The Originals: HeyMama Co-Founders Katya Libin & Amri Kibbler
Katya Libin & Amri Kibbler are the co-founders behind HeyMama, a social networking community which launched this past May. Designed for women with the goal of bringing creative and talented mamas together to collaborate and inspire one another, HeyMama features original content and interviews from mama taste-makers, influencers and businesswomen.
With a combined 20+ years in fashion, publishing, social media and technology, Katya and Amri are passionate about bringing women together in the community to create content that speaks to the modern day mother.
Recently, we partnered with HeyMama for a breakfast celebrating New York City’s creative and entrepreneurial moms. Following our intimate breakfast, we caught up with Katya and Amri to get the inside scoop on everything from how they created HeyMama to maintaining their style while pregnant and their favorite NYDJ styles for fall.
1. How did you join together to create HeyMama?
KL & AK: We met through our little girls when they were 3 months old! We kind of instantly became close friends as we were severely under-nourished in the "find a cool mom who I have something in common with" department. It was really years later that we both had the same desire to build something of our own, and at the same time we decided to start HeyMama together.
2. What is your favorite part about collaborating with women, particularly mothers?
KL: The love. It's really quite special how women are just naturally very giving and supportive. They share their resources, knowledge and love freely and it's a beautiful thing to experience and then send back out there into the universe.
AK: It's true. It's almost overwhelming how much women are willing to give their time and energy to help other women. Becoming a mother teaches you to give more than you ever thought possible and that lesson spills over into other parts of your life. Women are also really flexible and willing to meet each other half way, even if it includes juggling their time.
3. What is the hardest/best thing about being a mother?
KL: Time. Not enough of it. Saying goodbye in the morning. Convincing your kid to eat vegetables and not feeling guilty.
AK: Letting go and being okay with everything not being perfect. I don't like to leave the house in the morning without the bed made and everything tidy. It's really hard not to feel guilty when there are things that you can't do on both the work and mama front. As mothers, I think we are really hard on ourselves and Katya and I are always saying how it's important to tell each other and other mamas that they are doing a good job - just a little positive reinforcement can make all the difference!
4. How would you describe your style in three words?
KL: Downtown. Eclectic. Modern.
AK: Minimal. Sleek. New York.
5. How did you maintain your style while pregnant? Did you feel it changed once you became a mother?
KL: Luckily I have always loved loose fitting and boho pieces so I had a lot of those laying around. Then I'd buy regular clothes that had stretchy fabrics as I refused to buy maternity clothes!! Since becoming a mama, I find wearing comfy clothes to be top of mind. I really just want to feel 100% comfy on the weekends with my girl and not worry about my jeans not fitting, being too tight, etc.
AK: I'm pregnant at the moment, and have always had a secret pack-rat tendency that I fight against. I've saved my favorite loose fitting clothing items over the last five years that I thought would make good maternity options knowing that I wanted another baby. So most of the pieces I wear are really things that I had in my wardrobe. I do wear a lot of jumpsuits at the moment. Once I became a mother, I pared down my color palette, from wearing lots of colors and prints to now pretty much keeping it black/grey, and white with pops of color in my accessories so it’s easy to run out the door. Everything is interchangeable.
6. What is your go-to denim look? (i.e. flares, bootcut, skinny, etc.)
KL: Skinny! I always stick with this look. I have been more into boyfriend lately but it's not my go-to.
AK: I dabble in all of those. Flares have always been a favorite of mine, but while I'm pregnant it's easier to wear a maternity skinny. I find flares need a heel and I'm only wearing flats at this point.
*NYDJ Tip: We recommend our pull-on styles if you’re in the early stages of pregnancy. One of our VP’s practically lived in these her first few months when she was expecting!
7. What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
KL: Obviously my daughter. Second to that, I'm embarrassed to say, my iPhone!!!
AK: My family of course, but I've been obsessed with Earth Tu Face Dead Sea Salt Scrub lately. It's all natural so perfect for my pregnancy.
8. If you could meet anyone (past or present) who would it be and why?
KL: Malala, the 17 year old girl who was shot by the Taliban. I recently read her biography and it was just incredible. I cried a lot and I find her selflessness and dedication to bringing education to girls in Pakistan and around the world a testament to what one person can accomplish.
AK: I'd love to have met my husband's mom, who we named our daughter after. He's such a caring and incredibly talented partner, I wish she could share in our lives together.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you received as a new mom?
KL: Stay organized, your mind will thank you.
AK: Rest when you can, your child will wake up soon and if you spent the last hour cleaning you'll be too exhausted to care for your little one. Also, don't commit to anything before the baby comes - you may think you'll be up for anything, but it's always surprising how much time and energy is needed in the beginning.
10. What is your favorite style from NYDJ’s fall collection?
KL: The Ami Super Skinny made me feel amazing, sexy and comfortable. I am also digging the high-waisted cuts.
AK: I'm counting the days until I'm able to fit into a super high-waisted skinny. I'm counting on them to make me look skinny post baby! Until then, I’m living in NYDJ’s blanket sweater – it’s so comfortable and the bold graphic print gives it some edge.
11. What do you like most about NYDJ?
KL: I love when women create products for other women - they know what we need and how to make our bodies look good. Most of all, I really appreciate any sucking in/lifting magic jeans have!!
AK: I love that these are really flattering clothes that women can feel comfortable in. It's such a confidence boost to slip into a size smaller than you thought you'd wear and look that size. They make your butt look amazing.
To see more from HeyMama, be sure to follow @heymamaco on Instagram and view photos from NYDJ’s recent Brooklyn breakfast with HeyMama below and on HeyMama.Co.
The mamas started off their morning arriving at NYDJ’s V.P. of Marketing Kate Foster’s home. Outside, guests gathered to preview styles from NYDJ’s Fall collection and try on our slimming denim.
LEFT: Shannon Althin, founder and Co-Designer for Natti Natti, fell in love with our Color Block Blanket Sweater. If the number of mamas who had to have this piece is any indication, this is sure to be on everyone’s fall favorites list this season! CENTER: Mom-to-be Hailey Andresen of Household Mag couldn’t get enough NYDJ at our breakfast. Be sure to head to her Instagram to see how she styled her favorite look. RIGHT: One of the best parts of the morning was seeing these mamas smile as they tried on our jeans. Lifestyle blogger and mama Amy Parker of Parker Etc. was shocked (and thrilled!) when she realized she was one size smaller in our denim. Here she tries on our Farrah Flare in Endless Black.
Getting to know these beautiful, hip, creative, and entrepreneurial mamas left us feeling inspired and energized. Wish we could start off every morning this way!