hunter harrison twins chair

We are excited to continue our Mom Crush series with our dear friend and neighbor, Hunter Bell.  Hunter and I met through a mutual friend when we were both living in New York City.  Our friend was a hedge fund CFO and she literally said, “You are my only two friends that work in fashion, I feel like y’all should meet.”  So we got set up on a girl blind date and the rest is history so they say. 😉  I remember having brunch at Cafe Cluney a few years later with Hunter and her precious mom during NYFW in 2014.  I broke the news to Hunter that we were moving to Houston and she responded in the most unexpected way. “Don’t tell anyone yet, but we are too!”  Now, we live one street from one another with five kids between the two of us. (You should see the comedy that is us trying to enjoy a meal together now!)  Hunters bright spirit and faith-filled perspective on life make her a wonderful friend and mother.  

Last week, Kathryn sat down with Hunter in her beautiful Briargrove home to bring us this fun interview.

hunter looking out window
hunter harrison twins
harrison counter standing
hunter harrison counter
harrison hunter bed dolls
harrison hunter room posing
hunter window

Photographed by Kathryn Worsham

Hunter is the definition of #careergoals. In 2006 she founded her eponymous contemporary women’s fashion line while living in New York City after stints as an assistant designer and internships with major designers including Nanette Lepore and Rebecca Taylor. Hunter Bell’s collections have become known throughout the fashion world for their feminine playfulness and easy, modern sophistication. We are huge fans of her line and wear it often as you can see here and here.

Since launching her business, Hunter moved from Manhattan to Houston and has had three children — her daughter Harrison (almost 2) and very recently her adorable twin boys James and Penn. To say that her hands are full with running a business full time and taking care of three little ones is an understatement. We are in awe of how she so gracefully manages her roles as business owner and mom, not to mention how she always looks super chic and pulled together! With New York Fashion Week happening this week, we sat down with Hunter in her beautiful home to chat about the future of Hunter Bell NYC and how she balances her fashion world career with her life at home. Scroll below to read her inspiring story!

Did you always know you wanted to be a fashion designer? Tell us about your career journey.

HB: I grew up in the theater watching my mother perform on stage in musicals. My sisters loved being on stage while I was more intrigued with the costume department downstairs in the theater basement. I was mesmerized with watching the seamstress create costumes and I loved the fabrics and trims that occupied the costume room. From a young age I was interested in fashion and would beg my mother to take me out of school to go shopping. Going into college I knew that I wanted to major in design. I actually started out studying interior design before I quickly realized that I wanted to shift my focus to fashion design. In college I moved to NYC during the summers to intern for two designers I really admired: Nanette Lepore and Rebecca Taylor. During my senior year internship with Rebecca Taylor, I had a pinch myself moment while at a fitting with Rebecca and Beth (her business partner); the room overlooked a Hudson River sunset and it was in that moment that I knew I wanted to launch a clothing line one day. In 2003 I moved to New York City after graduating college and worked as an assistant designer for almost three years before launching Hunter Bell in 2006.

How did living in New York City shape and inspire your career?

HB: Living and working in New York City allows you to develop a fierce work ethic. Some will argue that work takes over your life and you find yourself burnt out from the intense work environment. In some cases that is true and at times you have to step away from the grind to recharge your batteries. However, the city taught me to work really hard day and night, and to persevere through challenges and pursue what I was passionate about. In order to survive New York, I had a job during the day to pay the bills and would work on Hunter Bell at night. It wasn’t until 2009 that I was able to focus on my company full-time.  The fast pace of the city and the fashion industry inspired me to work quickly and efficiently. I learned that the fashion industry doesn’t slow down and wait for you. New York City’s energy is infectious and the people become your inspiration in so many ways.  I tell my interns and people interested in pursuing a career in fashion that they need to live in the city for a while, but leave before it makes them too hard.

Tell us about your favorite New York Fashion Week experience.

HB: My first and most memorable fashion show was in 2004 when I was 23 years old and fresh out of college. I snuck into Tommy Hilfiger with a friend and was so emotional before the show started.  It was a celebrity packed house with flashing cameras and Naomi Campbell was the first out on the runway. The audience was of course applauding because she’s so incredible; she walked out to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” blaring from the speakers. I’m pretty sure I was wiping tears away.

When you moved home to Texas and had Harrison, how did you transition from running a business full-time to also being a mom?

HB: I’d be lying if I said it was easy. This time in my life was one of the hardest in my career. After having a baby, you fall madly in love with this precious child and don’t care about anything else in the world except for this moment. I struggled a lot with the idea of working vs. staying at home to care for Harrison. I shut down my New York office, battled with my hormones being all over the place, thought about closing the business all together and then freaked out that I was making the wrong decision. SO, it was a huge challenge and through it all I kept praying and stayed focused on being with Harrison while learning how to be a mom. Now I’m back at work full-time (I moved my company to Houston) and have two more children to care for. Oy Vey!

You recently had your sweet twins James and Penn. How has your schedule and daily routine shifted now that you are a mother of three?

HB: Ha. I don’t feel like the sharpest tack in the box right now. I haven’t had much sleep, so coffee is my fuel and helps me function a little better during the day. Having one baby was much easier. Now my husband and I are outnumbered and constantly in zone defense. My new normal is always being late everywhere I go. With so much more to manage at home, trying to keep up with everyone’s schedule is a challenge. But, as we all say, it’s totally worth it!

What work / life balance tips do you have for mothers who are also pursuing a professional career?

HB: I’m working on becoming more organized which I think will help! When you’re with your children, BE IN THE MOMENT. Get off your phone (easier said than done) and focus on showing them love and affection. You only have a short window of time to love on these precious angels.  

How do you find time for yourself in the midst of motherhood and work? 

HB: Once all the kids are down for the night my husband and I have dinner together to catch up on each other’s day. For an R&R treat, I love the Houstonian club for massages and getting together with girlfriends for dinner or lunch.

How has being a mom inspired your work and vision for Hunter Bell NYC?

HB: I’m interested in possibly designing a kids’ clothing line!

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a mother?

HB: How incredibly intense the love for your children is! I have never experienced this much love in one place before.

What are your three mom must-haves?

1. Sleep and a Keurig to get your coffee in the AM faster.

2. Modern jeans that make you feel like you’re still cool

3. A good under eye concealer to make you appear like you have slept 8 hours. I use Cle de Peau.

Favorite place to shop for the twins and Harrison?

HB: In Houston I love Kuhl Linscomb and Itsy Bitsy.

How has your personal style changed since becoming a mom? Any favorite maternity looks or designers?

HB: In the morning I’m lucky if I can find time to put makeup on. I’m trying to take better care of my skin so I won’t have to use so much make up. For maternity style, I love buying oversized clothes at COS and Zara – you don’t feel guilty tossing them out once you’ve worn them 100 times! Hatch is great for more of a splurge. But let’s be honest, who wants to wear maternity clothing after you have your babies? I am starting to lose the baby weight and like to be comfortable with a twist so usually my uniform is denim with cool tennis shoes. I love VINCE for basics and everything GUCCI is doing right now inspires me.

What is the most important message you hope to convey to your children as they grow up?

HB: I tell my children how much I love them daily and encourage them to laugh hard and lean on Christ for guidance through prayer.

What is one piece of advice you would like to pass on to new or expecting moms?

HB: “This too shall pass.” You will get through the tough months in the beginning and you will find time to sleep again! Just enjoy the moment you’re in; they grow up fast. If you can keep up with your passion and/or career and find a good work-life balance then do it! It’s never easy leaving the house to head into work, but I think keeping up with the gifts God has given me makes me a better mother and wife.

Be sure to visit to shop her chic designs and follow her on Instagram @hunterbellnyc for her latest styles and a peek into her Houston office.