Interview with Elizabeth Hynes, Founder of VacayStyle
Posted on June 13 2016
We had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Hynes, founder of VacayStyle, at a recent women's entrepreneur circle at The Hivery. Elizabeth is awesome - poised, put-together, and inspiring - all things us basic mommies strive to be. She is a mommy unicorn: holding it down at home and spreading awesomeness with a thriving resortwear business that seeks to solve vacation wardrobe woes. A mother of 3 children, she has a background in apparel merchandising and spent 10 years working at Gap, Inc. before launching her business in 2015.
With summer upon us, and the daunting task of packing for a family vacation looming over our heads, we reached out to Elizabeth to school us in the art of suitcase simplicity.
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1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how your focus landed on resortwear?
For my 2008 honeymoon, my new husband and I quit our corporate jobs and spent 15 months sailing halfway around the world to Australia. I learned a lot about myself, sailing, travel, and how to pack efficiently from that trip. The concept for VacayStyle was born out of that trip. Making a lot out of a little is the way of a sailboat. I mixed and matched a few great pieces to create multiple outfits; this is the starting point for VacayStyle. We design by collection. Each mixes and matches to create 12+ outfits and covers the bases from beach to sightseeing to dinners out.
2. How did the VacayStyle concept come to fruition?
I quit my job as a Merchandising Director at Gap Corp (after about 10 years) and launched the company in April 2015. The learning curve has been steep and the challenges rewarding!
3. VacayStyle clothing is sold as individual items, 3-piece essentials, and 5-piece collections. How did you land on those groupings?
Every item in our collection is versatile and we show exactly how to create multiple outfits. Everything has to "earn its place in the suitcase." Everything is also well-made using high quality fabrics, so after the trip, these pieces will be a great addition to your spring and summer wardrobe.
4. Packing for vacation as a new mom can be overwhelming, mostly because of everything you need to pack for your baby. How can a mom simplify her packing experience (at least for herself) to make sure her wardrobe is taken care of as well?
The first couple of times you go on a trip with a baby, packing for the kids can be daunting, but it is like everything else - you get better at it and it becomes easier! Don't fall into the trap of staying home all the time because it is hard. It is so worth it for the whole family to travel! One of the reasons I created VacayStyle is to help busy moms pack for vacation. You can buy one of our 5-piece collections and we will show you exactly how to create 12+ outfits from it. Even though we might think of ourselves last, we still will be much happier on vacation if we feel we look our best, with minimum stress!
Pssst...VacayStyle is offering a deal on a collection! Receive 20% off and a FREE Vacay Beach Bag when you purchase 5 or more items. PLUS, there's free shipping!
5. What are the most important wardrobe items every mom must include in her suitcase?
I think white jeans are amazing! Such a sharp look that works with so many things. Get a great pair with a little bit of stretch and you will wear them every week! My favorites are from J.Crew and Zara. Also, a great white tank or tee will pair with a ton of items and always looks fresh.
5. What are some of the biggest makes mamas can make when packing?
Bringing everything and the kitchen sink. It is temping to think you need everything for baby, and maybe even for you, but in reality the trip should be more about the experience. Think about what you really need to be comfy and happy, and then go. Many people live without the comforts of home every day!
7. Tell us a bit about your clothing. Any interesting tidbits or functions of the fabrics and silhouettes? Where are you sourced and manufactured?
All the fabrics we source are travel-friendly, from wrinkle resistant to truly wrinkle-free. All the silhouettes are designed to be extremely versatile. And everything is manufactured in San Francisco.
8. If you had to choose a favorite collection, what would it be? A favorite individual piece? Any breastfeeding friendly items to share?
My favorite color is blue, the color of the sky and the ocean. You will see a lot of blue across VacayStyle collections! I love all my pieces but my latest collection, Martinique, is my favorite so far.
Breastfeeding is a tough one. Basically you just need access anytime, anywhere, if you are not going to chain yourself to your home. If you are a dress-loving girl like myself, this can be tough. But Vacay's 2-piece dresses could be great (just lift up the top and go) or a strapless style can work.
9. Where can we buy VacayStyle?
Everything is available online at VacayStyle. We offer free shipping both ways so you can try it risk-free. Also, you get 20% off and a free Vacay beach bag if you buy 5 items or more.
10. If you had to pick a favorite, family-friendly location for the first vacation with baby, where would it be?
Our babies have had passports since birth. We took them to Todos Santos (small surf resort town about an hour from Cabo) the first four years we had little ones. The flight from the Bay Area is easy (about 2.5 hours), there's no big time change, and there are affordable, nice houses available for rent. We have always preferred renting a home versus staying at a resort, as it gives us access to a yard, a family room, kitchen, and laundry, which are great when traveling as a family.
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