Then Comes Marriage ...
Rachel Haynes has mastered the delicate balance of owning a successful business and being an amazing mom. Read in our 2016 Boss Moms feature about how she was able to boldly follow her dreams by building her business from the ground up, all while holding the demanding, yet rewarding title of “Mom.”
By Amy Gordy/Photography by Lily Darragh
Rachel Haynes walked into college on her first day and asked, “Where do you put the wedding planners?” She knew at 19 that she was destined for planning romance. After being shuffled from the recreation department to hospitality, she graduated from the University of Arkansas, and this in-demand wedding planner began her journey.
She started with an internship that turned into a three-year stint at Bates Events in Fayetteville before getting engaged and moving back home to Little Rock. “Once I was back home, my husband and I started doing weddings for people at our church,” Haynes said. Her husband, Ben, has been very supportive of the business from the beginning. “We just took the plunge and now we are in our ninth summer of wedding planning,” Haynes said.
Rachel Haynes Events employs two additional event planners
who are a big help to manage their busy lives—which became even busier when the couple welcomed baby Nora Cate in August 2014. “Everything has changed since we had a baby. I think the only reason we were able to make it work is because we had the business before kids. With small businesses—in the beginning stages especially—there are no hours, it is just all encompassing.”
Haynes was adamant about not wanting to put Nora in daycare, and with the help of family members and home sitters, she’s been able to balance her ever-changing schedule, and become a dedicated mom. “Sometimes it’s chaos, and we have to take it one day at a time. But we make it work with lots of planning. Organization is like oxygen to me! I’m so fortunate to be able to work in a creative environment every day, and be part of this amazing family.”
THE INSIDE SCOOP with RACHEL
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ANY MOTHER WITH A DREAM OF STARTING A BUSINESS? I would shadow someone for an extended period of time in your desired industry. There are a lot of idealistic misconceptions about small business, and really understanding the pressure and magnitude of owning a business is a wise place to start. If I didn’t have such a supportive husband and family, I truly couldn’t do it!
WHAT’S BEEN THE HARDEST THING ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP? Managing family life and work life. My husband and I decided from the very beginning that we would have boundaries around the business to protect family time. But so often, during wedding season especially, we are working long hours and seven days a week just to keep up. When you are in love with your family and feel like you have your dream job, it’s worth finding the balance!
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST FULFILLING THING ABOUT BEING YOUR OWN BOSS? I would say I find it so rewarding to customize each event we work on to every client. Our team works so hard to make sure no wedding is the same, and it truly expresses each individual girl.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT’S JUST “ME TIME”? “Me time” is very rare! But I do make exercising and cooking a big priority!
WHO WOULD YOU SAY HAS BEEN YOUR MENTOR OR ROLE MODEL? My mom. She knew how much I loved my business and she told me early in my pregnancy, “If your children aren’t your biggest priority then they will be your greatest inconvenience.” I decided at that point my family would always come first! It’s a daily decision, but I’m so grateful for her wisdom. When your home life is well managed, it is much easier to be successful in business.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOUR BUSINESS? Westhaven Event Center. My husband and I are opening a wedding venue! We are currently renovating a property we purchased in West Little Rock, and we will host weddings and receptions in a stone pavilion and creek-side reception studio! We are so excited about this new venture.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE PARENTING FAIL? I had a wedding four weeks after my daughter was born—tough lesson in realizing my new limits as a parent.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST PARENTING ACHIEVEMENT? That we’ve made it this far! Being a working mom is the hardest and most rewarding thing in my life. I truly feel like being a mom is a daily self-improvement course. I am so grateful that through time in God’s word, He is refining me daily and allowing me to manage my family and our business.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.