When did you open your shop and what inspired you to take those first steps?
I opened my shop Baby Jives Co. in August 2010. After searching for a unique mobile when I was pregnant with my first child and not finding anything that really fit my needs I decided to make one myself using fabric that I had leftover from quilts I had made years ago. I loved the results and many of my friends were having babies at the same time and kept asking me to make them a mobile as well. I though, hmm this may be a business so I registered my shop name with Etsy shortly before my son was born in January 2009 but it took me almost a ear and a half to get things ready (and to get my son sleeping so I could actually work).
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I find that I am most inspired by my interactions with my kids and seeing the magic of the world through their eyes. One of my recent designs was inspired by my son's favorite book Toy Boat which I have read about 100 times, after you read a book that many times you almost have it memorized so I found my mind wandering while reading to the idea of creating my own toy boat out of fabric and sticks. Another mobile was conceived on a summer day when we were at the botanical gardens and my son spent a half an hour chasing the butterflies from rose bush to rose bush and I thought what a wonderful moment, I want to capture this and bring it home and the butterfly mobile was born.
What is unique about Baby Jives Co. mobiles?
My mobiles are created as works of art that are meant to grow up with a child. They are really small sculptures created to delight both children and adults so they will last long past the nursery. Also unlike many mobiles out there which are made of materials like plastic my mobiles are made from natural materials like cotton fabric, wood and metal so they will not fill a home with pollutants.
What has been your most exciting sale or learning experience since opening?
My most exciting sale was my very first sale on Etsy. It was a week after I opened my shop and my photos were terrible but the woman who bought the mobile was so enthusiastic about it. She purchased it as a gift for her best friend and let me know how much she loved it. It was at that moment that I thought to myself - ok, this could be a real business.
What has been the most rewarding part of owning a small business?
Hands down it would have to be the fact that I can raise my children while continuing to be creative and make money. Running my own business means on a nice day I can escape to the playground with my kids while I keep up with customers on my smartphone. I am raising my business and my kids simultaneously and while my children are small I am building my business slowly and planning carefully so that as they grow and need less of my time I can give more of my time to my business.
Interview and Photos by Jahje Ives