Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Megan Luchtel of Lake Label
As a new mom, when I saw Megan Luchtel on Hello Iowa a few months ago talking about her business, a sun protective swimwear line for kiddos, I put down what I was doing (probably feeding my little guy, hehe) and soaked up everything she said. You see, my son is very pale, so I want to do everything I can to ensure he’s safe in the sun. And Megan’s super cute product line
does just that.
I was curious to learn more, so I reached out to Megan to find out more about all things Lake Label, her family, and how she unwinds. Read on!
Give us a little background on yourself.
Hi, I’m Megan, the founder, and creator of Lake Label, a sun-protective children’s swimwear line. I have lived in West Des Moines for the last seven years with my husband, Landon, and our three kiddos, Laken (8), Lane (6), and Nelson (2).
Ever since I was little, I have always loved the design. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was young, by middle school I was creating patterns and sewing pieces of clothing for myself, and in college, I designed and made a formal dress for myself. (However, I am definitely not a professionally trained seamstress or designer!) I remember telling my parents that I wanted to study fashion in college, but I felt like it wasn’t serious enough, so I went to school for international business. It’s funny how Lake Label ended up being a fusion of so many of my passions: design, being outdoors, health, and taking care of our little ones.
Give us an overview of your business and why you started it.
My family loves to be outdoors, especially near the water. We spend most of our summers at Lake Okoboji, but getting three kids “boat” ready is not easy. I’ve spent hours chasing the shade with a newborn and lathering up my toddlers with sunscreen – only to find a red spot on their shoulder after a long day of swimming and boating. So, after five years of sunscreen in the eyes, reapplication tantrums, and watching all of my hard work rubs off into the sand and water, I knew there had to be a better way.
By the time I had my third child, Nelson, I really needed a swimsuit that would protect his skin and allow us to spend all day on the boat or dock with our older kids. This was also right around the time when major sunscreen brands were recalling thousands of products for containing benzene, a cancer-causing chemical. At this point, I knew sunscreen alone wasn’t going to be our best defense against the sun. By the time Nelson was one year old, I could see the sunsuit in my head and had spent a year shopping for it but couldn’t find the product I was envisioning.
Finally, I told my husband, “I can’t be the only mom with this problem. I’m going to design a sun-protective swimwear line.”
That’s when I started sketching and taking steps to bring the idea to life. I officially began product development in March 2021, and we launched the first collection in April 2022.
What’s your favorite part of being a small business owner?
My absolute favorite part of owning this business is hearing parents tell me how much easier the sunsuits have made their summers. In the end, I want Lake Label to be a swimwear line that allows families to spend more time together outside.
Last weekend I was in Lake Okoboji on a walk with my family, and as we walked by the beach, we noticed two babies in Lake Label sunsuits. My heart completely swelled. I was so excited and honored to see the swimsuits “in real life” on kids I didn’t even know. My own kids and husband were with me, and it was really special for me to see how proud they were, too.
How do you juggle your parenting responsibilities with your business responsibilities?
This is by far one of the most difficult things about owning my own business. I have really struggled this first year transitioning from being a full-time stay-at-home mom to managing the constant distraction of emails, design meetings, social media, etc. I initially tried to manage most of my work in the hours before my kids were up in the morning, after bedtimes, and during naptime, but this ended up stealing a lot of my presence from my husband – which wasn’t a great solution for us. I have found that in weeks when I have consistent part-time help from a nanny, I am more balanced as a mom, a wife, and a business owner. Having dedicated “work hours” has allowed me to compartmentalize my tasks a little better and be more present as a mom when I’m back with my family. But some weeks, that’s just impossible! Recently, I received a large retailer order on a day when I didn’t have any help scheduled. I ended up recruiting my 6- and 8-year- olds to help me tag and pack the order. It wasn’t how we had planned to spend our day together, but we ended up having a great time and they learned so much about my business during those few hours.
I have also found that on really busy weeks it’s helpful to physically separate myself from my phone and computer when I’m ready to unwind or spend time with my family. It might sound silly, but if my computer is on the kitchen counter, I’m way more likely to open it up and check to see if I’ve gotten a response on whatever I’ve been working on. When I give myself physical space from my technology, I gain mental space from it, too.
What are some of your favorite things to do with your kiddos around the metro?
We love to be outdoors in nature with our kids, so anytime we can get outside for a hike at Saylorville Lake or Browns Woods, we always have the best time together! Stop at Scratch Cupcakes on the way home for a sugar cookie, and that’s what our dreams are made of!
What’s your ideal date night?
My husband and I love to play tennis together, so during the summer months, our go-to date night is biking to the tennis courts near our house, playing a match, and then stopping at one of our favorite local patios (usually Eatery A).
What’s your number one parenting tip?
I don’t think I’m qualified to give parenting tips, but I always try to remember to slow down and spend time with each of my kids completely undistracted, which is a lot harder than you would think in our digital era. To them, we are their whole world, and I want to enjoy that as long as it lasts.