Starting a business is much like parenting, there’s no handbook or manual to tell you what to do. That’s why at Amara, we chose some of our favorite mom and baby brands and interview the founders behind the brands. A lot of times starting a business can feel like a far-out dream, but we hope that by putting a face to these popular mom and baby brands and by hearing their stories, you’re inspired to make the impossible, possible.
One of the most inspiring parts of my job is meeting other founders and hearing their stories of how they started. Baby Jives Co is no exception, with their beautiful timeless mobiles and hand painted pieces, it’s hard not to imagine who’s behind the brand. I had a chance to interview Baby Jive Co’s founder, Jahje Ives, for a closer look at how she started and her recommendations for anyone starting a business. And, don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for an exclusive discount for Amara parents on Baby Jives Co products!
How did you start Baby Jives Co?
When my first baby was born, I couldn’t find nursery décor that aligned with my taste, it was all plastic or had bright blinking lights. I’m an artist so I decided to make it myself. I made my first child Gavril, aka the original baby Jives, a mobile for his nursery and everyone kept asking me about it. That’s when I decided that I would start selling them on Etsy. I wanted to make something that was passed down from generation to generation. I wanted something of quality instead of something you’d just throw away. So I started making mobiles, all made by hand, with love and care and well-constructed and safe.
I have two kids, 9 and 12 years old and I started Baby Jives Co when my 12-year-old was 2. I really started out as an artist first, making heirloom pieces with natural materials that would last. I started because I wanted to make beautiful things for parents that would last a lifetime and be present with my children as they were growing up. I intentionally started small as I was making everything by hand. Building a brand happened as I grew.
How do most parents find out about you?
Honestly, it’s been word of mouth. When we started it was just me, my sewing machine and Etsy. We’ve just grown organically by customers bringing us new customers. I ask people to share on social media and people come in through that. Baby Jives Co really gives parents a piece of artwork that your child can grow up with. One of my favorite things is when I can see a customer’s baby grow up! It’s the connection with our customers that I really value.
Talk to me about your growth – I heard you sell in Crate and Barrel – that’s huge!
When I started, my family was living in a 4-bedroom house in East Falls, Philly and we were only using 2 of the bedrooms so I converted one to my studio. When we started growing, I was still making everything myself and then I started having panic attacks because I had months of production orders that I had to fill, and it was just me. That’s when I decided I had to pivot. I started working with a family-owned company in Lancaster that helps me sew the mobiles. They’ve gone from 4 employees to 25 employees since I’ve started working with them.
When you’re growing, it’s easy to get lost and forget about where you really want to be. What I enjoy the most is the connection with our customers. Working with others to help me allows me to get back to what I want, to be an artist and a mother.
Running a business is hard – you’re doing it all – how do you balance everything?
It’s really tenuous, when I was starting I would work when my son went down for a nap and then again late at night. My mom helps to nanny and I really raised my company while I was raising my kids. When things are starting to feel imbalanced, I look at what I’m doing and start to think where I could get help. Whether I am thinking about balance in my business, or even in my family, I check in with myself a lot. If you wear all the hats and do all the things, but you’re exhausted – you’re not going to keep up that rhythm very long. I take moments to be present and look at what I’m doing to decide what’s necessary and what’s not and where I can ask for help.
What recommendations do you have for other moms and dads that may want to start their own business?
I started Baby Jives Co after I was let go while on maternity leave because the company I was working at closed - it turns out it was the best thing for me! I always recommend other entrepreneurs to allow for help. I think moms especially are really good about saying “I’m going to do it all myself”. But help can be as little as ordering your groceries to the house instead of spending 2 hours at the store. It can be recognizing that you’re exhausted one night and deciding to order dinner from Caviar or Door Dash instead of making it yourself. Sometimes you have to recognize you can’t do it all yourself. If you don’t know how to do something – then hire it out. We often convince ourselves it’s harder to train someone to do it, rather than just doing it yourself but if you train someone once for 6 hours – imagine how much time you’re going to save in the future. Know when to ask for help.
I think starting a business seems far out for a lot because it feels like a big investment – would you mind sharing a bit about how you started out?
The first year I started out with $200 and a sewing machine. I believed in what I was doing, and everything I sold just went back into the business. When you’re starting out, don’t be afraid to be scrappy. In the early days of Baby Jives Co, I couldn’t meet the manufacturing minimum quantities but there are print on demand sites so that you don’t have to invest so much off the bat. Then, if something takes off then you can get to higher volumes, but you can start small and build.
What’s coming up for Baby Jives Co?
We have two new product launches this year. There is more artwork coming up and I have a limited range of garment dye swaddles that I’m really excited about. I’ve also been working on illustrating a book that I’m working on with an author and working on a monthly art club for our moms so they can come have fun and take time to think.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the interview with heirloom nursery décor and artwork founderJahje Ives from Baby Jives Co. She also just launched a membership to take art classes with her on Zoom, you can find the link to that here. PLUS, Jahje is generously offering 10% off all Baby Jives Co items to our Amara parents. You can use the codeAMARALOVE on her website.
I started interviewing mompreneurs from our favorite mom and baby brands because sometimes starting something seems like a big goal; sometimes starting something feels like something “other people” do. At Amara, we interview founders of these companies so you can see that Mia from Snuggle Me, Mushie from Mushie Co and all of these mamas that started their amazing companies are just people. Just like you and me.
You didn’t get a manual when you became a parent, and you don’t get a manual when you’re running a company – so, we’re here to show you - whatever you are dreaming of doing, whether it’s the next million-dollar business or starting the blog you’ve always dreamed of - it’s possible.
So for all you parents out there trying to make the impossible, possible – we know that homemade baby food is often times more of a dream than a reality, right? For those times, Amara.
is here to bring you the next best thing to fresh homemade baby food. Because you CAN get all the benefits of fresh homemade, anytime, anywhere.
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