Michelle Henry, designer extraordinaire, is the genius behind the luxurious line of children’s linens called Little Bunny Blue. If you have had the pleasure of perusing the Little Bunny Blue designer line, or better yet, owning one of Michelle Henry’s bedding designs, then you are well aware that this is not just any ol’ bedding collection. Michelle is an artist through and through. She is always imagining, designing and sketching ideas for new bedding sets, faster than she can produce them. Using textiles as her medium, her bedding designs are akin to a fine art collection. I find myself staring at the photographs of her finished rooms with a sense of awe, just taking in all of the details from the trim work to each elaborate pillow, skirt and bumper design. However exquisite, don’t be fooled into thinking that they belong on display behind glass, as they really are designed with children in mind. Michelle is meticulous with her fabric choices, making sure all are not only soft enough but durable enough to endure the wear and tear that comes with babies and toddlers.
On a personal level, Michelle and I have grown to be good friends over the last few years of working together. We both belong to the “crazy working mother of 4 club”, we both love anything and everything to do with children’s room design, and we share the habit of working (very) late into the night, which has led to endless midnight conversations over instant messenger. It feels like I have company when most every night as I sit working on my computer, in my own world, I see that Michelle is online as well. Sometimes we just share a brief “hello”, and other times, we end up chatting for the rest of the night. I love the fact that Michelle is as down to earth and grounded as she is elegant and sophisticated.
As you read through Michelle Henry’s interview, it is easy to see that she has a huge heart, a great sense of humor and an impeccable sense of style, which I believe is all part of the secret recipe that makes a remarkable designer.
What inspired you to become a designer and start a business?
My Mother—– what can I say she adopted me at 3 days old. She would tell me that she told her doctor she wanted a child with blonde curly hair that could sing and dance!!! So funny I just happen to have those qualities and I thought I had them because she “knew” ahead of time!!! I really believed her. She told me I was special everyday, and that I was wanted. I grew up with what most misinterpret as ego but I was actually pretty confident & spoiled. I felt guilty a lot of times for that, hence I became the ultimate people pleaser. I have had to learn that everyone has something special about them and no one should feel guilty for that. I still stumble all over the place most of the time. I am very hard on myself. My parents have been self employed since I was a child. They had a restaraunt, sold crafts, my Mother sewed for people and actually ironed for people at the age of 9 to buy her own clothes. My father, the baby of 12 had to grow up very young and my Mother did everything in her power to make sure that I had the life and love that she always wanted. Finally my Mom created her own clothing line and together she and my Dad created a very successful business. Currently, they are supposed to be retired. I did hear Oprah say once, “people with projects stay younger” so that would sum them up in a nut shell. If you are wondering why I am talking about my parents so much, well, they are my inspiration and they always will be. My mother has always been able to bring my imagination to life. She is one of the most talented people I have ever met. I do push her though. She will say ” Michelle, that can’t be done or I just can’t do that” and I will say, “well somebody can and since I have seen it done then you can do it!” I don’t like to be told “No” and once I have a vision there is no stopping me. I can’t leave out my Grandmother though. She had incredible taste. She was so classy and beautiful and came from nothing. She introduced me to Gucci at 10 years old and took me shopping with her at very expensive stores and boutiques. She told me that her father sold moonshine to Bonnie and Clyde and that Bonnie had the the best clothes she had ever seen. Her mother died when she was very young so she was raised by her father. I just couldn’t leave her out of this. Her taste in clothes was always so cutting edge and she always carried herself beyond anything she grew up with. She was just one of those people you don’t forget!
Why did you choose to design for children’s rooms?
This is a pretty typical answer most likely. I was prego and at the time I owned a Day Spa. I was an esthetician for 8 years prior and everyone always said, this place is beautiful you should be a decorator. I was so bored with doing facials and I was a terrible money manager so I sold the place and started the bedding line with my parents. We got our first account with Bellini in Houston the day I was leaving the hospital with my 3rd child Drake. I did love working with the clients at the spa though. They were always very special to me.
What is your favorite part of your daily work … when you reflect on the day, what is most rewarding?
First, the customers I enjoy them all and I try to stay as attainable as possible. Coming up with something like Angelique is pretty neat too. I have the first sketch of that and it made me feel really great. I am getting better at drawing, photoshop, photography and designing window treatments.
Each day is just like” O.K. Michelle get this done– think of something great” JUST DO IT. My 5 year old Cole says to me all of the time, Mommy are you talking to yourself again!!!. I say YES I AM — and that is O.K.
Do you have any advice for other working moms?
Yes– Don’t do it like I do it!!! Put God First, Your Marriage and Your Children. Sounds easy right? It is very hard for me. And I will be the first to admit as great as my kids are they could be even better. I just have to pray and not procrastinate. If your not into praying YET —then you heard it hear first!!!!
If you had to pick a favorite design from your collection, what would it be?
That is so hard. I know what the best sellers are but I also know what took the longest to design and how much hard work it took to go into it. Actually, some of my favorites have never been seen because they were custom designs. But if I have to answer — anything with the scalloped bumper and the tutu skirt or trims. I know that people were doing scalloped bumpers before me but I like mine the best. The style of the Angelique is gorgeous. The Barbie, Jojo & Miss Princess are great regardless of what fabric we use. The Warren is not one of my best sellers but it is really an original set a—- a little dark for most but I still love it. I actually named it after the clients child and they were naming him after her father. I love Little Boy Blue, Andre, Harrison & Grant because they cover a wide range of styles yet they are all classic & blue & brown. Imagine That!!!! OH I LOVE COTTON TAIL and CIRQUE DE BABY & Blue Frog- I can’t leave those out. I don’t want to offend anyone. LOL
I have to say– there are plenty that I think, “What was I thinking” too. And then some that I thought– “well they will have to like this if they like Caden Lane” so I did Monkey Business and I can’t give it away. It is really cute too. I just think I have been stereo typed already. Like Jennifer Aniston in a funny love story ( dare I compare!!!) So I notice when I stretch, people are like, NO we can’t see that!!! WE DON”T WANT TO SEE THAT” That is O.K. though. As long as I have more things that do work than don’t. The Pros are outweighing the Con’s I am perfectly fine with that!!!.
What sets Little Bunny Blue apart from other children’s bedding designers?
My Mother, My Father, My Imagination, My Life Experience, My Expectations, Hard Work, Inspiration, Dedication, Creativity, Quality, My Eyes, Talented People I Know and 4 beautiful little boys that could care less about anything except my attention, yet they are my biggest fans and they are my all My Soldiers.
Do you have any news that you would like to share about upcoming designs or introductions to your line?
I have so many beds designed that I need to do it isn’t even funny- especially more boy. I think there are at least 6 boys sets that just need to be made. I love doing twins but I just can’t compete with pricing of some of the people that make everything in China and that is such a finicky age for children so I always feel bad about the price and don’t put a lot of focus into it. I do intend to though. I have the fabrics I have the vision it just needs to come to fruition.
Now…Just for Fun
Favorite Food: Seafood Enchalados from Pappsasito’s ( a popular Tex-Mex chain in Texas)
Favorite TV Show: American Idol, Dancing With The Stars towards the end. Watching all of the so-so people bores me to tears.
( I am not a huge T.V. fan but, Flippin’ Out, The Real Housewives of whichever county–(Pretty shallow right?) I had a boyfriend tell me I was shallow once– He also told me I was going to ride his coat tails the rest of his life too!!!–NOW THAT IS SUPER HILARIOUS. Oh & I like Brothers and Sisters.
Favorite Movie: Good Will Hunting and H.E.A.T.
Favorite Weekend Activity: I don’t have a favorite activity. I mean if you had asked what would a perfect week or weekend look like for me in la la land :I would answer — spending the weekend with my children doing everything and anything they wanted with a nanny, going shopping, mani, pedi, facial, lipo, the chef comes and prepares the meals for the week ahead and I got to work the entire time too that is what I would say. But I honestly can’t even answer that question because all I really do is” try to keep my head above water”.
Favorite Band: Third Day, Natalie Grant, Mercy Me, Lifehouse, Sting, Dave Matthews Band