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Q&A with Emily Stroud

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The fashionable founder of Hayden Reis handbags, Emily Stroud, has solved the chic mama's tote dilemma. She's created bags that are stylish but also get the job done by holding everything but the house inside it. From the fabric to the cut, they're mom-friendly and polished– perfect for the BURU mom! Below, Emily shares with us what motherhood means to her and why Hayden Reis bags are the must-have tote for any mom's closet.

BR: What do you love most about being a mom?

ES: I love watching my kids grow up and seeing their personalities, talents and passions come to life. It makes me so happy to see them experience the simple things in life that bring out huge smiles on their faces– like belly laughing at a clown, feeding the fish in our Koi pond for hours, chasing the seagulls down the beach or learning how to ride a bike... the list goes one!

BR: What is the number one way in which motherhood has changed you?

ES: It has been eight years since I became a mom and it's easy to see life is so different than it once was! I am busier than I have ever been and my life is a balancing act. But, I would say that of all the changes motherhood brings, it has made me a softer, more emotional person. I recognize how fragile life is. My goal is to live everyday without regrets by being the best me I know how to be. 

BR: Did you breast-feed your children? If so, what piece of clothing made nursing easier for you?

ES: I was able to breast-feed both of my children and I relied on my nursing bras and nursing cover. Fashion for moms has come a long way in just eight years, though. If the Rachel Pally Rollo Top had been around when I was a new mom, I would have had one with me at all times!

BR: What is your day-to-day mom style?

ES: During the week, my day-to-day mom style is what I call "workout chic", which consists of a great pair of yoga pants paired with a Chaser t-shirt or Lululemon tank. On weekends, you can almost always find me in a bathing suit and a chic cover-up that can go from the boat during the day to dinner in the evening. My current favorites include a Marysia one-piece suit worn under a Theodora & Callum cover-up. And, there aren't enough Tkees or J. Crew baseball caps in the world for my laid-back Florida lifestyle!

BR: As founder and designer of Hayden Reis handbags, how do you balance your time between family and business?

ES: Balancing time between family and business is an ongoing challenge for me, as it is for so many. I try to work in-between the kids' busy schedules. But, that doesn't always happen and that doesn't leave a lot of time for me or for my husband. Oftentimes there aren't enough hours in the day! I've found that the best way to balance is to shut down the computer on the weekends and devote that time to giving my family undivided attention.


BR: It only takes one look at the Hayden Reis collection to know that a mom had her hand in the fun and functional designs. How do your children influence the styles?

ES: Having children absolutely inspired the designs for the Hayden Reis collection, which is all about products that are functional but also fashionable– like BURU!

The majority of our items are made of a mom and child-friendly fabric– sailcloth. What makes sailcloth so unique is that it is water- and sand-resistant, extremely durable and very lightweight. The totes are lines with pockets and include a zipper pocket and a snap-hook for keys. Our accessory items are designed to complete your tote in the most organized way. From sunscreen bags and wet/dry bags to diaper changing pads and wristlets, we like to think we've thought of everything!

Most recently we designed a new mesh tote for the kids' toys and other sandy items that is just fantastic! You just rinse it before you leave the beach and you leave all the sand behind. My kids keep asking me to make children's backpacks, which I think is a great idea. I hope to add them to the collection soon!

BR: What is the number one mommy must-have in the Hayden Reis collection? Why does every BURU mama need on?

ES: The Hayden Reis Ditty tote is our signature carryall and is a definite must-have for any mom. Even if you don't go to the beach, our Ditty tote is the perfect tote for the mom on-the-go. It's perfect for an overnight, getaway, the gym or simply running around town. I recently met a mom who keeps her Ditty in the car at all times and stocks it with essentials and toys to entertain the children. So smart! There are lots of great things about the Ditty, but I'd say one of the best features is that it wipes clean with a magic eraser– totally mom-friendly!

BR: What are your must-have pieces from BURU and why do they work in your mommy lifestyle?


  1. Rebecca Minkoff Dev Dress: I love this dress for a date night at home or on vacation. The dress makes such a statement on it's own, you don't even have to think about accessories, which is one less thing to plan!
  2. Sachin + Babi Black & White Tilla Jacket: You can never have too many throw-on jackets. They make it easy to create a polished look with very little effort! This one is great because all you need is a great pair of jeans, or skinny black pants for evening and a tailored shirt.
  3. Annie Griffin Navy & White Skirt with Annie Griffin Pink Blouse: I am loving this easy to wear outfit! It's perfect for daytime with a great flat. Or it can be dressed up with a great pair of heels for a night out. 
  4. Rachel Pally Dresses: I wish I had these dresses when I was nursing! These are genius because they will get you through the nursing days and it's fashionable enough to continue wearing them long past the nursing days.

BR: Have you given up any fashion items in the name of motherhood? If so, what? What is the one fashion item you will never sacrifice– even if it is totally impractical as a mama?

ES: Motherhood has made me appreciate styles that are a bit more conservative. And, I've found that my style continues to evolve. The one thing that never changes is my love for great staple items– a well-fitting pair of Rag & Bone jeans, a classic v-neck t-shirt and a great blazer. Those items paired with well-made heels, a lux bag and statement jewelry will always make a polished impression. I guess I'm all about accessorizing the classics!

BR: What Hayden Reis product is your children's favorite?

ES: My children absolutely love our Mesh Sea Shell Bags! They keep them occupied for hours on the beach collecting seashells. And,t hey are designed so that you can rinse your treasures off and leave the sand where it belongs– on the beach, not in your bag! We love to use their collections in art projects and to make keepsakes.

BR: Finally, what is the one thing you wish you would have known before becoming a mother?

ES: I've learned that there is no such thing as a perfect child or a perfect parent. There is always another book to read or friend to ask for advice. Ultimately, all we can do is try our best and offer unconditional love to our children. I always try and remember that my children are only young once. Before I know it they will be grown-up and moving onto the next chapters of their lives. I can never say "I love you" enough or give them enough hugs or kisses. 

Thank you so much, Emily! Check out Hayden Reis bags HERE and learn more about Emily HERE.

Shop her Tastemaker Sale HERE.

Save 20% OFF your ENTIRE purchase with code: BURU+HR!


Hayden Reis bags. Click on the image to view the item.


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