In Bed With...Annie & Janelle of Children's Fashion Brand, Petite Moss

Name: Annie Stewart and Janelle Lucero
Location: Palo Alto, CA + Seattle, WA
IG handle / website: @petitemoss / www.petitemoss.com
One word that best describes how you work: Efficient. With little kids we don’t have any other option! 

Similar to Moonlit’s founders, you and your co-founder were friends/roommates first and then decided to venture into business together. Do you have any advice for friends who are looking to create a company?

Annie Stewart: First Off, We want to say how great it is to work with someone you know and love. To keep business good it’s important to not take things personally. When making business decisions, it's about what's best for the business not about who is right or wrong.
 
When you decide to start a business venture together it's important to have a clear vision of what your company is and where you want it to go, then when things get hard, you always have that vision to come back to. 
 

Tell us about how you divvy up roles/tasks with your co-founder:

AS: It changes daily. The most important thing is we keep things fluid. We both have our strengths and weaknesses and our roles tend to naturally fall to the right person for the task. That being said, we are both hands on with all aspects of the business.

One thing I really appreciate about having a partner is the help and knowing they are as committed as you are. I recently had my third child and it was so nice knowing Janelle was taking care of things when I wanted to step back and focus on healing and my new baby. 

Tell us how you came up with the name “Petite Moss”? 

AS: Coming up with a name took us time! Petite Moss was created and headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. Petite for tiny clothes with European influence.
 
We also wanted something natural. All of our clothing is organic cotton and Moss was inspired by our Seattle roots. When we finally decided on the name it felt right.
 

Did you launch with one product or several? What was the strategy behind making that decision? 

AS: When we originally dreamt up Petite Moss we had one item in mind; an elevated organic set. As we continued to build our brand we wanted to create a capsule wardrobe with many items to mix and match. We wanted it to be simple to style our clothing and for the items to be perfect for any situation. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to an expectant mother who is shopping for baby clothes?

AS: I would say invest in a few pieces that are comfortable, minimal, and high quality so they last through many babies and genders.
 
Janelle Lucero: Create a capsule wardrobe for each season and age. When you have a plan and buy clothing that is cohesive, comfortable, and that you love, getting your child dressed is simple and will bring you joy.
 

As a small business owner, what's the best advice you've received

AS: Be patient! Everything takes so much more time than you would ever expect. Celebrate every small victory because it's easy to become discouraged.
 
JL: We have always tried to take it one day at a time. “Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Small steps turn into miles.”
 

What’s a big misconception about running a small business? 

AS: That you will make money right away! 
 
JL: I don’t think I realized how many hats we would have to wear. We are responsible for all aspects of the business, and the things we don’t know how to do, we have to learn. 
 

What part of the process was surprisingly easy?

AS: The easiest parts came from making good decisions before we actually launched. We set ourselves up with good procedures like a fulfillment center where they store and ship for us. This allowed us to be able to have fun and enjoy the process once we launched.  
 
JL: I don’t know about easy, but the most fun part for me was our first real photoshoot. Seeing our clothes come to life and being so proud of what we had created. 
 

What do you wish you knew before embarking on this journey? 

AS: Childrens sizing has been so hard to nail down. I wish we would have had more information or insight into that part of our company before starting, but it is also part of the journey of creating a product from scratch. 

How do you wind down for the night, especially after a hectic day?  

AS: I have a few things I love to do. I love going by myself to the mall and walking around and shopping. At the end of a long parenting day I love to take a hot shower and put on pajamas and watch a good show after I put my children to bed. 

JL: I really love a warm bath and taking time to do my skincare routine. It always feels like a reset to do self care after a busy day.

 

Is there a tip or piece of advice you would give to mothers who are struggling with their newborn’s sleep schedule?

AS: Well I am currently 1 month postpartum and going through this exact situation, but being a 3rd time mom I have the wisdom to tell myself it will get better. Learn to accept and ask for help, people are willing and want to. Nap when you can, dishes and laundry can wait.
 
JL: Ask for help. You should never have to take the world on yourself. If someone offers to help, say yes. I used to be a flight attendant and I always remember I need to “put on my mask first.” 
 

We’re always hearing about the importance of prioritizing so we’d love to ask you how you juggle motherhood and sustaining a business? Are there specific practices that you follow to ensure a sense of order with both roles? 

AS: I always put motherhood first. I really try and work while my kids are napping, at school or asleep.  Because I am an efficient worker, when I separate these roles, I can better focus and get the work done in a more timely manner. When my two roles bleed into each other my quality of work and motherhood both suffer. 

JL: Having a partner has been such a big part of balance. Annie is an incredible friend and we both want to support one another as mothers. There are times each of us has taken on extra to help the other. And most days we divide and conquer. 

Where are your favorite chill-out places in your area? (tea shops, gardens, beaches, anything!)

AS: Like I mentioned above, I love going to the mall and wandering or shopping to unwind. Because I am a mother of three, alone time feels scarce, so even something as simple as going to get a Diet Coke feels like a break and a vacation.
I recently moved to the Bay Area in California and one of my new favorite spots to take my family is Half Moon Bay!
 
JL: I live in Capitol Hill and love walking to Volunteer Park cafe or Macrina, finding a spot in Volunteer Park, or running along Lake Washington. 
 

What’s in store for 2020 with Petite Moss? 

We are so excited to expand our colors and sizes offered while keeping our same great stylish silhouettes. Now we have some of those first year kinks worked out, we are excited to see the growth continue and more cute little ones walking around in Petite Moss.

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Annie Stewart Quickfire:

My ideal # of hours of sleep is: 10 because I have a newborn and all I think about is sleep
Sleep season for me is: Sleep Season? Never because I'm a mom
How many pillows: 2
AM or PM?: PM
Nightcap?: Herbal tea
Bad sleep habit: Phone before bed
Good sleep habit: Taking naps when I can
Side/back/stomach sleeper: Side sleeper
A book you can read over and over: The Giver and The Giving Tree for my kids
Fav podcast: This American Life
Software/tool/app you can't you live without?: Google Maps Especially because I just moved and have no idea how to get anywhere! 

Janelle Lucero Quickfire:

My ideal # of hours of sleep is: I’m with Annie. I would love to actually get 8, but dream of a 10 hour night.
Sleep season for me is: Not now : )
How many pillows: 2
AM or PM?: PM
Nightcap?: Herbal Tea
Bad sleep habit: Staying up too late
Good sleep habit: No TV in the bedroom
Side/back/stomach sleeper: Stomach but always trying to sleep on my back.
A book you can read over and over: Les Miserables
Fav podcast: I’m a true crime junky, and love audiobooks
Software/tool/app you can't you live without? Instagram! It is where we do most of our business, how I find inspiration, and how I stay connected with friends and family that