When my daughter was born I was gifted a SSC and a stretchy wrap and at once I was hooked. Before babe, I never thought that I would be that interested in babywearing. Over the next two years I would try and love a variety of different carriers, wraps and slings. When I found HUMAN + MOTHER I was intrigued! Justine and her company raise awareness of maternal and infant mortality rate in some of the poorest countries on our planet. 10% of proceeds are donated with every wrap sold to two organizations create safer births for Mamas + babes. How can you NOT crush on Justine?
Your Name Justine McKnight
Kids Names Jude & Noah McKnight
Company Name HUMAN + MOTHER
What is the Story behind your business / project?
HUMAN + MOTHER is a conscious-parenting lifestyle brand that is starting out with luxuriously eco-friendly baby wrap carriers that are made in Canada. We promote babywearing, attachment parenting, conscious living and philanthropy. Our baby wraps are made out of beautiful Lenzing Modal® which is a fabric produced from Beechwood trees. They are very lightweight yet strong and is as soft as baby’s skin. We have chosen trend-based colours so that wearing baby can also tie into style. We promote and donate to two maternal care organizations that work hard to ensure mothers delivering babies in crisis zones receive the care they need.
How did the idea for the business / project come about?
I fell in love with baby wraps when I had my second baby, Noah. I wanted a baby carrier that was really comfortable and easy to take with me, but was also modern and stylish. I had a toddler to keep up with and knew I wanted to do my best to fulfill both my children’s (and my) needs. I had a soft-structure carrier already but didn’t like how it gave no head support for a newborn and that it felt like “gear” when I put it on. I purchased a baby wrap from a small company based out of the States because I couldn’t find something comparable here in Canada. I was obligated to pay a premium price because of our exchange rate plus a higher shipping cost. Once I started using it and fell in love with how comfortable and easy it was, I thought, more Canadian Moms needed the option of a baby wrap that was conscious of style, our planet and the multitude of benefits of wearing baby. I had also come across some pretty incredible women-led organizations that were working to decrease the infant and maternal mortality rates in some of our world’s poorest countries. Having just had two healthy pregnancies and babies, I couldn’t fathom going through such an emotionally and physically draining experience with little to no resources or support. It breaks my heart. I wanted to help raise awareness and thought attaching this cause to a business was the way to do it.
What motivates you?
Mothers. I know we have the hardest and best job in existence. I am in constant awe of female strength.
What is the most challenging part about being an entrepreneur / working mom?
Not knowing if you’ll see a return on your investment!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned about being an entrepreneur / working mom?
To continue from the previous question, the biggest challenge is also the biggest lesson; utilizing this entrepreneurial experience to evolve in consciousness. Allowing the uncertainty of starting a business to be acceptable. Practicing in the present moment, without fear of the future, of failure, because nothing is ever failure. Enjoying the process and accepting the Now is the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far, not just as an entrepreneur but as a human being.
What is the next step for you and this business / project?
I’d like the next step for me to be meeting with more women. Social media is a great way to share your business or message but with the way things are going in this world, I feel like getting face to face with women is where it’s at. We need to connect in a more tangible way. I look forward to putting something together in the near future.
What would you tell your “starting-out” self?
“This is going to be harder than you think. Don’t loose your enthusiasm!”
What is your super power?
I love laughing at myself!
What is something that you think people should know about you?
I’m wise beyond my years! I’ve always felt a deep wisdom within, always felt older than my age. Started reading Dr. Wayne Dyer in high school and my endless seeking for answers to the complexities of mankind has never ceased. I am very intrigued by enlightenment and the evolution of consciousness. Out of all the spiritual and well-being texts I’ve come across, nothing compares to Eckhart Tolle’s, The Power of Now.
Who is your supporting cast of characters? (who needs a shout out)
My husband who I’ve been with since I was 16! He is the most humble human I’ve ever met and I couldn’t be more thankful for all the help he has given me during the launch of my business. My Mom, Kathy, who is now my business partner. She’s been with me on this journey long before she was my partner and I’m so thankful I can work with someone who loves me unconditionally. My Dad, John, who always wakes me up when I let doubt creep in. Last but not least, my two little guys, Jude & Noah, for bearing with Mommy as I “figure it out” – both in business and in motherhood!
Hip Mommies works with retailers of baby products in Canada. Whether in the heart of a downtown city, a bustling plaza in the suburbs, a low key shop on Main Street, or just a click away, we look to do business with stores that care about Canadian families as much as we do.
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