As a new mom, you register for “must-have” baby items, only to find that your kiddo couldn’t care less about a lovey during bed time. As you learn about other baby products that absolutely save your life, like the best swaddles to soothe a fussy baby, you share them when friends have kids of their own. Somewhere along the way in motherhood land, you might even strike on a new idea to make raising little ones a little easier and want to start your own business as a mompreneur — like these mamas who started a baby wrap company and a breastfeeding kit. In this week’s How to Quit Your Day Job, we chat with Raegan Moya-Jones, co-founder and CEO of popular baby brand aden + anais, about how she started this company while working a full-time job and raising two babies.
Meet the Baby Company Pro: Raegan Moya-Jones
Born and raised in Australia, Moya-Jones moved to New York City in 1997 with her future husband and worked in sales at The Economist. In 2003, while pregnant with her first child, Moya-Jones searched in vain for a cotton muslin swaddle like was traditionally used in Australia, but she couldn’t find a swaddle in the US that was breathable like the ones from her home country. So she worked on her own swaddle, which became one of the first products offered by her new company, aden + anais.
When Moya-Jones came home from work at The Economist, she toiled away on aden + anais — often working until 3am, then getting up at 7am to head to her day job. She quit her sales role after aden + anais was already a million-dollar business; 25 million muslin swaddles later (named one of Oprah’s favorite things), Moya-Jones still loves the company she started over a decade ago.
1. Give it your all. Moya-Jones credits her hard work at both of her jobs as leading to her success with aden + anais. While it wasn’t easy working two jobs while raising two children, Moya-Jones knew that her full-time position at The Economist was a significant financial contribution to her family’s income. Instead of focusing entirely on her new baby brand, she devoted her time to kicking butt in two places at once. “Because I wasn’t half-assing it at my full-time job,” Moya-Jones tells us, “I actually worked harder, so nobody could ever accuse me of not giving it my all.” It won’t be easy, but “working mom” has never been a cushy title anyway!
2. It takes a village. When Moya-Jones was working two jobs, she credits her supportive husband with being there every step of the way for her and their family. He held down the home front while Moya-Jones worked doubly hard to build her brand. Moya-Jones is quick to point out that they don’t give out awards for “most exhausted, depleted working mother, and yet we work as if that’s a virtue that will be rewarded.” Rely on your support team — whether that’s a spouse, friends, or family — to help you while you’re in the trenches. “If you have a partner, be clear about what you’ll need from them while you start up a business. Call on that village of yours, because you’re really going to need them,” encourages Moya-Jones.
3. Decide what fits your brand. Parents are always looking for innovative baby and children’s gear that is functional, stylish, and most importantly, easy to use. One of the reasons why parents are gaga for aden + anais products is that they’re multi-functional. A burpy bib, for example, is kidney-shaped, so it can start as a burp cloth and then double as a bib that covers your baby’s clothes when they’re ready to start solid foods. “We believe that baby things can and should be beautiful, and they should be there to make your life easier,” shares Moya-Jones. “Functional, stylish, and easy-to-use are how we decide what fits into our established brand.” Brainstorm what values you want to embody, and carry that through all of your decision-making for your company.
4. Be authentic. When Moya-Jones started aden + anais, it was born out of a need to provide a baby product that she knew would be so helpful to other parents. Ten years later, parents continue to buy aden + anais products and tell their friends about the company. “I’m not saying every brand needs to be a story about staying up all night, bootstrapping, and being an underdog,” explains Moya-Jones. “I’m saying that the brand needs to feel like there is something real behind it.” Connect with the true reasons why you started your company, and that will shine through to your potential customers.
5. It’s okay if not everyone is on board with your vision. Moya-Jones shares that when she first started her “crazy new life as an entrepreneur,” not everyone was cheering her on to success. Since she was devoting all of her time to work and family, some of her friends didn’t understand why she didn’t have time for those friendships. “Just because you’re all-in on your new life doesn’t mean that everyone else will be,” admits Moya-Jones. Don’t take it personally if your cheer squad loses a few members — keep going in the direction that makes you happy and works for you.
6. Don’t let fear win out. While she’s now running a major brand, Moya-Jones doesn’t want to romanticize the early days of aden + anais, which were a lot of hard work and devotion. But if that four-letter word F-E-A-R starts popping up in your vocabulary, don’t let it stop you. “As women, we’re conditioned to be risk-averse and to fear failure. We want to start when we’re already perfect. If you truly feel you’re an entrepreneur at heart, you have to be comfortable learning as you go, and comfortable with some suffering as you do it!” says Moya-Jones. Don’t wait for perfect. Do your homework, then go for it!
7. Find a partner who aligns with your vision. Back when Moya-Jones started aden + anais, she launched the company with a friend. Moya-Jones and her former business partner have since parted ways, and she’s learned a few things from the partnership. “You need to make sure that any business partner you have is 100 percent aligned with your vision,” she advises. “It’s a big commitment to make with a person, and even if there are two cooks in the kitchen, your business has to have a strong and singular voice.” If you decide to start your dream job with a co-pilot, Moya-Jones recommends having your business relationship documented, outlined legally in writing to prevent hurt feelings or disputes if things don’t pan out.
Perfect Your Skills
1. Build Your Digital Brand Online Class ($49): Join creative director and designer Caroline Winegeart as she helps you learn how to create a blog or website that embodies the brand of your particular business. Pair fonts and logo designs for a winning look that’s unique to you.
2. Design Patterns in Adobe Illustrator Online Class ($39): Part of the aden + anais brand is the lovely patterns that adorn the company’s bibs, swaddles, blankets, and more. Designer Megan Gonzalez of creative studio MaeMae & Co will teach you how to take abstract shapes and turn them into custom patterns, as well as how to print your pretty patterns on various surfaces.
3. Learn from Other Female Entrepreneurs (Free): Explore the goodies over at the Female Entrepreneurs Association for blog posts and videos geared toward the creative business owner, and sign up for their Members’ Club to get access to more courses focused on inspiring & empowering women to create successful businesses. Topics like “30 Days to Program Your Mind for Success” and “3 Tools to Save You Massive Amounts of Time” will get you focused and ready to meet your goals.
What’s your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!
(Photos via aden + anais)