TRADITIONALLY THE TERM REFERRED TO WOMEN STARTING A BUSINESS OUT OF THEIR BASEMENT. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THE TERM COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN WITH A NEGATIVE CONNOTATION. BUT YOU REMEMBER JULIE AIGNER CLARK, OF BABY EINSTEIN, RIGHT? SHE STARTED HER COMPANY OUT OF HER BASEMENT AND SOLD IT TO DISNEY FOR AROUND 24 MILLION DOLLARS. NOTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT THAT. WE ARE SEARCHING FOR OUR OWN LOCAL “POSH BETTYS” WHO ARE REENTERING THE WORKPLACE AS ENTREPRENEURS. THIS MONTH, WE SPOKE TO: SARA JAYNE FROM TWO JAYNES, A MOTHER DAUGHTER DUO CREATING FUN GIFTS FOR LADIES OF ALL AGES.
Tell us a little about your company, yourselves and how you got started?
As a business consultant turned stay-at-home mom, I’d been doing mommy things for more than 10 years. With both kids in school, I began toying with the idea of returning to work. Around the same time, my then 11 year-old daughter was questioning how she could earn spending money. It dawned on me; we could start a business together! What a fun idea to continue to be home, create beautiful things, bond with my daughter and teach her what it takes to build a business. We launched Two Jaynes in early 2016 with our Etsy shop, branching out to pop-up events and recently launched our line in a local boutique. Our products range from jewelry and accessories to home décor. With an emphasis on packaging, the Two Jaynes brand aims to be fun, classy and giftable.
How long were you out of the workplace before creating your company?
Over a decade! Prior to becoming a mom, I worked as an information technology consultant for Accenture. After Macy Jayne was born, I decided to stay home with her. When she was a baby, I started a small business selling handmade baby items. While I loved the creative outlet, I quickly realized that being a stay-at-home mom with a husband that travels is a full time job and for that reason I put my small business aspirations on hold.
What made you decide to start an Etsy Shop and Pop-Up Retail Company?
I’ve always been drawn to the art of creating and my degree is in engineering. I chose that field because of my childhood curiosity of how things are made. Honestly, the idea of selling is secondary to me. While sales are an important part of running a business, I truly believe that if you make something with great design, quality materials and passion, people are going to be drawn to it.
What makes you different?
Macy Jayne and I make it different. Our journey and our personalities are injected into each product. If we don’t love it, we don’t sell it. Two Jaynes is an evolution based on our journey as a mother and daughter. It’s inspired by our story and who we are. In addition, the attention we give our packaging sets us apart. I remember my sister once told me that people eat with their eyes first. I think that is also true with gifting. How you present something can totally elevate the perception.
What is your biggest professional reward?
It was humbling to realize we had shipped to 26 states in our first year. Hitting 1500 Instagram followers and launching in our first retail store were also exciting milestones. But, the biggest reward remains the opportunity to do it all together.
What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is the selling process, while Macy Jayne’s is pushing through tedious production tasks. On the flip side, my happy place is creating while she loves talking to people. I remember an event where there were more vendors than customers.
Instead of standing around bored, I challenged Macy Jayne to go around the room exchanging business cards. I was shocked as I watched my 11 year-old “mini-me” work her way around the room like she had years of experience in networking.
Did you come across any outside resources that were helpful to getting your company up and going?
Loudoun County government website was a great resource. They even provide a small business checklist for getting started. You can basically learn anything online. While that proves to be a great advantage, nothing replaces putting yourself out there. It’s amazing how many leads, connections and knowledge exchanges fall into your lap by simply talking to people.
How do you find inspiration?
The simplest answer is everywhere! Inspiration is all around, all the time. Things like color, pattern, fabric, art, photos, experiences, and so on. For Two Jaynes, our products are a labor of love based on things that we do, use, enjoy, or make us feel emotion. How do you source your designs? Where do you get your raw material? Honestly, this is something we are still figuring out. It’s a bit of a process. First, a design is born from an idea and materials that are somewhat easily sourced from local and online retailers. As concepts are proven, we begin researching wholesale suppliers.
You are partners and family, does that affect your personal relationship? What do you do when you disagree?
From the beginning, I aimed for the business not to feel like a chore for Macy Jayne. I wanted it to be an opportunity to connect outside of the traditional mother-daughter roles during her teenage years, as well as an opportunity to learn about business. I do my best to foster her growth and involvement without too much guilt or expectation, but being completely honest, it’s not always perfect. Of course, I’ve never heard of a mother-daughter relationship or business relationship that didn’t have it’s ups and downs and all in all we are doing pretty good.
Any pearls of wisdom to give to other moms sitting on the fence about starting their own business?
If you can’t stop dreaming about it, follow your dreams! Keep strong through the journey and keep your head high. I promise you will either succeed or you will learn something. Either way, you will become more than you were in the beginning.
If you are or know anyone that would like to be featured as a “Posh Betty”, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.