Slow Living with Kay Haupt, Under a Tin Roof
How it’s humanly possible to be a single mama, writer, fiber artist, small library owner, and entrepreneur is beyond us. Add amazing photographic skills to the mix and you’ve got one extremely talented woman. Setting the bar high on Instagram and IRL is Kay Haupt, co-owner of Under a Tin Roof.
Under a Tin Roof is a small, woman-owned business specializing in handmade items for women, children, and home. Co-founded by Kay and her mother, Jill, the mother-daughter duo combine their talents to make unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.
While Kay has a lot on her plate, her refreshingly easygoing outlook is standout. She exudes a slow-living, simplicity-first philosophy that has us smitten… reminding us that “sometimes you really do need to let them play in the giant bucket of dried lavender.”
Read on for more words of wisdom from Kay:
On starting your own small business…
“My biggest was challenge was overcoming my fear of the unknown. I was terrified, wondering if I was making the right decision for my son by going into business rather than into university.
“My advice to anyone starting out is to keep learning and growing with your audience…and yourself. Because our online business is so heavily influenced by Instagram, I find myself always looking for new ways to up our game, which can be really frustrating, especially when you want to see growth happen quickly!
“I’ve made plenty of bad decisions and didn’t follow up on what I said I would do… it happens. And others have done it to me. You just have to keep pushing, learn more, and be courteous to your fellow collaborators. Find a friend who you can talk to, work with people and brands that you really love, and have fun. This isn’t a race, it’s a lifestyle!”
On making time for your passions…
“As far as passions go… I have so many! Right now, I am really passionate about nature and learning how to cultivate it for happiness and health. We’re starting a garden this upcoming spring, which I am pumped about. I am passionate about literature and people’s stories. I am passionate about my son and making sure he has a deep love of life. And I am passionate about my work; everything I do for my business is because I love it. And that’s just really the best thing I could ever get out of life - loving my job and my baby. But in the process, you can’t let yourself drown, you have to carve out time and pursue your passions…as many of them as you can manage!”
On making childhood magical…
“As a child, I spent a lot of time creating worlds, characters, and background stories for my toys. There were lots of very elaborate storylines. I started writing books around that time, too. My mom would buy me little blank books from the craft store. I would draw pictures and have her write down the story behind the drawings.
“I remember being completely enveloped in my own world; I believed in fairies and mermaids and elves and animals that talked and lived in the forest behind our house. I had a next-door neighbor friend that would come over and we would go out into the woods and pretend we were wolves living in a den, which was super fun when it snowed. Just lots of imaginative play + lots of Harry Potter!
“You have to give kids just a little bit of simplicity and let them fill in the rest with their own magic.”
On staying social…
“We live in rural Iowa in a town with about 2,500 residents and half of them are Amish. We love to frequent the quaint Amish shops located in the countryside and probably annoy them with our incessant photos - ha!
“So I also write daily for our blog which features topics such as motherhood, recipes, DIY projects, gardening, herbalism, sustainable living, and simplifying your lifestyle. This is an amazing creative outlet for me, and it keeps me out there communicating and collaborating with so many wonderful people.”
On balancing work with family life…
“Some days, I don’t! I think this is an issue for all women running their own business with littles. We have our own routine, which we don’t always stick to. My son is getting older, which means he’s learned how to entertain himself, and that helps! There are just lots of breaks throughout the day so that we can eat meals, play, stay clean, and get out of the house.
My work is often done in little spurts; I keep saying that I wish we had employees to help us sew, but for now, the small batch work is where we are at.”
On her favorite products…
“I truly love all of our because we try really hard to make sure they’re all 1) made by hand and 2) made from natural materials. I am so in love with working with linen, cotton, and wool fibers. It’s so beautiful to learn more about the materials you use and how beneficial they are to you. Right now, I’m really loving all of the unique knits I am working on. We want to try to move into making more “batch” products, where I knit a handful of really unique product and then that’s it! No more like it ever again. I think this will make our products really interesting and fresh every time.”
On how to keep it simple…
"I've found the best way to live simply is to be happy with having less. It's taken a few years to break down a lot of what used to be normal in our routines, but I think we're getting somewhere! We've spent the past five years moving around the country, which meant we really needed to downsize on our things. We sold a lot of our furniture, holiday decorations, and excess clothing. It was refreshing!
“When we moved to Iowa, we had another purge, and found moving into our tiny cottage was stress-free and a bit odd... the only furniture we brought with us was our mattresses and couch. Now when I walk around our home, I find myself holding onto the few possessions we do have and taking care of them until they fall apart. It makes every piece that much more special and reminds me that having less means I am able to appreciate what we do have.
“But just having less doesn't mean that you can't simplify in other ways as well. My beauty routine? Since having a baby, that has completely gone out of the window, but I LOVE it! I try to spend more time in the evenings caring for my skin and hair rather than spending the hours during the day covering up blemishes or frizz; those are hours that could be spent working or playing. I truly believe when you realize that you don't need all of the things our society claims you have to have, you can achieve a blissful, simple lifestyle."
On what makes it all worth it…
“Our daily walks! I always try to take my son out of the house at least once a day and get a good walk in. Lately, that hasn’t been happening with the negative temperatures outside, and you can definitely tell it’s making us fidgety!! Walks have always helped to clear my mind and get me back to a clear focus point. I hope that my son can rely on something so simple and good for him, too. There is clarity in just being outdoors and taking a stroll.”
When it comes to taking life slow and keeping it simple, Kay has a few more secrets up her sleeve:
Song she keeps on rewind:
Harvest Moon by Neil Young
Her favorite after-hours indulgence:
A little bit of pink Moscato and whole lot of Outlander!
Best way to unwind:
A nice, hot bath. I have been addicted to them for years, and I always crave a soak at least once a week.
Last thing she does before tucking Tad in:
My son has to grab every single stuffed animal he can in his arms, snuggle in with them all, and we read a book. Lately his favorite has been If You Give A Moose A Muffin. Then we snuggle in together and he tucks his little toes underneath me. It’s the best!
For more slow living magic, follow her on Instagram @kayhaupt...because, well, we can all take a cue from Kay.
How do you try to slow down your fast-paced life to cram it all in?
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