In Conversation With... Yvadney Davis
One of the delights of social media, instagram in particular is finding like minded people that you can connect with AND learn from. Yvadney Davis is changing conversations, through her career as a children's fashion stylist where she has really stepped up the aesthetic children's fashion and her passion project, "Mums That Slay". Mums That Slay (MTS) reminds mothers that they are women first and shares content via her blog and social media that reminds is to stay connected to our womanhood from things as simple as changing lipstick, to more complex things such as having a 'mum tum' and feeling sexy and practical self care.
Lets hear (ok read) from the woman herself...
Please could you tell our readers a bit about youRSELF and what you do?
My name is Yvadney Davis, I’m a freelance Kids’ Fashion Stylist and I live in South London with my husband (of a decade this year - yaass!) and two children, a boy aged 5 and a 2 year old little girl.
When did you decide to make the transition from PR to stylist and why children’s wear?
I graduated from Central Saint Martins with a Fashion Design degree. So, a few years into my PR career and despite the pay cheque, events and swanky lunches, I was miserable and my creative skills were completely stifled. So, I started styling editorials for fun on the weekends.
I used my husband’s job transfer to Canada to make the switch and armed with a full portfolio was signed by a talent agency within a few months.
My alignment with childrens’ fashion naturally came about when I became a mum. Not only was I shopping it for my kids, but kidswear is a niche and burgeoning industry full of creativity and colour. I haven’t looked back.
How did you manage the transition from employment with a regular salary to being solely responsible for your earnings?
I’m the first to admit that I am still learning. I’ve never been disciplined with my finances, relying on the buffer of my paycheque to enjoy life. Self employment means hustling for work, invoicing on time and chasing up those payments. I use an accounting system to keep track of all my expenses and keep a no-touching savings account for tax.
I am also very lucky my husband is so diligent with finances. He’s definitely carried me through quieter months.
Your career means that you need to be present and active on social media. How do you balance this with the demands of real life? It can be easy to loose time in virtual spaces.
100% One of my key focuses this year is to not get distracted and so, this is one area I take very seriously. The way I see it, I owe nobody but myself the social media content I share. I am a fashion stylist, I am not trying to be a social media maven so, I don’t follow any of those rules that say “Share x amount of posts a day at this time and buy these bots”.
I focus on quality and not quantity, sharing posts because I have new work to share or something to say. If you’re anxiously trying to think of something to post next, you’re lacking on the authenticity front and probably need to take a social media detox. Ultimately, while I love the connections I make through social media, and I have made so so many bonafide friendships because of it, nothing compares to real life.
Diversity is being treated like a trend at the moment. The fashion industry lookS like there is some real movement in term do diversity. Do you think it’s real rather than a trend? What are your thoughts on how children’s fashion can progress from diversity to being inclusive?
I think people’s eyes are genuinely being opened. Maybe that’s naivety, but I think from bottom to top and top to bottom, people are seeing that change is needed and are, most importantly listening. I also believe this is the time of the Black British creative, from Ennifel at Vogue to Sharmaine Lovegrove, we are taking our seats at tables all over the arts and it’s so exciting! There is still some way to go, but I am loving the first steps.
The kids’ industry has a little way to go. I think it’s pretty diverse, but children of colour tend to be assigned the same kinds of roles. I would love to see black girls in ad campaigns for pretty party dresses and black boys be more then urban. Children are the most beautiful and wonderful beings, their innocence and energy is universal. So, if we stop putting them in boxes then we have inclusivity.
Please could you share 3 self care tips for self employed mums.
1. Morning prayer/ intention setting - If you want to start and finish your day well, you need a little peace and clarity.
2. Learn to say “No” self-employment when you’re a mum means you can spend your days, months, years spinning far to many plates. Rather then let them all come crashing down, learn to say ‘no’ to unnecessary commitments. There needs to be some breathing space in your life for self-care, hobbies, spending time with friends and family - other wise what is the point
3. Take a break - It’s so easy to get caught up in workload and sit behind your desk all day, much like you would in an office. That’s why it’s crucial you switch off every now and then. Go and sit down for lunch, read the news, check in on social media, go for a walk even. Just something non-work related for 30 minutes will make all the difference.
What have your children taught you about yourself?
That with each of their births, I was gifted endless love. I worried about not being able to love another child as much as my son, but instead, I’m not dividing it, but just giving out even more love. It’s an amazing feeling to know I am walking around with all this love flowing out of me.
How do you raise children that are aware of the challenges that may come due to their ethnicity a) in a ‘post racial society’ and b) without feeling burdensome?
Slowly and gently, because they have a right to an unburdened childhood just like anyone else. I’m using this early stage to establish a foundation of pride, positivity and knowledge. Making sure they know about our Caribbean heritage, cooking the food, singing the songs, listening to the music. I ensure their book shelves, toy boxes and TV shows also include children that look like them and used the last Black History Month to start talking about some of the many great black role models.
The wokeness is done reactively, as and when situations arise, which thankfully is few and far between. So far, it has all been about aesthetics, such as my son not liking his curly afro hair and wishing it was straight and spiky, to which I responded with letting him play with my hair, teaching him the beauty of our natural hair and showing him endless Jackson 5 videos (he’s now a big fan!) - win win!
How do you keep your relationship alive whilst having two young children and growing career as a stylist?
My marriage is the most important relationship in our family. If it’s working then everything else will fall into place. Childcare can be a real expense, so we plan movie nights in and send them to their grandparents every now and then, so we have some quality time. He’s also my best friend, so there is a lot of banter in our relationship, which means we laugh a lot.
In addition to the above you have what we think is becoming a lovely online community in 'Mums That Slay’. What are the core values of MTS?
Mums That Slay is actually less about motherhood and more about looking, feeling and being the best mum and woman you can be. Whatever stage you’re at in motherhood, it’s recognising that you slay, it’s ok to be YOU and making sure you celebrate YOU.
It’s all about taking time out from the kids and being a bit self indulgent, with a focus on fashion, lifestyle and careers. I’m intrigued to see how it grows this year, as I feel the community has a really strong identity, centred on sisterhood (overused, but the best discription) and feels fresh and relevant to so many of the members.
DMs or Trainers? Trainers
All the oils or all the butters? Oils always... coconut, seeds, jojoba, olive….come on, no comparisons.
Date night or cocktails with girlfriends? Date night (that’s the right answer - wink!)
Phone call or WhatsApp? WhatsApp, why are you calling me?
AW or SS? AW - layers are my friends
Spare time - gym or chill? CHILL
90’s or 00’s - I’m a 90s girl!