I met Jan of JR. Authentics at one of the Toronto Yoga Mamas Shopping Socials. Jan’s unique onesies caught my eye and I couldn’t help but ask her about them. The mix of organic cotton and gorgeous local artwork made this mama do a double take.
JR. Authentics is a budding new business that collaborates with local artists to develop unique pieces for toddlers and infants. The organic cotton onesies are so soft and durable and the one-of-a-kind designs are locally made and inspired. After chatting with Jan at the Shopping Social, we decided to collaborate and I am so happy that we did!
In addition to starting this new company, Jan is also a mom of two and a wedding planner. She is one motivated mama! I had the opportunity sit down with Jan and her two little guys this past summer and it felt like hanging out with an old friend. We met in the Distillery District and spent the afternoon together; lunch at El Catrin and then coffee at Avro Coffee . Jan is a creative, inspiring and honest mama who is truly putting her heart and soul into this new business. I am so excited to share her story and the JR. Authentics’ brand with all of you!
- I love meeting mompreneurs and getting to hear their story! Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to JR Authentics?
I have always wanted to create something for babies/kids, it’s always been in the back of my mind. When my second baby was about a month old, while I was nursing him at two or three am, I was surfing Instagram and shopping for him. It was at this moment that I decided that I would combine my love for art and clothes and create something for them. Delirious or not at that hour hahaa, I’m not sure, time will tell, but I wanted to do it. I love that artists have their individual styles, they could be someone who is specialized in hand lettering, illustration or watercolour paint. I thought why not have them create on a different canvas – something unique, and something that reflects their style. There are so many independent Canadian artists, and I wanted to celebrate them! My thought was to create a little profile on each artist on our website and link it back to them (whether they have a shop, a website etc). I also thought that there wasn’t enough unisex clothing out there, babies do not have to be dressed in pink or blue, or just green and yellow if it’s unisex. I also personally love patterns and colours (I myself wear a lot of patterns and colours, so I thought this would be a chance to have that created on baby clothes. With all of these ideas in mind, I had a really good friend/business partner that came on board with me to create the company. JR is our initials Jan and Ronnie, which worked out perfectly as it is also “junior”. In addition to celebrating the artwork, we also want to ensure our clothes are eco-friendly , which is why we have chosen to only do organic clothes.
- JR Authentics is such a unique concept based on creative collaborations. How did this all come together and who are the artists that make these exclusive and beautiful designs?
Art to me comes in all forms. Like I mentioned, all the artists have their own individual styles. They also come from all sorts of backgrounds (a stay at home mom, a digital artist, hand letterer, illustrator etc.) and we plan to work with artists all over Canada. When working with them, we gave them a theme, but let them create based on their own personal style.
- Your company is very Canadian focused; I love all of the tributes to Toronto, our Anthem and, of course, the iconic Maple Leaf. What made you decide to go with a Canadian theme for this line?
We wanted to launch as a Canadian company, and stress the fact we want to work with and celebrate Canadian artists. We thought, what better way to launch than with a Canadian theme. We really enjoy seeing everything come together. We let the artists decide what is Canadian to them, and let it roll from there.
- In addition to this new venture with JR Authentics, you are also a wedding planner! Wow you’re one busy mama! Can you tell us a little bit about Willow Rose Events and how you are able to manage both of these blossoming boutiques?
I absolutely love connecting with my couples, I love hearing their stories, and helping them tying everything they want into their wedding from the beginning to the end. A lot of my couples have become my friends over the years because we connect so well. I offer both full wedding planning, and day/month of coordination as well as just styling services. I usually do all my work at night when the kids are asleep, whether it’s email or thinking creatively.
- Being a mompreneur often means that you are working from home and trying to balance work and family life. What are some of the ways that you make all of this work?
Having a supportive husband. He supports all my crazy ideas, and I have a lot of ideas! I am also someone who once decide on doing something, I have to do it. But I won’t lie, it gets tough especially now that I have two kids, there is the mom guilt when I leave to work. If I work a wedding on Saturday, I try to make the best out of my Sunday to spend time with them. If I’m at a pop up market for JR, I try to come home and at least go to the park with my oldest and spend time with him. We always end our night with some snuggles and bed time stories and with my older one, mama and son chats. It’s something I truly enjoy!
- You’ve started two of your own businesses and are always growing! What advice would you offer to someone, especially moms, hoping to start a business or just getting started on a new creative adventure?
I would say, if you feel passionate about something, why not go ahead try it out. Nothing to lose. And stay humble – never stop learning from other people. And network and build a community. I am always thankful for the people I have met in the wedding industry, and now with JR, I’m meeting more new friends which I know I will treasure!
- JR Authentics is a blossoming new creative business that blends art and fashion with a Canadian focus, what a brilliant combination! What are your hopes and plans for the future and what upcoming events should we keep and eye out for?
I want to continue to create small themed collections. One collection may be completely different from the next, and I think that’s the beauty of blending art and fashion. Just like an art gallery, it’s unique, and once “sold” it’s not going to repeat. We would be looking at creating a fall/winter line, and looking into Christmas markets to be at. And to be honest, long term plans, we would love to get on some shows like Marilyn Denis to spread the word about our clothing line. They say dream big right? J
If you love these onesies as much as I do check out some more ways to help support this budding new business on their Kickstarter campaign here!
I’m so excited to partner with JR. Authentics to giveaway a $20 shop credit! Please see the details below:
To enter check out our instagram pages:
Disclosure: Companies featured in this series often sponsor my posts and, or send products for review. If I love the company and their products, I am more than happy to share them with you!