An Interview with Jessie Parker

Jessie was inspired to start her business, through her struggle to find clothing after the birth of her eldest child. She found a purpose and a guiding power to make a change in the post-pregnant world, which would ultimately change the lives of Mum’s all over the world.

 

What is your business (include name) and when did you start?

I own a breastfeeding and womenswear label called Borne Too.  The journey started around 2 ½ years ago but I actually launched in September 2016.

What inspired you to start your business?

After I had my eldest child, I couldn’t find any breastfeeding wear that made me feel the most like ‘me’.  Breastfeeding wear felt ‘purpose-built’ rather than based on what makes women look and feel good, as well as being functional to feed a baby.

Tell us about the journey you have been on with your businesses?

Starting a clothing label has been a huge rollercoaster of experience.  I was fortunate enough to already be in a career I loved as a registered nurse, so designing clothing and the whole world of clothing manufacture was so foreign to me.  Not only have I built up a lot of knowledge about the design/production process, I’ve also learned how to build and maintain my own website (all myself, from scratch!), the ins and outs of email lists and marketing, social media strategy and ads and although I am very reluctant – I’ve had to learn basic business accounting (numbers are not my forte!).

The biggest lesson I’ve had has been learning about myself – I’ve come to recognise my strengths and weaknesses and try to play to these more and more.

 

How do you handle the naysayers?

There haven’t been any naysayers as big as the one writing this! I realised how much I engage in negative self-talk on the daily, especially in regard to my business.  I feel thankful to have started my business as it has sent me on a huge journey of self-discovery as much as all the other practical skills I’ve learnt.  Being confident in myself helps me to ignore anything that doesn’t make me

 

How do you balance everything? What are your top tips?

I’m not going to lie, it’s tough at times.  My husband works away – on irregular and unpredictable rosters, we have two small children and I also still work part time in nursing so I’m all about the juggle!

I use a wall planner to help map out every appointment/meeting/deadline/work shift/business planning point.  If I don’t write it down, there’s a good chance I’ll forget it, so I’ve realised how vital diarising is!

I also try to ‘book’ time off without the kids, whether its day-care of using family and friends, it makes it so much easier to do, well, anything without the kids around! Plus, I get less frustrated, as we all know working with kids = constant interruptions.

Find like-minded networking or business support groups.  I have met some wonderfully inspirational and helpful business women through networking groups that ‘get it’.  Even though friends and family are a helpful resource, they don’t understand quite like a fellow entrepreneur, how it is to be starting your own business.

Learn to rest.  Sometimes I get caught up in the ‘hustle’ like I should be doing this, should be doing that.  When it feels forced, it isn’t fun and it’s hard to build inspiration.  Resting, making time for myself and my family and switching off from business for a little while works wonders.

 

Where do you envision yourself in the next 5 years? How do you plan to do this?

The next five years I’ll have a well-established online store, stocking not only Borne Too breastfeeding wear but also other complimentary breastfeeding products.

I’ll have an ongoing and flourishing partnership with WIRF (a charity I am currently in the process of supporting) to create the sense of community I have always wanted in business.

I will be happy and at peace with where I am at in life… oh and I’d love to add a third baby in the mix somewhere in the not-too-distant future!

I plan to achieve my goals by continuing on this path I’m on… One of constant discovery and learning. I don’t envision a totally smooth ride but if it’s anything like the last few years, with a lot of trial and error, I’m sure it will be worth it!

What has been a challenge you’ve had to overcome that has shaped you and your business?

I decided to try overseas manufacturing for a short run.  In a nutshell, it wasn’t for me.  I had multiple issues (another hugely expensive learning curve) including communication issues, manufacturing errors and substandard product.  It made me acutely aware that I didn’t want to manufacture overseas and so production was brought back locally.

I also informed me of the need to back myself.  To not be afraid to question things and listen to my gut!

Why did you choose to start at such a young age?

During times of frustration I would think to myself ‘this would have been so much easier if I had have done this before kids!’ but realistically, I never would have thought about the idea of designing breastfeeding wear if I hadn’t had my daughter.  I started my business when a problem came up in my own life and I thought ‘I could try and do something about it’ so I guess it wasn’t a conscious decision when to begin, it happened out of necessity.

What would you say was a key to your so far success?

Definitely putting myself out there.  Not being afraid to reach out to other businesses for advice, collaborations or even something seemingly small like putting myself in front of the camera.  It’s such a big leap out of our comfort zones, but that’s when the most amazing things happen!

What has been the biggest tip you have received off someone that has stuck with you?

I remember reading an inspirational quote on a fellow business page: ‘You could be the biggest, juiciest peach around, but there’s still going to be someone who hates peaches’.   This completely clicked for me.  You can’t please everyone! I was a terrible people-pleaser, afraid of rejection.  It encouraged me to niche down to purely breastfeeding wear (instead of womenswear and maternity/breastfeeding wear) after all, that’s why I started this business in the first place.   Having a defined niche makes it so much easier to market than trying to appeal to everyone.

What is a tip that you would give to a young person thinking about starting a business, but not sure how to start?

Take your time.  There is no rush!  I would do a few short-courses to learn the basics (i.e. web design, marketing and social media etc.) so you can ease yourself into learning all the things, one step at a time.  In saying that, don’t feel like you have to have everything ‘perfect’ to launch a business, you can get away with basic foundations and build upon them as you start to grow.

What are your top 3 biggest lessons you have learnt in your business?

Go slow and take my time in decision making – don’t make rash decisions, they rarely end well.

Know your numbers, putting my head in the sand re profit margins and spending’s is really not helpful.

Take time to rest and recharge. It’s totally okay to have a break if you need to.  I took 4 weeks off completely from my business when I was feeling utterly overwhelmed and I realised how beneficial it was for my mind and how little it actually affected my business.

What is a podcast you can recommend?

Gosh, I am an absolute podcast junkie! They are so handy in mum-life.  I really enjoy ‘She means business’ with Carrie Green.  She delves into the self-love and spiritual growth side of starting and succeeding in business, so it ticks all the boxes for me!

If you could meet an inspirational leader, who would that be? Why?

Oprah! I just love that woman.  She has achieved so much in her life through great adversity and I just think she is a super inspiring role-model for not only women in business but women full-stop.

What was one of the first goals you smashed in your business?

Reaching out and partnering with a charity. I always wanted a community aspect to my business but thought I would never be able to contribute until I made some more money.  I was so proud to figure out a way I could contribute to a local foundation in a huge way despite being so ‘young’ in my business.

What would you say to your younger self?

You can do it! Have more faith in yourself.

Where can we contact you?

You can find me through the contact page on my website:

https://www.bornetoo.com.au/contact

 

 

Through Facebook:

www.facebook.com/bornetoo

 

Or Instagram:

www.instagram.com/borne_too

 

 

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