We interviewed the wonderful Raegan Moya Jones, Founder of aden + anais. Raegan moved to the US from Australia and started a family with her husband Markos. They live in Brooklyn, New York with their four daughters, Anais, 9 years, Lourdes, 7 years, Arin, 5 years, Amelie, 3 years and their two new pet puppies, Amber and Gypsy.
What inspired you to start aden + anais, and what advice would you give to our mothers out there looking to start up their own businesses?
I moved to New York from my native Australia around 17 years ago and my light bulb moment came after I gave birth to my first daughter, Anais and I began scouring the market for a product that I couldn’t seem to find: muslin swaddling blankets. You do not have a baby in Australia without at least 10 muslins! So I set about looking into launching my own range in 2006, lucky for me my plan worked out.
I have always loved this quote by John Burroughs: “Leap and the net will appear.” My advice is, if you believe in your idea, then go for it. And make sure you have a really strong support base, especially if you are a parent. I could never have started this business without the unflinching support of my husband. He is my biggest champion and has stepped up so many times to pick up the slack with our four daughters and when I have been overwhelmed with all things aden + anais.
aden + anais has gone from strength to strength – how does it feel to see the future King of England, Prince George being swaddling in one of your prints? Who did you call first?
I was in a meeting when a colleague brought in the picture. I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was photo-shopped! It’s been a wonderful thing for our business and a real honour. I didn’t call anyone, I went back to my desk and kept working, but then PLENTY of people started to call and email me.
How different is life for children growing up in the US, compared to your experience of your home country, Australia?
Very different. In Australia it’s all about the beach and big gardens to run around in. In NY the girls live in an apartment and for 4 months of the year it’s too cold to play outside for any real period of time. The upside of living in New York City is that it’s much closer to a large part of the rest of the world than Australia, so we make sure we travel to warm places with the girls through the cold winter months.
What’s on top of your to-do list this week?
My to-do list never seems to get any shorter. This week I have to do an interview for an Aussie TV show, I’m taking one of my daughters to see Annie on Broadway and another to see the new Percy Jackson movie, I have dinner Sunday night with friends in from San Francisco. It is safe to say I have a pretty packed schedule.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
Sticky date and ginger pudding.
With four young daughters and an incredibly successful business, what do you do to relax, and it is hard to find a balance between work and home life?
There isn’t much me time. I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband which helps. About a year ago I started to schedule a massage every two weeks, and even that little bit of indulgence has made a big difference.
Tell us a secret about the city you live in.
I live in a great area called Dumbo in Brooklyn which very few people have heard of. We moved to the area 6 years ago from the Upper West Side of New York, where we had lived for 10 years. What’s great about it is that it is right under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and you can walk into downtown Manhattan across the bridge in 20 minutes. I love the village feel of Dumbo – you are minutes away from one of the most bustling cities in the world, but when I come home to Dumbo, I may as well be 100 miles away from the city.
As a parent, what’s the one product for children/babies that you couldn’t live without?
I know this will sound self-serving but it really is cotton muslin swaddle blankets which is the product that started it all for aden + anais. For me, this is a ‘must have’ item on any new mum’s list as it’s the most multi-functional accessory you can have. After you have finished swaddling your baby, the blanket can be used as a sun shade on a pram, a feeding cover, car seat cover, lightweight blanket and an even a scarf for mum. And of course they are perfect for wiping up an unexpected mess!
What’s next in the pipeline for aden + anais?
We have lots of exciting new launches coming up this year which includes our first range of muslin toys, which we call Musy Mates. These are launching in September in the UK.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
I’m sadly very type A, but I love to laugh, and I am fiercely loyal when it comes to my family and my closest friends.
Photos: Daily Candy