About Jade Barr
I was born in Langley, BC and raised in the small city of Sarnia, ON.
I have 4 beautiful kids, 2 fur babies and a loving, supportive husband.
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved fashion and design. I wanted to be a "fashion girl" or "fashion model". I would make dresses out of bedding (never cutting or sewing them ofcourse, otherwise mom wouldn't have been happy). Then at about age 11 I started sewing, cutting up my old clothing to make new clothing, bags, and stuffed animals. I bought my own machine when I was 17 for $30 which I had for about 8 years. I took fashion and design for 2 years in highschool. I had a strong dislike for patterns. I loved being able to create unique things, and from then on drafted all my own designs. I did a few sewing projects for friends and made a prom dress from scratch for a girl on Kijiji<<--never again, so please don't ask ;)
As you can see, I have always had a natural desire to design and be creative. Now comes the story of how this all started...
The JadyBabys story
My husband and I were expecting our first child so naturally, out came the good ol' sewing machine. I started sewing dresses, blankets and...shoes. Not even being a mom yet, and with no babies in my life I had no idea fabric/soft sole shoes even existed. After posting all the things I had made to my personal Facebook, I was contacted by another mom in Oregon, US. She wanted to buy the boots (what is now called the original boot) for her baby! My hubby is in the trades and work was very slow, so I jumped on the opportunity to contribute to our income (it was only $15 but hey, I took it haha). With $0 and 0 experince Jady Babys was built into what it is today. I started redesigning the original pattern and testing out materials. I learned the hard way that babies all vary in size, that they do not keep shoes on their feet, and that they wear through everything! Over the first 3 years I redesigned the pattern several times, and over the period it has continued to evolve over the last decade.
There have been many long days, long nights, blood, sweat and tears. I Have faced many struggles, and also some pretty great accomplishments and experiences. In 2013 I was nationally awarded of the year, and for that I am so proud.
What I've been doing all these years and where I'm heading
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."
Wise words, Confuscious.
I’ve been thinking so much lately about persistence. How many times have you accomplished something you thought was impossible, then looked back, only to realize that if you hadn’t taken every agonizing step along the way, you never would have gotten there?
When things are hard, heck, when they seem impossible… I find that it’s my persistence that keeps me going. The thing about success is that you will never achieve it if you quit when things are hard.
From the beginning my dream was to hire Canadian moms, so that they could stay home like I had been able to do. I have spent years and countless hours training individuals in Canada (somewhere around the 100's mark now) and I'm still working alone, with a friend who helps occasionally. The people I trained didn't work out for several different reasons. The most common reason was they didn't feel they were capable of producing the quality/craftsmanship that I needed and that it would take them too long to perfect these skills for it to be worth it for them in the beginning. One time I spent a month training a Vancouver fashion and design student, only for her to send me back the first small order that had holes all over the boots and to find out she had been using my patterns to start her own business. OUCH, right? Feeling defeated, I took a leap and started searching abroad for a baby shoe factory, which took 2 years and a month long trip to the Philippines when a small ethical factory let me train their staff over a month long period. After receiving an order from the factory once back in Canada, and also an order from another factory in China, I was not happy with the quality of the boots and decided that that was not the path for me either. The universe kept saying "no" every time I felt like I was getting somewhere. The samples they had given me were sooo good, so I was devastated. I've had so many ups and downs but I haven't quit, and that's what's important.
Following all of this I decided to simplify my pattern and start a small production line in Sarnia, ON. To do this, I realized training from my tiny home in my tiny basement with 3 tiny kids was just not working and I took a leap and rented a space to train and manage the ladies working with me. I had done it! It was working! I had a system in place with 5 women who had each taken one step in the process of making 1 pair of boots. This way each person could perfect a 10-15minute step without having to learn the whole process. Thats when right in the middle of our first big production run, the seamstress who had the most work discovered she was pregnant after trying for soooo long, and just felt that she just couldn't proceed(morning sickness gets the best of us). I was sooo happy for her, but I was so sad for me. It all came crashing down. I couldn't afford to sign another years lease on my unit and closed it down.
I burnt out. My kids needed their mom. I could not be the mom I wanted to be while I was burnt out. After I closed down the shop I decided to restructure the business so that I could slow down and started taking custom orders again and worked as I was able to. It's been a great 2 years! In that time we decided to homeschool our kids and I've recently regained my love and excitement for JadyBabys.
About 4-5 years ago I had this crazy idea that I wanted to create an online training course to help people build their shoe making skills from home, but at the time I was already working 10-16hr days, working on the manufacturing process overseas and was about to go through a separation from my business partner I had taken on to help with that process. That idea was lost in the insanity of my life at the time.
With the forced slow down of my life, I started searching for a factory again and put out an ad. I was talking with about 10 factories from China to India, but I just wasn't excited. In fact, all I felt was dread. Something in my gut was saying "no". This is not what you need to do. I decided to trust my gut and with that idea back in my head, instead I started to invest in some things to try out this idea and the little voice in my head is telling me NOW! Now is the time to do this. I dived in and I put this idea into the world so I can't turn back, and the support I've received so far tells me I'm finally on the right path. Like this is the reason I keep being told "no" over and over again. So here it is:
Patterns, Business & Jade
(Or PB&J, because who doesn't love a messy sandwich with all the good stuff in between)
My entrepreneur journey has been messy, but I love it. You'll get the mess and all the good stuff in between with PB&J. Also- its my go to sandwich for the whole fam when mom gets busy ;)
I'll be selling all of my patterns, along with videos to show you EXACTLY how they're made. I'll be showing you all my little secrets that I've learned over the years to make the perfect shoe. I'll also be offering a business course to teach you how to monetize your creations and how I started my business with a $30 Kijiji sewing machine, a bag of donated fabric, and a FB page. That's all I started with and it allowed me to stay at home and not return to my job.
I have not been this excited for a very long time and I can't wait to see where this journey leads and I am open to all.the.things.
My biggest dreams for PB&J are:
1. Potentially work with those who build their skill and want to work with JadyBabys.
2. Create more entrepreneurs in Canada with the business course if they want to work on their own.
3. Expand into more patterns (not just shoes) just incase shoe making just isn't for you.
4. I would also love to hit the road and travel, teaching in person in your city (I've always been a big dreamer haha :D )
It's been an insane 10years with lots of ups and downs, but I am so thankful to have done it with you!
All my love,