I can't remember how I found her instagram account, but I remember getting interested at this momma's profile picture. I was almost certain that she was a fellow mom-blogger. But she turned out to be an Etsy shop owner! "Whoa, does she also stay at home with her kid?," I wondered, "How does anyone manage to do this?"
I've heard a number of other mothers who really want to do their own thing, starting up a blog or a business or something, because they know that they have the passion, the talent, and the education to support them. But, they're either too scared or too lazy to do it. It seems so hard, right? Building something from scratch? Maintaining it, pouring your all to it. But then, isn't it all worth it? Isn't having a flexible schedule that allows you to spend more time with your child while doing what you love worth the hard work?
Yes, I know, it's easier said than done. But this woman right here seems to be doing it pretty well! Ready to learn from her? :)
Meet Jacki Brown.
Have you always wanted to be a mother?
Yes! Recently my mom found an old essay I wrote when I was about 10 about what I wanted to be when I grew up. The first thing on the list of things I wanted was to be a mom. I've always wanted to be a mom and have a big family and lots of babies, 1 down hopefully lots more babies to go.
I was a full time college student before becoming a mom, so I worked jobs here and there, including a tutoring job, alongside school but I never entered the real workforce per say. I graduated with my BA in Psychology at UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio) 20 days before I gave birth to Eli! So I went from full time student to full time mom just like that.
Motherhood in 3 words for you
Hard, funny and awesome.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I think it ultimately started with a desire for both Zac and I to work from home for ourselves or to free up time to be able to travel and road trip! Little Native was started last November by me as a way to do something I really like and make some extra income then we finally decided together that we wanted to start a leather and woodworking business called Arrow & Board this past August. Of course our dream of working full time at home for ourselves (or in an airstream on the road into the middle of Montana or something ;) is still far off but maybe someday! Today though my husband just started a new job and I am enjoying life at home with my babe all while running our businesses!
What does your husband think about all this?
Zac is very supportive of anything I do and is my main go-to guy for questions about either business. He's a numbers guy and I'm a creative so we work well together (most of the time ;) and support each other.
Any mommy-entrepreneur that inspires you?
My aunt! She started and runs love41.com it's a for-profit company that gives all their proceeds to orphans, widows and street kids in Rwanda!
What's the biggest challenge in balancing business & family life?
Time! When Eli is awake during the day I try to not work on filling orders etc. I try to spend my time more intentionally focused on him. Same thing with my husband, we always try to at least eat dinner together in the evening and try to go to bed at the same time ( these two things sound so easy and maybe most people have them down but they can be hard for us to do).
Obviously some days I can't achieve all the things I mentioned, some days I just have too much to do (today is one of those days) but having the mindset of intentionally spending time with my boys helps. Plus I work my butt off during naptime.
It takes time. Don't get discouraged, starting Little Native was slooooow gooooing but I kept going and it paid off. Stay inspired, keep on keeping on, for me that was continuing on making designs for shirts or creating bags and having fun with it. You'll get there, keep up the good work.
Where did you get the idea to start Little Native shop?
It honestly came out of a want to have Eli dressed really cute without having to pay a whole lot of money but it's turned into something more! We are part Comanche Indian so the Native American Indian inspired designs seemed fitting and with the idea that every kid is a "Little Native" to somewhere I thought it was a great name for my brand!
I started looking into hand screen printing and found out that it was easier than it looked so I tried it and loved it! I've got a lot to learn still but I'm getting there and looking to the future with new ideas for Little Native.
How do you find inspiration for your new designs?
I stick to Native American inspired designs! It's part of my heritage and family so I take those classic designs and draw them out myself into my own style of design and then make them into screens for tees.
With Arrow & Board, how involved are you in the whole process (production, marketing, etc)?
My husband does most of the woodworking part but for the leather working I am very involved, I know how to make all of our products by hand and am frequently the one who is filling orders on a day to day basis. Other than handcrafting products I am the social media and photography girl! I'm learning more about SEO and how to get our company out there and seen by people. I'm excited about the future of Arrow & Board!
Any future plans for the brands and the family?
Currently some of Arrow & Board products include Apple Watch Bands, iPhone 6 Wallet Sleeve and a bohemian style fringe bag but we are working on a simple wallet, a field notes case and a couple other things. Arrow & Board is fun and I feel like it has lots of potential to do really well! Little Native has had the same designs for quite a while so I've got plans to get some new designs out (I really want to do a thunderbird print!) before Christmas. Plus I've started making personalized hand stamped leather bracelets, that was inspired by all the leatherworking involved in Arrow & Board.
As for our family, we are moving to Austin in the next couple of months, my husband just started a new job there! We're in the process of putting our house on the market and house hunting for a new place. We are going to miss our family and our church home and friends here in San Antonio but know and trust that this move is part of the plan that God has for our lives. We can't wait to see what He has in store for our businesses and our lives there in Austin! Oh and yes, babies, I want more and we're ready, so whenever it happens it happens!
At the time of this interview, Jacki hadn't find out about the fact that she's actually having another baby. Show love and congratulate her on instagram here :)