Mama Maker Monday: Julia Meyers of Baboo Bee

Have you ever wanted to try a new craft but thought you were past the point that you could learn how? Julia Meyers, the owner of Baboo Bee Children’s Clothing, shows that not only is it never too late, but it’s also possible to turn it into a thriving business.

Julia, who is the mom of Elsa Marie, 4; and Bennett Martin, 2, started her business after teaching herself how to make clothes with her sewing machine just a couple years ago! I don’t want to give too much away in this intro because she’s going to share her story with you below, but I am blown away by how quickly she went from having barely used her sewing machine to setting up her online shop. Not only that, her clothes are absolutely adorable. (I’m eyeing a sweatshirt to get Eve for her birthday next month.)

Mama maker Julia Meyers of Baboo Bee makes children's clothing using ethically and sustainably produced organic cotton.

Photos by Brie Manson of Brie Rose Photography | Instagram

Julia’s story just goes to show that not matter what you think your skills are, it is always possible to learn a new craft and the importance of having a creative outlet.

Tell us a little bit about your business and how you got started. What inspired you to start a handmade business?

I make children’s clothing using ethically and sustainably produced organic cotton. I make hoodies, leggings, infant sleepers, loungewear/jammie sets, and hats. I have had my shop open for just about a year now.

baboo-bee-handmad-kids-clothes

I have always been creatively inclined but didn’t know how to sew very well, so I never really imagined trying to make a garment from scratch. After my son was born I purchased a few pairs of leggings both from a store and from some handmade shops online. After looking at their basic construction I had this random idea to attempt to make a pair from an old shirt I had laying around. I had no idea what I was doing or even why because I was happy to just buy them but something in me really wondered if I could do it. My brain just wouldn’t let go of the thought.

So I dusted off the sewing machine that my mom bought me years before (that I had used maybe 2 times) and went for it. I constructed my first pair of toddler leggings for my daughter Elise (aka: Baboo) in just under 2 hours. I pulled the seams apart and put them back together so many times as I figured out what to do.

baboo-bee-pants

I was giddy with excitement and my husband was completely impressed (but not surprised, he likes to say)! So I made another pair the next day for my son, who was around 6 months old at the time. They got so many compliments that I started making more. I watched YouTube videos and consulted with a local seamstress for some tips. My friends started asking if they could pay me to make them some pants for their kids, so I did. Then, after barely 6 months I decided to put up a website for my friends to look at and “order” from. I got an order from a girl who I didn’t know and looked at my husband and said, “What do I do?” He said, “Make them!” So I did. Right after I shipped them off to her, I realized I needed to either go for this or stop while I was ahead. Everything in me just knew this was right for me so I went for it and haven’t looked back since!

The name Baboo Bee comes from our daughter, Elise. We had a foster daughter who was with us until just before our first biological daughter, Elise, was born. While I was pregnant, our year-old foster daughter couldn’t say “baby” and instead said “babe. That name stuck after she was born and is still sticking to this day. When I made Elise’s first pair of pants she ran around the house saying “You made these for me! Baboo Bee!!!” My business name was born.

What do you like best about having your own business? What are some of your biggest challenges?

What I like most is the flexibility I have working for myself and working from home. This allows me to still be a wife and mother, first and foremost, and to schedule work around those priorities. If the kids get sick, I can move around my schedule to accommodate that and not have to “call in sick.” My husband is a pastor, so working for myself also allows me to attend services, mission and service projects, and available when people are in need. It has even allowed me to take a missions trip overseas and bring some of my clothing there to children and families in need!

baboo-bee-mother-daughter

Some of the biggest challenges come from the actual “business side,” which is a whole new world for me. Thankfully, I married a guy with a Bachelors in Business so I’ve got a great partner in all of this as I learn my way through it. But it really has been a challenge to learn all of that as I go. I’ve made some rookie mistakes but have been determined each time to learn from it and move on with even more knowledge and determination. I’ve also really enjoyed learning from others who have gone before me in growing businesses themselves.

Another challenge is that sometimes it’s hard to say “no” to taking on more than you can really handle. You think “Oh, this is so great; I’m getting so many orders!” But if you’re so busy that you can’t fulfill them at the highest quality (or even fulfill them at all!) then it’s not good for business. Figuring out how to create realistic timelines and workloads has been a big learning curve for me.

How do you manage being a business owner and being a parent? What tips would you offer for other moms thinking about starting their own business?

This is a tough one, since the answer is so different for every person. I think I’m constantly learning how to manage balancing business and parenting because it changes as the needs of my children change. Right now my kids are active and need me to be hands on with a lot of the stuff they are doing. Because of this I only get creative and work during nap time, after they have gone to bed, or when my husband is home to be with them. At the times when my workload is really heavy, I hire a babysitter and sometimes even a housekeeper, too!

baboo-bee-fabrics

For my husband and I, communication is absolutely crucial. We have to be able to sit down and talk about practical things like household and parenting obligations, and how to divide them to provide time for work. If a babysitter and/or housekeeper can fit into your budget then decide on how frequently. If those helps are not budget-friendly, then brainstorm about ideas together on how you can get help you need when you need it. Maybe you have family around who can step in and help you out with childcare, which is such a blessing when that’s an option!

baboo-bee-sewing

I would also say – be patient with yourself and give yourself a break from time to time, too! You can’t do it all, even if society makes it seem like you should. It takes time to grow a successful business, to raise healthy children, and maintain your own health and sanity in the process. Give yourself space to learn, grow, and breathe through the process.

How does having these creative outlets benefit you in your role as a mom? How do you involve your children in your creative work?

I get so much satisfaction and enjoyment out of what I do, which I think is so important for our children to see. I want my kids to grow up seeing me do something I love in hopes that it inspires them to do the same. The process of sewing this clothing is often very relaxing to me, too, and it’s so crucial for moms to have that kind of outlet. Earlier this year I did a “One for One” buying event. For every item purchased, I made and donated a pair of leggings to babies and children in the Dominican Republic (where I went for a mission trip in March). This caused my workload to increase significantly, but it also created a great discussion with my kids about how so many children don’t have clothes and that we can help to change that even with just one pair of pants.

Believe it or not, I often get the kids involved by asking my daughter for her own design advice! She helps me pick out fabrics she loves and even helps me choose fabric combinations based off her own 4-year-old preferences. I love that, since that is the crowd I want to please! I love watching their responses to the fabric swatches or photos I get when I am buying. If they don’t love them, I don’t buy them. They also both help me vacuum my studio, take out trash, sort through fabric scraps to save the pieces I can still use, and play with those that I can’t.

Photos by Brie Manson of Brie Rose Photography | Instagram

And, of course, my kids are my most important models! I think I’ve gotten more business through conversations with strangers who love the kids’ clothes than through any other source. Elise and Bennett get so excited every time I bring them a new hoodie or pair of pants to try on, and they love telling people that their mom made their clothes. Free advertising and happy kids – can’t beat that!

When you are not working on your business, what do you like to do with your time?

I love anything that I get to do with my husband and kids together, be it a trip to the beach, a day at the park or even just a day at home, I truly love to be around them. I love to spend time with family and friends, seeing new places, meeting new people and learning more about the world. I love sushi and all types of Asian cuisine so anytime we can go try new restaurants or dishes I am all for it! Going out and serving people in our community is one of my favorite things to do, too, especially with our kids. I enjoy playing guitar and singing, going on walks with good friends. I also love photography and I am often that person taking “too many pictures” wherever we are (though everyone loves reliving the memories later).

You can find Julia’s beautiful handmade kids’ clothing on her website and Etsy site and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook

Mama maker Julia Meyers of Baboo Bee makes children's clothing using ethically and sustainably produced organic cotton.

A beautiful and seriously easy DIY necklace tutorial

I glance over at my workbench and let out an exasperated sigh. I dig around under pieces of paper, pushing aside tools and bits of silver and half-formed pieces of jewelry that litter the surface.

Hard as I try to keep my physical space organized, my workspace is almost always a hot mess.

Case in point: as I sat at my desk writing this easy DIY necklace tutorial and look over at my workbench, this is exactly what I see:

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY pendant necklace tutorial!

Sadly, this is a common occurrence.

While this constant state of chaos is often the source of frustration because inevitably I cannot find the tool or supply I need — and very often, it is something I literally just put down — it also leads to these fantastic inadvertent “Aha!” design moments. 

Or happy accidents.

For example, the necklace I’m about to show you how to make.

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY pendant necklace tutorial!

Back in 2011 when I was preparing for my wedding, I decided to make my bridesmaids necklaces. My colors were purple and silver; naturally I went with a silver necklace with a purple Swarovski briolette pendant accent.

(In case you’re wondering, a briolette is just a fancy word for an elongated pear-shaped crystal)

There were five bridesmaids, and the briolettes came in packages of six, so I had an extra one.

One sad, lonely briolette that went unused for years, just sitting in my bead box, day after day, week after week.

Fast forward four years. One day I’m working on a pair of earrings for a show. The briolette happens to be just hanging out on the workbench, minding its own business when I place the half-made earring onto the bench right next to it as I went digging around for an earwire.

I look down. Aha!

Happy accident.

Perhaps sometimes it pays to be messy.

And now, my friends, for the easy DIY necklace tutorial with its fancy shmancy crystal pendant:

(And just a little heads up, those are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. That commission helps me to run this blog — or, at the very least, it will cover about one cup of coffee a month.)

For this necklace, you will need the following supplies:

Instructions:

To get started with this easy DIY necklace tutorial, take three of the largest jump rings (7.0 mm) and close one of them (you know it’s closed well when it makes a nice click and the two ends are flush). Take a second one and loop it through the first jump ring and close it. Take the two looped jump rings and hold them so that there is a space between where they overlap. Think of it as you are making a very small Venn diagram with your jump rings. In that space, loop the third jump ring and close it up. You’ve got the first spiral

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

Go ahead and make three more of these little spirals.

Now loop one of the smaller jump rings (3.5mm) through one of the spirals like so:

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY pendant necklace tutorial!

(And pay no attention to the fact that workbench looks like it changed colors. I swear it’s the same table.)

Go ahead and add another spiral onto that little jump ring and close it up nice and snug like a bug in a rug….erm, I mean like a snugly closed jump ring.

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

(Can you tell that I spend too much time around small children?)

(By the way, how much fun are you having with my tangents? Don’t worry, it’s even worse in person!

Connect the two spirals with another small jump ring, and continue with the other two jump rings until you have a little caterpillar of jump rings.

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

See, caterpillar! Wait, yours doesn’t look like that?

Loop your (imaginary) caterpillar’s head around so it’s getting a nice look at its tail end like so:

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

Just like you did with all the other spirals, connect the head and the end with two more jump rings. It may not look quite right when you’re in the process, but when one end is pulling from the tension of the chain I promise it will!

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

Just be sure not to twist the line around or it will definitely look off. Or keep it as is. The only rule I have around here is to have FUN and enjoy your jewelry-making process.

(Though I promise you I have my moments of frustration with the process.)

Now use one last jump ring to add your bead to one of the spirals (doesn’t matter which one)…

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

Attach another jump ring or two to the spiral on the opposite end, string it on a chain, and ta-da, a super simple yet fancy-looking pendant.

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

Unsure about how to make a chain? Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how!

Learn how to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry with this easy DIY necklace tutorial! featuring a gorgeous Swarovski crystal pendant!

Now go tell me in the comments — who will your first necklace be for, and what color will it be?

Asserting her independence

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I felt the misty rain on my face as I listened to the sound of her little feet jumping on the pavement. She let out an excited shriek as she splashed in the puddle, entertaining herself as we waited for our bus to arrive. With her vinyl red ladybug jacket and blue Cookie Monster rainboots that were on the wrong feet — because of course she had to put them on herself — in that moment she encompassed the picture of happy toddler.

The fun came to an abrupt end as she tripped over her feet and fell to the ground. She shuffled over to me, whimpering as called out my name. I noted that her hands and knees now had a thin coating of mud, but thankfully nothing serious.

Kneeling down, I gave Eve a hug and asked her if she wanted to clean herself up or if I should do it for her. In a quavering voice she replied she would do it.

Thankfully I am almost never without our bag of essentials: a change of clothes, sunscreen, and baby wipes.

We took out the wipes and she brushed the dirt away from her knees and hands as best as she could.

WaterWipes from Walgreens proves a safer, natural option for your little one that you can feel good using!

As toddlers are prone to do, Eve has been asserting her independence for quite some time. She knows what toys she wants to play with, what books she wants to read, and what clothes she wants to wear. She wants to go to the bathroom by herself, telling me, “I need privacy.” Eve gets dressed with minimal assistance from me and wants to wipe her own hands and mouth after she eats and plays.

WaterWipes from Walgreens proves a safer, natural option for your little one that you can feel good using!

WaterWipes from Walgreens proves a safer, natural option for your little one that you can feel good using!

I’m happy to loosen the reigns a bit, even if it means resisting the urge to step in to speed the process.

The one thing I still hold on to, however, is choosing what products she puts on her skin and into her developing body.

Since before I was pregnant with Eve, I began making a shift in the products we use in our house. I made the switch to mostly organic food and removed many bath and beauty products that I contain harmful ingredients.

For my child, this is especially important.

However, I find that reading ingredient labels can be rather confusing at times. What is safe and what is not? What do the labels actually mean?

With WaterWipes, there’s no guessing since there are just two ingredients: 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract.

WaterWipes from Walgreens proves a safer, natural option for your little one that you can feel good using!

WaterWipes provide a durable and effective wipe that is a safer option for your little one. I feel safe giving them to Eve to wipe her skin after a fall or her mouth after she eats a messy meal.

As Eve continues to get older, I know she will continue to assert her independence more. Along the way she’s going to fall down and get many more bumps and bruises, make many messes, and put her clothes on backwards. At least for now I know I can offer protection have peace of mind by through giving her options that I feel are good for her.

I purchased WaterWipes at my local Walgreens in the baby care aisle.

WaterWipes from Walgreens proves a safer, natural option for your little one that you can feel good using!

You can enter for a chance to win one of five (5) $100 Walgreens gift cards and purchase some WaterWipes of your own. I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).

WaterWipes Walgreens Giveaway

For the sake of learning

Welcome to month nine of the “Who I Am project. This month the prompt is “Education,” and like my previous posts, I wrote this as if I were speaking to Eve (and any other children I have in the future).

Who-I-Am-project

I always knew I would one day go to college.

For many Jewish families, education and schooling are very important. Those values were ingrained in me from a young age, and it never once crossed my mind that I wouldn’t go to college immediately after graduating from high school.

Some might call me a big of a nerd. I love learning and am prone to taking classes very seriously. So much so that I spent the plane ride home from Nice finishing up a final paper for a course I was taking for fun.

Papa asked me why I was taking this class so seriously when the grade didn’t count for anything.

I told him, “I can’t not take a class seriously.”

This wasn’t always the case.

In elementary school, my grades didn’t always reflect my abilities. I didn’t do poorly in school, but I didn’t always “apply” myself. I always did my homework — I was a stickler for the following the rules and worried about getting in trouble, so there was no way I would dream about skipping it.

However, when it came to studying and taking tests I didn’t always work as hard.

Who would imagine that this adorable little girl wasn't applying herself?
Who would imagine that this adorable little girl wasn’t applying herself?

Finally, at some point in early middle school, after many chats with your Nana and Grandpa, it connected for me. I took learning more seriously and “applied” myself, getting into advanced and honors classes and always placing on the honor role.

My sense of pride and self-worth were very much tied to how I did in school and the grades I received. I wanted Nana and Grandpa’s approval, and I craved the positive attention I received when I came home with an A.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do well and succeed. Unfortunately, for many years I missed the value in learning. For me, it was a means to end — doing well in school meant getting into a good college, and in many ways making my family proud. It wasn’t until later in college that I realized that there was so much more to getting a good education.

bev-college-graduation
At my college graduation

Education is more than just the classes you take, the grades you get, and the schools you attend.

I realize now that education is also an experience. It’s learning about the world and understanding things from different viewpoints.

While I feel very fortunate to have had the education I did and to go to the school I attended, and I very much value what I have learned from my college and graduate school experiences, I recognize now that a significant portion of my education has nothing to do with school.

My education also includes backpacking around South America with Papa, running my own business and website, and being a parent.

(As you’ll hopefully see one day, being a parent is a constant hands-on education.)

Every day I learn something from being your mom
Every day I learn something from being your mom

I am always seeking opportunities to learn, whether it be through reading a parenting book or taking an online course for my business or a creative course in the community.

Do I want you to take school seriously and work hard? Of course. Do I expect you to go to college? At this point, that is a resounding yes.

But my hope for you is that you appreciate the education you receive both inside and outside the classroom. I want to grant you opportunities to learn about the world and experience firsthand. I want you to learn because you enjoy it.

There is something so wonderful about the knowledge and skills you can learn when you soak in those opportunities and learn for the sake of learning.

(Just don’t forget to apply yourself along the way!)

The “Who I Am” project is a year-long monthly series that my friend Dana at Kiss My Listfollow started, as a way to create a virtual scrapbook of your life to tell your kids, grandkids, spouse, friends, or whoever who you are. You can link up our posts, which goes live the third Tuesday of the month, on either of our blogs, and sign up to receive the prompts at the beginning of each month via e-mail. The themes so far have been Childhood, Love, Quirks & Habits, How you’ve changed since you were a childFavorite Places, Betcha Didn’t Know, and Things I Love

Who I am Project

Creating a memorable jewelry experience from beginning to end

This post was sponsored by Basic Invite. All opinions are 100% my own. 

This has been a year of big changes within my business. The most notable change was totally overhauling my line of handcrafted jewelry. With that came an updated logo, professional photos, and a new business card.

Woohoo my new business cards just arrived! What do you think?

A photo posted by Bev (@linkouture) on

After putting it off for months, I finally updated the jewelry packaging as well.

It was important for the packaging to be a reflection of my new branding and what is inside. While it’s tempting to go overboard and do all the things — especially when you’ve been spent hours studying options on Pinterest — I wanted something that was elegant and feminine with subtle flair and that was affordable.
Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.

I finally settled on a simple, clean design with white pillow boxes with delicate silver ribbon to secure the business card to the box.

Whether it’s a birthday present from your sister or a treat to yourself for landing that new job, I want the recipients to feel special and when they receive a piece of my handcrafted jewelry.

Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.

I also want to show my gratitude for supporting my business. As a small business owner who handles each sale I make from beginning to end, I truly appreciate each customer. At the minimum, I always include a little handwritten note on the invoice. With the new packaging, I needed to take it to the next level.

Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.

I opted to go with a customized thank you note from Basic Invite.

Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.

Basic Invite allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select from their extensive designs, from birth announcements to birthday invitations to wedding thank you notes, you can change the color of each element on the card to over 160 different color options.

It was really simple to choose a thank you note and customize it to match my logo colors.

Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.

basic-invite-color-customization

Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.

Not only can you customize the colors within your invitation or thank you note, but Basic Invite also offers over 40 different color envelopes.

Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.

One of the other wonderful thanks about Basic Invite allows customers to order a printed sample of their actual card so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever place a large order.

I am thrilled with the new look of my jewelry packaging — and am that much more excited to send off my next piece of jewelry!

Create memorable jewelry packaging to reflect the beauty of what's inside.