When longtime fashion editor Jasmine Snow became a mama, she noticed a gap in the market: there weren’t any bibs that look good with the carefully planned, Instagrammable outfits new mamas love to dress their babies in. To help babies everywhere level up their style game, she created The Black Bib. We caught up with Jasmine on what it was like to launch a business as a brand-new mama.
First, tell us about The Black Bib. How did you come up with the idea
The Black Bib blog and The Black Bib product were created sort of simultaneously. I gave birth to my daughter at a time in my life when I was craving the opportunity to feature cool new products that I was seeing on the market. When she was born, I started craving chic clothing for my daughter that could slip seamlessly into a city baby’s wardrobe. I remember explaining to someone how I wished I could find a cool black leather bib that looked just as chic as the rest of her outfit, but could also be wiped clean for practicality reasons. In that moment I laughed and knew I had just discovered what I wanted to work on next. The Black Bib name just seemed to encompass all of what my life, my style, and my vision would be moving forward.
Once you had the idea and knew you’d run with it, what steps did you take to make it happen?
I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with people who can do things you don’t know how to do, so that you can learn from them. I knew that I’d have to hustle on my own at the beginning, but also knew that I wanted to bring someone on who was talented and who I trusted to help me launch the site. I hired Annebet Duvall, who was a co-worker and style director when we both worked in magazines together. She is the perfect yin to my yang stylistically, and she’s a good friend who I knew would be supportive. I basically poured any money I made from styling jobs back into paying Annebet on a freelance basis. Slowly I started to learn more about building the site and designing the product. I would also bring on a freelancer here and there to help with logo stuff, video edits, etc. Bringing on a “team” — no matter how small the capacity — is how I started.
How did your own experience as a mom play into creating the bib?
It played a huge part. I started to feel uninspired during my pregnancy, but once I gave birth to my daughter, I had a new resurgence of energy and creativity. The ideas just started pouring in. I found myself falling into rabbit holes on Instagram and Etsy to make my own custom pieces for my daughter, because I just couldn’t find what I wanted on the market. Black as a neutral in her closet was always my biggest priority and the hardest find. She’s a New Yorker with jet black hair. She was a baby with places to go and black was (and still is) her color! All of this played a huge role in the creative process.
Tell us a bit about your experience in the editorial realm. How did it help inform the development of The Black Bib?
The foundation of my editorial fashion career was my role as Senior Fashion Editor at Seventeen Magazine. We had a small department so everyone really pitched in to do everything that made the magazine look great each month. We had the opportunity to work on other projects of related interest with other departments. I was lucky to work with our entertainment director on our YouTube channel, which helped me teach myself about editing videos for my site. I was also lucky enough to work with a talented fashion director who helped train my eye on beautiful imagery, style, and layouts, in order to really set the standard for what I wanted The Black Bib’s brand aesthetic to be.
You have an especially strong grasp on millennial consumers. What do you find that millennial mamas are looking for when making purchasing decisions for their kids?
I think that millennial mamas are a whole different breed. They care about style for themselves and for their kids, and they really want to live and share the years of motherhood to the fullest. Because of the access to so many social resources it’s easy to do, and there’s an abundance of inspiration to do it.
Mastering an Instagram-worthy weekend getaway with your partner while coordinating child care and curating wardrobes for you and your baby that make you feel like a million buck is the crazy mix that we millennial mamas live (sometimes publicly) every day. The Black Bib is about that mix, too. Sometimes beautiful style comes with a hefty price tag for which you need to save your pennies and gift cards, and other times it comes under $50 and you go skipping out of the store! These mamas want to feel great about what they’re purchasing for their kids, but it has to be attainable, too!
How did you build buzz around launch? We know we saw the bib on a few of our favorite influencers’ stories right away…
I knew I could try this on my own, and because of my contacts I could certainly make a guest list and get to work inviting tons of people. However, like I mentioned before, I really wanted to this right by bringing someone on that knew how to do this better than I did. I needed a professional that I could hire to make the launch event exactly what I wanted it to be, with all the right influencers there to support. I hired a friend from a big PR team in the industry that I had worked with for years. I knew that crucial editors and influencers would recognize her name in their inboxes, and she was also an expert in the mama influencer world, so she knew so many more women to fill in the gaps on my guest list.
I also had no shame in my game. I’ve spent years attending tons of press previews and I will pretty much go to any event to support others in my industry. This was my time to cash in on all of those relationships I had worked so hard to cultivate. I personally followed up with everyone, asking them to come to the launch. I was only going to do this launch one time and I wanted it to be great.
Did you learn anything surprising during launch?
I wasn’t surprised by anything in particular at the launch, but it truly solidified how hard work and serious dedication (to the point of obsessing on exactly what you want) really pay off. If you want something to be a certain way, you have to go the extra mile to make that happen. So instead of being surprised, I would say I was proud. When all was over, I felt so proud that I had created something from conception all the way to the end, and actually done it really well. It was the best feeling to accomplish that.
As working mamas, we all know #thejuggleisreal and that becomes even more true when launching a business. How do you find balance? What does balance mean to you?
This is something I struggle with often. Being a freelancer, I have a hard time switching back and forth between work-Jasmine and mom-Jasmine without guilt. Balance is truly not balance because nothing is ever going to be equal. It’s about being okay with the off balance of it all. Something I’m working on in 2019 is giving myself permission to do what I need to do in each moment or each day without feeling guilty. The beauty of working for myself is the freedom that comes with it. So I’m learning to give myself permission to work all day long and invest in my growing brand, but I’m also giving myself just as much permission to spend the day with my daughter and not feel like I should be zoned into my computer instead. If I can “listen to my body and make modifications” in a workout class, I can certainly do that in other aspects of my life, too!
Come up with easy activities! After a day of work, I’m really tired and all I want to do is sit on the couch, cuddle with my daughter, and watch a movie. She just wants to play. So if I plan an activity like making a pizza for dinner, I don’t have to think of something in the moment, and she will be easily entertained.
Take care of yourself! Being a working mom who may have to leave her child all day doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a facial or a night out with your friends. It’s all a part of being a healthy and happy mama, and kids can sense that.
Do what works for you. Sometimes too much advice (given or received) can be stressful. As much as resources and advice are helpful, I think parenting is a game of common sense. It’s about following your instinct. You already know what to do, so don’t bother looking for someone else’s permission to do it.
My mom always worked. I have never once looked back on it and thought she wasn’t there for me as much as another mom who stayed at home full time. My drive to be independent, to do what makes me happy, comes from her. Of course I respect my father for working hard as well, but there was something different about growing up and seeing my mom create her own success by building her own business. It moves and motivates me today. So when that guilt creeps in, remind yourself that, just by doing what makes you happy, you’re providing so much growth and wisdom for your child looking up to you. Even from a distance (an office, a plane, a photoshoot) you’re shaping the person they’ll become!