When Kevin Meyers graduated from Hillsdale College in 2009 with German and history majors, he never imagined that he would be running one of the most successful businesses for baby products three years later.
Kevin Meyers and his wife Haily Meyers sold their first product from their business Lucy Darling in 2012 and were officially formed, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission, in May 31, 2013. Lucy Darling offers several products including: sticker designs, nursery art prints, closet dividers, and memory books.
The business, Kevin Meyers said, got its start when his wife wanted stickers for their first child, Lucy Meyers. At the time, he did not fully understand his wife’s vision for producing the stickers.
“We started with $100,” Kevin Meyers said. “It was a three day conversation that my wife and I had about whether or not we could afford the $100 investment. I was teaching and she was a freelance graphic designer, and $100 was a lot of money. But I believed she knew what she was talking about in this particular area, and I trusted her.”
After finding success selling the stickers, the Meyers decided to try selling memory books. Kevin Meyers said this was the first major product for Lucy Darling. The memory books were more expensive than the stickers, Kevin Meyers said, and the production process was a little scary.
The memory books, however, have turned into Lucy Darling’s most successful product.
“Our memory book was really significant in its time,” Kevin Meyers said. “We made it four years ago, and there was nothing else on the market like it. It was new in a space that was not new. Everything about our book was unique when it came out.”
Unlike previous memory books, the Lucy Darling memory book had a ring bind, was square, and was designed for square images – like those found on Instagram. Kevin Meyers said the Amazon bestseller list is full of products that are copies of the original Lucy Darling memory book.
“That is certainly difficult with a business,” Kevin Meyers said. “You come up with a unique idea, and then everyone rips you off. It’s a bit frustrating, but you have to stay ahead.”
During the early years of Lucy Darling’s history, Kevin Meyers said the most challenging aspect of having a business was finding a marketplace to sell the products.
“You could have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, no one’s going to buy it,” he said.
Up until now, Lucy Darling designed and manufactured all of its products in the U.S., most of them in Phoenix, Arizona. Kevin Meyers said this was a big part of Lucy Darling’s identity, but some products simply can’t be made in the U.S. because production has shifted, or it’s physically impossible to manufacture the products here.
Most recently, Lucy Darling wanted to create a gift wrap that could only be made using a machine overseas. Only two manufacturers in the U.S. had the machine they needed to create the product, but both manufacturers only produce in-house designs and refused to create the gift wrap for Lucy Darling.
“If we wanted that product created, we had to do it overseas,” Kevin Meyers said.
Kevin Meyers added that his wife has two very strong qualities that have helped the business succeed: predicting trends and creating beautiful products. As a result of Haily Meyers’ creativity, Lucy Darling has begun sourcing more products overseas.
“As much as we liked making stuff in the U.S., what she could make here was super limited,” Kevin Meyers said. “It was very hard for us to make that decision to make stuff overseas, but once we made it, it’s just totally opened the doors to what we could do, and it’s just really exciting.”
Reflecting on the history of Lucy Darling, Kevin Meyers said the biggest advice he would give anybody looking to start a business is to ask for help. Having no background in business, Meyers said he found himself asking mentors questions about things like minimum orders and how to sell products online.
Kevin Meyers credits his willingness to seek good counsel to Proverbs 15:22, which says plans will succeed with many good advisors. He also said Hillsdale taught him how to build valuable relationships with those who possess wisdom in a field.
“We’re reading a lot of old books, so we’re learning from a lot of those who have gone before us and also those who have gone just directly before us, the professors,” Kevin Meyers said. “And one of the benefits of being here is being in an environment where you can develop those relationships with your professors. That’s the framework I’ve taken here in the business field.”
One professor who helped shape Kevin Meyers’ time at Hillsdale was Professor of History Thomas H. Conner.
“He was an excellent student who never did anything less than A‑work,” Conner said. “He has a great personality and was very capable. It’s a source of great joy and immense satisfaction to see him do so well in his business and raising a family.”
Conner added that he and Kevin Meyers, along with Hillsdale graduate Lt. Jack Shannon, took a trip to Germany after he graduated in 2009. The trip was not planned by the college and something the three organized together.
Before this spontaneous trip, Kevin Meyers attended Saarland University in Saarbrucken, Germany as part of the German department’s student exchange program.
Chairman and Professor of German Eberhard Geyer said Kevin Meyers was a good student and achieved brilliant success during his semester at Saarland.
“He was a wonderful communicator,” Geyer said. “He made international friends and joined a church while he was there.”
Geyer added that it’s likely that Kevin Meyers’ strong communication skills helped him achieve success in the field of business.
“Every field has its own lexicon, and I’m sure he learned his business vocabulary very quickly,” Geyer said.
Kevin Meyers added that he and his roommate invited professors to Saucy Dog’s Barbeque one day a week for 25-cent wings on Tuesdays and $1 pints on Thursdays when they turned 21 years old.
“We went with Victor Davis Hanson, we went with Doc, Dr. Geyer,” Kevin Meyers said. “I don’t recall all the guys who went, but there were several. And that was just really cool, and that was one thing that’s just really special about this place is the professors caring.”
In addition to professors, Kevin Meyers said he has learned to ask God for wisdom.
“I believe God has been faithful,” Kevin Meyers said. “And we’ve done our best to be faithful.”
Today, Lucy Darling products can be found in large retailers including Nordstrom, Land of Nod, and Anthropologie, as well as over 800 boutiques across the country.
“If you’re interested in building a business, starting a business, you should absolutely pursue that,” Kevin Meyers said.