What do you get when you cross two of the sweetest, most talented ladies in LA? A kids shoe collaboration that is beyond covetable. AKID founder, Ashleigh Dempster and her long-time pal, actress Jaime King had so many ideas on what kind of shoes they’d like for their kids, they decided to join forces and create a line of seven fashion-forward, kid-approved, mini-masterpieces that you’ll wish came in your size. We love the support and genuine love for one another that these ladies exude and they are the ultimate definition of what heymama is all about. We had the chance to chat with both ladies about working with women, juggling motherhood and the importance of a mama tribe. Read on…
Ladies, we are so excited to be talking to you about your recent collaboration. We’re obsessed with the new line of shoes! Tell us how you met and how this project came to be.
Ashleigh: Jaime has been a huge supporter of AKID from day one. When we met in person, it was love at first sight so a discussion of a partnership was really a natural fit.
Jaime: My kids would only wear AKID shoes and then Ashleigh and I met at different events supporting the brand and through mutual friends. I had never done a shoe collaboration before and I was interested in creating something that my kids loved too. It was amazing to collaborate with someone that I adore and put something out that parents love also.
The capsule collection is made up of seven styles that are inspired by the outdoors and Jaime’s son James Knight’s favorite colors. What was the design process like? Did you each work on different aspects of the line?
Ashleigh: It was very much a collaborative effort. Luckily, we share a similar aesthetic so during the brainstorming stage we loved eachothers ideas. Then it was my job to take our concepts and bring them to life!
Jaime: James Knight was involved in the sense of choosing colors and picking which ideas to go with and I would lay out the samples on the table and have him help me pick the best. Ashleigh and I are so in-step with one another. It was pretty funny because I remember when we sat down for tea, I was talking about velvet this and velvet that and she said, “Oh my god I’m already working on that!”. It just showed me that we were meant to be collaborating and we wanted to do something that was, in my mind, really fun but can also transcend trends and that’s one thing AKID does really well.
Which shoe from the collection is your favorite and why?
Jaime: Oh goodness, that’s really hard! I mean even just paring down the colors to make a very tight collection was very difficult. I really love how fun the purple suede Liv slides are and I also love that classic olive green Atticus boot with the faux fox fur tail. I’m just going to name every single one of them! It’s really hard for me to choose. Honestly, all of them are my favorite because they were all carefully selected. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, if you like it you can wear it and that’s what it’s all about.
What was it like working together? How are your strengths the same/different?
Ashleigh: The entire process was seamless. Jaime and I really got to know each other working on this collection and there was a general trust on both ends right out of the gate. This made it so enjoyable and easy to collaborate. Plus, we share the same likes and dislikes when it comes to design for our kids.
Jaime: What I loved about working together was our natural cohesiveness and creativity. I also loved Ashleigh’s efficiency. Watching her as a businesswoman is really empowering and beautiful as she just gets things done. She makes everything so unique and wholly her own, yet remains totally on brand. She also makes the whole process really beautiful and efficient and her follow through is really beautiful – especially for me because as an artist and an actor, I have a propensity to over-think things and when you have a partner that makes decisions, it’s really nice and sort of liberates you. It’s really great to work with someone you are so similar to, but also have different ways of approaching things.
What is the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?
Ashleigh: Never count your eggs before they hatch.
Jaime: Empathy. I think that having a sense of empathy for the people that you are working with as well as your audience allows you to intuit how your actions will impact them. It allows you to not shut down in your own creative or natural goals or ideas.
For me, playing with my children and being there for them is more of a priority than going to a work function if I don’t have to – it’s about prioritizing.
You’ve both said that becoming a mother enabled you to pivot your careers into something more fulfilling and meaningful. Tell us more about that.
Ashleigh: It’s really become about prioritizing and time management. I have less free time now so I really make sure that I spend it wisely. With that, it’s also made me so much more productive at work. I literally jam the same amount of work into a 4-5 hour work day that I would do in 8-9 hours. Time has become a luxury!
Jaime: I recognized that with my high creative nature, I wanted to do something that would involve my children. Once you start having children, you can’t let your creative passion and fire die out inside of you, but at the same time you shouldn’t have to choose. For me, pivoting my career is a big part of that process because I want to raise my kids and i don’t want to live my life being away from them.
How do you manage your time between work and family? Do you have any favorite “life hacks” or “non-negotiables” you’ve picked up along the way?
Ashleigh: I just had my third child three months ago so life has been a little chaotic to say the least. My workouts are a non-negotiable for me though. It’s the only way I have enough energy to keep up with work, family and the long sleepless nights with a newborn!
Jaime: For me, playing with my children and being there for them is more of a priority than going to a work function if I don’t have to – it’s about prioritizing. My “life hack” is being gentle with myself and communicating with the people around me that family is a priority and surrounding myself with people on my team that understand that if being with my kids is my choice, I’m not going to feel punished. It’s really allocating the time you are putting into your job and family and seeing how one influence the other
How do the people close to you describe you? Your husband? Your kids? Co-workers?
Ashleigh: I just asked Ceason, my Operations Manager, this question and she said, “Badass, Admirable, Fabulous and Funny.” She has to say nice things though! Lol!
Jaime: My kids would say, playful, attentive, nurturing. My co-workers would probably describe me as open and thoughtful to their process and good at communicating. Let me ask my husband, [Kyle Newman joins our call]… I would say she’s very full of life, she’s spirited and spiritual. I think she loves to share, she is extremely open and very thoughtful and kind, even with strangers she’s always trying to find out what’s going on see if she can help them talk to people, so openness is a big thing and also how she likes the causes she gets behind. How she likes to openly express what she’s going through or help people get through their day and realizing that they aren’t alone.
We love that you both have such a strong mama tribe around you. What does that mean to you and do you have any tips for nurturing those relationships?
Ashleigh: I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by a fierce group of women who are so independent, inspiring and loyal. As for tips, simply treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Jaime: I think it’s the little things and being compassionate of what each parent is going through. It’s important to understand that the amount of time you spend at something doesn’t define your friendship or relationship. If you have the intuition to reach out to someone and ask them how they are, do that. I think it’s really important to communicate and share how you can be of support to people and not forgetting that small things are big things for parents.
What 3 things are you coveting right now?
Ashleigh: Any facemask or skin care product that will make my tired skin glow!
Jaime: A vacation. I’m also coveting the day where we can open our news and see progress and change and joyful things happening rather than our children and family being shot and all other atrocities. I also really want to find a great series that I love where I can have a full creative experience, while at the same time being able to raise my children.
What’s next for both of you? Any big career plans for 2018?
Ashleigh: My focus is to continue to grow AKID both domestically and internationally.
Jaime: I’m starting to design our next line for Gardner and the Gang for kids and I have my first collection coming out for women with For Love & Lemons in January. My movie Bitch just came out and I also have a couple movies releasing; Escape Plan 2 and 3, so I completed that franchise which I’m really excited about. I’m also collaborating on directing something and just trying to do whatever to put my love and heart into reflecting humanity back to humanity and heal people. We all need entertainment right now more than anything.
Why do you think it’s empowering for women to collaborate and work together? What have you learned most by working with other women?
Ashleigh: In general, women tend to be strong communicators and multitaskers. In addition, they tend to work better together in a team environment. For those that have families there is a general understanding around the balance of work life and home life. This is very important when you’re stretched between the two like I am.
Jaime: It’s interesting because when I was growing up, we were taught that women had to fight one another and we were taught that we couldn’t be on the same team. That was because of some bullsh*t idea that’s really about patriotically ideals and standards, and I think I hit a point in my life where I realized that I love women, and my friendships with women can never really compare with any relationship I have with a man. There’s something innately intimate about being with other women, someone once told me that women need to be heard and men need to be acknowledged.
Anything you found to be a challenge or surprising when working together?
Ashleigh: Jaime knows what she likes which always made it very easy to create a collection together. She’s also a busy mom like me so is used to making fast decisions and multi tasking like a wizard!
Jaime: No. I work with people that I admire and I work with people that I want to learn from and grow from. I work with people that I believe are alchemy, our togetherness will provide something to this planet that is worthwhile.
Surround yourself with people you love and lift you up
Take time for yourself everyday. Even if it's just 30 min!
Be open. Be kind. Be strong
Enjoy your “mistakes” as much as your triumphs.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.