An Interview with Bijou Wear Owner Jamie Gassmann

Why did you decide to start bijou wraps?

I come from a family of enterpreneours it was always clear I would work for myself. It started to crystalize that there was a place for me to push through my naural family passions and rear my children the way I wanted to – and be a strong business leader. 10150712_578010362335019_5090273010303966574_nBeing a La Leche League Leader fulfilled me for a while. Then I found woven wraps. There is something about wearing your baby that transcends other parenting decisions. You’re making the best decisions for your baby at all times.

 

So the community is really important to you. 

I like being with babywearers. They’re always connected with their kids. This is where all my brains were, this is where all my passions were, and this is the model I want for my boys – to see me in the world of work, fulfilling my personal goals, using my passion. It’s helping other people be the parents they want to be and creating a community of support. There can be such positive support for people who feel isolated in other ways. THat’s how I find my peopele. That’s how I find friends for my kids.
And so, a babywearing company. 

I wanted a certain model of work for my family; i was geeing out on the support and love and natural parenting choices that bring people to babywearing.

 

1505620_10153006234377745_2377568869514593309_nTalk to me about the nitty-gritty of launch. 

I hustled my ass off (to launch this). I’m very well educated and I pulled from every aspect of my previous lives. I used graphic designers; I used my work as a think tank in DC to make cold calls to develop relationships with mills. I used these teams of people I’d built over the years. And then of course my work as a LLLL has been the customer service side of it. I’m building a community of bijou babywearers. I’m very proud of that.

 

The wrap market is really saturated right now. Talk to me about that. 

Alicia Keyes said, “I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder, I want to be Stevie Wonder.” I’m building this as a longterm business. I’m not afraid to enter a market with a lot of competitors. I don’t have nightmares about this being a saturated market. It’s all going to come back to the people and the community we can build together.

It’s all of our responsibility to increasae the size of the babywearing pie – to reach out to people who aren’t wearing, or who are maybe not wearing wovens. It’s something that has to happen for this industry.

 

What about your own wearing journey? How did that start? 

I won a first gen lillebaby when I was pregnant with my son. I don’t think I would have bought anything … it was everything. It was what worked. I never saw or heard of anyone wrapping – this was in 09.

 

Then you got hooked. 

Before my second born I got into DIY and I started making wraps to wear him in. And it took off. I think DIY is an important part of the community, and it’s as far as some people will go. It’s good for the indicstruy as a gateway drug. Whoever wants to talk osnaberg and tablecloths I’ll talk them all day long. It’s important to have that entry level.

 

So what has Bijou Wear done so far? 

We’ve released two tencel blends, and Eco2Cotton will be the first one released ever. It’s astonishing and not for team thin, but for people with toddlers who need a lot of support. The windmills design is my baby; it’s my first one so I’m really proud for it to come out this week.

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What are your plans for the company? 

Short term, we’ll be at MommyCon DC in August with multiple releases, including one of the repreve blends.

Long term, we want to build the size of the babywearing pie. People keep having babies; and people keep ageing out. That sort of underlies all of this longtime efforts. We want to build the bijou babywearing community, show them a home, show them other homes that are safe and supportive.

 

What do you want people to know about your commununity? 
The chatter group is fantastic! It’s a supportive and encouraging space. People are already making it a place to learn, which I love. The geekery is fun.

 

Thanks, Jaime! I look forward to playing with and giving away one of those windmills pretty soon, so stay tuned!