Melissa Jenaye talks juggling being a mommy and wife all while growing her business, children's clothing line, Honey Child & Co. She gives advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and gives deets about how she landed her first celebrity client...
Tell us a little about your brand and how it got started.
Honey Child & Company is a boutique lifestyle brand created for children who like to make a bold statement. Honey Child & Co. was born five months after giving birth to the love of my life, my son Mason. At the time, I was unemployed and I wasn't sure what my next career move would be. One evening after a long day of feedings and changing diapers, I looked over at Mason and said to him, "I need to create something you will be proud of." Then, I looked at the onsie he was wearing and said to myself, "I can do better!" Fortunately, I taught myself the basics of graphic design while pregnant. So, I put my son to sleep and whipped out my laptop and immediately started designing!
How do you successfully tackle being a "mompreneur?" What are some challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
My small business was booming while I operated as a stay-at-home mom and I was so proud. Although it helped, the profit I was making wasn't putting a dent in the big bills. So, after two years of freelancing I decided it was time to get back to work and put my degree back to use. Nine months after having Mason and five months after starting Honey Child & Co., I started working as a Digital Marketer for a company in Philadelphia. Since working full-time, it has been a real struggle juggling work, my business, my son and my husband but these three have helped me stay above high water. One, I leave work at work. Second, I dedicate Saturday mornings to my business. Although, I communicate via social media throughout the week, I've let my customers know that shipments and anything else they need will happen on Saturdays. Thankfully, just about all of my customers are understanding mothers. Last, I tell my husband constantly how much I appreciate him. He is an amazing support system. He cooks, cleans, and takes care of our son when I need a nap or attend a networking event after work. He's awesome so, I sing his praises so he will continue to be awesome.
How important has social media been to the success and growth of your business?
Social Media is very important to my business. Every single sale that I've made has been through Instagram alone. I chose Instagram because it's super visual which is perfect for clothing brands. Also, the mommy community is so strong on Instagram. It's a tribe I had to be apart of. The moms on Instagram support each other like none other and they shop small. It's amazing! I've built great friendships on Instagram. The platform has allowed me to go beyond the sale and that's what Honey Child & Co. is all about.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start an online business?
Just do it! Don't over think it. Put yourself out there. However, do your research. Scope out the trends, get to know your competition, and engage with your core customers.
You recently just gained your first celebrity client! How did that opportunity come about?
I knew I wanted to take my small business to the next level and elevate my brand and to do so, I needed to get a celebrity child in my t-shirts. I sat and thought long and hard about what moms in the spotlight exemplified the Honey Child & Co. mom. That mom is beautifully nurturing, entrepreneurial and is all about setting bold trends for her littles. That led me to Latisha Tankard of Bravo's Thicker Than Water. I began interacting with her on Instagram. She is super sweet. We gushed over each other sons and she complimented my designs. I fell in love with her and her family and knew her son had to have Honey Child & Co. in his closest. So, I asked and she was kind enough to let me send her a package. What's been so great, is that she's been taking photos of her son in my designs. Every time she posts her son in one of my tees, I get over a 100 new followers within hours. I couldn't be more grateful to her for exposing my business to a new audience and even more amazing mothers.
What is your ultimate goal/vision for your company? Where do you see yourself and it in the near future?
I'm definitely not a fashion designer and I don't want to design t-shirts forever. I've always wanted to write a children's book so, that's next! Also, I want to create a digital line of birth announcements, baby shower and birthday invitations. My creativity surprises me with every passion project. It's good for my soul so, I want to continue to create.
How can we keep up with you and all that you have going on?
You can find Honey Child & Company on Instagram.com/honeychildcoand on Facebook at facebook.com/honeychildco. Shop Honey Child & Co. at honeychildco.bigcartel.com. If you want to get to know me as a woman, wifey and mommy, feel free to follow me on my personal Instagram and Snapchat accounts both @MelissaJenaye. Thanks in advance for your support.