Phoebe Hayman is the creative mastermind behind the family lifestyle brand, Seedling. Her unique perspective on play matched with her artistic drive is what fuels her company and makes her so successful. As a mother, artist, and entrepreneur, she plays many roles, all while upholding the mission to design a lifestyle, rather than an end-product.
Like the process of interior design, Seedling’s toys focus on creative exploration and provide a shared experience for the entire family. We had the opportunity to stop by the Seedling Headquarters to discuss our similar company views, her creative pursuits, and of course, the motivations behind her gorgeous office space.
Check out the full interview here!
How did you get started?
“I got started about 8 years ago when I was back in New Zealand. We made a few products for a local market and they sold out. From there, we went to a local store and soon we had international people asking us about product and it just grew from there.”
Do you have a childhood story of something that inspired your creativity?
“My mom was always really hands-on and crafty. I was raised in Iowa, in the middle of the midwest, so I was really into crafts. My mom did a party for me where we got to design our own sweatshirts. You know, back in the day when puff-paint was cool? It was an awesome experience so I think a lot of it comes from my mom!”
Laurel & Wolf was created out of a need to evolve the stagnant interior design industry, why did you feel the need to disrupt the children’s toy/play industry?
“We think that play has evolved a lot in the last ten years, but we don’t think that the industry is evolving in the same way. We believe that play isn’t just a thing–it’s an experience. So, we create products that offer a creative experience and match peoples’ lifestyles. Our philosophy is to value play as more than a ‘thing.’”
Our motto at Laurel & Wolf is “Design the Life You Deserve.” We are all about creating an experience for our clients. What kind of lifestyle do you encourage through your products?
“We encourage play at all stages and ages. We want children to continue to play with and reimagine how they use their creation every day. We want them to share with friends. We want it to be a family experience. We want to do something that’s well-rounded. Again, it’s all about the experience our products inspire, helping families make the most of those little moments and discoveries they enjoy together.”
How do your children inspire your work?
“My kids are a big part of the work that we do, being a kid’s company. As you watch them grow, learn and develop, you see a lot of the ideas that we have around play materialize. I constantly think about opportunities for boys, as well as girls. When we think about our experiences here, we want to make sure that they are real for kids, not pretend. That way, they can learn real skills.”
Rapid Fire Questions:
Where do you feel most creative when you’re not at work? “At home, in our lounge. It’s a nice quiet space with no kids.”
How do you define your style: “Art Loft Style…Tidy Art School.”
Favorite place to shop for home or office: “Anthropologie”
Favorite Blog: “Style File out of Australia”
Most Treasured Item: “That would have to be a bronze statue of Ganesh that we got after our trip to India.”
Greatest Creative/Professional Influence: “Frida Kahlo.”
Favorite Seedling product: “The Snow Globe. My son had an obsession with snow globes, which is why we made that product. I used to travel a lot, and my son would love when I would bring them home. I got one from Germany, one from New York, so I helped him make his own.”
1. “The sign is something that’s been with me through a few office moves. It always reminds me of the great people I work with and the sense of humor we have around our work.”
2. “I’m obsessed with pom-poms, so my co-founder Soleil brought me these beautiful vibrant pom-poms from her trip to Mexico earlier this year. I love the bold colors and soft textures of them. When she gave them to me, I looped them onto a nail in the wall and they haven’t moved since!”
1. “I’m aware that as I build a company, it is a complex weave of all the people and stories that make up the beautiful snapshot you see at any one time. The abstract piece was not painted necessarily for work, but was inspired by the company — the joyful moments, and the tearful moments. I love having it there to remind me of each moment in time. I think it’s valuable to take time to reflect on the journey at each stage, so I’m trying to do this more often.”
2. “The piece of my kids wasn’t destined to be in the office, and it’s very raw and technically unfinished. But, when I started painting, I got this far in and felt that I captured a piece of them. I loved it and I didn’t feel like there was anything else I could add to make it better, so I left in this raw state. This painting is a constant reminder of my beautiful little people (and a reminder that truly beautiful things are simple to capture).”
xoxo, Laurel & Wolf
Click here for more information on Phoebe’s innovative approach to play and how a creative childhood upbringing leads to tomorrow’s change-makers.
Interview by Phoebe Hayman and photos by Sean Robertson.