In Conversation with In Kind

with leah and hannah

Words By Liz Wynne
Photos by Lacy Kiernan Carroll

In an ocean of clicky headlines and sensationalized stories lives In Kind. The modern lifestyle magazine is on a mission to tell stories, ones of grace and importance. Founded by Leah Melby Clinton and Hannah Weil McKinley, In Kind is devoted to having the conversations that matter- exploring career, style, motherhood, and all the real questions women have.
DoMa sat down with Leah and Hannah to learn all about the homespun project turned biannual print magazine. The friends-turned-business-partners seemed a natural growth of the pair’s experience. The two have spent years working in fashion, editing, and digital media, where they initially connected over the shared mission to tell stories that really matter.

“In Kind started as a homespun, very DIY ‘zine—I called it the Leah’zine—and didn’t have a plan or a true vision, per se.” This lack of plan did not inhibit Leah’s vision however, as she knew the attitude and ethos that would grow into the polished, glossy product it is today. Hannah echoed this thought, that the heart of the magazine was clear from the beginning. “We’re still so interested in the initial idea—in stories that feel personal, the kinds of topics you might be texting about with girlfriends and talking about over dinners—but don’t see as often in big, glossy publications or online.” The magazine gave them the chance to explore real questions about motherhood, career, and relationships with the women they admired
most- an editor’s dream. 


Celebrating this journey together, Leah and Hannah note the personal reward of running In Kind with both a business partner and friend.

“Hannah is someone who, first and foremost, is a friend, a mother I admire, and my sounding board for nearly a decade. It’s like I feel the good moments are triplicate: I celebrate them for myself, for our brand, and for her as a person who I’d always want the best for.” Leah also noted the flipside of this, as the switch from personal relationship to cut-and-dry conversations is not always natural. But as Hannah points out, “the challenging conversations that you don’t expect to have as friends and then have to have as partners has only made the relationship stronger. It feels tough at first, but it’s actually been relationship-strengthening; you prove that you can handle it and that you’re better for it.”

Balancing friendship alongside children, spouses, and careers is difficult, but Leah feels like they have it down. “We keep our friendship and personal relationship at the forefront by having grace be one of the core tenets of the brand and how we’re building it—grace for each other and ourselves, which manifests as flexibility and accommodation when life and children throw curveballs or require we move meetings and schedules.” As the magazine is a reflection of who they really are, spending time catching up, exchanging links, and talking fashion only betters the work and content, according to Hannah.

At the end of the day, these full-time entrepreneurs are also mothers. While there is an abundance of blessings to motherhood, Leah and Hannah want to expand the conversation around the role’s hardship. “The harder part is your pre-children identity being lost. The same elements are there, but it’s not the same—your ambitions and passions have to shift a little to accommodate the elements that motherhood introduces.” Hannah reiterates this, while also recognizing its gift-- “I am more clear on who I am now and what I’m meant to do with this life than I ever was before I had children.”

Despite the strength of a clear vision and genuine partnership, imposter syndrome is a real thing. Thoughts of self-doubt inevitably creep in, although the founders know a thing or two about tackling it. “I think Leah and I both feel a little bit like accidental entrepreneurs and that we have no real business running a business, but In Kind has also been a wonderful vehicle to connect us more to other women and other founders having the same questions and wrestling with the same choices.” Hannah further explains the value of being in the room with women who have felt it too. In addition, Leah notes the benefit of simply shelving a task when that self-doubt creeps in—letting mindset and confidence level shift before taking it on again. The entrepreneurs know that needlessly doubting oneself is a waste of time.

A loss of identity and thoughts of self-doubt exude into fashion too. Thinking about personal style, Leah reflects on her mid-20s when she tried to dress as a “fashion editor” would. Walking down the halls with some of the industry’s biggest names will create this pressure. Hannah recalls the moment she realized she was dressing for others. “It took me a bit to reevaluate, not just my wardrobe, but my sense of self and what fashion really means to me. It is such an important part of who I am and what I love, and when I got back to that—really got back to the “why” it matters for me—I got clearer on what I wanted to wear again, too.”The future holds much promise for the In Kind duo. Leah shares her mindset moving forward in this journey and the value of patience within it all. “To create one’s own world takes courage” is the quote tucked away on her vision board. For Hannah, she’s focusing on letting go of the expectations of others— embracing the notion that caring about what others think only limits creativity and potential. The duo envisions In Kind‘s future as wild and wonderful. With an unchanging mission, Leah and Hannah hope to reach more and more women. They yearn for that delightful moment when a reader discovers, “this is what I’ve been looking for—you’re speaking my language!”