When I went back to work after my maternity leave with Hudson, I was a total jumble of emotions: happy to be using my brain for something other than nap and feeding schedules, worried how Hudson would do with his daycare transition, eager to see my team and connect with work friends, scared that Hudson would love his teachers more than me, ecstatic to eat lunch all by myself, nervous about pumping enough milk… you get the picture… I was a hot mess of feelings. Luckily, I had some thoughtful gifts from my husband to make those early days just a tiny bit easier…. A mini easel full of photos I had snapped in those first 3 months and a necklace with an H on it. I still wear that necklace almost everyday, and it’s one of the reasons I admire the brand that Melissa is building. Whether they’re big moments or small ones, happy or sad, she’s helping us celebrate the entire motherhood journey and the tiny humans that made us mamas.
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When Melissa made the first Tiny Tags pendant, at her kitchen table in 2012, she felt like she was onto something, but didn’t know just how big it might get. Her inspiration was simple but beautiful: make a piece of jewelry that she could wear with her all the time and remind herself of her newborn son. These simple, elegant pieces soon caught the attention of moms everywhere, and she’s since sold over 200,000 necklaces to moms who want to celebrate and cherish their children and their roles as mothers. As she’s grown the business, she’s heard from countless parents who share genuine and heartfelt stories about how important these pieces of jewelry have been to them, which is a constant reminder of the impact of bringing her passion and vision to the world.
What was your inspiration for Tiny Tags?
When I first started I had never thought I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. I grew up with a father that got divorced and I saw my ex-step mother give up her career and was lost a little bit. I decided then that I’d never depend on a man for a paycheck. Then we moved out to California for my husband’s job. I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but I sort of fell into it. I had seen a necklace that somebody was wearing with their kid’s name on it and it was hand stamped. This is quite a while ago before Instagram or etsy were even around yet. I decided- I’m going to try to figure out how to do that. So I kind of fell into it. It was the mom in the basement look.
It really took on a much greater meaning as the years went on and I started to really connect with other women and other moms and hear their stories as we created jewelry for them. Something in me really connected to being in the business of celebrating children. I think something inside of me clicked. I don’t think I feel into this by accident.
What is your favorite necklace or piece of jewelry that you’ve seen somebody create?
It’s always parents who have lost children because you just can’t imagine. I’m always blown away when they come to us to celebrate or honor their child. We had a necklace come across my desk this holiday that said on the back, “My son my hero”. I googled and sure enough he was 29 and died in a skimobile accident. It just blows me away that she came to us to honor her son’s life.
Did you ever anticipate when you started making jewelry that you would have this community of moms coming together?
No, but I think that’s what has fueled me. I think it was always a part of me. I don’t think it’s an accident that I sought out this connection to other women and to talk about motherhood. I grew up with my dad and my mom did her best, but I think there was probably a part of me that wanted every mom to show up for their kid and realize how incredible a mother’s love is. I think this was a way to take all those feelings I had and express them. So it wasn’t part of the master plan, but I think it’s what has made me love it so much.
How do you make the juggle work?
I think the business has never been a means to an end. We’re not on this trajectory where we’re trying to raise money to grow the business or anything. I’m just as committed to the journey and enjoying it as I am to growing the business. So I don’t put all this crazy pressure on myself to do that.
I see that my oldest is going to be sixteen next week. I have two years left with him at home. So, I’m the first to say- I’m going to go home and make sure I’m home and be able to spend time with my kids because I know it’s going to go so quickly.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.
Read more from Bridget, follow her on IG, and check out her new series, Work Like a Mother.