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WAHM Spotlight: Kyra Matsui, Iron Lace Design

Updated: Apr 10

Meet Kyra Matsui, the mom behind Iron Lace Design. Kyra makes historically inspired, sensory chainmail jewelry while, as she says, "dodging her kids, and laundry piles, and cats."


Kyra is a mom who has been though a lot but keeps going. She's taking care of her kids while running her business at home and is such an inspiration. Keep reading to learn more about this phenomenal artist & woman.



What inspired you to start your company?


I've always made things, from when I was tiny- spinning and weaving and costume design and sewing. I learned to make chainmail in high school, I think, and I experimented with making jewelry in my twenties and then shelved it when I was busy having babies.



When my youngest (the twins) were about two, I decided I wanted a basic necklace I could wear that my hyper-destructive kids probably couldn't break, and I made one in steel chainmail.


This sounds made up, but it's completely true- when I was sitting in palliative care with my mother, I posted on Facebook about how I was doing some hand spinning and that a nurse had just admired my chainmail necklace, and a couple of friends said YOU HAVE A STEEL TODDLER PROOF NECKLACE MADE OF CHAINMAIL??? MAKE ME ONE.



I did, and I had to be convinced to take money for it, and a couple of months later I very very tentatively opened an Etsy shop, to see if anyone else wanted chainmail jewelry. 


What the best and hardest part of being a work-at-home mom? 


The best thing is that I can fit my job around my kids, instead of having to go out to an office or something!


In practical terms, it wouldn't be possible for me to work outside the home since there are usually 2-5 medical, therapy, and pysch appointments for the kids per week. The worst thing is probably always being home and being interruptible.



Blessing and curse- I'm at home and available, which is great, but that means, ugh, I'm at home and available! 


What does your average day look like? 


Oh my gosh. My ideal average day would be: wake up and do some copywriting while I make tea, get the kids up and out, go to my studio for two or three hours of focused work, spend the afternoon doing all the chores and errands, and then do the dinner through bedtime grind.



What it actually looks like is those two to five random appointments per week, kid school refusal, ASD or anxiety meltdowns, and sort of cramming everything necessary in between! I'm very, very good at rearranging everything on the fly, now. 


Why did you decide to sell on your website vs. Etsy?


I had an Etsy for about six years, and I switched over to my own website, with all sorts of trepidation, about a year ago. Etsy was great for driving traffic and a really good starting place, but the fees were starting to get higher and I wanted a little more ownership of my online space.



I'm happy to say it's working out, having my own website, but it absolutely wouldn't have without the years on Etsy building a customer base and getting the visibility. 


When do you create your pieces (at night, weekends, day)? 


I usually try to do the making things part during the day, probably between ten and four, and that's purely because six am to nine is dedicated to arguing with kids about whether they have to put their shoes on, BOTH SHOES, ON, and ALSO PANTS, NO NOT ON THE CAT, no you can't take only a can of Pringles to school for lunch, STOP PUTTING THE CAT IN YOUR BACKPACK, etc.



And then praying for their teachers. So work is after I've recovered from morning arguments. And I'm tired and dumb from about six on, and only want to go bed. 


What's your favorite piece to date? 


My favourite piece to date is probably the completely lunatic project I did back in 2019, where I re created an ancient Egyptian beadnet dress that I saw at the Boston Museum of Fine Art.


It was an incredible challenge, and took hundreds of hours. The original is 4500 years old and made of faience beads. Mine is silver plated chainmail and glass. 


Honourable mention goes to a winged collar I made just before Christmas, out of metal connectors and steel chainmail. I'm very happy with that one, too. 


What's your favorite food, color, and way to relax? 


That's hard. I love food. Probably poutine, since Canadian and I love fries so much. I eat a lot of emotional support pastry after particularly hard diagnostic or support services meetings, or after the school phones to say one of my kids is twenty feet up a tree and they can't get them down. 


My favourite colour is definitely deep red. I have to keep myself from making everything in my house red. Thankfully I now have a lot of sarcastic teenagers who object to everything I do and won't let me do the whole house in my favourite colour. 


Photo caption: The studio I built last year after seven years of working in a tiny unheated basement nook with cats and kids knocking things off my desk



For relaxation, I like to sleep. Hah, no, I have non-sleeping ASD kids, so that doesn't happen. For small bits of relaxation, libraries or wandering through my city. I love walking around and looking at things. For bigger fun, I am pathologically in love with museums, and my idea of an excellent getaway is going somewhere with a great museum and nerding out to whatever hapless people are nearby. I am clearly a super fun person. 


What do you want other moms raising neurodivergent kids to know? 


So many things. Parenting neurodivergent kids is hard, it takes a lot of brain space and energy and flexibility, more than for neurotypical kids. It's wonderful and it's HARD. 


Probably either you or your partner or your relatives are also neurodivergent, and getting your kids diagnosed can be.... explanatory about your whole damn family. It certainly was for us. 


It's not a negative label, it's a description that can lead to operating instructions, like "Don't go to the park with your head wrapped in toilet paper if you want to make friends" and "If you can only focus on eating if you're hanging sideways off the couch, hang sideways off the couch."



I think we are very much in the early stages of understanding how ADHD and autism work, and a lot of interventions and offered help are a terrible, terrible fit for non NT kids.


It's not you, it's not that your kids are wrong, it's fine to head desk hard when the 25th person tells you if you use a sticker chart all the problems will go away. And to ignore the advice. 



Where are all the places people can follow you? 


I have a website at www.ironlacedesign.com

Instagram: @kyrabus



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