Interview with the Founders of In Kind

This Month we sat down with the founders of In Kind, an independent, biannual magazine and weekly newsletter focused on capturing the conversations modern women are having as they navigate motherhood, career, and personal style. Founders, Leah Melby Clinton and Hannah Weil McKinley, are former fashion Editors, who couldn't find the content they wanted to read as they advanced in their careers, started families, and began wondering how to balance all of it—so they decided to create it for themselves. Learn more about their journey with motherhood, balancing their business and how it all came to be what it is today - Below! 



What Made You Both Want To Start InKind? 

Leah: When I was pregnant and then a new mother with my first daughter, I really noticed what a lack of content there was that spoke to all the new questions and thoughts I was suddenly consumed with—and not “parenting” or “motherhood” content that’s about raising children, per se, but more about how you have this huge identity shift and schism. It’s wild and so much more than stuff about mom-and-baby. I wanted to talk about how your career aspirations change—or don’t change. How do you handle having the same ambition and drive but now with a baby that changes so much? And kids aside, in your 30s your career is at a high, you might have been with your partner for a while and are therefore hitting new hurdles and challenges, your relationship with your own parents is changing…there’s just so much. And because Hannah and I spent most of our careers as digital editors, we knew the SEO and algorithm game: I totally knew that the stories I wanted to read and talk about wouldn’t be published because there’s no way they’d garner a quarter of the clicks that a roundup of dresses under $100 or celebrity news would. 

In Kind started as a hobby—a “Leah’zine”—because I wanted to interview interesting women and put their stories down. Pretty quickly I realized I wasn’t alone in wanting stuff like this, so I reached out to Hannah who, by the way, had just had her second baby, and asked if she’d be interested in working on something more official.

Hannah: Like Leah, I was looking for an outlet, a place to write about this new chapter as a mother and to connect with like-minded women. I had toyed with starting a blog, but when Leah reached out with the idea for In Kind, it was serendipitous—it was everything I was hoping to do with a partner and a friend I admire and I couldn’t wait to work together on it. 

What’s one thing people don’t know about you both?

Leah: People that don’t know me well always seem surprised to hear about how much “un-fancy” stuff I love. I’ve worked in the fashion industry my entire career, have a pretty serious closet, etc, but I was raised in Central Florida: I love Chili’s and gas-station fountain sodas and going barefoot whenever possible.

Hannah: I think people are always surprised to learn that I’m actually from Miami. We spent every summer in Maine growing up and now it’s really my parent’s home base, but I was born and raised in Miami, FL—something that always throws people when I tell them now. 

Best piece of advice you received while working in fashion?

Leah: Okay, this is a weird one, but there was a stretch of time when a man walked around outside of the Hearst Tower and general Columbus Circle area with a cat sitting on his head—I think he hoped tourists would give him money? Regardless, I was worrying about wearing something one time, thinking it was too much, and a colleague said, “Don’t forget that there’s a man with a cat on his head.” There will always be someone with a more ridiculous or outlandish outfit: Wear what you want.

Hannah: In fashion, it’s so easy and so tempting to get wrapped up in trends and labels. At the beginning, when I was an assistant editor and trying to keep up with all of it, my mother reminded me that it’s about the woman, not the dress. She always encouraged me to trust my instincts and hone my own personal style and that’s always the best advice. 

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done in your life?

Leah: The on-paper answer would be studying abroad in Australia. It was so far from home—I remember being dazzled by looking at a globe and trying to wrap my brain around how physically far I was from everyone I knew and loved. The more subtle thing is starting In Kind. I’d never identified as being “entrepreneurial” or thought I wanted to start my own business. It was more selfishly doing something I enjoyed. It’s been an adventure though, undoubtedly. From all the people I’ve met, both as sources for content and who have subscribed and reached out via social media or email, to the things the work entails. I never thought I’d talk about paper types or work as closely with a printer as I do now. 

Hannah: I think I’m doing it right now. It’s wild running a business and raising kids—like Leah, I traveled as a college student, and spent a summer alone in Spain, which felt like a big, crazy adventure then. Still, I think the bravest thing I’ve done to date is get pregnant and have my babies. Pregnancy itself is an adventure and being a mother to my girls is the most incredible thing I’ve ever done, hands-down. 

As full-time business owners and moms, what is your morning routine?

Leah: My husband wakes up with our two little ones so I can have 30 minutes or an hour to write—we’re finishing the next issue, so this is one of the busiest times of the year for writing and editing. Then I turn into the ship captain, making sure my daughter gets dressed for school and my one-year-old doesn’t get himself into too much trouble. I really try to ignore my phone and emails so I can be as present as possible before the work day officially starts. Since our kids wake up early, we often fit in a family walk before school, but if that doesn’t shake out, I’ll take the little guy out. Then I put him down for a nap and start the day—his nanny or my mother-in-law comes over right before he wakes up to take over.

Hannah: My husband and I wake up together with our kids around 7am, then we spend a little time as a family snuggling in bed before we start to get the girls dressed. Our wonderful nanny comes to help with breakfast around 7:30am and I get some time to  journal and get myself dressed before we’re out the door for school drop off. 

Favorite piece of clothing you own?

Leah: This is too hard! In general, I’m always really happy when I pull out something I bought years ago and still wear. It feels affirming, like I’ve figured out my core personal style, and it also makes me feel good about smart shopping. Whether it was something more expensive I invested in and still love or a cheapie Zara buy that I’m still wearing five years later, that’s the right kind of shopping. 

Hannah: Impossible—it changes all the time! 

How would you describe both of your personal styles?

Leah: For a long time I’d describe my personal style as “country aristocrat,” which still does a pretty good job—I’d be happiest in a mix of waxed jackets and tweed, great denim and sweaters, full skirts and gowns (the latter worn with a really great crown but no shoes). I prefer modest shapes and classic, feminine pieces. The dream outfit is something that you’d see in a photograph and not know what decade it was from.

Hannah: I very much dress for my mood, though I think at my core, I’m a little girl-meets-boy. I love a romantic top or a sweet ballet flat, but I’ll counter it with a wide-leg jean or something more masculine or utilitarian. I feel most myself when things don’t skew too feminine or too cutesy, when there’s something just a little off or unexpected. 

Favorite Pamela Munson bag?

Leah: As a long-time basket bag lover, I’m shocked my answer isn’t the Bahia (that single strap mini is so good!). But, honestly, The Field Tote is perfection. I’ve been so drawn to high-quality, gorgeously constructed canvas totes recently. The classic lines and utilitarian fabric are the epitome of quiet luxury. 

 Hannah: I am such a fan of the petite Bahia—the ideal companion piece to a great summer dress, but also the perfect antidote to my more daily uniform of denim and a t-shirt, army jacket, and flats. 

Quick Fire Questions:

1. Dream country to visit?

Leah: Japan

Hannah: I’m always dreaming of another trip to Italy

2. Heels or flats?

Leah: Flats, flats, flats

Hannah: Flats (and sneakers!)

3. Vintage or new?

Leah: Preowned! I am a serial The RealReal and eBay shopper.

Hannah: I love the thrill of something new, but have more recently become a big preowned shopper (largely thanks to Leah’s influence!)

4. Style icon?

Leah: Jackie Kennedy for all time, Gucci Westman for current Instagram-stalking.

Hannah: Since my early days as an editorial assistant, it’s been Taylor Tomasi Hill. I’ve also more recently fallen totally in love with Courntey Grow’s style. 

5. Running or Pilates

Leah: Pilates for life!

Hannah: Pilates!
Sign up here to read Pam's interview coming out on October 30th, 2023 in In Kinds Newsletter! 

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