Thanks for sharing with us, Jennifer!
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Images shared from Jennifer Yager
- How did you start your business? Why did you want your own business? When did you start your business?
My website for Sneak Peek Baby Boutique went live in July 2015. I spent about 9 months planning and learning before I launched my site. I literally had a dream one night when my second daughter had just turned one in 2014 that I owned a store that sold collections of clothes for infants and pregnant and postpartum mamas.
For me, becoming a mother was obviously life changing, but it affected my life in ways that I could not have known as my single self. I felt so powerful. It sounds cheesy but powerful almost like a super hero. All of a sudden I had the confidence to fullfill my dreams.
Now there are many factors that go into this feeling of course. Number one is the unwavering support of my husband, the generous encouragement from family and friends, and also the need to prioritize my time around my children. I’m sure many mothers can relate that at times your children can require every ounce of you, both physically and emotionally. I created my business so that I could in a sense “stay home” with my kids. It enables me to be flexible with my schedule around theirs. I am grateful and fulfilled building something of my own.
I run the business on my own but I have utilized every person and avenue I can to help me. I never thought I could build something online but I read….a lot and continue to read….a lot and learn anything I can. I use Shopify as my website’s platform and they have TONS of resources and they are amazingly supportive. I also have utilized the local SCORE office through the Small Business Administration. It is free and so so helpful. My mentors there are extremely invested in my wellbeing and they have excellent advice.
In October 2016 I rented a small showroom space at 111 Bow Street in Portsmouth, NH. All of Sneak Peek Baby Boutique’s collections can be viewed and purchased by appointment!
2. Why was owning a business a perfect situation for you and your family?
Owning your own business is a risk, but it's also so awesome to be in charge of yourself. I can work when I want. It enables me to always be able to put my kids first which is very important to me. I have a creative outlet while continuing to be available for my children. Plus it never feels like work because everything I do is for me and my family.
3. What does your business specialize in? What's your favorite product? How'd you come up with the name?
Sneak Peek Baby Boutique specializes in organic and natural fiber clothing and products for littles and mamas.
Most of the clothes I sell are 0-24month but I do carry some pieces up to 5y.
My favorite product as of this moment is the Pointy Peak Hat by Misha and Puff. Their winter line is hand knit in Peru with 100% naturally dyed merino wool, and the colors this season are gorgeous. Sneak Peek Baby Boutique is catchy, the name of the store was also in my dream. As soon as I woke up I checked to see if the domain name was available and it was! It seemed meant to be. I also sell gender reveal packages and related products where the customer can surprise themselves or other loved ones with the gender of their baby.
4. What do you love best about working for yourself?
The autonomy. I don't mind being by myself. It is honestly nice to have the few hours of quiet a week.
5. When working, When do you work in the day/evening? What's your process for working? Things you do daily, a routine?
This year both my daughters are in preschool so I work the 3 mornings they are there. I also work occasionally on the weekends. The first few years I worked a lot at night after they went to sleep. I always have a mile long checklist and I cross things off as I can.
6. Take me step by step through working with customers. Do you do anything special or unique, wrapping, specials, etc.?
I have realized over time that one of the reasons I wanted to start this business is to interact with my customers. I like doing expos so I can see what people are attracted to and hear their comments. Interaction through email and over the phone is also just as rewarding for me.
I LOVE to come up with custom gift sets. Customers contact me with a little bit about their recipient and how much they would like to spend and I put something together.
One of the reasons people want to shop with me is because they can trust that I have done all the work to ensure that the products I carry are natural, organic and sustainable. I do gift wrapping for anyone that asks!
7. What is your success rate? What do you think customers would say about your work, shop?
I do the work to be successful but I still get a tiny bit surprised when orders come in from all over the world. I guess it should always feel that way. If you get too comfortable maybe your drive to be as successful goes away.
8. Why do you think people should shop in your store or buy your product that you create, and why should they support moms who work for themselves?
I curate my products with like minded families in mind. I value sustainability and I believe that any little way we can help our Earth is important. Shopping the types of products I sell also offers the opportunity to have conversations with your children. They model after us. I also think moms should shop with me because I have adorable products! I am a mom of young children so when I am searching for new brands I have them in mind.
I have worked and been surrounded by small businesses since childhood. My dad ran his own business, and I worked for many small business owners growing up on Cape Cod. The community is similar to that on the seacoast, it is seasonal with tourists, and the locals fiercely love their community and are incredibly supportive. I feel honored to be apart of it.
9. What are your favorite or best items that you sell?
I sell a lot of merino wool. I think people are surprised at how soft it is. Merino wool is referred to as “nature’s gift”. It has antibacterial properties, it absorbs odors, and it is temperature regulating. Your baby can't get too hot or cold while wearing merino wool. We sell pajamas, sheets, and many other merino wool clothing pieces. Sneak Peek Baby Boutique is also an exclusive US retailer for an Australian brand called Luna Gallery. We stock a few of their blanket styles and others can be ordered.
10. How does your business allow you to be a great mother?
My business allows me to be able to put my family first. It can be a struggle feeling pulled in many directions as a mother. For me, having the ability to be present in their lives means everything. Customers can shop on my websites 24/7 and their orders are shipped of purchase. I open the showroom when my girls are in school. My kids do not fully understand what I do but I can see their pride when they talk about it. I can involve them too which is great.
11. What do you think would surprise readers to know about you?
I am a registered nurse and I still work at the hospital a couple shifts a month. Most of my experience is in the neonatal ICU. I currently work in a special care nursery.
12. What is the coolest thing you've ever experienced as part of working with this business?
The sense of accomplishment I have every time I have a happy customer.
13. What is one of your favorite gifts to give someone for the holidays?
For a winter baby, you can’t go wrong with a blanket, a hat, and a kimono onesie undershirt.
14. How many kids do you have? Give us one word to describe them.
I have 2 kids and they are FUN!
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