Becoming a parent changes everything. To be responsible for something so small and mighty is incredibly humbling. As social media connects us with countless stories shared by moms and dads, I am most blown away by those faced with an unhealthy child. They treat life as a gift. For Kathy Vegh that tiny gift came with a heart defect that so many parents have never heard of. Today, her daughter’s heart is the mission behind her latest endeavor, appropriately named My Heart Wall.
Q: A lot of people will recognize your name from your role as CEO/President of Danny Vegh’s. Was it always your plan to take over the family business?
A: Honestly, my taking over Danny Vegh’s was totally unexpected. I spent my childhood waiting for my Dad to come home. Living the life of a retailer is filled with sacrifice and it’s something a person can’t turn off since it is seven days a week, especially when you care about every customer as much as my father does. The reason I joined the company was simply because my father told me he needed help. I am a very dedicated daughter and I knew he wouldn’t ask if he didn’t really need me. This conversation took place as I was finishing my MBA in Baltimore, so I moved home right after I finished my last test to complete my degree. I genuinely thought that Danny Vegh’s was going to be something temporary in my life, but 15 years later, I am still at the helm of this 53-year legacy. It makes me proud to continue what my father built from nothing. He is an extraordinary man and deserves my efforts and respect.
Q: My Heart Wall is a lot more personal than the home entertainment products you’ve been selling. How did you come up with the idea of custom wallpaper?
A: When my husband and I purchased our most recent home I knew it was where our daughter would grow up. This made the remodel project very important to me. I poured my heart into the design to make it as special as possible, but was challenged by a rather large wall in the center of the house. I struggled with how to make it unique and came up with this idea of personalized collage wallpaper. While I showed all of my designs to my husband during the process, I left this as a surprise. When he saw it tears rolled down his face—he was speechless. It was a beautiful moment.
Q: For those who might be thinking they’ve seen something like this before, what makes My Heart Wall different?
A: My Heart Wall is actually the first to create and offer personalized wallpaper. There are companies that offer decals and murals but not on wallpaper and certainly not on wallpaper that is of our caliber. My approach was to make products that look artistic and exude quality. We only use a commercial grade wallpaper that is 20 oz and available in eight different textures. The wallpaper is traditional or there are repositionable options. We create collages and mosaics for people using their own photography. These two options are totally unique and have not been done before.
What really differentiates My Heart Wall is our mission. We are committed to providing a percentage of all our sales to four different charities that help children born with Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs). One out of 100 children are born with a CHD and it is the most common cause of infant deaths as it relates to birth defects. Yet, no one talks about it. We need to bring awareness to this issue and also financial support.
My daughter was born with a CHD and it was an incredibly difficult time for our family. But she is a survivor! And, we have a lot to be thankful for. Being a CHD Mom has changed me as a person forever. My daughter and her journey have taught me to appreciate every single day. Honestly, the product we create captures those everyday moments—and celebrates them.
Q: Your daughter is your business partner. What’s it like working with a 3 ½ year old?
A: It’s hilarious. At first she said that she was my “co-pounder” which was the cutest thing ever. The idea behind my daughter being my co-founder is simple: I want to teach her that limits don’t exist. Dreams can come true. Hard work can lead to personal fulfillment. No matter what challenge life puts in front of her, she can overcome it.
What’s funny is that I am trying to teach her these lessons through our business. When in fact, she is the one who taught me as she fought for her life. My daughter is my inspiration. Working with her is pure magic. I couldn’t imagine a better partner.
Q: You are now running two companies full time (in heels) and you have a preschooler. What’s a “typical day” in your house look like?
A: Every single day is a juggling act, just like for any mom. My priority is still my family, but the two businesses are a part of our family too. As are the people involved behind the scenes. My husband is also an entrepreneur so it does get tricky, but we support each other and manage through it. I feel like women are particularly excellent at multi-tasking and yes, I do it all in heels!
Q: Success means different things to business owners and to moms. How about you?
A: The definition of success to me has changed so drastically over the last few years. I used to view success as data points: volume of sales, number of stores and even number of employees. But now, the idea of success is all measured by the happiness of my loved ones.
To learn more about this Mother-Daughter company and how you can help other families faced with CHD visit: myheartwall.com