Hayley Stamper started sewing
when she was in the 5th Grade. When she got to high school she
designed a few shirts for friends. Now at the age of 19, she’s got a full time apparel
business with five seamstresses, 12 designers, 24 stylists and a waiting list
for more people who want to work for her. She has orders coming in at all hours
of the day and night. When she’s not doing all of that, she’s attending
business classes at SCC.
“When I was little I was
always selling something,” Stamper said. “Lemonade, bricks, hair bows.”
That business sense has come
in handy as her h.flynn designs business has taken off faster than she ever
imagined. Stamper’s business is designing custom applique shirts, sweatshirts
and hats with the state of Nebraska shape and other designs. She’s also popular
with sororities and high schools.
With over 300 different
fabrics to choose from, they do custom orders big and small. Recently, O’Neill
High School put in an order for 350 shirts. They also did a small order for the
Lincoln Southwest High School reserve cheerleaders.
“This is our busy time,”
Stamper said. “We usually have a waiting period of 2-3 weeks, but since its football
season we’re telling people 3-5 weeks to be safe.”
No matter what the size of
the order, Stamper says her quality control is excellent. Each shirt is
designed with the same care as the next one.
“We check every shirt before
it goes out,” she said. “We test all of our seamstresses, and sometimes we have
to let them go.”
During Stamper’s senior year at
Lincoln Pius X High School, she scheduled visits to nearby colleges and
universities. She said her parents had a college savings plan for her with
enough to pay for four years. But after thinking about it long and hard, she
decided to study Business Administration at SCC and put the rest of the money
from her college account into h.flynn designs.
Stamper feels like she’s
ahead of the game because she’s actually running her own business and running
into real-life situations and challenges that occur in business settings.
“I know people who are going
to UNL and living the college experience,” she said, “but some of them are
still trying to figure out what they’re going to do.”
Hayley doesn’t have that
problem. Her father owns his own business, and she knew early on she wanted to
either work with him, or do something on her own.
“I always knew I wanted to do
something in business,” she said.
Since h.flynn designs has
become so successful, Stamper doesn’t do much of the designing and sewing
anymore. She spends her days ordering apparel, taking online orders, fielding
calls, picking up the apparel from the designers and shipping it out. In the
evenings she works on email and social media postings.
Even though she works more
than 40 hours per week, she said it’s worth it.
“I like to pick the hours I
do work,” she said. “I can take my laptop with me and not have to worry about
being in an office as an employee.”
Being your own boss and
running your own business also has its drawbacks. She gets emails at all hours
of the night, and many times they can be quite demanding.
“I can never clock out,” she
As a result, Stamper’s
boyfriend, Austin Reed, even helps out if he wants to spend time with his
“I make him come over to my
house and iron shirts,” she says with a smile.
One of her most memorable
experiences so far is when she donated 16 custom sweatshirts to the family of
Sam Foltz. Foltz was Nebraska’s starting punter who was killed in a car
accident in July. His sister was one of Stamper’s customers. Many members of
the Foltz family wore the shirts when he was honored on the field before a
“I cried when I saw it on the
big screen,” Stamper said.
Stamper has run her business
out of her parent’s basement, and all the stylists and seamstresses work out of
their homes. That will change in November when she moves into her new building
downtown Lincoln. She said it won’t be a retail store, but rather a production
facility. It’s located at Ninth and J Streets.
In the future she hopes to
see her business continue to grow, with a bigger facility and more full-time
employees. She would like to have her custom-designed state shirts in every
state, not just Nebraska.
You can find her merchandise
at local stores such as the Fort, the Edge, Scheel’s and Mesh. Her apparel is
in 35 retail stores in Nebraska, Iowa, North Carolina and Texas.