Haley Scarpino

Playing make-believe as a kid made her into the entrepreneur she is today.

Take us back to you as a kid.

I loved to make-believe as a kid, and usually, I was running some sort of business with my sister and two cousins. Most notably, I set up a travel agency in our basement and ordered free informational packets from all 50 states. My parents were bewildered when they all started showing up in the mail but supported me completely then and alway. A true entrepreneur at heart. 

Who did you want to be?

I never had something I held hard and fast too, and I still don't. I just try to follow my heart and stay passionate about the work I'm doing. Otherwise, what's the point? 

What was last Monday like for you?

Well, I had the day off. I spent the morning drinking coffee and perusing Ravelry (a social media site where fiber artists share patterns and projects) and the afternoon knitting a personal project. It was truly the first self-indulgent day I have taken in a long time. 

"I knit in movies, the car, and everywhere."

Walk us through the days leading up to starting at Little Grey Heart?

Since Little Grey Heart is a hobby business for me, it was more of a soft launch. Once I nailed down the name Little Grey Heart, I started an Instagram account and didn't look back. 

What keeps you busy?

Knitting. I knit all the time. I never get sick of it. I knit in movies, the car, and everywhere. 

How do you stay focused?

Jazz. If I have to buckle down and get some work done, I listen to Jazz. It keeps just enough of my mind busy so that I can think. 

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Self-doubt. Every day. All the time. I question every decision and every detail. I just try not to let it hold me back. 

How did you overcome it?

Other makers. I find inspiration and strength from other makers sharing their wares with the world. I love to see what people are doing and making. It's one of the reasons I love Instagram so much. I find it really inspiring. I just try to remind myself, people want to see what I make as much as I want to see what others make. 

"Self-doubt. Every day. All the time. I question every decision and every detail."

You get to redo something you’ve done. What would that be and why?

I really really try and only look forward, but I guess I regret the time I've waisted on not doing things that inspire and challenge me. 

Someone is starting their own thing. What would you say to them if they came to you for advice?

Just keep swimming. Yeah, I stole that from Dory, but I think it's a good mantra and I believe it. As I said, I question every decision and detail, but I never let it stop me from moving forward. 

Why Des Moines?

I grew up in Des Moines. It's my home. 

What’s one new thing that has caught your eye?

There is so much amazing happening in Des Moines; how can you pick one? I support local businesses. It's so important to me that we have great small businesses and they will only stay if we all support them. 

You can grant Des Moines one wish. What’s that wish?

I would love for Beaverdale to become even more developed and cute. My wife and I live in Beaverdale and there are a handful of great restaurants and shops. I wish there were more. There has been so much growth in downtown Des Moines. I'd love to see more growth in some of the other darling neighborhoods Des Moines has to offer. 

For someone new to DSM where do you suggest they go?

Zanzibars, La Mie, Francies, and Jesse's Embers. 

The most underrated thing in DSM is ________. Why?

The Varsity. It's the BEST movie theater in Des Moines. 

What are you most proud of and why?

I am proud of Little Grey Heart. The idea of Little Grey Heart has been floating around in my head and heart for years. To see it come together in real life is like seeing my heart in real life. I hope people love the products I make, as much as I love making them. 

"Compassion. I try to have compassion for people. Period."

It’s been six months, what do you hope to have accomplished?

I have some exciting things I'd like to accomplish with Little Grey Heart this year. I'd love to have knitting kits so people can make their own hats, I'd love to do a pop-up shop, and I'd love to find a way to partner with other local makers.

One thing that matters most to you is what?

Compassion. I try to have compassion for people. Period. Every person has a story and million little things that make up who they are. I try to remember that. 

Derek Jensen