Picture this... You’ve just reached the end of a deliciously good book. You spent some quality time reveling in the ending, and now the time has come to replace that novel with something new. Though you desperately wanted it to continue, you know that it cannot, and the part of your mind and your heart that devoured that amazing story is now curiously void. It’s the most bittersweet of feelings – gratitude for what has passed; contentment with what it has left you; and a touch of curious anxiety for what is to come.
And what exactly is yet to come? What happens now?
It is from that very sentiment that Hettie Joan was conceived – on the last remaining blank pages of an old college sketchbook, using a novelty pencil stolen from my daughter’s room (the only one I could find), and with a deep stirring to make and do something new and different and energizing. I needed some zing and excitement; I needed something fun and beautiful and full of personality, something I could build with my own two hands. And most of all, I needed a way to reattach a sense of self to my everyday routine – I needed a reminder of my tremendous capabilities that I could turn to when the daily grind was feeling a little too stale.
Hey there! My name is Shannon Miller and I'm the creator of Hettie Joan, a lifestyle brand of well-made, stylish and functional everyday goods designed to help women embrace living their fast-paced lives in full bloom.
Born the daughter of an educator and an IT specialist, we transplanted from our St. Louis roots down to the South when I was a little girl. Since then, Huntsville, Alabama has been home, and I'm now raising my own two children with my extraordinarily Southern husband, Nathan. With a background in the publishing industry as well as marketing for large non-profits, today I'm a full-time creative director and an over-committed crazy mommy whose composition is generally 38% dry shampoo/62% coffee. My life is hectic, amazing, stressful, hilarious, and just crazy wonderful. I could sure use a nap, but otherwise? I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I'd also like to introduce you to Hettie, my husband’s great-grandmother (1887-1971), and Joan, my grandmother (1928-2015). My heart holds nothing but the most amazing stories and sentiments and family anecdotes about these two women – about their kind, generous spirits; about their loyalty to their loved ones; and – my favorite– about their resourcefulness through thick and thin, good times and tough.
These are two women from vastly different parts of the country, extraordinarily different upbringings, and whose chances of meeting face-to-face in their overlapping time on this planet were slim-to-none. Yet they carry twin legacies in my mind – their souls reverberating together in the form of warm smiles; deep and abiding love, shown more often than not through words unspoken; and the nostalgia of beloved maternal role models. They represent a beautifully timeless and steadfast spirit that so many of us see in our own personal heroines and role models.
In the early summer of 2015, I’d reached a tipping point. I’d been dealt some big waves both in my career and personal life that left me feeling as though I had little choice for my mental health but to make some big mindset changes. Hettie Joan is the outward reflection of that inward change, and it represents all the things I hope to be and give to all of us who are forging our own path towards happiness in an increasingly frenzied world.
We are moms, we are wives, and we are workers with to-do lists longer than our children’s letters to Santa. We are chasing pie-in-the-sky joy with a good head on our shoulders and our feet always moving. We’ve got a fiercely optimistic attitude, but we’re not kidding ourselves about the realities of scuffing those brand new shoes or making less-than-stellar life choices at times.
We hold ourselves responsible for the things that matter and we have our infallible senses of humor in the back of our heads to help handle the rest, because we’d rather laugh to keep from crying. We’re strong. We’re smart. We’re funny. We work damn hard. And you guys, we’re shockingly beautiful creatures, even on the most chaotic of weeknights, under 3 coats of dry shampoo as we dish out another frozen dinner because that’s the best we can do today. And it will be delicious, and everyone will be fine. And tomorrow is a new day.
Hettie Joan is here for days like these, and here for the great days, and here for every day in between. It’s the glimmer of “put-togetherness” you feel about yourself when you’re fumbling for the checkbook in a bag that’s 87% crumpled receipts. It’s the always-there, go-to notebook where you’ll quickly jot down #563 on the list of things that need to happen this week, so help me. It’s that pen that you, thank goodness, happen to have on hand to sign off on those last-minute forgotten permission slips in the car line, the day they’re due.