If you know Mothersun and the Captain, then you probably have a major girl crush on owner Lindsey Hoadley as I do. Lindsey is an Alabama-turned-California girl who has built a successful lifestyle brand all by herself while mothering two little girls and wifey-ing to her commercial fisherman. One word that comes to mind when I think of Lindsey is *Empowerment.* Her whole vibe is to liberate women and mothers from the internal chatter of “we can’t” into WE CAN! If you haven’t heard of Mothersun before, I’m so stoked to introduce this wonderful business. And if you have, I know you’ll enjoy learning more about Lindsey and how she balances that businesswoman + mom + partner of a commercial fisherman lifestyle.
Without further ado, meet Lindsey!
What is your name, how old are you, and how would you describe your sweet family?
My name is Lindsey Hoadley, and I am 37 years old. My husband, John, is a Commercial Fisherman and Diver. He fishes Lobster, Sea Urchin, and Sea Cucumber. We have two daughters, Soleil (6) and Echo (1). Soleil is John’s stepdaughter. I was a single Mama with toddler Soleil when John and I became more than just friends. We had been friends for over a decade but never crossed the friendship line. When we finally did cross the line, we knew instantly that we were soulmates and that we always had been. Neither of us had been married before, and we decided to get married at 35 years old. We then got pregnant on our honeymoon in Hawaii and gave birth to Echo the following year. When we gave birth to Echo Oceane, we had just bought our lobster permit to start our first lobster season, so we birthed a baby and a new business at the same time. It has been a thrilling ride growing a family and our businesses. We both are entrepreneurs, and we have become such complementary business partners, as well as intimate husband and wife.
How would you describe your biz to someone who’s never heard of it before? Also, where did the name come from?
I make clothing and art products for mothers and their families. I make trucker hats for the whole family to protect their skin while they adventure outdoors and in the sun, nursing friendly bamboo tanks so that moms can nurse easily on the go, reusable drinkware, coffee mugs, and home decor. My messages on my products are aimed to make the reader/owner/wearer feel empowered in their day to day lives. I also work to minimize single-use plastic with my brand, so most of what I do is either USA-made, eco-friendly, reusable and packed in eco-friendly and recycled materials. The name: I am Mothersun because of my daughter, Soleil, which means sun in French. I started the concept of the brand just as Sol had turned two, and I was in a really horrible place in my life and needed every ounce of strength I had to get through it. I became the Captain of my own ship and got complete control over my life. I used my brand to find power, and through that came the emphasis on self-empowerment in my brand.
I read that you named your company before you met your hubby. What a manifestation that was! Did you have experience with commercial fishermen before, or was this total kismet?
My dad has always been a fisherman. Not commercially, but he always fished when I was growing up, and I would go with him often. He still fishes to this very day in retirement. I had dated fishermen before as well. Honestly, I think their lifestyle of being gone a lot works well with my independence, so when John and I started dating, it was a pretty seamless transition.
I see that you have a course for women looking to start their own businesses. So cool! When did you get the calling to teach in that way?
Yes! My Mothersun Entrepreneur Course is one of my favorite things I do with my brand, besides designing. I have been an entrepreneur since I was 24 years old (I owned a commercial screen printing shop and a clothing line before I became a mom). So, I have over a decade’s worth of experience in running my own business. When I started Mothersun, I had to teach myself social media because it wasn’t around for long when I had my first business. A few years ago, I was working with my business coach, and as I told her more and more of all of the things I do in my business, she was like, “Why the heck don’t you teach this stuff to other women? You know everything!” The thought took me out of my comfort zone, making me want to do it even more. So, I spent a summer writing everything I’ve learned in business and focused on selling products and services online. I launched it 2 months before I got married in 2018, and I have been working with budding business people ever since.
The elusive question: how do you balance creative work-life and mommy/wifey life?
So, I am a Libra and am constantly striving to find more balance. A lot of the time, working and being a mom is so overwhelming. Before I had kids, I ate, slept, and breathed my business. I would work all day and night because I LOVED what I did. That is not possible with children, so I have found patience in all of the chaos they bring. I have learned how to slow down and go with the flow, and I think by doing so is where the balance is found between work and parenthood. I HAVE to stop and focus on them. And I love that. I also have an extremely supportive partner who is very hands-on and takes the girls on his own and cleans the house, cooks dinner, goes grocery shopping, and runs errands. We have such an equal partnership in our household. He helps extraordinarily with all the tasks and responsibilities. It’s the first relationship I have ever had like this.
How do you cope when your fisherman is out at sea? Basically, how do you talk yourself out of wigging balls?
Ha! I knew you were going to ask this question. Honestly, I love it when he is gone fishing because I need alone time, and I don’t get much as a mom. I cherish alone time because it is my time to work on my business, and that brings me joy too. So, when he is gone on his fishing trips, it allows me to miss him immensely but also gives me time to curl up by myself and do the things that I want to do. To be a partner of a commercial fisherman requires a lot of independence, right? We are left alone a lot while our men go work their buns off at sea with the sunrises, sunsets, dolphins, and channel islands. I appreciate his work, and I am incredibly thankful for his career. I love that it’s not the same thing every day. I love that we get him home in spurts when the weather is bad, and he can’t fish. I love that he can choose to stay at home with us if we need him home for a special occasion. I love that he is in charge of his own job. And he is really good at what he does, which brings financial stability.
If I remember correctly, John worked in a different fishery before going into lobster. In what ways do those fisheries affect you personally? Are the worries or expectations the same or different?
John’s original fishery is sea urchin, which is WAY different than lobster. So it’s diving vs. trapping, which is not similar in any way, really. When he is diving, I worry about him so much. Actually, when we first started dating, I had to talk to my therapist about his line of work because it really scared me that he is underwater all day, every day out at the islands where there are tons of sharks and weather and current. On the other hand, he has been diving for 30 years, and it is second nature for him. He literally has lived on the bottom of the ocean floor is whole life. So, I had to really work hard on not fearing that each day he went out that he may not come home. These days, I am ok with it, but I still worry, of course. When he is trapping, I actually do not worry about him at all. Maybe it’s the difference between being in the water and being on the boat. He tries to make me feel better by saying it’s more dangerous to drive on the freeway than to dive at the channel islands : )
What advice can you give to self-employed badass mommy POCFs out there? (POCF = partners of commercial fishermen)
I would say to appreciate the time that your partner is gone. I think it could probably be easy to resent their work and resent them being gone a lot. To have a life of your own that you can feel confident in and have a passion you can focus on while they are gone helps greatly. And I think that in any relationship, communication is key. So, whatever your needs are, they are important, and it’s vital to be able to talk to your partner when they come home about what you need. I also think it’s important to ask them about how their trip went. It’s little things like that that make them feel like you are invested and that you care. When they come home, go on a date, have some romantic connection time. It’s hard for them to be away from you too. I think everyone needs to recalibrate. Working at sea is like no other profession on earth. It can be quiet and lonely and in pure nature. Coming back to the hustle and bustle needs adjustment, and I think it’s important for us to be aware of that.
Congrats on your coloring book! So exciting! What made you decide to do this, and what kind of plans do you have for Mothersun in the future?
Thank you so much! My coloring book has been a labor of love for a long time. It started with Soleil asking me to print out my illustrations for her to color. So, I would print my artwork out for her, and then she would color them, and I would post them on Instagram. People started asking me to do a coloring book. Then, when Covid-19 hit last year, the first thing I did was make free coloring pages for all the parents stuck at home with their kiddos. They could download them for free, and it was a hit. It was so fun for me to see them posting on social media of them and their kids coloring my pages. So, I decided to add it to my holiday launch. I don’t know how I pulled it off, really. I decided last minute I needed to do it, so I designed the entire thing on a weekend that John was home from being offshore so he could help me with the kids. I camped out in the office all weekend to design the book with all of my illustrations I had made since I started Mothersun. Soleil even helped me with some of the pages.
The cover of the book is my Cosmic Dolphin watercolor that was originally a commission from a mom who is one of my customers. Her first son had died during childbirth. She wrote me telling me that she wanted to buy an art piece of mine but that nothing was truly resonating. She wanted to get something in honor of her angel baby. Her story was so touching that I gifted her a dolphin painting as a tribute to her son after she told me that dolphins kept appearing for them, and she thought it was her son communicating with them. I asked her for permission to use it as the cover of my book, and she said, of course.
My future plans for Mothersun is to continue to grow the coloring book, grow my wholesale trucker hat business, and add more home decor products. My best seller is my bamboo breastfeeding-friendly tanks, so I will also be adding more screen print designs for this year.
What in Linsey’s interview most resonates with you? Would love to know, please share in the comments below!