Mom your own business: Sun + Dotter baby styling

Have you ever looked at someone’s Pinterest board or blog and thought, “Can this person just come design my whole life?” Well, if you were following Janette Crawford, the answer is yes.

Mom to 20-month old Vivian Sunshine, Janette is the founder of Sun + Dotter, styling services for design-conscious parents based in San Francisco. I asked her a bunch of questions about this unique business proposition and how she got started. Here’s what she said.

When did you become a mom and what surprised you about the experience?

Before Vivian was born, I had a sort of irrational fear of how much my life was going to change — I assumed I would lose what I loved about my identity and just become “Janette the mom.” But, as you guys know well, the things that change are all so good, not bad! I was happily surprised to find that I’m still me. And in so many ways, I’m even better now that I’m a mom.

janette

What inspired you to start your business?

I’m a chronic over-shopper… so that I can be an under-consumer. I take my time searching out garments and home goods that are “just right.” I’ve written a blog about ethical fashion since 2007 and am passionate about spending my money on things that support values I believe in, like good design, craftsmanship and social good.

As Viv came along, I tried to approach baby things in the same way. But babies grow so quickly, and it’s hard to use some things for multiple months — much less years.

So in regards to baby items, I’ve applied a modified set of values. Good design is a must. Quality and ethics are still important. But even more so is versatility, like a high chair that grows with a child or a burp cloth that can be reused as a bib. And of course, the price has to fit the use.

Because I’ve applied this careful approach to baby things, and because my baby items have fit seamlessly into my home, a few friends planted the seed in my head to share this perspective with others. And here I am!

Can you tell us about a hobby or responsibility that you have had to balance with motherhood?

I can’t think of anything that I haven’t had to balance! But most notably, my work schedule. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work part-time since I came back from maternity leave. Working three days a week has been wonderful for me. I can create the output that I feel driven to while still giving my daughter lots of QT, which I think is so important while she’s still little.

When you meet someone with a new baby, what product or advice are you most likely to recommend? (Even if you don’t say it out loud.)

For pregnant girls, there are two things from my own experience that I love to share. One is to recommend focusing on learning more about newborn care than about birthing. It’s easy to get caught up on the birth, and for most of us, it doesn’t go as planned anyway. But answering questions in advance about caring for your newborn will pay off. For me, I was able to take a load off by hiring a doula in advance, and I felt so assured by having her natural-focused perspective in my hospital setting!

Second is — and I know this is totally weird — placenta encapsulation. I learned shortly after I was pregnant that my mom had postpartum depression with all three of her babies. So I wanted to be proactive and do what I could to avoid it. I read good things about encapsulation online, so I did it, and hallelujah, no PPD. I also told a few close friends that I was nervous about having it and asked them to check in with me. I believe that being proactive about the topic did wonders for me. (Whitney’s note: Placenta encapsulation is the process of having your placenta dehydrated and ground into pills that you can ingest easily as a daily vitamin, removing the gross-out factor, but preserving the health benefits.)

Can you show us some of your favorite things?

I’ve loved restyling my home with baby-proof decor. These pieces are all as good for your baby’s development as they are for your living room decor!

Baby-safe beautiful items for your living room

Pictured above: Tegu magnetic blocks, IKEA fake plants, Janod natural blocks, Bannor Toys car set, Areaware alphabet blocks, Areaware puzzle horse

Follow Janette on Pinterest for more of her picks.

Similar: 3 cool mom-inspired inventions, Awesome mom Robyn O’brien: Fighting against bad food, Awesome mom Lisa Truong

Do you know someone who is “momming her own business”? Tell us about it.

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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