Member Spotlight: Meet Denim Wizard Natascha Snellman of Hey Babe!

As seen here, here, and here, we all know what it's like to lead so many different lives before bringing little ones into the world. That's especially true for Los Angeles-based Natascha Snellman, who was once a child actress on Dutch TV, a trail guide at a horse stable, a candy peddler in the music industry (who knew that was a thing?), and even a show runner — all before college. While earning her undergrad degree, Snellman interned at renowned advertising agency Weiden + Kennedy and for iconic fashion photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber.

With an extensive background in creative industries, Snellman needed a way to express herself artistically after becoming a mama. Enter her label Hey Babe!, for the designer patches up basic denim jackets to create rad, one-of-a-kind pieces that are beloved by everyone from FM members to stylish star Jaime King (who just so happens to be the keynote speaker of next month's first-ever Mamas Making It Summit) and more.

Here, Snellman tells us about what led to her creating Hey Babe!, how getting fired for a job was a blessing in disguise, how she deals with "mom brain," and much more. Read on below, then shop her cool custom jackets for kids and adults here.

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What's your career journey been like, and what led you to creating Hey Babe LA?

While I was working on my portfolio for grad school applications, I reached out to an old professor of mine for a reccomendation letter. He told me I wouldn’t get in to a school like Art Center, because I wasn’t smart in “that way." So with that being said I decided to prove him wrong, no one can tell us what we can’t do — where there is a will, there is a way! 

A year later I moved to LA to start the graduate program at Art Center College of Design. My dream was to study with the late Mike Kelley, I was drawn to how he created work in a myriad of mediums and pushed the boundaries in his field. I also liked that although he was seen by most as an artist, he was also a writer and musician and for me he really broke down labels. I also met and studied with Diana Thater and she was an empowering mentor to have.

I’ve worked for a ton of creatives over the years like Mark Borthwick, Bennett Miller, Miranda July, and Roman Coppola. And I can’t forget high-end retail I worked at Daryl K on Bond Street back in the day and Zero on Melrose Place (where I’ve met some of my best friends). I also will proudly admit I was let go from Resurrection and because of that redirection I ended up working for Dagny Corcoran of Art Catalogues (at MOCA). She's an legend and I really learned so much from her. Everything happens for a reason and I am so glad I was basically fired because otherwise I would have never worked with her and that was a game-changer.

I also created art and showed at some galleries during all of this, but the gallery scene ended up not being for me at the time. After I had my son I re-assessed work and life and luckily because my boyfriend has a steady job so I was able to stay home with Indy and figure out what my next step was. I knew I needed a creative outlet and a source of income, my mom was making my son a jacket with patches and she suggested the idea. Lance handed me a pile of skate patches and I thought it over for a few months and decided to make a few jackets and see what my mom friends thought. 

I noticed recently that Hey Babe! combines all of my interests and I was laughing the other day, because I’m basically making wearable art, which I never would have imagined, but I love it! So now Hey Babe! is a real thing and it’s something I’m really proud of, I never thought I would own my own business, but I’ve learned that everything comes full circle and what we set our minds to we can accomplish and that is truly empowering!

Photo: Chelsea Lauren/Media Planet

What is the name and age of your little one(s)? 

Indio, who is almost two.

What is a typical workday like for you, from the moment you wake up?

Indio likes to get up around 6am — no comment! Like a zombie I make him a smoothie and turn on cartoons, right now he’s obsessed with Trolls and Paw Patrol. While he is preoccupied I respond to emails, handle calls and then we usually head to my seamstress, I like to break up the day by doing something fun for Indy, so we either go to a park, have lunch with friends, ride ponies, or go to the beach. 

When Indy naps I take advantage and get as much work done as I can. By late afternoon we are at the grocery store and head home to prepare dinner. Once Lance gets home from work we eat, do bath time and put Indy to bed. Then I head back into the office and do jacket layouts and prepare orders. Most night we get into bed by 10PM And if I don’t fall asleep we watch a show in bed and cuddle. Right now we are finishing House of Cards, we also love Arrested Development, Twin Peaks, Bosch, and Ray Donovan.

How has motherhood changed your approach to your career?

Not only am I doing something new, but I’ve also had to adjust my expectations and really learn to be flexible. I think i’m learning how to manage my time better, to let the little things go, to adapt, to wear many hats and mainly my main goal is to be in the moment and enjoy the ride. If I can learn to embrace the ups and downs of parenthood and being an artist/entrepreneur i know i’m leading by example and Indio will learn by seeing. Because he will be starting school in the Spring, I’m trying to make the most of our time together, while becoming a professional juggler! 

Favorite organizational tools/apps that help you balance work/mom life? 

My day planner is my life, I’m old-fashioned and like to write things down with a pen on paper. I also email myself a ton of reminders before I go to sleep. Since having my son my memory is not what it used to be.

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Where are just a few of your favorite spots to shop for denim in LA?

Iguana vintage has a lot of Levi’s, but I deal mostly with vintage warehouses and online dealers. Having a toddler it’s most convenient for me to source online.

When you're not busy outfitting your kids in rad denim jackets, what are a few of your fave kids clothing brands?

I’ve made some really cool friends with brands I love since I started Hey Babe!: Average Brand, Doowop Kids, Roubleau and my fellow Fashion Mamas behind Le Future and Black i Boys.

Current favorite grown-up clothing brands?

I would love to own some FillesApapa! I also love Doen, Vivienne Westwood, Vans, and vintage pieces.

Best advice for women who want to succeed in your field? 

Take it day by day, breathe, be kind to yourself and others. Don’t be shy, ask friends for help who have strengths you can learn from.