(Photo courtesy of Erin Alfaro)
Balancing motherhood and work isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have two passions that drive me to become a better person….my family and my business. I went to school for fashion design and in 1998 I decided it was time to finally dive into my dream of having my own business. I wasn’t married nor did I have any children when I first started Bumble Bags in 1999. “Bumble” began as a woman’s handbag line and I used to sew, sell, pack and sometimes even deliver my products to customers. I sold my bags at craft shows and then to local stores and soon found a representative who was interested in showing my bags at different trade shows throughout the country. Soon I found myself having to look for a production house because I simply couldn’t keep up. I remember how tired and cramped my hands felt after sewing hundreds of bags over a single weekend. Eventually, I found a factory to produce my collection and I was on my way…
The idea to change over to diaper bags came after my sister who was a publicist at the time, had a celebrity client interested in a fashionable diaper bag. At the same time, my sister in-law was pregnant with her first child, and neither of them could find a fashionable diaper bag on the market. It was at this moment that I created my first version of the “Jessica” messenger diaper bag. The Bumble Collection (TBC) was born and I never looked back!
Along the way, I would always hear from customers how surprised they were that I created a children’s line without having any children. However, I was never alone… I learned from other mothers by creating “mommy focus groups” where I got invaluable input on our products. I started with local moms, which grew to 40 moms nationwide and now consists of 140 moms around the world!
The last 12 years have been an amazing ride, filled with many “ups and downs,” but I have never for a minute ever wanted to stop creating and growing my business. Before I ever became a parent, I was a mother to my business, watching every step hoping it would grow from one year to the next. I wish I could say that learning to balance my home and work was/is easy, and I am still learning to do it every day. It’s hard when I have to leave my family for work, and I miss them terribly, but I am constantly reminding myself that I love my family and I want to be a positive role model for my son.
My family now fuels my business. Being a mother, wife and designer of TBC isn’t easy… but I try my best. My family is very supportive and I feel that I am setting an example for my son to go after his dreams and do what he loves. I have seen myself and business grow to unimaginable levels and I am very excited about what the future will bring. I hope to keep creating products that make other moms excited about motherhood and can’t wait to show you all the exciting things I have planned for the Bumble future!