Monday, January 17, 2011

Child Style Network {Exclusive Interview With Gemma}

 What a wonderful way to start a Monday--featuring The Child Style Network and a wonderful interview with Gemma! Gemma provides such insight as a beautiful mom and highly successful career woman. She is passionate and has so many incredible projects in the works, I am blown away! {all photos provided by Gemma}

                {image by Laura Winslow Photography}


{Question} For those who are unaware of The Child Style Network and Child Style Magazine, could you give a little introduction?

Child Style Magazine is a children's Market Resource Publication. We always feature the best products in the children's industry as well as one-on-one interviews with some of the best designers and business owners in our industry. Spotlight Features always include informative industry news and trends as well as features surrounding businesses that make this industry unique. 

Child Style combines all the information that industry buyers, retailers and trade shows are looking for as well vital information for the industries designers and manufacturers. We have learned that moms love this information too so I would say now with over 2,500 paid subscribers to our print issues being moms, that crafty woman like to have the upper hand at learning about the children’s business and goods.

                         {image: People Magazine: Ali Landry's nursery Gemma helped design}

 {Question} Several boutique businesses and fabulous new entrepreneurs creating products geared toward children, follow my blog. Are there ways that The Child Style Network can be of value to their businesses, if so, how?

Not many people know but we started out as a consulting and marketing service in 2002. We work with a select group of companies whose product and/or ideas are in line with projects we are producing or pitching for national TV shows, magazines,  and other forms of media as well as our own Child Style Brand. We can handle Celebrity Placement, Brand Development, Product Placement, Manufacturing, Distribution, Marketing & Business Development.  

        {image via People Magazine: Ali Landry's nursery}

{Question} How did you get started with Child Style, and what helped you turn your passion into your career?

In 1999 I had a wedding planning business Touchstone Flowers & Events and always loved being in on the creative ACTION BEHIND Events, and what bigger events than weddings, right? But in 2002 when I found we were expecting a girl my focus quickly changed from weddings to babies, inspired by all things pink I started out on a journey I would now find is my calling and career. I started with one brand selling online and that was in 1999 when Baby Lulu was at an all-time high and moms were going nutty for the prints. I took the $100,000 I sold that year and opened a store, with a 2 year old boy and a 2 month old girl the joys of retail were anything but joyful. I say that with a smile because I know the thousands of small retail business owners out there can retail and hats off to this group of people working night and day for the privilege of doing what they love. We di how ever do extremely well online and sold our site to a larger online retailer in 2003. 

I was privileged to design many celerity nurseries and products over the next 4 years and still do the occasional design work, when requested. I was always having fun with it, not hard to do when you’re an idea person. Child Style Magazine was original created to help small business owners and moms with ideas that needed to come to market. I wanted to help people starting out avoid the pit falls and common mistakes made while starting a business and in the end cost money. In today’s market even if it’s only $50.00 if it is spent in the wrong place it’s $50.00 wasted, so it is my passion to help momprenuers pursue their dreams effectively without braking the bank or having a business degree.

          {image via People Magazine: Ali Landry feature}

 {Question} What do you find most rewarding about your work with Child Style?

The most amazing thing is when the photos from a shoot come back and they are amazing, or when at a trade show someone says how much they love the magazine. When I see one of my clients products on Oprah or Ellen that’s always a kicker because I know what it’s going to do for their business. I am blessed to work in this niche and after a decade it’s fun to see companies grow and feel like you did it together. I remember buying on of Petunia Pickle Bottom's first bags made out of poplin with puffy handles, or Bratt Decors First Jane Crib Shipment in 1998 when I purchased one of their first cribs, and it’s fun to feel like in some way you are part of something bigger than yourself. That something is really the Mom Club-- the world wide club of women who became moms and now you just get it. 

                {The Lovely Gemma}

 {Question}  Tell us a little about yourself, and how you got to where you are today.

To be honest I don’t know how I got here.  I have asked this questions a hundred times to other woman in business but never stopped to think about it, I have to say it has not been an easy road. My mom was sick for years growing up with diabetes--we lived in hospitals, and my father was a business owner so filing paperwork at age 11 as after school entertainment definately gave me that entrepreneurial spirit. 

I have always been driven to succeed to create. People always ask what do you want to be when you grow up...I never had an answer. I wanted to be a mom.
And a homemaker-- but in today’s world there is a need for a second income, so somehow I joined that group of woman who I believe are passionate about motherhood and their passion turned into their work. In no other niche can you call a client and hear kids screaming in the background but here in this niche it is not only acceptable but standard. 

When my husband of ten years suddenly passed away due to heat failure at 36, it changed my perception of what I want for my life, what’s important, and what I needed to do. My business became successful because of working with all the amazing people over the years and there support, and provided for myself and my kids became a number one priority. To answer your question it’s been a combination of Hard Work, Luck, Planning, Dedication and Inspiration. One thing is for sure: I feel like I am on the right path and my biggest joy is helping others that have that same feeling at the end of the day.

                        {image via People Magazine: Ali Landry feature}

 {Question} What are your future goals for Child Style, and any hints of what is to come in 2011?

We are expanding like crazy! 2011 is a big year for the child style brand-- we are starting to work with a bunch of contributors for our online blog, and we will launch officially connecting models with manufactures and photographers. 

We are adding Child Style Rooms Magazine, Child Style Events Magazine and in fourth quarter will be licensing publication rights by county starting with OC Child Style and LA Child Style. So we are looking for all kinds of momprenuers, bloggers, writers, photographers and creative people to collaborate with. 

      {Image via People Magazine: Ali Landry in nursery feature}

 {Question} The question so many ask-how do you manage to balance work and family, keeping your priorities in order even when business ramps up to an all-time high?

Balance? Just the word is a question. Needless to say I struggle with this like crazy being a single mom with two school-aged kids. It’s a bit insane at times-- my number one priority is picking my kids up from school at 2:30 and give them my attention from 3:00 til bedtime when it’s back to work. As long as I can give them that I feel accomplished. My work  week is usually scheduled with the basics of homework, making dinner, showers and bedtime stories. I try not to work through the weekends but sometimes it is downright impossible. 

  You will often find my e-mails coming in at 2 am. It is rigid and coming from a family with no structure it has been my biggest challenge and very difficult. I think that time management is the number one thing people struggle with and life is always a balancing act, especially when you end up with a day full of variables. The most you can do is give it your best and leave the rest up to GOD.

 {Question} We would love to get to know you a little better Gemma!

Your Favorite Color: Purple & Red

Top Vacation Destination: Well I haven’t been on a vacation that wasn’t work related since my honeymoon, but I am planning a trip to Great Britain in September and can’t wait!!! 4 weeks photographing kids fashion and children’s goods from the UK--I am tickled pink about it for sure.

Favorite Places To Shop Online: and for gifts and baked goods; because it’s just so easy; --those girls know how to buy if you’re looking for well-made high-end furniture--they understand design.

Favorite Places To Shop {Brick & Mortar}: Nordstrom & Anthropology.  I can’t help it I’m a girl!

 {Question} You have had the opportunity to interview and meet some fabulous women. Are there any particular interviews that stand out in your mind that would like to share with us?

Mary Bauer from Brat Décor is one of the most special to me because her inspiration is truly her family, and she is such an amazing person and hard worker, I have really taken great joy in seeing this company grow and compete with the big boys over the years.

 {Question} What are some upcoming interviews and features we have to look forward to on Child Style Network?

Amber from Ruffle Butt’s, The Joovy Stroller Family, Stephanie from Beary Basics, Baby Legs and we are working a some amazing contributors for our Events magazine

                  {image via People Magazine: Ali Landry feature}

A *HUGE* thank you to Gemma for allowing me the privilege of featuring this exclusive interview with her. I am incredibly inspired by her motivation, dedication and passion for her family and business. 

You can find Gemma below for fabulous resources, her editor's blog and much more!


Kelly said...

How do I obtain a subscription to this publication? It sounds absolutely fabulous, especially the Events division (as I am an event planner).
Thanks in advance!

Pam Thomas said...

I want to know how to get a subscription too!

Shawna said...

Such a great interview! I just recently found Child Style and they are based up the street from me!!

Lissa (The Wedding Bistro at Bellenza) said...

Thanks for a wonderful feature! Shows the creative, caring, and committed woman behind the Network's success. Kudos to Gemma!

Anonymous said...

Gemma seemed really great at first when she contacted me to be featured in the new Events magazine. The issue never came out but she kept my product and refused to answer emails. I have encountered 10 other Etsy artists she scammed as well, the exact same scenario. Sad to be deceived by someone who toots her own horn so loudly.