When I think of the slick, crisp and modern monochrome style, only one shop comes to my mind. That shop is Be Loved. If you haven’t visited her instagram page yet, your missing out. Jenn, as we all know her, is the creater and designer of Be Loved handmade “apparel for the modern mini” as she describes it. Established in 2016, Be Loved has become a staple in all small shop lovers’ wardrobes, her comfortable, easy to wear, unisex styles are perfect for babies and littles who are modern, trendy and on the move. Imported European fabrics in a huge array of prints and color options are what puts Be Loved on a level all it’s own, not to mention jenn’s attention to detail and amazing quality. It is clear to see that each and every piece is handmade with love. While she is known to her followers as a serious mom boss, she is also a wife, mother to 3 beautiful girls who also serves as her inspiration, and holds a full time job. (and I thought I was busy!)
With all the highs that come with owning a successful business also comes the lows. The sacrifice, stresses and struggles, something Jenn has been very open and vocal in sharing with her followers. She has allowed us all to be apart of her journey, sharing her business concerns, worries as a mom and full time employee and self discovery as a small shop owner. I know we can all relate to one or more of those troubles. But through all the shops success and struggles, she remains humble, goal oriented, motivated and strong. Isn’t that the definition of a mom boss!
She featured floral fabrics for Summer 2016! A sweet and girly departure for Be Loved
As she gears up to open Be Loved for the fall season, she answers some questions about Be Loved’s beginning and how a girl with design aspirations became a small shop “celebrity”.
– How/where did you learn to sew?
J: Other than some basic sewing I did in grade 7 home economics class, I am actually a self taught sewer. When I had first opened the shop, the intention was for my mom to sew (she used to make draperies). I purchased a sewing machine as a back up and started with very simple sewing. A couple months after that I purchased a serger and learned to use that through advice of shop friends. They were so patient with me and my questions and that helped me lots.
– Have you always been interested in designing clothes?
J: After high school, I actually wanted to go to fashion design school. At the time I was living in the Bay Area of California and wanted to go to Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise (FIDM) and actually took a tour with my parents. However, my parents didn’t support me working on design so I ended up doing something else. But to answer the question, yes, I have always been interested in designing clothes. I would hand stitch clothes for my dolls from the time I was 7 years old. I also did hair for a good while, so I’ve always been a creative of some sort.
– Where do you find your inspiration for the shop’s clothing style?
J: At first when I started making apparel, I was more learning and stuck to styles I knew I would want my kids to wear. As I became more comfortable with the patterns, I started modifying them through trial and error and asking opinions of my brand team. I really love monochrome clothing because it goes with everything and fabric designs are simple. But I also love some colour too, so I decided on trying a collection with colour pops and I think it was my most favourite collection and really pushed me forward in terms of the success of the shop. My inspiration are of course, my girls. Since I have three of them, I am naturally inspired by more girly things. But also make clothes imagining if I had a boy, what I would put him in. I do try very hard to offer unisex and boy items and working hard to expand on that more.
– Why did you decide to start on online shop?
J: At first when I started, it was just to have some extra money for my girls activities, pay my mom for child care and if theres extra save up for a family vacation. I knew I wasn’t going to make much the first year of business, but I had no idea how much of a financial and time investment it would be, and in the Spring this year, my shop finally turned a corner after one year of business to make a few extra bucks, haha! But then I closed all summer to be with my littles as I couldn’t manage the time anymore, and for health reasons I needed time to recover. So I focused on healing, spending time with my babes and learning photography. But I am ready to get started again.
– What is your favorite thing about being a small shop owner? What is your least favorite thing?
J: I have a lot of favourites! First, the relationships I have developed with fellow mamas. The most beautiful thing is the moms supporting moms part. I have met some good people because of the shop who are genuine and so supportive. Shop moms, repping moms and my client moms! We are all lovers of shopping small, although its not always possible to do so (myself included) its a pretty great community. I just really really love seeing littles in things that I made. I almost feel like a celebrity, haha.
My least favourite part, I get a lot of anxiety at each open because I don’t want to disappoint my customers by taking a limited amount of orders and sometimes having to say no (which is difficult for me because I feel bad). I also get a lot of anxiety about my turn around times of 5-6 weeks and although I try to be very open about my timelines, I always feel like I am a subpar shop because of my delivery times. My customers are so amazing and have never bothered me about my times, but it still makes me feel bad. So after the fall/winter season, I will be doing things on a very tiny scale where I make things I like and offer to see if anyone is interested in the “small shop squad VIP” group on facebook. That way I will only work with one pattern at a time and its less stressful for me as I don’t have so much patterns to work with each time.
– What is your favorite Be Loved piece?
J: I actually like making difficult pieces, but I don’t end up releasing them because it is based on a few factors. I determine my price point based on the amount of materials used, how difficult the item is to make and the time it takes to make it. Naturally, if it’s more time or materials or both, the more it will cost and then I don’t want to release it. But, I do have to say that the flutter shortie romper has been a favourite of my clients or basically anything flutter. My favourite piece are the pocket rompers, I am obsessed with pockets and felt that addition last season stepped up some of my designs.
– What do you want (if anything) for your followers to know about you that we already don’t?
J: I think my followers already know a lot about me because of my personal posts on the shop account, it’s genuine and I am open about how I am feeling or what I am going through. I try to say this often, but I want to thank my followers, my fellow mamas for being there for me, for understanding that I am human and not a machine lol but most of all, I’d like to thank them all for supporting shopping small (whether its my shop or not) because without them, there would be no small shops. Also – if you shop with me, I am admittedly probably the slowest shop ever 🙂
She’s always humble and always modest. But trust me when I say, you guys – her pieces are worth the wait! Thanks for sharing Jenn! x
Don’t forget to check out Be Loved handmade apparel –
Instagram : @shopbeloved
Facebook : smallshopsquadvip
Madison in Be Loved’s kitty romper and black lace flutter sleeves
Mila in her flutter sleeves tank by Be Loved
Michelle and the minis xo