Mompreneur Spotlight: Renee Johnsen, The Bow & Oak
I wanted to start this weekly Mompreneur Spotlight to share about other amazing mompreneurs who are working super hard on their businesses and side hustles. I wanted to provide as many opportunities as possible for all of us to learn from other boss moms! Weekly I will post an interview with a Boss Mom I am crushing hard on! This week we are kicking it off with a mom who is just getting her business off the ground and I really loved her determination which is why I felt like it was the perfect place to start…The Start. Renee Johnsen, The Bow & Oak
The Bow and Oak are a family owned and operated clothing company, making comfortable clothing and durable wear for the whole family!
Tell us about your business and what motivated you to get started? Well, this is all very recent for us! It all started when I found out I was pregnant last year and was making those Pinterest boards we all do, of all the cute and adorable things I want to force on my child before he gets a mind of his own!
It all started with a baby nook. I loved the idea of a doc a tot, but hated the bland look of it. I showed my mom what I wanted, we found some fabric and it ended up being beautiful! So beautiful that when people saw it they would ask for one! From there we realized that these were items other people wanted as well, so we started making them on a custom order basis, to be able to perfectly match fabric and style with each individual client.
After Bowie was born, I had started cloth diapering and quickly realized those cute and adorable clothes I loved so much were pretty much a no go. They either didn’t fit the fluffy butt or fit but we’re not functional. MAMA to the rescue again! We spent hours adjusting our patterns, making sewing mistakes, and fixing them and doing it all over again to find the perfect fit for the fluffy butt.
Once again I knew this wasn’t an ME issue, but rather one most people just don’t have the time to figure out. When I checked out mommy groups for their solutions to this problem everyone said they would have to size up, sometimes 2-3 sizes just to get the diaper to fit under the clothing!!! But also have the clothing big everywhere else! Can you imagine going around all day in clothing two sizes too big for you? How uncomfortable! This is where The Bow and Oak really started. To help parents help their kids feel comfortable and look cute too! Because let’s face it, we all want to dress our littles the way we can until they start having fashion taste of their own….and that’s a small window!
Being a mompreneur isn’t easy, what motivates you to want to be successful? My family! Growing up my parents were self-employed (and still are). It has been a way of life I always knew and being able to do something like this with my mom, we push each other to be better. Sewing is something my mom really enjoys doing, so to be able to help her do something she enjoys professionally is a big deal. We both have put so much of our hearts into this.
What is one way that you try to find a balance between being a mom and a business owner? Downtime. Making sure we aren’t over working. The machines will always be there, and putting into perspective that if we work hard for a few days we can take a day without thinking of the business. (Kind of).
We try and schedule days, one day is for patterns, one for cutting and one for sewing. Then a day or two off. Then one day for product development and ideas. And we do it all over again! The easy part of everything is my mom does the patterns, and sewing, and I do the product development and fabric sourcing so we’re not stretched in too many directions! Not to add, we both get multiple baby snuggles throughout the day!
What was your first big a-ha moment as a business owner? Realizing how many people need these items and how no one has thought to create them yet! Cloth diapers are gaining popularity not just for the environmental footprint, but the many other benefits it brings your family! With the jump in use, the market hasn’t really adjusted to make for accessible clothing. When doing a little research, I was noticing that this wasn’t just a ME problem and it really put the business idea into perspective. We will be offering a lot more cloth diaper friendly items in the coming months along with our regular fit!
What advice would you give to a mom who might be considering starting a business or a side hustle? Make.a.plan. We kind of just jumped into this full of excitement, we’re organized but have so many ideas we want to get working on and it’s hard to control yourself from doing a million things at once. We have so many exciting products in the works, doing one at a time can be frustrating because you just want to share it. But your products/services will be SO much better if you take the time to do ONE thing or item at a time- perfect it- and then move on. It’s slow at first, and it might feel like you are running uphill but in the end, it will all be worth it!
What has been your most favorite and/or fun way to market your business? Social media for sure! We’re working on some giveaways at the moment. People LOVE free stuff, and most of the things I buy have been from someone tagging me in a giveaway post, that then led me to a web store.
What’s next for your brand or business? We’re hoping to be a commen household clothdiaper clothing brand. While we do make clothes that fit older children and non-cloth babies, Bow and Oak was launched with cloth diaper friendly roots and we don’t want to get too far from making our items work for every baby.
How can we see more! give us directions to your site, social media etc… Instagram: thebowandoak Webpage: bowandoak.com Etsy: Bow and Oak
Anything else you would like to add…sales, upcoming promos etc… We’re currently working on baby jeans (super soft jegging like….because we think it’s fair to stuff little lovers in tight jean), chinos, and blazers, and a really great breast-feeding aid (this has to be the most exciting for me)! Not to give away too many details, but it will do away with having to hold the breast up for baby. (Which seems like a bigger issue for the bigger breasted woman)
I want to thank Renee so much for sharing! I think we can all relate to her A-Ha moment…when you realize there is a gap in the market or something missing, and you know you can fill it! Love it!
If you want to share your thoughts, what you loved or how you relate comment below and let me know what you think! If you are a mompreneur and want to share your amazing story, let’s connect!
Till the next post,