Excited to introduce Marblehead mom of two, Jami Reyes, today! Jami and her husband own and operate two local small businesses: Hip Baby Gear in Marblehead and a gym in Salem. One thing I know you’ll like about Jami is her honesty. Being a small business owner and a busy mom is no easy task this year. Keep reading to learn how Jami has created a safe shopping environment for new moms and mom-to-be in her store and how she stays motivated to keep going.
Where are you from originally and what town do you live in now?
I am originally from just outside of Portland, Oregon and moved to Boston in 2008, currently residing in Marblehead.
How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
We have two boys: Hudson is almost 5 and Grey is 1.
What’s your favorite family activity on the North Shore?
Living in a beach town means we spend a lot of time at the beach and on the water. The boys love walking the beach looking for rocks, hermit crabs and sea glass.
Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop on the North Shore?
We keep it local as much as possible, as there are so many great shops in Marblehead. Mud Puddle Toys, Shubies, 5 Corners Kitchen and Sea Salt are just a few of our favorites.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to own Hip Baby Gear.
I used to work in marketing at Nike when I lived in Oregon, and on a whim a friend and I decided to up and move to Boston. We both were looking for change and didn’t want to wake up one day having never left or lived in another part of the country. Boston was an easy choice for me, as in my industry, at the time, you were either in Portland or Boston. I ended up switching industries given the times and landed at a Software company working in IT. Prior to this I had met my now husband who was working in the gym industry. A client of his owned a gym in Salem and was trying to convince him to take it over. We decided to move to Marblehead while he continued working in the city and running the gym up here.
We had our first child in 2016, after which I decided not to return to the corporate world. I was unsure of what this meant but I knew I was not ready when Hudson was three months to return to work, I don’t think many moms are. I was just beginning to look around later that summer when I happened upon a random post from another mom in town mentioning the store was for sale. I threw it out to my husband and he jumped on it. The store had been in town since 2005 and was under the 2nd ownership at the time. This felt like the perfect opportunity to get back into work but with my little one in tow, in an industry that while I was new in, I had first hand knowledge of. As a first time mom myself, navigating the baby world and the vast array of products was overwhelming. Coupled with well meaning friends, influencers and questionable reviews it’s extremely hard to navigate. We wanted to be able to take all this information, along with our own experience and help our customers, who feel like family, make the best decisions for THEM.
Where is Hip Baby Gear located and how can local moms and moms-to-be shop with you right now?
We are located in Old Town of Marblehead at 118 Washington Street. We made the decision to move to an appointment model during this challenging time of COVID mainly because we wanted to ensure our clientele was safe and comfortable as well as managing the flow through the store. We are also parents with small children and child care is hard right now, so it’s a balancing act. You can book an appointment directly through our website or by calling us. I am completely set up at home so can do anything on the fly and as we live in town, we are able to make it to the store for those urgent needs. You can also find us online at www.hipbabygear.com and we offer local drop off, shipping or curbside pick up.
What type of products do you stock in the store?
We honestly carry a little bit of everything. Our speciality is certainly in baby gear, but it’s not all we do. We have a curated selection of goods for moms, babies and littles for many different stages and phases of development. We’ve also started adding more natural products for tweens and teens. Our product offering is always expanding but we do focus on organic, natural and non toxic as much as possible. We chose products for their safety, quality, aesthetics and longevity.
Can moms-to-be register at Hip Baby Gear?
Absolutely! We use a universal platform called MyRegistry which will allow you to seamlessly add from other stores, not just Hip Baby Gear. I sit down with my registry clients and we build your list together, going through each category. No two lists are ever the same, they are truly customized for each of our clients. I continue to monitor your list and work with you as questions arise. We even offer wrapping and delivery the day of your shower. It’s truly an experience from start to finish.
Any tips for balancing work & motherhood?
Honestly, I don’t feel like anything is balanced these days. We are all just hanging on, doing the best we can. I know I should be doing more for the store and wish I had the time, but ultimately my children and their needs come first. We aren’t living in normal times and I’m not sure what normal will be ever again. I wake up daily wondering if my small business will make it through this. I’m truly thankful for the support I’ve received and hope that my best right now is enough. I wish I had these profound words or tools in balancing it all but frankly I’m just winging it.
What is the best piece of mom advice you ever received?
To be honest I don’t know, I can’t remember through the fog of first time pregnancy and infancy. What I can say, is the advice I give to moms now, is to breathe, to lean in and know it will all shift. To do what works until it doesn’t, block out the noise and believe in your instincts. We have the power and ability within, we just need to trust ourselves.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me” time?
I don’t even know what “me time” is anymore, as dual business owners our time is spread thin. Taking an uninterrupted shower is everything to me right now! Now that my second is one I am figuring out how to work in some gym time…you would think owning a gym would have made that easier but sadly it hasn’t!