Boys & Bows: And Some Other Bits
I think most people I know found it a bit unusual when I told them I was starting a business called ‘Bits & Bows’ with my sister, Sarah. Throughout this entrepreneurial journey, we have found that the word ‘bows’ itself seems to immediately conjure a youthful, girly idea in people’s minds. So, considering I am, what is so commonly labeled, a ‘boy mom’, the notion that I would start a company oriented toward young girls didn’t seem to make sense. But what many people don’t know is, long before Palmer (3 years old) and Milo (17 months old) came into this world, Bits & Bows was up and running.
Let me clarify – by up and running, I mean we had an LLC registered under the name and a patent on our detachable bow-baseball hat concept. That’s as far as we got in 2014 when Sarah and I developed the vision for what we now call our Bow Baseball Hats with interchangeable snap bows. I was beginning my MBA program at Carnegie Mellon University after just moving back to Pittsburgh from New York City where I had started my career in corporate retail at Macy’s, Inc. I absolutely LOVED living in Manhattan and the career I had embarked on, but my husband (fiancé at the time) and I were ready to trade in the extravagant rent payment for our 1-bedroom apartment in midtown for keys to our first house in Aspinwall, PA.
One of the main reasons I sought an MBA degree was because I knew I wanted to someday create my own company, so an MBA program seemed like the perfect opportunity to broaden the scope of my business knowledge. That being said, fashion retail has ALWAYS been at the forefront of my career ambitions. Dating back to my decision to go behind-the-scenes at Saks Fifth Avenue for my 8th Grade Career Day, product-based retail has fascinated and inspired me. There is something so intriguing about a consumer’s decision-making process that captivates me to this day. I remember taking a Brand Marketing course taught by MBA students my freshman year of college at Northwestern University that gave me that ‘A-HA’ moment. I finally knew at least the general career path on which I wanted to embark.
Okay, sorry for the side note on the evolution of my passion for branding and retail. Back to Bits & Bows. Despite our early legal work accomplished as I completed my 2-year program, Sarah and I ended up both going in different directions career-wise. I eventually had my two little boys, Palmer and Milo, and found myself in the role of stay-at-home mom as my priorities shifted to my children. Life seemed to move at lightning speed until lockdown occurred, during which I found myself at home with a nearly two-year-old and a newborn. I was so fulfilled with the joys of motherhood but could not shake the feeling that something was missing in my life, even after life started to return to some level of normalcy.
I felt so guilty about wanting anything more when I had my two boys, a loving and hardworking husband, and the luxury of the option to be a stay-at-home mom. But I’ll save my everchanging feelings on all of that for another day. I was at a golf clinic last summer, newly recovered from my second C-section and finally out of the ‘fourth trimester’, when I spontaneously text messaged Sarah saying something similar to, I think it’s time we start Bits & Bows. I was actually surprised when she responded in full support that we do just that. After years of what seemed like bad timing to start a business, we finally put our heads together and committed ourselves completely to this dream we shared. Fast forward almost a year later, and here we are. Some days, we question why we ever got on this rollercoaster ride, but most days we are extremely excited about and grateful for the opportunities we are uncovering. And I assure you that every day, you can find this ‘boy mom’ sporting her Bow Baseball Hat in a new color combination.