As anyone who’s following my Instagram knows, I have become hugely obsessed with the fantastic teething / nursing necklaces from The Vintage Honey Shop. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Brand Ambassador and haven’t looked back since! H is such a busy nurser around – constantly is flailing his arms and legs, and has been so distracted lately now that he’s so aware of his surroundings. It’s so bad sometimes that my husband can’t be in the room or else H gets too worked up, so we’ve resorted to a lot of nursing sessions in my bedroom with the shades drawn and the noise machine on. Not only are his arms flailing, but his sharp nails always managed to graze my chest or cheeks just right to give me little scratches and bruises from pinching.
Enter: The Vintage Honey Shop‘s Nursing Necklaces.
Jen and Melissa, co-creators of The Vintage Honey Shop, met in their church youth group in Ohio and eventually ended up marrying brothers and went from best friends to sisters in law. In January of 2011 they decided to open up an Etsy shop as a creative outlet; they were always making crafty little things for their friends and were constantly being encouraged to sell them so they decided to take the plunge. They love being not only family, but also best friends and business partners! They have turned their little shop into a successful SAHM business that frequently burns the midnight oil and I got the chance to interview them to find out a little more about the lovely ladies behind TVHS!
How did you two decide on “The Vintage Honey Shop” for your shop name?
After we decided to open up shop, we knew we needed a name. Since we didn’t want a name that would lock us into selling a certain product, we wanted a name that would be a good fit, regardless of what we sold. But it was hard, especially when a lot of great names are taken already! We were texting back and forth one day while we were both cooking dinner for our families and somehow ended up on the following train of thought, “What if we named our shop after our favorite color… like yellow… but more of a vintage honey yellow… Oh! And what if we used a vintage looking bee as our logo?” And the rest is history!
What was your first official product?
When we first opened, we made paper & fabric crafts: notebooks, flower pins, burp cloths, a bunch of things! It’s cool to look back at all of the “failed” products and see where God has brought us to now! (For a look back at some of their previous products, click here!)
What is your favorite product?
Our necklaces of course! What is your favorite print you’ve ever made a necklace with? Honestly, we love them all! We joke that they’re like our children and we just can’t pick one favorite. The reason why we have such a selection is because we can’t stop buying cute fabric and we can’t retire our old ones because we love them too much! We are like fabric hoarders!
What makes TVHS different from others who also make teething or nursing necklaces?
We believe in quality. We only use the best, highest quality materials on the market. Our customers let their babies chew on our necklaces, so we only use premium materials. It does cost us almost twice as much to buy better quality, but as mothers ourselves, we wouldn’t have it any other way! We are also extremely picky – we inspect every necklace at least three times before it goes out to its new home. We put pride and love into each and every one of our home made necklaces!
What are your goals for TVHS?
To rule the world! Just kidding 🙂 While we have already expanded, want to always remain mama handmade and to be able to train and hire local Nashville stay at home mamas to help make our products instead of sending them off to be manufactured by a factory. We currently have three assistants to help us out: two seamstresses and one shipping assistant. Each of them are dear friends who are passionate about TVHS and who are also mothers. We would love to be known for our quality and integrity. Being able to hire them has helped us out tremendously because we were not able to keep up with the high deman while also still being able to spend time with our children. It has also been a blessing to their families – when someone buys a necklace from our shop, they are directly impacting real, every day mamas!
We would also like to be able to sell our nursing scarves all the time. Right now, we can only sell them in collections a few times a year, but as our business grows we hope to be able to add more of them into our shop!
What has been the most challenging part of starting a business?
Balance! We have really busy lives. Mel volunteers at her kids school 1-2x a week, her husband is a law school student & she works weekends as a critical care RN. Jen homeschools her three boys, volunteers at her church & spends time helping two of her sons who have special needs (autism & language delay). Between our schedules & our business, it has been hard to find balance. Hiring help has been our saving grace. We can spend time doing our favorite parts of the business & be able to devote time to our famlies!
With that said, if you could do it all over again, would you?
Absolutely! It has been such a blessing to our families and has really made us proud of ourselves to have started a business on our own!
What has been the most rewarding part of opening up your own shop?
The love and support of our shop! It blesses us to tears when we get positive reviews or fan photos! We have put so much into our shop that it is very, very personal to us. We absolutely love our shop – more than we ever imagined!
What advice would you give to others who are just starting out?
Make sure you love what you make – if you’re passionate about it, then others will be too! Find your target customers and if your initial product fails, then don’t give up, just keep trying until you find one that takes off!
– Jennifer & Melissa
I have nothing but great things to say about TVHS! I have to say that before I became a breastfeeding mama, I had seen some nursing necklaces and was kind of turned off by the idea and just didn’t get why they were necessary. They looked weird and heavy, and were not cute at all. However, once I started looking like I had gotten into a fight with my cat, I knew I needed a solution and after a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram trying to find a solution to my crazy nurser, I was happy to stumble upon and fall in love with The Vintage Honey Shop.
I have both the teething and teething ring styles of their nursing necklaces and H and I love them both. Not only are they super cute, but they’re incredibly functional as well. I love that I can also tie the necklaces myself with the adjustable ribbons, depending on how high or low I want it to be. While I’m wearing H around, I typically tie it up a little higher so he has something to play with while I peruse Target, and while we’re at home or nursing I usually make the necklace a little longer so H can grab on to it a little easier.
There have been a few times where I’ve forgotten to put on my necklace at home or forgotten to wear one out with H, and there is such a big difference in how he nurses. With the necklace, he goes from a crazy tornado to a much tamer little beast: his legs stop flailing and he doesn’t try to grab and pinch my nose, cheeks, lips, glasses, hair, etc. It has been a godsend to my poor body! As a huge bonus, it seems like when he has something to focus on, H is a much less distracted nurser and will actually sit still for me for longer than a minute and a half to breastfeed (which is pretty miraculous these days).
Not breastfeeding? You’ll still love these necklaces for your teething babe! H has been showing all the classic symptoms of teething for about a week and does not want to be put down at all, which has resulted in a lot of baby wearing! THVS’s necklaces are great to wear while wearing your baby because they have something to hold and chew on that isn’t your hair or shoulder or hand. Additionally, the necklaces provide your babe with visual and tactile stimulation! As their tagline says, “Mama wears ’em, baby chomps ’em“!
You can tell that Jen and Melissa take such pride in their products and they pay attention to every little detail – including the packaging!