We are excited to finish our series on Des Moines Moms Movers and Shakers with Arin Hummel, one of the owners of Ephemera in the East Village. Arin is a creative entrepreneur, shop owner, and mom to three.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
Josh and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in March along with our three kiddos ages 4, 2, and 10 months (it’s been a productive five years). Years before Josh and my kiddos came my way, though, I, along with the best friend and business partner a gal could ask for, Karen Brady, started our stationery shop, Ephemera, in the East Village. I consider Miss Ephemera to be my first baby.
I am a lady who has always craved “alone time.” Once upon a time, I made myself a poached egg every morning and ate it over toast while sitting in the quiet with a pen and a notebook and thought actual thoughts. Those days, for the moment, are gone, gone, gone! While it is difficult these days to find the time to sit and collect myself, I am finding ways to carve that time out (because who needs sleep?) It turns out I am a better person when I have that lonely cup of coffee (no matter what time I drink it!).
But, the joy! Oh! The joy! Without time to myself, I often felt in my early days of motherhood that I would lose the little sparkly glimmers of creative drive. I had no time, I thought, to notice the sparks, much less find ways to EXPRESS them.
Once, though, before I had babies, I asked an artist friend what her favorite project to date was. Her reply? “My girls,” she said. On the days when I felt I would never get the THING back, I remembered that comment, and felt hopeful that this was simply a busy MOMENT and that other moments that would allow me to go back to creative work would follow.
What I know NOW, though, is that, while this IS just a busy moment in my life (one that doesn’t always allow for crafting and cobbling and journaling and THINKING!), it is also a moment for inspiration gathering for the work ahead.
Right now, I get to hang with three little spirits who might be in a spinning mood or a cuddling mood or a running mood or a pillow-fighting mood. Three little people who explore the world, all day long. There is nothing more inspiring to me than that, and I feel so lucky to get to be so immersed in it.
We just celebrated our 10th birthday! I’ve been in such a reflective mood when it comes to where we’ve been and how we’ve gotten to where we are. I believe in trial and error, and gut feelings and believing that the Universe WANTS to help make good things happen. I don’t want to oversimplify, but we got started by hanging an “open” sign on the door and believing we could make good things happen. Over the years, the business has changed only in that we feel a bit more like our successes are based not JUST on luck, but by a skill-set, too.
What’s the best part about your job?
Every person who walks in our door. Every person has a story, and finding myself in those delightful moments when I can stand on the other side of the counter and listen to that story and acknowledge that person and be a part of it just makes me feel like the luckiest.
What’s the hardest part about your job?
Keeping all of the ducks in a row (and, sometimes, there are a lot of ducks!)
What advice do you have for moms who want to start a business?
Be easy on yourself. Listen to your gut. Say “yes” to the things that will make you happy, and say “no” to the things that won’t. Feel OK about taking things as slowly as you need to in order to keep a nice balance. And, really, trust that things will unfold as they are meant to unfold all at the exact right time (that’s a really hard one to embrace!)
What have you learned?
I have learned EVERYTHING. I am so happy that I didn’t know ANY of it. I’m so happy for the continued process.
What’s the last show you watched, thing you listened to, or book you read?
I just finished watching “The Leftovers” (and am contemplating what in the world it was about!).
I just listened to the latest episode of “The Longest Shortest Time” (a podcast which should be required listening for anyone who KNOWS children)
I just finished reading “Love Warrior” (which included a few lines that made me want to grab my highlighter).
Why do you call Des Moines home?
We moved to an acreage West of Indianola in February so, physically, Des Moines, ISN’T my home. But gosh. Des Moines will always be ONE of my homes. Des Moines was my cocoon while I created my business, made my friends, met my husband, had my babies. For that, it is and always will hold the title of “home.”
Des Moines Favorites:
Favorite spot for a date night: anything as long as it involves the Chicken Czarina at Buzzard Billies 🙂
Best place to take kids: In the winter, Valley Community Center is such a hidden gem, and in the summer, the Ashby Park Splash Pad can’t be beat.
Favorite summer activity: a good hike behind the Art Center
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Right where I am.
How/where do you relax? In my lawn, on a blanket, under the stars.