What I Learned Working at REI

In high school, to pay for my car insurance and gas money, I worked at the REI store in Berkeley. It was the second REI store to open and thus its internal store code was 02. When I moved to Seattle to go to the University of Washington, I got a job working at store 01 – the “mother ship”. I felt like I was moving up in the REI universe! At the time, there were about a dozen stores. Now, there are over 40.

This was before REI moved into its current hip flagship store with the 3-story rock climbing wall and outdoor bike paths. Old time Seattelites stillremember the original REI that occupied an old building on Pike St and 11th. Previously a car dealership, broad ramps connected the floors and there was no modern HVAC system. We employees learned to dress in layers.

During my time at both stores, I worked in Shoes, Books and Clothing departments. We had to wear green vests with lots of pockets for pens, transfer slips and membership forms. Wearing the green vest meant you were an expert and easy for customers to spot when they had questions.

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Six Girls, One Dog and Managed Chaos - Hair Fairy’s First Photo Shoot

An early Saturday morning in June found me at a photography studio in Ballard.  My experience in corporate marketing meant this wasn’t my first time on set. What was so momentous was this was the first of (hopefully) many photo shoots for my company, Hair Fairy Bedding.  I was anxious and tired. But mostly, I wanted to remember this day as the start of something big.

In my marketing roles at companies, I’d been responsible for supporting and building a corporate brand that was established and owned by others. That morning in June, the images being snapped would be the cornerstone for the brand I was building. My brand. That felt huge.


I had a tiny start-up budget, but I didn’t want to skimp on the photography. After talking to a number of local professionals (all referred to me by former colleagues  - the power of referrals!), I selected Barta Photo. Run by husband/wife team Patrick Barta and Lyn Porterfield, I loved his clean style and aesthetic. And let’s face it, Tyson, their 8 year old yellow lab sort of cinched the deal. Barta brought in photo stylist and kid wrangler              Lisa B.


I was lucky to draft the daughters of friends from work, school and church. The girls were excited to be models and did beautifully, hamming it up for the camera one moment and pretending to be asleep the next. My daughter Grace also stepped up.  Her hair woes 8 years ago were the catalyst for discovering satin pillowcases and ultimately founding Hair Fairy. Later, my husband and son showed up to make it truly a family affair.

So six girls, one boy, three moms, a dog named Tyson, and a handful of others all packed in to the studio to create the images you see on the website here. The time lapse video will give you a glimpse of the energy and controlled chaos of that morning.  

I love the way they all turned out and how Patrick captured the Hair Fairy brand of fun, happy and comfort so perfectly. And the images above were just a few that made me laugh. I hope you enjoy them too!





Taking the Leap

So this is it! It's finally real. Hair Fairy has been a dream for close to 8 years and one I’ve actively been working on for just over 2. Its hard to believe with the pallets of product in storage, a fully functioning website and a smooth ordering process, this dream is coming true.  Welcome!!

My idea for Hair Fairy came when my daughter was around 3 years old. Like most parents, the morning routine was often hard. I was pretty lax about what she wore (she dressed herself). But I held basic hygiene standards – hair had to be brushed, teeth clean and face washed.

Hair brushing was terrible and soon reminded me how much brushing out morning tangles hurt when I was  little . No amount of brushing or hair conditioning the night before helped.

One morning at pre-school drop, a sympathetic mom noticed our red rimmed eyes (yes, I fought back tears a few times too) and suggested she sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase.



Internet searches let me in on a long held practice -  sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase alleviates friction between the hair and cotton pillowcase. Women use it as a beauty aid as it makes for smooth morning hair without frizz or bedhead. I couldn’t find any information on tangle prevention in little girls but was worth a try. I was DESPERATE.

The only pillowcases I could find were cheap and made with tacky rough satin and that wasn’t going to fly. Eww. So we (okay, my mom) quickly made a case out of medium weight satin. Grace loved it and most importantly, IT WORKED. She woke up with glossy tangle free hair. When I slept on it, my hair looked so good, I didn’t need to brush it.  Problem solved.

Life went on and I continued to work a day job – mostly in high tech but a few years with an international non-profit.  During this time, I learned a lot about running a business, managing big teams and launching products into the marketplace. The idea of creating a product for girls and their parents to solve an age-old problem of stressful morning brushouts never left my head. Today, all of that professional experience has resulted in what you see – Hair Fairy Bedding Company.

I‘ve learned so much throughout this process. I’ve also had a lot of help along the way. And I’ll continue to learn, grow and reflect on what its like to start a small company and get it into market and grow the heck out of it.

So my invitation to you is to follow me on this adventure. I’ll keep it short, entertaining and worth your time because I know its precious. And hopefully along the way, inspire some to make their own ideas a reality.