This month we're featuring Mary Agnes & Georgia Anne, fellow Ole Miss alums (hotty toddy!), sisters & founders of the uber cute children’s clothing company, Grace and James Kids. Their clothes are beautifully made and meant to be worn. I sulk every time one of my kids grows out of a Grace & James outfit. Also, if you're dreaming of fall (who isn't?), they just launched their football & pumpkin collection and I CAN'T - y'all should see my cart. Read more about Georgia Anne & Mary Agnes then go shop!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
GA: I'm Georgia Anne, co- founder and owner of Grace and James Kids. I live in Athens, Georgia with my high school sweetheart turned husband Kyle and our 4 kids.
MA: I'm Mary Agnes! My husband, Tim, and I live in Memphis, TN with our three kids Wilkes (6), Edie (almost 3) and Mary Wright (1). I was a middle school Algebra teacher before GJK. I love exploring all the things Memphis has to offer with the kids, Oxford and Ole Miss, and I'm trying to learn how to play tennis!
What is your startup story?
GA: I have many teaching degrees but after 8 years teaching in Chicago Public Schools I decided to stay home with my daughter. We moved to Athens, GA and about 3 weeks before I had my second daughter, my sister Mary Agnes and I decided that the time was right to start a business. I can vividly remember being on the phone with manufactures and finalizing fabric choices while I was in the hospital just a few hours after having her.
In 2016, Grace and James Kids was born and in our 5 years of business Mary Agnes and I have had 5 kids which puts as at a whopping 7 kids between us. We pride ourselves on being children's clothing experts. As Mommas we know how important it is for our kids to look nice. (Even if we're still in our athlesuire wear...) G&JK clothes are for the everyday celebrations - quality, comfy, and timeless clothes that are meant to be worn!
What has been the most challenging part? Most rewarding part?
GA: Mary Agnes and I were both teachers before we started Grace and James Kids. We didn't know too much about business which was also great because we didn't know what to be afraid of either! One of our biggest challenges and rewards has been that we've grown our families and our business at the same time. 2021 is the first year that neither of us have been pregnant since we started 5 years ago. To be able to balance 7 children (7 and under) between the two of us, being 7 hours and 1 time zone apart, a global pandemic, and so much more AND still have a thriving business is incredible. We truly LOVE what we do and are honored to be able to share styles that WE love for our own children with all of our customers.
MA: The most challenging part living 7+ hours away from GJK. I live in Memphis and Georgia Anne is in Athens, GA. I'm only there virtually for the everyday part of the business and wish I was able to be there physically more often. The most rewarding part is getting to know the customers! We have watched their families grow throughout the years, starting with a small baby outfit, moving up to bigger sizes and even adding more with new siblings. The relationships we've formed with our customers has been very rewarding. Also, what bigger reward is there than getting to do all of this with your sister?? It's so fun!
What is something you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning?
GA: You can't do it all.
How do you relax & decompress after a long day or week?
GA: Listen to Phish or The Grateful Dead and play in the yard with my kids. Of course, I'm also usually enjoying a Creature Comforts beverage too.
MA: Binge watching reality tv in bed.
What advice would you give to other people wanting to start a company?
GA: Just do it! You'll never know it all. You'll never have enough money. You'll never have all of the details perfectly ironed out. Just START. Also, there is NO such thing as failure. You'll either get your desired outcome or you'll learn a better way to do it next time. Either way, you'll learn many lessons along the way that will make your company better in the long run. Enjoy the process of learning, taking risks, and growing!
MA: Build an army of supporters! Friends, family, and other entrepreneurs in your community!