When Audrey Chaney had her first son, Edward Jr., in 2014, she wanted to make him a few essentials like bibs and burp cloths, so she took to sewing, a hobby she had learned as a child at her grandmother’s knee. By the time her second son, Alistair, was born in 2016, she was ready to take on bigger projects and even sell her creations.
“I really wanted to make something that I could be proud of,” said Chaney.
In her mind, Chaney saw a small, simple line of children’s clothing. It had to be beautiful, practical and affordable. She set up a studio and workspace adjacent to her dining room in her Starkville home with her machine, supplies and clothing racks. During nap times and after bedtime routines, Chaney worked to bring her vision to life, and called it The Chaney Nest.
After much trial-and-error, Chaney created The Chaney Nest’s first release, the Harvest Collection. Unlike a lot of handmade items, each piece is “designed with play in mind” and field tested by Chaney’s children.
Sizes range from 0-3 months to 5T with a few offered in newborn size as well. Styles include rompers, dresses, circle skirts, shorts, bubble shorts and leggings in autumnal hues like charcoal, fig, chambray and mustard. The options offered are a more sophisticated take on children’s clothing, with dark and muted tones and simple grid patterns. The high-quality materials are perfect for dressing up or down, which was Chaney’s intent. She always says that they are suitable for Sunday church or for jumping in muddy puddles. Many of the styles can also be worn year-round, like the romper. Chaney recommends wearing it alone during the warmer months and with a shirt underneath and knee socks in fall and winter.
“What it is now is not exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I love it,” said Chaney. “That’s been the fun part.”
Each item is made-to-order and handmade by Chaney herself. Plus, she pre-washes and pre-shrinks all the pieces so that they stay the size they are when they arrive. The turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. The Chaney Nest website officially launched for orders on July 28. She has also been accepting pre-orders at local craft shows, like the Made in Mississippi event in Starkville.
Chaney finds herself inspired by other makers and carefully curated children’s clothing lines. She calls the look “vintage-inspired,” which means that she keeps the patterns simple and classic and lets the colors and textures do the talking. Her approach is minimalistic—offering the same shapes in varying hues from her seasonal color palettes.
“It was really important to me that it was affordable,” Chaney said. “A lot of small, handmade shops are making beautiful clothes, but they’re very expensive. I wanted this to be different.”
For now, Chaney is a one woman show, but she relies heavily on the help of her family and creative friends. In the future, she hopes to have some of her items in a local shop and to focus more on designing the collections while outsourcing some of the more hands-on work. Her website (thechaneynest.com) will include a blog with recipes, lifestyle posts, inspiration and business talk. The Chaney Nest’s next collection is planned for spring.
Chaney hopes that The Chaney Nest will be more than a stylish kids’ clothier, but a brand that symbolizes a simplistic way of living that centers around family, creativity and small joys—a life she, and her little birds, can be proud of.