like, Man, this girl is really trying to drive things along. So, in addition to my, my best friendship proposal to Rachel and me, she’s a driver in the best kind of way. I thank you right. I also prayed that we would be pregnant at the same time and the prayer was like more of a lord, like, this would be really awesome, like I trust you but like if I could be pregnant same time that would be really great. And so I actually ended up getting pregnant in January of 2016, and I had a miscarriage, a very early miscarriage and it was very upsetting and very challenging and actually the weekend that it happened, my husband was away on a trip and Rachel was away on an anniversary trip with her husband. And so I was alone. I was home alone. That is so hard, and I hadn’t even told Rachel had I told you that I was pregnant yet, I can’t even remember. I don’t think I had, I don’t think you had, because I was so it happened rather quickly, which is a blessing but also can be very shocking to your system if you’re we were open viously you know as my mom will say do I need to have a talk with you, you know how this works. You know I’m like yes, I know how it works. So that happened, which was really challenging and then in June, Rachel told me that she was expecting, and it was a really hard conversation because I remember saying, I wish I were to, you know I went like, and I was happy for her but I was also so broken in my own story that it was really hard here I had lost this thing, and my best friend, has it, you know and yeah it was really hard.
Rachel: It’s really hard to tell you. I remember being so nervous to talk to you, Maddie because I was like, I have this thing that I’m going to tell her, but I had no expectations of how you would receive it because I was like, you know, and know that at the end of the day, we’ve had so many hard talks about, hey, we are never doing anything to hurt each other’s heart like we’re in this like, why would we want to hurt each other, as you know friends because sometimes you human nature is like, what are they thinking or why didn’t they act this way or she should be excited that kind of thing, but I just was like, you know, it’s okay if this does not go well.
Mattye: And yeah, I mean it was a sweet moment but but yeah, it was, it was hard and learn, and then, fortunately, you know, I don’t know it feels kind of a fairy tale type way I mean I found out like a week later that I was pregnant. And so we were due two weeks apart, and Rachel was due two weeks before me, but actually Fox, my son. He came two weeks early, so he was due February 21 He came February 2 Ruth was due February 8 And she came February 16 Oh my gosh. And so, I’ll never forget Rachel sitting beside me a little hospital, you know, with her big pregnant belly and I’m holding Fox and she just looks at me and she goes, the hard part’s over for you. Little did we know the hard part was just beginning. But that will you talk about a period of time that feels like a long time, those are probably the two longest weeks definitely Rachel’s life and I think you know through that pregnancy, we learned a lot and it was hard because we had different experiences because I was having so much passion, just having lost a baby I was just feeling all these things and Rachel, didn’t have that, you know, so I remember just honestly being envious of her feeling like, she’s still laid back, she’s just able to enjoy this and even comparing her symptoms with my symptoms and just being worried so there’s a lot of unspoken tension, we talked through it I guess a little bit more after that but in the moment it was like, oh,
Dana: yeah, and you never want to step on toes or ruin someone else’s joy just because you’re feeling anxiety but I oh my gosh and it is such a blessing that you guys did end up experiencing this together, but there is so much that was probably really hard about that of doing it on exactly the same trajectory, you know, being even three months difference is, is huge when you’re talking about two weeks that’s just a lot of comparison happening and I feel like comparison can be kind of the thief of joy that’s the same right. Yeah, situation. And so I feel like it’s great that you guys recognize that especially looking back and, you know, for anybody that is in that situation now and, you know, All of your life experiences are going to be so different from somebody else’s and to put you in the same place at the same time, pregnancy wise doesn’t mean that you’re in the same mental headspace. At the same time, either, so that’s really good. That’s a really valuable lesson to learn and to know. Okay, so at this point you guys both have tiny little babies right so this is coming into the spring of 2017. So, where did you go from there. This is where Manny’s career change from,
Mattye: yeah, yeah, and not to keep backing this up but I just wanted to throw this tidbit in there in a time when I was still working full time, And Rachel was doing photography you know and all that and then this is super. Yeah, even through our pregnancies, we started something, also with another friend who’s an entrepreneur, called the orchard, and it was a place for creative women in different fields, local to Birmingham to meet and we brought in some speakers we gave resources and we would do masterminds, things like that and so that was really that was Rachel’s vision to start that and she brought Emily and I into it, region kind of talked about the need you felt why you wanted to start that in that season.
Rachel: Yeah, I had just loved the church I had left, community had been on a team with amazing girls that we were thriving every day we had so much fun. So then I was like you know this is gonna be easy. I was homeschooled I can work by myself. This is, I got this. So, about the first week going full time photography, and I was like you know what I don’t have this, I feel lonely and we’re only like 4872 hours into this, and I’m an introvert so I don’t mind being by myself for a few days but I realized very soon like okay I need to do something to create some community and so I would say that that was the number one thing, the orchard as far as getting my foot in the door, it’s the it’s the main thing I did right in photography business because Manny and I, we had gone to some conferences and things like that. and that’s good and you’re bringing back the information with you but if you’re just like, the only person doing something you don’t have anyone being next to you masterminding you pushing you that kind of thing, then it kind of just goes to walk so I felt the need for community and I reached out to Maddie and our friend Emily, and we decided to just create this community where we would invite other people in the creative field, whether it was photography or interior design, web design all kinds of different fields, and we would meet once a week, and kind of talk about where we were, and that’s where I just was like, hey, I want to reach out to this photographer and start second shooting with you and I really like your style Can you teach me this. So, I would feel like that’s where we originated Maddie as far as our path to doing things like this together,
Mattye: and I was gonna say, you know, for anyone listening that is considering going into business with a friend or someone else because a lot of people have warnings stories that they’ll give you and I think that we very much acknowledge this period of time during the orchard, it was really crucial for us because we had some bumps in the road, I mean we’re talking like pit in your stomach. Why is this person doing this, this is there’s a lot of tension like it because we have different personalities and we didn’t understand as much about each other’s personalities and if anyone’s familiar with the Enneagram I am Enneagram three Rachel’s in Enneagram nine. So one way that this would play out is you know in Enneagram three is just going to charge ahead and be like, let’s do this let’s do that. And one thing that’s very important to learn about Enneagram nines is that just because they don’t immediately speak up about your idea, does not mean that they agree with your idea. So when Rachel wouldn’t respond. I was thinking great, she loves right.
Rachel: Here we go. And then the tension moment, processing it and it takes me a few days, and then generally just let it go. But we did we had some moments where we really questioned, are we going to be friends. Yeah.
Mattye: And we have continued to have real conversations since then but I think being able to really talk through that stuff and work through it and still love each other through it, that was really big for us.
Rachel: We got to a point where we said, we’re not gonna divorce each other. We got to talk about things.
Mattye: Yeah, really, really what Rachel saying Is she had to say that to me because I was like, Are you mad at me, I’m going to be different, you know, and she’s like Maddie, I am not going to divorce you like, even if you upset me even, you know, and so, yeah, there were a lot of hard conversations in there, but good I mean I think it’s important to realize you can have hard conversations and things can stay stagnant or you can have hard conversations and things could grow and things we’re constantly growing I feel like I’m able to come to you and to have something, and put it out on the table we’re used to our just internalize it and you’re able to stop and say hey I’m listening. I feel like I’m moving kind of fast, isn’t it
Rachel: Yep, it’s it’s yeah we learned so much
Mattye: and I love that you guys know your Enneagram numbers. It’s funny because when you read about like the relationships between two Enneagram numbers you think about it in like a marriage like, Oh, let me look at see how these relationships interact, but I use it for everything. I use it for friends, I use it for, you know, any now they have like you can type your kids and like figure out what they’re probably going to be and it’s it’s such a powerful tool, and you know some people are not into the INIA gram I am I’m a six by the way. Okay, so like your loyalty to each other just speaks to my heart and like the fact that you’re like, I’m not gonna divorce you. I’m like, That’s so nice. I love it.
Mattye: The most meaningful thing you could say to somebody, it really it really it, I mean it’s important and I don’t mean to be all, Oh in this world today but truly in this world today where things can feel fickle and uncertain and people leave, marriages friendships organizations because they get upset about this or that, I mean, to have someone really say like I’m, I’m here I’ve got your back. I mean, it allows you to build a type of intimacy that is really important and you’re right you think about that kind of stuff with a marriage but you know covenant friendships, like, you know there’s a depth that has to be reached there as well. We kind of laugh because as a lot of people do you know you call your spouse, babe. And we’ll joke we call we call each other spouses Bob, you know, it’s I still call it as Dave and Bob cuz you’ll find yourself wanting to be like Hey babe, it’s like I shouldn’t call your husband babe. Yeah. But, and so okay so during the time we’re doing the orchard we both got pregnant and then it became pretty clear. Okay, we’re not going to be able to continue doing this in the way and maybe that’s important to hear too because, or just important for us to reflect on, even though we wanted to build this life for ourselves when we had kids. It’s not like, oh, we had our child Rachel left her nine to five, and now she just dive into creative field and do whatever I mean, that takes time especially with any new child I think for both of us with a first child. And for me I was going back to work, I very much felt. Honestly, I really wrestled with this, My mom was a stay at home mom, and so in my head I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom. But obviously, as you’ve heard us talk we are people of faith, and I very much felt, you know, God telling me to go back to work, and for those who may or may not, you know, have that in your life. It’s not like I heard this big booming voice from on high, it was just as strong sense and peace in my spirit of like you are to go back to work. I mean I was kicking and screaming like I remember being like, but God why would you have me do something that takes me away from my baby. This is just raw, I mean, it was really hard so it turns out, I was experienced a lot of anxiety and I’ve always like dealt with some anxiety, but I went into a pretty bad state of postpartum anxiety and depression. I mean, and just to paint the picture, I mean I was, it was debilitating. I went to I went to my OB GYN she gave me a prescription kind of a standard prescription it sent me into like panic attacks. So I started going to see a counselor I went to. Yeah, I went to a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist said, and let’s see Fox was, he was born in February, and this really escalated Memorial Day weekend of 2017. And so the psychiatrist said, I’m putting you on new medication. You cannot be the primary caretaker for your son, right now, like you’re not capable to be the primary caretaker, you need to take eight weeks off work. So I literally spent June and July of 2017 getting healthy, my mom came and stayed with us for about six weeks. And again, I know this isn’t a podcast about friendship, but I mean, I had to stop breastfeeding because I was so regimented so I just, it was causing me such panic, and that was a dream I really had to let go of so I breastfed him till about four months, and Rachel had a huge oversupply of milk, and so for about the next six to eight weeks she supplied him with restaurant like pumped milk. And,
Dana: oh my gosh, that was amazing.
Mattye: It was incredible, So I was able to he was about, probably five six months old, you know mean she, she made enough milk for both of our children, which you talk about that prayer of like having babies at the same time and then just not knowing, like, you know, you don’t have milk. You don’t have milk if you don’t have a baby, like so. She so that and she was really, you know, of course, as well as some of our other close friends. We were in a supper club at that time and you know so much support, but that was really life altering in my in my DAF team, you know at church was so supportive and, and I think there was just so much, you know, feeling God calling me back to work at that time and being obedient to that even though that’s not what I wanted. And it’s not like I didn’t want it I want it I didn’t want it for good reason I wanted to be with my son but right there I mean DANA I got two months paid off work where I had full insurance, they pay my salary like total support where God just provided for us in that season. So I went back to work in August, I was able to go back and make slowly let me come back, come back in and really by the end of that year I was just like, I don’t want to be full time I felt the peace so I told my boss that, you know, hey, I, I will never forget this day I said, because we worked very closely together and essentially our team had grown a lot and he had kind of brought me up as his right hand woman, I mean like I was his counterpart like if he couldn’t be there I was there so I mean, he relied on me, a lot of responsibility, and it was really scary to tell him. And I just remember sitting in his office and I said, I don’t want to work as much as I’m working. And he, I mean I’ll never forget it was like the color drained out of his face, and I’ve been he’s, he’s a funny person like he has a really good sense of humor and he was like, Well, do any of us want to work. And I was like well, I don’t know about that but I’m gonna do something about it. And so we talked it through, and I moved to part time at that and part time was two days a week, and so there was so much grace for me to do that. And that was what Rachel, I guess. Okay so that was in 2018. And then, when Fox turned one I got pregnant with my daughter Mae, and so she was born in October of 2018, and then once she was born, I was gonna take off to the end of the year. And then I was like, I can’t quite do two days a week, I’m going to need to do one day a week, and so the joke around the office was like so you’re going part part time, I’m like, Yeah, yep, yep. And when I talk about like, there certainly can be you know a demanding schedule in that job but when I talk about like the life giving environment. I mean my boss literally said to me, well I guess some Maddie is better than no Maddie at all so you can stay one day a week and that’s just a testament of relationship, you know, and, and bringing your best to the table for years I’ve brought my best to the table and you know that created a valuable spot for me on that team and that led the way to this flexibility and it’s really funny you know with Rachel kind of, she made that firm okay I’m stopping and moving on, I literally had the slowest off ramp of staff ever, to the point that it was about a month ago that they officially took me off part time staff. Oh my gosh, so I was going one day a week, in, in 2019, and then COVID hit and I was president on Zoom meetings because everybody. And then by the end of 2020 namesake was being developed and Rachel still doing photography, I’m a writer so I had some writing jobs I was doing. And it just phased out it was like I don’t have this. Yeah. And so anyway, that officially, just kind of there. Yeah, so you’re here I am, yes.
Dana: Well, it’s so interesting to see that you know you guys have built this team and you’ve built this business which we need to go back and get into. You’ve done it in such different ways but up close and personal to each other. I think the most up close and personal, that I’ve ever heard. Are any business partners and best friends which I’m so jealous of I love that
Rachel: it’s again, it is interesting too because we talked about how we have our own things, and we’re still doing our own things, but then we come together to do namesake celebrations, and I don’t know it’s, I don’t hear very many stories like that it’s like it has to be either or it can’t know, and and and so it just goes to prove like, No, it’s okay that, you know, it might look different.
Dana: Okay. And so we’re at the end of 2018 When you imagine what part time. So when was namesake born and all this, and Rachel you had another baby, here too, right?
Rachel: I did so, July of 2019.
Dana: There we go.
Mattye: So when Roslyn came along joke is May was born in 2018 in October 2018 and Roslyn was born nine months later, so we say Rosalyn was going in as May was coming out. So yeah, I mean we were just honestly, during the time of having kids me I would say in the first year and a half of bucks and roofs lives I mean we weren’t doing a lot of work like we were momming it, I mean it was, it was amazing, like we felt like we were editing at night.
Rachel: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean we were still, we were still doing things and we would work on creative projects I was really trying to get my writing up and going, but it was kind of stagnant like, you know. And so then, yeah, Robin talked about things like Hey Will the orchard ever be again, it was like we started feeling tubs of like what are we going to do next we are enjoying this season of being full time moms and dabbling in things but then you start feeling pools to do something, I guess like a creative pool of like hey we need an outlet.
Mattye: And I had started doing some flower arranging and Rachel had really gotten into food and she’s like the snack, queen, literally, if you go on like a day trip with her you basically have a mini grocery store in the car, you know I’m good. Yeah, it’s amazing. I’ve learned so much from her mom mama. Yes. And in the midst of this because this is important part of the namesake story. We were planning these birthday parties for our kids and we, we both loved it, and we really have similar and complimentary but also different skill sets, so I’m kind of the one that’s like, just make it pretty. Here’s the dream look like, Yes, but where are people going to sit. The practical parts of it, yes. And so we kind of experienced this like it was really important for her at Ruth’s first birthday, she made sure that there was either a booster seat or like one of those little like lobster seats that attaches to the table. She made sure that like there was one of those for every child that was going to be there and I like that messes with my aesthetic so you’re going to meet you’ll have to sit on the floor. I mean, you know, so we kind of experiences together and we would learn from each other better helping each other than just trying to do all this on our own, for our kids, and you would be like tell you about this because you’re going to like judge it nothing it’s cute enough I’m like not cute enough she literally did a PJ party for Ruth and every child that attended got a pair of striped PJ’s with their invitation. Oh, my gosh, I love that. It was so cute. I’m like, judge you, I’m like, taking notes over here being like, oh, anyway. But yeah and friends would just ask us like hey what is your opinion about this, can you come over and look at this before the birthday party, and we realized, hey we’re doing this we’re enjoying it,
Mattye: And Rachel talk about 2020 that because that’s really when namesake was born talk about the experience when we were celebrating Amy’s birthday and the lake.
Rachel: Oh yeah, so we were celebrating our friend’s birthday at the leg. This is during quarantine COVID But the four of us had been together. And so we were like hey we want to do something special. We’ve all been in it for months and months now. So we went to Ashley’s lake house, and Maddie and I got there early to set up, and it was like boop boop boop and we were having so much fun. I don’t know, maybe in 45 minutes we had the freeboard, I don’t know how to say that star coutries chair. Yeah, there we go, the Trello board. And we had brought in balloons and Maddie was setting up all the little details and I was like, Mattye — This is so much fun. Look at this, we should do this all the time.
Mattye: Yeah, we were like we could do this and so it kind of was spinning in our head and we started talking about, okay, well what if we put together these like curated parties where we have linens and, you know, beautiful items that people can read we create these themes and, you know, have these like expensive things. For instance, there’s this designer Luli Wallace and she makes these court she’s a painter, she’s an artist but she does these amazing textiles and I was like, let’s get the Louis Wallace textiles, like most people are not I mean if they’re like, I don’t know $99 A yard or something like most people are not going to do that but I thought at least do this, give people a way that have this experience, you know, without having to go through all of the things themselves and so essentially as we started talking, we’re like okay well what about first birthdays like we love first birthdays, we could possibly have that be part of our business. And as we talked and I think this is a really great business principle that we’ve learned and is taught, widely, you know, to find your niche to really find that area where you can serve, and you know we had friends having babies so we’ve been to tons of first birthday parties, we had gone to one that summer like an outdoor one with one of our neighbors and close friends and she was showing us a lie got this from Etsy and did this from this local place and this chain of command, and we were like, just be so great and if we could have it all together and I had been dreaming up some way to do some sort of party business because, I mean we had really both of us had become kind of known for that I tend to be a little bit more vocal about all the things you know like Rachel just being in her own little world doing it so I think people would talk to me about it because I was talking to them about it. And so there was kind of this like, Oh, okay y’all are there was this party thing going on with y’all and so brainstorming it and essentially we just narrowed down we’re like okay, let’s look at first birthdays and Roslyn was about to turn one and her birthday party was August 1 of 2020 and Rachel said, let me get through rosins birthday, and really let us get through me, we were we were tag team in it at that point I mean she was visionary but I was, you know helping her
Rachel: and sure enough, the morning of August 2 The voice tech started. And we launched in February.
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Dana: Okay, so I’m super interested because you talked about finding your niche and how you know this is widely talked about and advised on, but you guys have done a little bit more than that like you have your and I don’t know if anybody’s looked at their websites and should have been talking but you should go right now and look as you’re listening to this episode because you have a very clear brand, you have a very clear mission, you provide exactly everything that you need for this mission, and it’s very precise, for me, oh my gosh, I literally clicked your homepage of your website when I first found you guys on Instagram, somehow and I clicked on it I was like, Oh my gosh, yes, need to hire right now all the birthdays, it’s happening, because that speaks to me but I know there are some people, and you know I have I have a lot of clients as a photographer as a newborn and young families are primarily my realm and even for me for doing those milestone first birthday shoots, you have people who don’t have that taste, who don’t have the clean classic southern. Beautiful. It’s very simple, but it’s very elegant but I know people who don’t have that taste, and I appreciate the fact so much that you’ve taken a child’s birthday and have made it not for everybody, it’s not for everybody, and I love that you recognize that and you own it because I think that it makes the people like me who had does speak to, just want to be as loyal to you as humanly possible, right, because it, you’re not doing everything, you’re not trying to have all the crazy bold colors and patterns and dinosaur themes and airplane themes and you know I love that you have fish down into, into something that really speaks to one certain group of people and I think that it will build your fan base and your loyal customers even to higher places just because you have really recognized that and I’m sure you’ve done that intentionally, but I do want to recognize that for me that was the very first thing that I noticed and I and I love that because so many people start a business and they try to be everything to everybody and learning that right off the bat that you don’t need to be and it’s almost better if you’re not, is super valuable and you guys have clearly done that really really quickly so okay so August 2 comes around in the voice tech start, how did you know that this was the path you were going to go down in terms of age range of kids and what items you’re going to provide and how it’s going to work. What happened,
Rachel: Well, if we could save all of us ways to expand the epi we have saved some of them, but things just started coming out like what about this, what about this, what about this, and it all started falling into place and many can talk a little bit about the linens and that connection and everything.
Mattye: Yeah, well, and this is so cool because there’s a local shop here called cradle and B and it’s a women’s boutique but housed within it, there is fireflies and fairy tales, which is a children’s line of nursery bedding, beautiful fabrics and they were formerly swanky storica primarily just maternity shop and then they expanded into, you know, offering other things and so I had seen their bedding for a while Rachel and I had both shopped in there throughout our pregnancies, and I did some custom curtains from them for Mays nursery and his loved his pattern, this was obsessed with it well with her birthday came around, I wanted to do a table runner with that same fabric and I said hey could y’all do this I guess and I loved working with them their seamstress was amazing and I love supporting local business and so we did that, and it was a great experience well as Rachel and I were talking and we you know we had kind of already had this idea of doing specialty linens. And so I was like well what if we see if we could partner with fireflies a fairy tales. And at the time, the idea was just some of our collection will be this, like some of it will be their fabrics. Well it turns out our entire collection is in their fabric. And because their style matches so much what we loved, and their fabrics are exclusive so they custom design them so you can’t find them anywhere else and that was really special and honestly, We just had so much favor when I called and talked to Bryson, who was the owner, I cannot even express like the open doors the kindness the generosity which is so important because she was like, I want to like support y’all as female business owners I want to help you grow like that is part of my ministry and my calling as a business owner, she’s been shooting this forever. Yeah, I mean Barbara is a very well started as a clothing brand and here’s what’s crazy is that they were looking for somebody to make like some bloomers, and they Googled that you know somebody to make glimmers and they found this seamstress, Martha green in South Carolina, she’s basically think Martha Stewart Joanna Gaines, like Martha Pioneer Woman, Martha green that is her like you need to have her podcast. She is amazing. And so, I mean, she has 11 children, and she is the most she has so much energy, her husband built their house she makes his pants from scratch, they’re incredible they have wedding videos. Yes, Dana. I know for the audio as we say a podcast world famous eyes are as big as saucers, because,
Dana: yeah, yeah, I’m definitely that is that is happening we’re sending an email as soon as we get off this call.
Mattye: Well, I will be the first to listen to that episode because Martha she wrote a book about her life in it’s amazing. She’s so great. So, anyway, they found Martha and Martha has worked with them on their clothing line, and ended up growing so much they went wholesale had to go overseas, all that to say clothing line closed down they opened the bedding and got reconnected with Martha. They welcomed us in to get to work with Martha so she helped us develop all of our products so we have these ideas, and it’s interesting you talk about the style because my natural style is probably on the surface more resembles like what you see and Rachel has a little bit more kind of edgy funky style but, I mean, you appreciate it appreciate it. All right, of course, yeah, you and you love this stuff. I mean, you know, yeah, so we just started dreaming up these things that we wanted and we basically everything we did was just try to think about what do we want, what is hard to find and I think you talking about the niche, we were very particular in ours is kind of considered semi custom because you can personalize there’s some things you can change out or choose but we really wanted to say no, we’re spending the time to figure out what fabrics, look right what color combos look right, we’re not going to let you do this font on this fabric because we know it doesn’t show up, like so, it’s more of a curated experience just because we know because we did it for so many birthdays. Before, we were running all over town and we were like, we just want this to be a curated experience for parents to come to and for it to be easy like we want the mom to be like hey, that was fun. This was not stressful because we’ve definitely done a stressful part. And we love heirlooms and keepsakes we have always incorporated those into our parties were both extremely Submittable and so we loved the idea of creating items that could be passed down and really that’s what the name namesake is all about. We have namesakes and our, you know names and our children, and it’s really a namesake is something that connects one generation to the other. Something that is passed down that is valuable and that helps tell a story and that, you know, and so really that’s what why we care about these celebrations and it all comes down to a heart for family, a heart for moms of heart to celebrate life, and motherhood is challenging and wonderful and we want, we want to make like celebrate big, if you want to, yes, like, make it special make it memorable. We love the idea of moms, saving the party hat and passing it down for their children’s children and we love the idea of grandparents, coming to the party, you know, and again the connection of family that’s what’s really important to us. Yeah.
Dana: Yeah and I think that that’s really clear, I mean I think that you’ve done a really good job on your website telling that story and making sure that your audience knows that this is kind of what you’re here for and, and goals. Okay, so you’ve talked about your relationship together right and you’ve talked about you know doing other things and then working on namesake and building it up to what it is today and what it’s going to become here in the future as well. But how did that work with your families, what were your husband’s thinking what are your, I mean your kids are young, but what are the what are your family’s thinking about all of this craziness that you’re doing together and on the side, I mean this is, there’s been a lot of jumps over the past few years to kind of find where, where you want to be and what you want your life to look like and I think it’s important to see that yes you’ve, you’ve done this and you’ve built this and you’ve gotten to this point. But you haven’t done it alone, you have a family you have somebody that you’re held accountable to. So, Rachel, why don’t you start and tell us how your family kind of has thought about you guys doing, doing all this together
Rachel: so well, I don’t think this was any surprise to Lucas my husband or to Woody, many salesmen. Like, these girls. They always have something, but they are so supportive and I’m not just saying that to be like they’re so supportive and the obviously right we had to get some things together as far as, Hey, this is how much we need to budget and so we started pricing out things. How much is this going to cost us how much is the website in cost is how much do pictures cost, you know all that, all that jazz, and we took it to them and we were like, Hey, this is what we’re looking at, we have some ideas and how we can fund this. As far as doing some parties. Along the way, we did a custom party for a friend of ours that helped end up putting some money into namesake. And then, yeah, from there, they’ve just been there, we’re like, this is how much it’s gonna cost, we put in our half and then here we are. Yeah.
Mattye: Well, and that’s you know that’s an interesting thing to do, like our family values, definitely play into this because we are debt free families, I mean other than our houses, and our business is debt free as well and there have been a lot of tough conversations about that too because I mean I’m kind of like, let’s just borrow some money and blow this out of the water and come on and Lucas and Woody and I, we are all back to the Enneagram and the withdrawn stance, and to what he’s up for my husband is mad.
Rachel: So I think that’s all important to know how our team is built up, they are very much so on our team. And I tell Maddie all the time, things would not get done if we didn’t have many. Either she’s the player the driver that kind of thing, but then she has three people next to her saying, okay, yes to this notice yesterday. So, all of the pieces that just fit in so well because we’re able not to go into debt over namesake celebrations and just really prioritize the things that are important.
Mattye: Yeah, I think you’re right. Their support is huge and they’re totally definitely on our team, although, you know, we don’t always do the best job keeping them in the loop of things we do, but they’re like don’t get it, let us know. Right, right, we are moving so fast it’s, you know, we try to have. There’s no time. Yeah, we have meetings with them. I mean, you know, Lucas was able to go with us to our accountant meeting, I mean they are very much involved in. And I would say our husbands are both in their own way, dreamers, and this is part of the reason that our families are close friends because we just Jive in this way there is a, hey, here are the principles here and the values we’re gonna live by these are the things that guide us, but we also have big dreams and big hope. So I think that that helps them they see it and we also we answered the tough questions, of like, hey, like do I really need to be working till three in the morning, you know like we, there is that ability. And we’re like, yes, sometimes we do need to work till three in the morning, and no sometimes we’re just. No we don’t.
Rachel: There’s times that they’ve just had to be like, we had the kids this weekend y’all go do what you need to do and we are so grateful for that because we realize like, okay, they are supportive, and we just have to realize this is a season two, because right now we are very much still in the season of doing everything from accounting to shipping and handling answering social media, and it can be a lot and we are with our kids all the time. Tuesdays are the only days that we’ve worked together on namesake, and then every other day that we work on this we are treading our kids along with us so we’re at the park or zoo or whatever. We’re talking through business things or voice texting each other throughout the day and,
Dana: well, that’s so nice that your kids have each other and your husbands have each other and when you’re doing things you have each other I mean I love, I think that that is so valuable, because being an entrepreneur is so lonely, and it’s only for your families, nobody else really understands the sacrifice of the commitment and those three I mean you could say, Three I’m working but like, nobody sees that for your family and the fact that they have each other to kind of talk that through and talk about it with is, yes, I love that anytime we have to work on our own. We’re like, no, no,
Mattye: And I think too, it’s important to realize that, you know, being moms is still our first priority and we love namesake, we love our work and we we do stretch ourselves to make it happen there is sacrifice, you know, and there are times where we’re probably working on stuff and not giving your kids the attention that we would want to or need to at that moment, but there are also days where we go you know what social media post isn’t happening today. That’s fine if this has to grow a little slower because of XYZ, like, this is the priority and frankly part of the reason that we do this as we taught is so that we can be present for our kids so that we can have flexibility and so we have to, you know you want to make sure that and there are seasons there, heavy seasons and lighter seasons, you know, but make sure that that staying is intact, like that’s what I mean and we do we, you know, had our kids at photoshoots and I mean our kids are into it we really, and Rachel did a good job of this early on and I feel like I started doing it more because I would just say oh Mommy’s going to work, but I started with really with Rachel doing this with Ruth and I’ve started doing it more in the box, and may you know she Rosalind can’t quite understand yet, but I’ll say things like, Oh, yeah, we’re working on namesake or we’re doing a party you know how many, we’d like to throw special parties for you. We’re gonna go do this for another family or, you know, here’s a name that we try to involve them in it, even to the point that my son, the other night gets out of bed, and like trying to sneak out of bed and he’s like, he goes, Mommy, I just saw namesake package arrive. Oh, it was like nine like 930 And I was like that boy knows exactly what to do to get me caught up and we looked outside and he was like, oh sprintin thing and I’m like, and Ruth, Rachel has to peel roof off of her did not come to work with her.
Rachel: The way you loves it so we when we’re doing little photo shoots we’re generally outside one of our houses, and we’ll just set up a little space for Ruth to be working next to us and she’ll take her little camera and take pictures of animals and dinosaurs and unicorns like she does little flatlays, it’s what and that’s so important to that’s so valuable for them to be able to see working and it’s so nice when you do have a business like this where you can involve them in some things and I was just talking about this to another guest recently that was like, yes, it takes so much more effort to have them around, and to explain to them what is happening and what you are doing to make your business keep on going, it takes so much more time. And I recognize that it’s a lot more effort but I think in the long run it’s really gonna pay off.
Dana: And I also think people have been doing this forever, but I think that this generation is going to be kind of the first that’s been super involved, and a lot of them and, and even with COVID to mean just people who work regular corporate jobs I think their kids are way more involved in see what it’s going to be like so I think it’s gonna be really interesting over the next, you know 20 years watching them come into the workforce after seeing their parents do their job and start businesses and I feel like it’s just gonna be more accessible, my, my dad has his own business, my entire life he’s I’ve never known him to work for anyone. And so for me it wasn’t super foreign, but also, I don’t have friends that have done this, I don’t have any other people other than Him that I’m very close with that have started their own businesses and I think that’s going to be so different. For this next generation, they’re gonna have so many resources.
Mattye: And, you know, things that they can do and ideas that they can have and, and be able to believe in themselves and know that this can actually work, because it’s worked for all these people that we know.
Dana: Absolutely. I love that. And I agree. Yeah, it’s funny, my, my daughter was born, probably like three months before you guys’s first, and then my son was October 2018 So we’re like almost exact same, so you know, Can I do it yes so this, this age has been, and I feel like with every even every month that they get older it does become easier to manage working at home, and working with kids and I, and I’ve said that before but I think that’s important to recognize it’s one of those same things, it feels so long in the time and you’re like oh my gosh, am I ever going to be able to work and not have these kids screaming in the background or, you know, trying to get me to stop or whatever it is going on and it’s one of those things that it’s a season, and it does there is an end but you don’t know that there’s an end until you live it, and it’s hard to tell people that, but hopefully you know there is some, some light at the end of the tunnel and hope and knowing that that doesn’t and you don’t want to rush it, you know that’s another hard thing about this is you don’t, you don’t want to say, oh I wish that they could understand that I need to work right now or I wish they were a little bit more independent because you don’t want to wish that time away with them but at the same time you have passions and an outlet that you want to, you know, pursue and keep moving in this business that you’ve built so I think finding that balance is, is really hard and is going to change with every single season. Yes, you, that you are in your life.
Mattye: No, I agree. I mean I think it’s it’s a balance and I think just because it can feel hard doesn’t mean to give up. I’ve heard this quote, actually, my boss, where I used, you know, to work the church I used to work at EA and I think this was quoted from an author but he would always say, this is a tension to manage not a problem to solve. And so we’re not always just looking for let’s solve this problem, we just have to manage this ongoing tension and I think it’s healthy for us, as moms to go Hey, it’s okay that I have this passion, it’s okay that I look forward to my day out in the house that’s not wrong, that doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids I mean I love my husband and most women wouldn’t stop from saying like yeah I want to trip with my girlfriend sometimes, you know like that, that is acceptable but I think as moms, we sometimes feel this guilt that if we don’t constantly want to be with our children every single moment of every single day that we’re not good moms. But we also know the paradox of like, can I just get a break and then the second year away from them, scrolling looking at their pictures and, you know, missing them so I do, I do think we have a special part of us as moms that is unique to women and to mothers that the connection we have with them. And I think that it’s important to listen to that too but it’s a tension to manage and we enjoy working, and I think for Rachel and I both when we allow ourselves to have babysitters or things that allow us to truly focus in and fully be in work mode. We really do feel like more attentive moms because we’ve kind of expressed this part we’ve worked to that muscle and now we’re ready, you know, to be in mom mode like when I really give myself permission to really work, then it’s easier for me to turn it off, because I’m like, Okay, I’m ready, I’m ready to transition to this. So yeah, in finding a support group, whether that’s a nanny babysitter a daycare a husband, a family member of friends, finding a way that you can give yourself that outlet and like you said, knowing that it might be 30 minutes in this season, it might be five hours. In the next season and I mean we talk about this sometimes how you talk about rushing in a way and it’s like, okay, there’s going to be a day, and not to live in a fear mentality but there’s going to be a day where we’re gonna miss those little hands pulling on us, you know they’re gonna want to go hang out with their friends and we’re gonna be like, can’t you just come interrupt my phone call, again, you know say hold me like so just trying to savor it knowing that it’s beautiful and it’s hard but it’s not gonna last forever so embrace the hard, and the beautiful, and just, just embrace it and have it for the season, knowing that it is fleeting and part of you is glad that it’s fleeting and part of you is sad that it’s fleeting and you can hold both of those at once.
Dana: Yes, totally and seeing that everybody needs different amounts of time away, and what that time away looks like it does need to be different for some people, I have a really close friends who go and working 40 hours a week away from my kids, it makes me a better parent, it fills my need to work and to provide financially and to just have an outlet for me to do something that I love, and it makes me a better parent to spend that much time away. For me it didn’t make me a better parent, it did not for me I needed to be more hands on and more home for them. But even now, looking back, I’m like, I don’t think I could have been a full time stay at home mom without some sort of outlet like I don’t think I could have spent 20 473 65 with the kids by myself without having something else going on and without having somebody to rely on and, you know, spend a little bit of time away from them so I think knowing that it’s different for everybody. Wellness season is fleeting it changes to and it’s different for every single person because goodness knows I definitely have to have some time, where they are taken care of, and somebody else is in charge, that’s not me. Amen. Well, thank you guys so much for coming on today I am so honored to have you guys and I love seeing this relationship between the two of you and I know so many people out there are so scared to start a business because they don’t want it all to be on them, that’s not their personality that’s not what they’ve ever wanted to do, they never wanted to be an entrepreneur but they have this great idea and they know something can work and they think my best friend’s into this too, like let’s do this together let’s, let’s share the burden. Let’s share the joy. Let’s share this business and I think that you do hear those horror stories I think you mentioned that earlier matter you do hear horror stories of friends working together and started something or sisters or, you know, some sort of intense relationship like that and I love having an example of someone, you know, the two of you that have thrived through this and have really created something amazing so I appreciate you being on here and being my little guinea pigs for success in business so thank you guys so much, why don’t you tell us where we can find you online and on social media.
Mattye: Well you can find us on Instagram at namesakes celebrations. And our website is namesakecelebrations.com So those are the best places to find us and personally, I’m at Matty dot Woodcock and
Rachel: a coffeygirlCo.
Dana: Yes, you I know I noted that earlier I was like, We got to make sure to tell people that.
So one other thing I wanted to bring up before we wrap up here if someone is getting ready to celebrate a first birthday or any other milestone birthday and they want to use your services, about how long out should they start looking, what is our, What is our ramp up time here.
Mattye: So what we were actually getting ready to move to an even shorter timeline so depending when a guest, you know when someone might be listening to this, it could be even quicker we’re working towards like a two week timeline we’re on about two to four weeks right now, Especially, we do have some things in stock, if you want something personalized with a name, a monogram. Then, we recommend you know if you can be about a month out, you’re gonna be in a pretty good, pretty good spot.
Dana: Perfect. I know I listened to podcasts with different businesses and things and I’m like wait, tell me something actual, tangible about using their product because I need to be prepared and know to expect so that’s perfect and I think that, I think that’s amazing. I was expecting way longer than that.
Mattye: That’s great. Oh good, as hard as vision for our businesses, there are lots of places where you can get custom things done, but we really want it to be, Hey, you didn’t plan ahead like maybe you thought you would six months ago, and you need something beautiful. You don’t want to sacrifice on beauty but you need it quickly and so we really get it, we’re going to continue developing products with Martha that we talked about, but we actually Just got connected with a little nice dress who is going to be production. She’s local and she has a team. We want to be here for those people who are like its my baby’s birthday is because I’m so I think it was all the hard drive, moms who didn’t plan ahead, but once I right well we would love for you.
Dana: Awesome, Well thank you guys so so much and I really appreciate it. I don’t know if he’s gonna make it so that fish today or not entrepreneurs out there. So thank you both so much.
I am so honored today babble about living this life amidst the chaos, videos, or snippets College, head over to our website at amidstthechaospodcast.com . If anything mentioned in today’s episode good if you’re really feeling inspired the world to me and my family. You know, thanks for joining me, sometimes it is nine to five is super busy. He might not be checking in on his the skirt you know.