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When I first started my blog back in February of this year, I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I had lots of ideas (I still do!) but I just wanted to start somewhere. So I created the basics for the blog and then went with any topic I was moved to write about. Shortly after writing my first few posts, I had found a company on Kickstarter called Princess Awesome. I loved what they were about, and was moved to write my own piece on what I thought. After it was posted, I shared on my Facebook fan page and Princess Awesome commented on the link! I couldn’t believe it, I was stunned that they even saw it, let alone read it. Even more stunned later when another company, with the same core beliefs as Princess Awesome, tweeted me.
Jenn the creator behind Jill & Jack Kids saw my post, read it, and reached out. I was on cloud nine! Here it was my first month writing, and already TWO people (who weren’t my mom! *Hi MOM!*) liked what they saw. I was very excited and yet, at the same time, so humbled. I was doing something I love to do, and it was slowly turning into the “little something more” I was dreaming of. This was my first big step into the “blogosphere”! So when Jenn had tweeted me her offer, I was delighted to accept.
At Jill & Jack Kids, Jenn creates one of a kind tee shirts. But not just “another” company of tees. A line of clothes that anyone could wear (& everyone should)! Comfortable, stylish, and unique designs that fill the gap, in children’s clothing choices. It’s hard to notice sometimes, though I am the first to point it out, but the razor sharp divide in clothing by gender is astounding. It’s one way or the other, without much thought in representing a wider audience, or a middle ground. SURPRISE big name brands — NOT all girls like pink, or the word “cutie” slapped on everything they wear. AND not all boys are “wild” and love the color blue. But if you enter a “big box store” that is likely the bulk of what you will find…
Which is exactly what Jenn took note of, before starting Jill & Jack Kids.
What is your story behind wanting to start Jill & Jack Kids?
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I went shopping for baby clothes with my mother-in-law. I was really excited about getting some cute things for the baby, but I didn’t want all pink or all blue for my child (which is part of the reason we hadn’t found out if we were expecting a boy or a girl). I didn’t want all pale yellow and pale green either. I wanted red and navy, dark green and bright yellow, and I wanted messages that didn’t back my child into a corner as a sparkle princess or a sports fan before the baby could decide on interests of his or her own.
So they went to the mall, and it didn’t take long to discover that what I wanted just wasn’t available. Each of the stores they went to had a boys’ section and a girls’ section, and you could tell which was which from a mile away. I found the staggering uniformity of the boys’ section and the girls’ section in each store deeply troubling. It was at odds with both the way I wanted to raise my child, and with the ethical views I had developed as an academic researcher. Not only were the available options extremely limited, they reinforce harmful and outdated ideas about gender, and teach children that there is only one right way to be a boy, one right way to be a girl, and that you have to pick one or the other. So much for well-rounded leaders of the future, right?
I knew that I needed to do something about this, so I decided to start a company that prioritizes the well-being of kids, inspiring them to think beyond pink and blue and become the well-rounded leaders that we need to solve the world’s big problems.
And I couldn’t agree more! It’s frustrating to those parents, and children, who just want more options! It’s especially frustrating to me because as much as I love pink & glitter, I do not want to force my daughter’s into those choices. Especially if it’s only based on their gender. We like cars! We like trains! We like dragons! We like dinosaurs!!! That is why I love companies like Jill & Jack Kids, and if you think they are the only one, think again. They teamed up with nine (NINE!) other small kids clothing businesses that all break through gender stereotyped kids’ clothing.
Who do you admire most online? And offline?
I am part of a fantastic group of women who have all founded kids’ clothing companies recognize the full range of kids’ interests, beyond what you usually see in large retail stores. I admire these entrepreneurs, and they make me feel like together maybe we can fight the gender stereotypes that are so common in kids’ clothing by giving kids more options.
To tell you the truth, I admire my husband a whole lot. He’s a stay-at-home dad, and he does a great job taking care of our daughter (not to mention our dog), and cooking dinner for our family every night. I really couldn’t do this without his support!
You can check out all 10 companies behind #ClothesWithoutLimits and see how they are all breaking the barriers, and giving kids the options they so crave! Why not give your kids the option to choose what THEY want to wear and be, instead of sending them all in one direction. (Psstttt Christmas is coming up, and everyone is searching for the perfect gift, something unique… This is it!)
Way back when Jenn tweeted me, what she offered was to send two tees for my girls. I was floored by her generosity & also her support of a very new blogger. I then (of course) ordered myself a tee, because YES they come in ADULT SIZES! While at the time, C my youngest, couldn’t really pick her own design, so she got a matching T-Rex with Momma. But E my oldest could choose, so I showed her the entire Jill & Jack Kids shop and she picked out the green owl tee all on her own.
When they had arrived, E could not WAIT to try her’s on, peeling her long sleeve tee off and attempting to snatch her owl tee right off the couch while I taking this photo! Who could blame her! They are soft, comfortable, and fit just right. Perfect for toddler girls and boys. Pairing great with leggings and jeans. My girls go for their Jill & Jack Kids tees every chance they can, even plucking them out of the clean laundry bin. And to them, the three tees are a set. So if one of us picks our Jill & Jack Kids shirt for the day, WE ALL will wear them! This squashes any troubles with getting dressed in the morning, if they wake up to me in my T-Rex shirt! Which is exactly how it worked out the morning of our recent trip to the Dino Daze event at our local science museum.
QUICK NOTE: Check out the fit of the well loved (well washed) tees below. A toddler size 4 on my almost 4 year old (green) & a toddler size 2 on new 2 year old (orange). They aren’t tight and have still have plenty of room for all the growing they have will do soon, I’m sure!
Last weekend the Buffalo Museum of Science had a dinosaur event. The entire day was full of fun dinosaur activities, capped off with an unveiling of their newly restored Allosaurus. It was a great event and the girls were thrilled to be able to dig for fossils, make dino masks & even don a tail to “walk like a dinosaur”… All while proudly wearing their Jill & Jack Kids tees of course!
I strongly encourage you to try giving your kids more options, do more watching then telling, let them dream a little bigger because of your support and encouragement. Start by making small changes yourself, in how you present things to your children. Giving them (controlled) choices is a great way to get them to start thinking for themselves… They might just surprise you!
And if you are interested in more check out the resources Jenn notes below & take a peek at the other companies behind #ClothesWithoutLimits and you just might find your child’s next new favorite shirt!
What advice can your offer to parents about being a part of the gender equality movement?
I recently read a really fantastic article explaining why some parents try to avoid gender stereotypes. For parents who are feeling like they’re alone in this, or who haven’t quite put their finger on how to explain it to friends and family, it’s a great read! Balancing the Scales
They might also want to check out a new book that documents the day-to-day differences between the way a couple’s son and daughter were treated for two years. It’s called The Gender Police: A Diary, and you can find it on Amazon.com for $1.50.
There are some posts on our blog that many parents have found helpful. My favorites are “Top 5 ways to avoid gender stereotyping kids” and “Thoughtful gift-givers and what to do about all the pink and blue“
Once you start talking to your kids about stereotypes and how strange they are, you’ll probably find that your kids are just puzzled when they come across them. Talking openly with your kids about stereotypes (once they’re old enough) goes a long way towards opening their eyes to the fact that they don’t make sense.
If you like what you see here, make sure to check out
Jill & Jack Kids webpage as well as their online store via Cafe Press.
And follow them on your favorite form of social media at
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest
BLACK FRIDAY SALE!
Jump on over and grab your Christmas gifts now! The Jill & Jack Kids webpage store has all of their items marked down there for a special early Black Friday deal!
Get them here before this deal expires!
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I received these products for free, from the sponsor of the this post, Jill & Jack Kids.
As a mom blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my honest opinion.
My opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions
of Jill & Jack Kids or it’s affiliates.