Interview with Founder Plum & Sparrow, Dianna on a Mini series with Mom Entrepreneurs
Hi! I’m Jess. I’m CEO and cofounder of Amara and those who know me best probably know my parents too. Those who really know me well may even know what my college thesis was about. Ok, so how do these two relate? Entrepreneurs. My parents are both entrepreneurs and my college thesis was about entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Nerdy right? That’s why here at Amara, we decided to dig a little closer and bring you a mini series of interviews with moms that are running fantastic companies, while raising little ones. Because let’s be serious, #momboss is akin to superhero in our book.
E N T R E P R E N E U R. Now the word is pretty trendy but I lived with “entrepreneurs” before we even put a name to it. Both of my parents worked around the clock – so much so that when I was filling out my college applications I decided to put my parents were “un-employed”. Needless to say my dad was LIVID but my 17-year-old self didn’t know the difference between “un-employed” and “self-employed”. Now a few years later, “self –employed” comes with a more glamourous title – “entrepreneur”.
I’m here today to talk about when “entrepreneur” meets the word “parent”. Growing Amara has allowed me to meet the most amazing moms and dads that every day, bend over backwards to make the impossible possible for their kids. Through social media, I’ve had the unique opportunity to get to know a few of you, and to admire even more of you from a far. You are all truly super parents. And if that wasn’t enough, there companies out there that are run by entrepreneur parents. That’s parents, being super parents, AND running awesome companies. And that my friends, is what we are here to talk about today.
For those of you who haven’t seen these beautiful baskets all over Instagram, Plum & Sparrow is a product and accessory lifestyle brand that makes hand-made moses and market baskets. They work with a community of weavers in Africa and every basket is truly one of a kind. Behind this company with a mission is Dianna, mom of three boys and one girl. We had the chance to talk to her about how she grew Plum and Sparrow to what it is today.
Tell us a bit more about how and why you started Plum & Sparrow.
I had just had my fourth kid and someone had gifted me a moses basket and I thought it was great, it allowed me to take her everywhere I wanted to have her. I would have used it for every kid if I had had one. They are really popular in Australia but in the US not really so I wanted to bring the moses basket to parents so that they could also have their babies close.
First, I started looking to find sourcing and someone that could do bold, bright colors but basket weaving was kind of a dying art because they weren’t teaching it anymore.
Finally, a year later I finally found the right people to source with and started. My first stock of moses baskets was only 8 baskets!
Why the name Plum and Sparrow?
"Plum" because when the company was started my fourth daughter was just born and as a baby she had the cutest little plum butt, it was adorable. "Sparrow" because my grandmother was obsessed with birds and would always talk about how sparrows fly together and work together as a community. That’s how women should be, working together in community and kindness. So I combined both the inspiration from my daughter and the love for community and working together of my grandmother. That's how I decided on the name "Plum and Sparrow", it's from the women around me. In whatever you do, it really takes a village to build it.
Being an entrepreneur can be a long road – can you tell us a bit about when you started and the moment you knew it was “going to work?”
I hesitated for a while because you want to have all your ducks in a row and everything perfect before you launch. Finally, I was talking to some girl friends of mine and they encouraged me to just take the jump off the cliff. When I started I was hand making everything myself, the pom poms, the bed, everything. Then it just started getting so much traction so fast, I couldn’t get the orders done fast enough!
How do most parents find out about you?
Most parents find out about us on Instagram. We sell mostly online and ship worldwide. We really have a global impact when you think about it; the basket starts in Africa with the weavers but every basket touches my hands here in California. It takes a village to make it all work.
What does your team look like?
At the beginning it was really just me doing everything myself, and it’s so hard to delegate at first. Now, we have Amber in social media; Perry in customer service and my mom works in shipping!
If you had one recommendation to someone starting their business, what would it be?
Looking back now 3 ½ years since we launched, I think it’s important to realize that where ever you are in each moment of starting your business is great and exactly where you should be. Whether you’re navigating Instagram, or figuring out the product – you are where you’re supposed to be at that moment. Every step is there for a reason. Even when we were just at 500 followers, I wanted it to go faster but it was at that moment when I realized I was starting to build something that was larger than myself. And of course sometimes you fall down and there is a rollercoaster of moments that are totally overwhelming, or heartbreaking or rewarding. But you learn from them and you navigate it all. Just know that where you are is okay and that every step has it's own pace.
You have to be willing to reach out to people, there is a whole community of women that want to help each other. We really are our best ally and our best asset.
Where do you imagine Plum and Sparrow to be in 5 years?
Of course I would love to see the product lines growing but maybe most important to me is seeing it be more of a community, building out the non-profit aspect of Plum and Sparrow and giving back to amplify our impact.
Dianna has built this beautiful brand that is connecting the designs of African weavers with moms and dad's all over the world. Make sure you check her out at PlumandSparrow.com and on Instagram!
At Amara, we do these interviews because a lot of times starting a business can seem like a far out dream, but companies are just people like you and I, determined to bring their visions to the world. Whether you’re building a blog, an Instagram following or even just starting a family, we hope that these stories help to inspire you to bring your visions into the world and make them realities.
About Amara baby food:
When it comes to baby food, a lot of parents have a vision of making all their baby food from scratch homemade, but more often than not, when baby is here – homemade baby food seems more of a dream than a reality, right? Amara is here to bring you the next best thing to fresh homemade baby food without you having to start from scratch.