If you had told me three years ago that in three years I would have quit my job, started a business - a business selling gifts and décor for babies no less - and have two sons under 2 and a half I would have burst out laughing or flat out rolled my eyes at you. Like a lot of new mothers, the person who I am today is very different to who I was before my first son was born. The change might even be more extreme for me than some others as I wasn’t at all sure when I first got pregnant that I was happy about it. I was extremely scared of motherhood and pregnancy and wasn’t sure I could cope with leaving my full time job to be thrust into the baby world for my son’s first year. I thought my mind would turn to mush and I’d want to slit my throat on account of all the nursery rhymes. So imagine my surprise when something just shifted a month or so after my son was born and kept shifting as he aged. The proverbial priorities shifting is what was going on I suppose but the result was I saw myself less as the person I was before - pushing against all the changes in my life I needed to make to be a mother - and just letting myself go with all of those changes. Everything I had been worried about before having my son came true, everything became all about him and not about me, but I found that actually I didn’t mind. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t tired or it wasn’t hard but I found an inner reserve I didn’t know I had. I still don’t love nursery rhymes or children’s songs but I can see he does and somehow that makes them infinitely more bearable.
This change in the way I perceived myself had another effect. It meant that when it came to be time to start thinking about going back to work I wasn’t itching to get back like I thought I would be, I was dreading the thought of leaving my son. So rather than spending the last few months of my maternity leave soaking up the babyness (although I did that too), I spent all of his nap times and all of my evenings looking for something else I could do to make a living that wouldn’t involve me going back to work fulltime. I considered a lot of options but in the end the answer was staring me in the face. If I wanted to stay in the world of baby why didn’t I just take all those ideas I’d been having for products I wished I could buy but didn’t exist and make some of them myself? So that was the beginnings of Nested Fox. I’ve written on here about how the Nested Fox set of 50 Baby Milestone Cards were born from me not quite finding what I was looking for when I was shopping around. Which frankly often I didn’t. I have a taste issue with baby stuff that is too ‘cutesy’ (admittedly by my own definition. I’m sure lots of the things I do others would define as ‘cutesy’ too!) or too gendered.
It was a huge learning curve going through the product development phase for the cards and our other products as well as finding trustworthy factories to work with to produce them. The company is made up of me, Kristen, the Director, my husband doing the accounting and a couple freelance graphic designers and photographers that I work with on a regular basis. So we are a small outfit, but here we are a little over a year after the initial idea for starting the business was formed and our Baby Milestone Cards have been up for sale for about 6 months now, on our website and on Amazon UK. We have a range of gender neutral nursery décor items available on our website, and we’ve recently introduced our wipe clean nappy caddies and lightweight large sized teething mittens. We also have some of our products available now in the United Statesand Canada!
So there is still a lot to come but we are finally properly up and running and those ideas I had for products I wished were available when my son was a tiny baby have turned into real products that people can buy! Who would have thought it? I put this shift in me and what I do for a living entirely down to my son. He’s surprised me and changed me in so many ways. No less the fact that I have now done it all again – I had my second son in mid-December. Given how much I hated being pregnant the first time this is possibly the biggest shock of all! It is it exhausting looking after two kids and trying to run a business part time but at least I don’t have to shift hats and my brain can stay rooted in the world of babies and toddlers. I think that helps as all the time I spend with my kids is research for my business and all the time I spend on my business reminds me of my babies and why I’m doing this.
I hope our products are just what some other Mums and Dads have been looking for too and that in that way we can be part of the warm fuzzy moments they spend with their kids. Cause I’ve definitely learned that it is those precious moments of knowing your kids feel special and taken care of that makes this parenting lark worth it. We’ve got a little motto at Nested Fox that describes the way we think about the products we design and how we want them to make parents and children feel: “It’s a big wild world out there – Let’s make our kids feel cuddled!”