Welcome to our Mama Muse series!
We’ll be interviewing women (and men) from all walks of life who inspire, motivate, entertain, and create a buzz wherever they go! And these aren’t just mamas, but truly fabbo people who we love to follow, and who encourage us to succeed, whether it be in business, social media, style, or just day-to-day life.
We hope you enjoy this series and please let us know if there’s someone you love who you think we should be stalking *cough*…we mean interviewing…
Janelle Spies is the brains, and sewing hands, behind My Little Joy. My Little Joy is the OG handmade mama biz behind the round pom-pom floor cushion – a coveted item for any insta-worth nursery! Janelle is a mum of three gorgeous gals and recently flew with her kiddies for a solo trip to the US! With her Alf the Label Tan Spot Ari in tow of course…
Janelle has also just released a range of Australian designed, ethically made in India, kids bedding, and her Instagram has over 35k dedicated fans who love following her biz, mum life, and keeping up to date with her girl tribe!
Read on for more of Janelle’s My Little Joy story, as well as how she handles being a super busy mama of three.
How did you start your business, My Little Joy?
I have always been a creative person and dabbled in markets with handmade items. When I had my first daughter Myla Joy (notice the name?!) I struggled to find sweet affordable outfits for her, so I made my own. I ended up having so many requests from friends to make more that MY LITTLE JOY was born just before the birth of my second daughter. Selling pieces of kids clothing online and at markets was fine, but I really wanted to find my own ‘niche’ with something different to other handmade boutiques. With only a 15-month gap between my girls-I wanted to make a play corner for Myla while I breastfed Azalea but couldn’t find any floor cushions I liked (barely any even existed then altogether) So I made my own. It also doubled as the best resting spot for my newborn to nap or watch me work. I took a photo of the girls wearing the clothes I sold sitting on the floor cushion, posted it on Instagram and the requests flooded in. Within 3 months I stopped making clothes and became a full-time floor cushion business!
What’s the hardest thing about juggling a business and motherhood?
Definitely finding the time for everything!
Running a business is hard work in general, but to run a successful business by yourself it needs so much more – it needs HEART-which requires some serious time and effort with not enough hours in the day. But to be a mama as well- it’s a whole different ball game- especially when they aren’t all in school, but at home too. This year has been the hardest juggle for me yet. Myla being at school means less hours in the day home to work with pick up/drop off. Then I have Azalea between daycare and home, and Elsie home full time. I don’t like to work too much while my girls are home so it means a lot of late nights!! It also brings on some serious mum guilt sometimes. When you have deadlines and need to work with the kids around, or even if it just means you’re extra tired so maybe not as ‘fun’ as normal- it’s hard to always be the best mum you want to be!
What is your fave thing about being a biz mum?
Gosh, there are so many fave things!
I love being able to be proud I can actually do the ‘juggle’ even when it is hard, and showing my girls even though I have a family, I can still follow my dreams, chase my goals and smash them! Its something I hope they will be able to follow themselves one day for wherever their dreams take them. I also LOVE the Biz Mama community! It's so encouraging and supportive being online and seeing other BizMamas doing their thing too!
What do you do for ‘me’ time/self-care?
Kind of odd but almost daily: I always try to have a HOT coffee to myself after lunch when the girls are napping or having some quiet time- even if it’s while doing emails etc- it’s actually a really important part of my day to just think of myself and enjoy my delicious coffee without (much) interruption. I do the same with a cup of tea after dinner once the kids are in bed.
I also have a good skincare/haircare routine each day as well as more days than not, I try to dress up a little and do my hair and makeup in the morning to make me feel a bit more ‘alive’ – being a hairdresser by trade- I was dressed up 6 days a week, so I really enjoy that side of looking after myself. (I’m totally fine with makeup and hair-free days in my gym clothes or PJs for the other days!!)
(if I could afford a monthly facial and massage I would MAKE the time 100% haha)
What exciting things does My Little Joy have coming up?
We have just released the Pre Orders to our BEDDING COLLECTION- this is soooooo exciting for me, as it’s been the longest, hardest journey and its finally here! So the products arrive end of next month (Oct) and I am already planning the expansion of the collection now (with more colours, and more products too!!!). We also have some cute Christmas pieces coming out soon!
What is your must-have baby/kids item?
Obvs my ALF baby bag!!! (Janelle has the Tan Spot Ari) Haha! But seriously, it was my lifesaver on my trip to America with the 3 kids and it hasn’t left my side since! Having a good baby bag with kids is sooo important otherwise I find I am not organised at all and stressed when I am out and about. I am also a huge baby bag snob too- gotta tick ALL the boxes, and my Ari ticks them all and more!
Then of course- my MLJ floor cushion! Not just being bias- but because I literally made it for my kids and newborn so it has so many purposes no matter how old the girls get. Ours is used like crazy in this house.
Newborn must-have for sleep: Love to Dream sleepsuits! Lifesavers! And recently with Elsie (I didn’t know about them with the other two) her RIFFRAFF Sleep Toy -- plays music, is super cuddly and holds the dummy (pacifier)!
Anything you wish you knew before having kids?
Gee. This is a hard one. Probably just to trust your mama gut and don’t take on advice from EVERYONE. YOU know your kids best, so if something doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling, seek deeper and find out how to change/fix it. I eventually learned with advice to pick and take what I think could apply to my family and ignore the rest.
How do you stay motivated?
But mostly knowing the feeling of achievement pushes me through. I am a goal setter and I aim pretty high with where I want to be- so that, as well as my stubbornness (haha) gets me there!