Hi, I’m Reyna and I’m a mother, an Army wife, an Army veteran, and a fashion designer. I design handmade, one-of-a-kind garments for several boutiques in the U.S. along with making custom pieces for the general public and musicians such as singer Kam Franklin, of The Suffers. My newest line called, Pandora’s Box, made its debut on the Spring issue of Deitra Magazine and at the Harvard Eleganza Fashion Show in April. Also, I recently just released my first sewing pattern, The Miriam Skirt, and I’m currently working on my second one. Every week I host The Reyna Lay Designs Podcast on iTunes, a free podcast that interviews creatives in all walks of life with the goal of building, empowering, and inspiring one another, and sharing our creative journeys. I’m also a degree candidate in the Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies, Field of General Management at Harvard, and pursuing a marketing management graduate certificate along with my degree.
How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?
I wake up at 6am to get my oldest ready for school. I have to set 2-3 separate alarms that I can snooze until I finally wake up. I’m definitely not a morning person. Then I go back to bed and wake up around 9AM when my youngest wakes me up. He’s 2 and a handful, but definitely makes my life more interesting!
What do you do before work?
I have breakfast, either a strawberry, protein smoothie, or eggs with sausage bits and shredded carrots, with my 2-year-old. I’m actually not a big breakfast eater but I force myself to eat something to get my day started on the right foot. Then I set him up with lots of toys and activities in his play area so I can start working.
How do you keep on top of tasks?
I definitely keep a list of things I need to do and a calendar. I split things up into days so that I’m not bombarded with all of them at once. This definitely keeps me organized, especially with a 2-year-old at home and lots of homework and custom pieces to make. Some days I’ll work on patternmaking, other days I’ll sit at my sewing machine and sew, and most days I’ll sit at my desk and attend my classes online and then do homework. I find that if I know what I’m going to do each day, the stress level is easier to deal with. But, I also love not having a routine, if that makes any sense. The great thing about being my own boss is that I can choose not to work that day, or that week, for that matter. I can attend my childrens’ events, or sleep in, and binge on Netflix all day; it’s pretty nice. It does take a calendar to make sure whatever is missed during my “break”, gets taken care of as soon as I’m back though.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by making sure to pick things I will enjoy doing. You can’t do that with homework, but luckily, I really love learning about business and management so homework isn’t too bad. As far as my work goes though, I only accept projects that I know I’ll enjoy and that I know I’ll put my whole heart into because if not, I’m just wasting my time and the client’s time. Also, time with my family is very precious to me, so if I’m taking that time away from them, it has to be worth it.
What do you have for lunch?
I usually have a fried chicken caesar salad or pork chops and white rice. I’m a creature of habit, so my lunch rarely changes. I’m also not much of a cook, so my lunches are very boring. Dinners on the other hand are much more delicious, but that’s because my husband usually cooks dinner.
How do you beat the afternoon slump?
I make sure to workout in the afternoons. My oldest comes home around 3 so I feed them and then I head to our garage and weight train while the kids play in the front yard, which usually ends up being filled with all of the neighbors kids. I also do sprints or run around the neighborhood while my little one naps, or while they bike to get some cardio in. This really helps keep us all energized and healthy, and definitely avoids any slumps that may come our way during the day.
When do you clock off?
I clock off to workout, but once, they’ve all been washed, fed dinner, and put to bed, I get back on the computer for a couple hours of more work after bedtime. I get up later so I have to make up for it at night. I have a very supportive husband who doesn’t mind my working late. He usually sits and watches tv while I work, or gets his own work done at the same time.
Is there anything you like to always do before bed?
I love reading if I have the time, and I also work pretty late, until around 11pm usually, so if I’m working on a custom made garment or illustrations, I watch Netflix while I work, or listen to podcasts, and then I shower and head to bed. I enjoy my days very much and feel very blessed to be able to enjoy what I call work, and still be able to spend time with my kids and my husband.
Rapid Fire Questions…
Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
Grown up clothes.
Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
Both. A routine, but if I don’t feel like working that day, I definitely change it up, and go with how I feel.
Tea or Coffee? Which flavor?
Coffee, vanilla. Lots of creamer!
One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of little breaks. (I don’t think there’s any other option with a 2-year-old. haha)