While recovering from a car accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury, #MINDRMAMA Sydney Hinds made a conscious decision to surround herself with beautiful things that made her smile. Her quest to share joy with others led her to start The Village Anthology (TVA), a curated collection of clothing and home decor items that are globally sourced and hand-chosen to brighten your day. Her passion for helping others is inspiring - both in the way that she shares the stories of her artisans and in her role as a mental health advocate. A portion of every purchase at TVA goes towards combating the stigma of mental illness and to raising awareness of the issue through her philanthropic partner, The Seleni Institute. We spoke with Sydney about her road to creating The Village Anthology, the problem with "perfection" and her tips for parenting 3 boys under 3 (Luca, 2.5 years, Ravi and Severiano 4 months). We are also thrilled to note that TVA is featuring Mindr Founder Sarah Lux-Lee on their site today - head on over to check it out.
Share with us a little more about your journey to creating The Village Anthology. How did you get to where you are now and what choices led you down this path?
When I was a graduate student at Tulane, there was an opening for a Teaching Assistant position in the social innovation and entrepreneurship program. At the time, it was an opportunity to fill in some free time in my schedule. Fast forward to the car accident that disrupted everything. While in recovery, I realized my passion for this emerging field. Initially, I was just trying to stimulate my mind as I worked to heal my brain injury. But before I realized it, one thing led to another and a business was born.
We love that you are curating a global collection of beautiful items aimed at bringing joy and telling a story of their origin. How has this philosophy affected the way that you parent?
I have always had an insatiable curiosity for traveling and learning about other cultures. Since becoming a mom, I’ve appreciated the way other cultures parent and it's led me to seek an open-minded view in raising my own children. I believe it's so important to know the roots of something - whether it’s your own genetic roots or the origin of the clothes you wear. I care about the well-being of those involved in the political economy of the goods we bring into our home. The energy an item holds that was created with love and passion under sustainable conditions versus the alternative, has so many implications, both subtle and long-lasting. I hope to keep that conversation going in our home with my children.
The Village Anthology has been described as a "social enterprise that started as a passion project." What advice can you give to our community of #MINDRMAMAS about following their own passions?
I think there’s a misconception that when you follow your passions you’ll never work a day in your life. In reality, it takes blood, sweat, and tears to succeed. It's important to have a working environment that is filled with reminders of your big picture goals and to take moments to check in with yourself to make sure that you are staying true to your vision. You also have to think strategically in case you need to make any slight shifts in the process to get there. Boundaries are also important, because you can find yourself so consumed in your work or conversely- making excuses and never giving yourself any time to work on your passion project.
How has becoming a parent changed or impacted the way that you approach your career?
My children are young, so they’re growing fast and hitting milestones nearly everyday. With that in mind, time spent working is time spent away from them, so I strive to make sure that I'm being as productive and efficient as possible at work.
At Mindr, we are focused on building community and tackling tough topics. Speak to us a little about your role as a mental health advocate and your efforts to normalize this often taboo topic.
Personally, I try my best to integrate mental health into everyday conversations - even if it's just being transparent about when I am on my way to a therapy appointment. My hope is that my candidness will help others to be more open and honest with themselves and those around them.
As a society, I think we're still operating under the expectations that we have to be perfect and do what's expected all the time. The idea of “perfection” is everywhere, as we constantly celebrate sports achievements, social media influencers and celebrity status. It’s great when those in the public eye use their platform to chip away at that false perception, but I also think the normalization needs to occur at the local level and within our immediate communities.
What are some go-to strategies that you've relied on as a parent?
Since having my twins, I have learned to ask for help and I’ve experienced the necessity of having a support system. I have also realized that those in my support system cannot read my mind, which has forced me to feel comfortable with articulating my needs as a mother of three children under three years old. I never truly understood when people would say, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” until now. I can’t be the mom I strive to be if I don't take care of myself. In order for me to be the best mother for my sons, I need to prioritize my needs to ensure I'm of sound mind, body and soul. It will look different for everyone, so it's important to create the strategy that YOU need to function at your best.
What is something you think needs to change about the way our culture treats motherhood/parenthood?
I've learned that the best parenting philosophy is the one that works for your individual situation and lifestyle. There are so many differing opinions in the parenting world and they can be dangerous to a parent's mental well-being. I hope that we can support each other more with a unified view that we're collectively raising a new generation, and shift the attention away from this public standard of unattainable perfection.