We talked with Jen about Gandzee, kids fashion, must haves for moms and how she juggles it all!
TLSF: Gandzee is such a great idea for busy moms. How did your company get its name?
JEN: Gandzee is a combination of the first letters of my children’s names. We often refer to them as "G" and "Z." I was inspired to establish a kids’ clothing company that specializes in styling entire wardrobe collections as a direct result of being a busy mom and trying to dress my kids at the same time, so it seemed natural to look to them for inspiration when I was searching for the right name.
TLSF: How do you select which brands are included in Gandzee?
JEN: Choosing which designers and brands we include in a Gandzee wardrobe collection is a decision we try to approach very methodically. Our stylists are looking for clothes that will mix-and-match easily but it’s also important that the brands we carry mesh well with our company's vision. We want parents to feel good about dressing their kids in high quality clothes that they won’t see styled like this anywhere else. With that in mind, we look for brands that you’d find only in boutiques and high-end department stores. By including lots of different brands in a box, we’re exposing parents (and kids!) to lots of great designers and also styling collections that are unique to Gandzee.
TLSF: Are there any kids fashion trends you are looking forward to including in future collections?
JEN: Right now, we’re seeing a lot of bright colors—hot pink and orange. There’s a lot of fun gold and glitz that’s showing up, both in the ornamental details of kids’ clothing but also in the fabrics themselves
For girls, you can expect to see really fun printed jeans and leggings and, for boys, it’s all about stepping things up a notch and getting them out of their athletic clothes. I love sophisticated shirtings on little boys, and today’s designers do too. Pair them with corduroy and newsboy caps and you’ve got the makings of some great fall collections.
TLSF: What are your children's favorite things in their closets? What are yours?
JEN: My kids are always drawn to what we like to call "comfs," which, for us, translates to mean really comfortable clothes that look cute and express their personalities. For G, that usually means some great cargos and a cool t-shirt. For Z, it's a pair of leggings and a frilly, fun shirt.
My favorite clothing doesn’t stray too far from what my kids love either! Because, really, who doesn’t want to be comfortable and fashionable at the same time?!? My dark wash denim skinny jeans are at the top of the pile, along with several great cardigans and tunic tops. The cardigans make me feel tailored and the tunics make me feel all mother Earth! I can go either way, depending on my mood!
TLSF: What is your Mom Style? What are your must haves for moms for Spring/Summer?
JEN: For spring and summer, my must-haves include great pants in pops of color and flowing tops and fun dresses that let me put a legging underneath. The leggings give me extra freedom to play up contrasting colors and mix and match patterns. I also love mixing black and white. When I keep the colors simple, I can play with contrasting patterns like a polka dot and stripe. Finally, I can’t live without a good denim pant that I can roll up or leave down depending on the weather!
I think it’s especially important for moms—who are stretched in all directions—to feel good in whatever we wear. Following fashion trends is only part of the equation. A great look comes about by taking trends into account but blending those trends with your own sense of style and what you feel comfortable wearing. With that philosophy in mind, I always try to incorporate a fashion trend (like pops of color or a flowing top) with other items that just feel like me (denim is a very good friend of mine).
TLSF: How do you juggle being a mom and an entrepreneur?
I think most moms out there agree that motherhood is the hardest job they’ve ever had. That being said, launching a company comes in a close second! Doing them both simultaneously borders on the insane but when I’m this passionate about both, it’s hard to think about it that way.
The downside to being super passionate about your business venture is that it’s really difficult to turn it off, especially in the beginning when everything is happening at once and you haven’t yet found a rhythm. It’s like those early months with a baby who’s not yet on a good sleep schedule! Being a mom and the CEO of Gandzee is like working two 40+ hour/week jobs, and the only reason I do it is because I can’t imagine doing anything else.
For me, it's always about trying to be in the moment, and that ain't easy! What I’m learning is that time with my husband and kids fuels me to give Gandzee my all. Every day is different and there is no rule for how to do it right—it’s just about mixing the ones you love with the work you love.
TLSF: Do you have any tips for parents who have a great idea and want to turn it into a business?
JEN: My tip for parents who have a great idea and want to turn it into a business is to take it slowly! I spent almost two years researching the children’s clothing market, writing a business plan and speaking to leaders in the industry in my area. That time allowed me to be methodical about how I wanted the company to look and feel, and it also allowed me to find the right people to help turn my dream into a reality. It was a LOT of hard work, but my overall advice is to be purposeful about every decision you make, and then hold onto your dream with everything you’ve got because passion is the fire of life!
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Jen! To learn more about Gandzee and shop their fab collections, visit Gandzee.com.