Spending time with Lauren Block is like a breath of fresh air. Her down-to-earth, easygoing attitude makes her instantly likeable. While Block and her husband, Josh—both artists by trade—didn’t grow up in Fort Worth, their artsy, eclectic lifestyle couldn’t be better suited for the Fairmont area that they call home.
Josh is a drummer, producer, sound engineer and one of the owners of Niles City Music Studio, and Block has been in the fashion merchandising business for more than 15 years. She now owns her own line of children’s clothing, Hey Gang. Upon learning that her daughter inspired the line, thoughts of ruffles, smocking and florals might come to mind. But Hey Gang couldn’t be more different.
“I wanted to design a line of clothing that was functional, that kids could really get dirty in,” Block says. “I’ve always loved menswear and vintage clothing. I collect vintage photographs and love to look at the clothing in the pictures. Back then, clothing was designed for functionality, not just style, so I work to incorporate that into all of my pieces.”
FortWorthChild: How did you and Josh meet? Lauren Block: He was a customer at Bows and Arrows, a men’s and women’s clothing store I owned in Austin. Once we started dating, we got serious pretty quickly.
FWC: When did you decide to start trying for a baby? LB: We got married in 2013 after the move to Dallas and started trying pretty soon after that. With him on the road for work all the time, it made it a little difficult.
FWC: How did you react when you found out you were pregnant with Birdie? LB: I was so excited. Josh was excited too, but he stayed stunned for a long period of time.
FWC: Did you picture yourself being a girl mom? LB: Not really. It really threw me for a loop since I’m such a tomboy. But obviously I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world.
FWC: So, how did life change after becoming a mom? LB: Honestly, it was hard. Birdie was a terrible sleeper, so I was sleep deprived and felt like I had lost all of my creativity. I literally thought that I would never be creative again.
FWC: You moved to Fort Worth when Birdie was 4 months old … What prompted the move? LB: Before having Birdie, I was working in Dallas at Shinola, a luxury brand of leather goods, jewelry and audio products, overseeing their U.S. distribution. After Birdie, they were so incredibly flexible with me, but I was still in limbo. I worked part time in Fort Worth, where Josh was, and went to Dallas once a week to be in the office. Finally, I made the tough decision to leave Shinola. Josh had just opened the studio in Fort Worth, so it just made sense to move here.
FWC: What made you guys want to call Fort Worth home? LB: At the time (and there still is), there were so many exciting things happening in Fort Worth. It’s the perfect size and such a great place to raise a family. The Fairmount area where we live is so perfectly fitted for our personalities and lifestyle.
FWC: Do you plan on having more kids? LB: I still want another one but need to hurry up since I just turned 39. It may not be in the cards, but I really do want another one.
FWC: How do you balance work and being a mom? LB: Do I balance is the question. Working outside the house wasn’t working, so I do have a separate studio with a play area for her.
I’m lucky to be able to make my own schedule. Birdie is in school Monday through Wednesday and I dedicate Thursdays and Fridays to be with her. I’ll never get that time back with her.
FWC: Do you and Josh follow any specific parenting philosophies? LB: Not really—we both just follow our instincts. We’re pretty lax and just want her to be her own person.
FWC: What’s your favorite thing about being a mom? LB: Watching her become their own little person. Her girliness is 100% her. She told me that girls aren’t supposed to wear pants! She loves the spotlight, which comes from her dad.
FWC: Did Birdie inspire you to develop Hey Gang? LB: Yes. When it comes to girl’s clothing, everything is so girly and I’m such a tomgirl. I just couldn’t find any brands that I really loved.
FWC: Does Birdie like the clothes in your clothing line? LB: [Laughs.] Not really—only the dresses. She’s certainly her own little person, much girlier than I am. It’s because of her that we will always have items in pink!
FWC: Hey Gang is based online. Do you plan to open a store in Fort Worth? LB: At this point, no. We do some pop-up stores occasionally in Austin, and Baby by Design on Camp Bowie has the whole collection and it’s selling really well.
FWC: Why is it so important for your clothing to be made in Texas? LB: With the inspiration being vintage Americana, it just didn’t make sense to have it produced overseas. It also allows me to be hands-on, which I love. Most of our pieces are produced in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and El Paso.
FWC: Why is it important to have a charitable connection to the clothing line? LB: My purpose in life is not to just be someone who makes expensive clothes for kids. I believe strongly in giving back to our communities, especially our schools. Two dollars from each chain stitch customization order (offered on most pieces) is donated to DonorsChoose.org, the leading platform for giving to public schools.
FWC: As a mom, we often forget to take care of ourselves. How do you de-stress? LB: I love going out with girlfriends, but overall, I’m pretty low-key. I love to drink wine on our porch and take walks with our dog around the neighborhood. I also love historical fiction. Right now, I’m reading a great book about Amon Carter.