Stuck on a Good Idea: Kevin Meyers and Lucy Darling
Upon graduating from Hillsdale in 2009 with history and German majors, Kevin Meyers never envisioned his future career revolving around baby stickers and board books. But eight years later, Meyers sits at the helm of Lucy Darling, a business dedicated to “helping families create darling moments” with whimsical baby books, decorations, and other products.
After graduating, Meyers moved to Arizona to take a teaching job at Basis Scottsdale, one of the top-ranked schools in the country. During that time, he met and married his wife Haily, a greeting card designer. A few years later, Meyers accepted the position of spiritual life director at Scottsdale Christian Academy. When their first child, Lucy, was born in 2012, Haily began designing baby sticker sets. She shared her drafts with family and friends, who responded overwhelmingly. Buoyed by the positive feedback, Haily expressed her wish to turn the project into a business.
“I have to admit, I didn’t totally understand the concept at the time,” Meyers recalls. “It took about three days for Haily to convince me that it was a worthwhile endeavor.” With a $100 investment, Lucy Darling came to fruition in the form of an Etsy shop in 2012.
By the following summer, sales had accelerated to the point that Meyers decided to quit his job at school and focus on the business. In January 2014, the Meyers attended their first trade show with three retailers who had contacted them through Etsy. “I realized at the show that there was so much that I still didn’t know, and I didn’t know what questions to ask,” Meyers says. “But Hillsdale teaches you how to solve problems, so I knew I had the skills to work through this.”
Initially, the Meyers relied on word of mouth and social media to market the Lucy Darling product line. Retailers began to take notice, and Haily expanded the product line, which now includes over 60 sticker patterns, 150 nursery art prints, closet dividers, memory books, and, most recently, a series of board books exploring geographic regions. Today, Lucy Darling products can be found in large retailers including Nordstrom, Land of Nod, and Anthropologie, as well as over 800 boutiques across the country.
“Our products focus on stylish, trendy design, with a goal of making a mom’s life easier,” Meyers says. “Haily calls our memory books ‘guilt-free,’ because it’s so easy for a mother to record her child’s milestones in it.”
The couple enjoys the flexibility of working from home with their two young daughters. They oversee five employees and work with several contractors. Meyers proudly notes that many of their items, including the baby stickers and closet dividers, are manufactured locally in Phoenix.
What’s next for the company? Meyers hopes to develop its international presence by opening warehouses in Europe and Australia, thereby reducing the high shipping costs for international orders. Additionally, they are working on new memory books for ages 1 through 5 as well as bedding designs.
Reflecting on the success of Lucy Darling, Meyers cites Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.” “At Hillsdale, I learned to seek out wisdom,” he says. “It’s important to ask what the right questions are, and then ask the questions. Develop relationships with entrepreneurs who have gone before you.” And while wise choices are paramount in starting a business, Meyers also encourages budding entrepreneurs to have faith. “Don’t hold back because of fear,” he says. “You might miss out on a really good idea.”
Printed in the Spring 2017 Alumni Magazine