Ruby Thursday Collective
By Athena Raypold

Stimulating Creativity

The Ruby Thursday Collective, Lindsay Mills’ photography, online shop and kids’ décor business, began with “a plain old, boring blog” and “a really hideous chair.” Lindsay began the Ruby Thursday Collective as a DIY home décor blog, a way to satisfy and stimulate her creativity – her job as a hair stylist working from home had become monotonous. Hair initially offered an inventive opportunity, playing with “texture and colour and palate,” she says, but it became too easy for her and she craved an artistic challenge.

The first project on the blog was the transformation of an ugly, old chair into an eccentric, mid-century modern piece. She spray-painted and reupholstered it, all the while documenting the process. Taking so many pictures of her projects and her daughters, Ruby and Lila, Lindsay soon added a photography section to the site, showcasing her family photos. Soon, friends were asking her to photograph them. “It started with a random chair in a room … but family is where it was for me," says Lindsay.

I would rather have a little kid sticking their tongue out or with a snot bubble because it’s a bit more real. - Lindsay Mills, owner
The Ruby Thursday Collective includes photography, kid space decor services and and an online shop.
Photo provided by Ruby Thursday Collective

Family Photography

Lindsay comes from a family of artists, so creativity is second nature to her. Developing a love for photography as a teen, she is tenaciously self-taught. “I did a little small chunk of film photography when I was 14 in shop [class] and that’s when I became obsessed," she says. "I had a 35mm camera and I got black and white film, and I was always playing.” By the time her photography business started, she had taken a couple of manual classes and was practicing non-stop.

To gain experience, hone her skills and help out a family dear to her, Lindsay took on a special project: She shot mini family sessions for a mere $80 a session, and all the money went to her friend who, with a wife and five home-schooled children, was suffering from colon cancer. Because he couldn’t work and disability paid very little, Lindsay donated the profits from her project, which lasted a year, directly to the family. This project, working to help a family while photographing families, solidified Lindsay’s passion for family photography. “That’s how I got better at it, I figured out my style, what I loved,” she says.

While she shot boudoir and couples photos – and was good at it – Lindsay’s true talent shone when she photographed families being families. “No offense to couples, but it kind of gets boring,” she says. “It’s not me. I would rather have a little kid sticking their tongue out or with a snot bubble because it’s a bit more real.”

Authenticity and silliness are equally important to Lindsay, and children tend to bring out both. Her gift is connecting with children, bringing out their true nature. “It’s hard to get kids to open up,” says Lindsay, “so you feel like a special person when they do.” Lindsay is game for whatever families want to do for a photoshoot. “I love being with families. I don’t care what you want to do; I’ll go and do it with you,” she says.

As part of Ruby Thursday Collective, Lindsay also consults on designs for children's bedrooms
Photo provided by Ruby Thursday Collective

Home Décor Services and the Online Shop

Amidst her growing photography endeavour, Lindsay continued to blog about home décor projects. She began with renovating her entire house. “It was from ’92,” she says. “Everything was golden oak and Wedgewood blue. So I completely re-did everything and documented it all, before and after.” Her work on her daughters’ rooms and play spaces shone the brightest, garnering endless requests for advice on kids’ rooms.

After it got to a point where she was consulting non-stop, Lindsay added design consultation services for kid spaces to her repertoire. She loves the whimsical frivolity of designing spaces centred around children because “in a general sense, somebody might not want a swing hanging in the middle of their living room.”

In designing her girls’ rooms, she also began playing with décor items. After making paintings of little monsters and hand-painting little faces on dresser knobs, clients started wanting her pieces in their spaces. Lindsay now hand-paints a series of wall hooks and dresser knobs, she makes driftwood wall hangings, backpack tags, mobiles, wall clocks and games – all for sale in her online shop.

Ruby Thursday Collective sells some items through their online store, in addition to their design consultation and photography services
Photo provided by Ruby Thursday Collective
As part of Ruby Thursday Collective, Lindsay hand paints and sells drawer knobs, among other things
Photo provided by Ruby Thursday Collective
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