Hajjer spent 8 years of her life living abroad with her family in Vancouver, Canada. She came to Kuwait and finished her last 3 years of high school at the American Academy for Girls. Then went on to study English Literature at the American University of Kuwait. Hajjer got married a year after she graduated at the age of 23 and became a middle school English teacher. Started Ivy Babies at the age of 27, a few months before learning she was pregnant.
How old is your daughter, and what is the story behind her name? Jude is 1-year-old (2 months away from turning 2). I have always loved the name and we wanted something that worked internationally since my mother-in-law is American and we have family in the United States.
As a young mother, what are some of the difficulties faced at first and how do you combat them? The difficulties were endless. It’s something to laugh at now looking back at it but at that moment I’m pretty sure I was a mess. The difficulties of breastfeeding, lack of sleep, managing my time and going back to work after maternity leave. The only way I was able to combat all those things was to give it time, to allow myself to be patient and tell myself that this will not last forever. It was a learning curve and I did not realize how strong I could be until I got through it all.
What tips can you give young working mothers? I have found motherhood to be an incredible catalyst for personal growth – shifting our perspectives and refocusing our goals. Motivating us to be better and do more. My tips to young mothers would be: know your limits. Know how much time you need alone – outside of work and children – because when you are burnt out, both facets of your life will suffer. And, most importantly, but also the hardest thing to do, let go of the guilt. Rather than dwell on how you’re not with your child, think about how your role at your job is benefitting you/your family.
A full-time job, a business, and a full-time mommy! Is time-management a myth or is it a real thing in your opinion? I have never been more inspired as a woman as I was when I became a mother. I work because I love it and because I want to use my abilities, having a business is my passion, and being a mother? well that’s the best part of it all. It all comes down to compartmentalizing and not being ashamed to ask for help. It’s important to be a professional and a good mother, but it’s important to be present in both roles. Sometimes it’s difficult, but I am so much better at being a mother worker / entrepreneur / wife / friend / sister / daughter when I am fully present in the moment, instead of trying to multitask more than necessary.
Describe “Ivy Babies”, the concept, and how you came across the idea. Ivy Babies is an online baby boutique that provides different products from different vendors. The vendors that we search for and select are up and coming brands from different parts of the world that each offer its uniqueness. The one thing that our vendors do have in common is that they provide high quality material that is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
How do you select the pieces, are there certain criteria you follow for your customer base? Quality is the number one criteria when it comes to choosing the type of products we offer. We try to offer hip items using the highest quality. As you can see on our website, most of the products we sell are carefully sourced, and mostly organic. We also follow the latest trends and try to set the trend so that we have an advantage over our competitors.
What made you enter this market and what are your future plans for Ivy Babies? My business partner and I (who is also my sister) noticed the lack of options when it came to infant/toddler related products in the market. Products tend to be either low quality, or good quality with a high price point. At Ivy, we strive to provide top quality products at a very reasonable price. Our objective is to provide something for everyone, and most importantly, affordable to the masses. What was your funniest “clumsy mom” moment, and what was your favorite “supermom” moment?You know the saying don’t cry over spilt milk? Don’t ever say that to a breastfeeding mother because boy, the tears were shed. Supermom moment has got to be exclusively breastfeeding for a full nine months whilst working and being a business owner.