#WIB – Q&A With Jade & Dani Founders Of JoyJoy

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1. Can you please tell us more about your business?

From idea to launch, JoyJoy took us 3 years to build. We officially launched JoyJoy to the world in June 2022. JoyJoys are interchangeable kid’s sneakers designed with a removable Velcro strap that allows kids to swap out their choices of designs as many (many) times as they like. It’s one shoe with 100 different ways to wear it. Kids love the freedom of experimenting with their fashion sense, bringing out their creativity, and feeling a little more independent with their style choices. It also increases the fun side of getting dressed and wearing shoes.

2. When, how, and why did you start your business?

It all started with a lounge carpet and a glass of wine in early 2019. We were chatting away about the incredible world of sneakers and how sneakers had become a cultural icon in society. We both love sneakers and we love buying sneakers for our kids. Suddenly this thought arrived unannounced; how cool would it be if kids could interchange their sneakers every day

This idea of one pair with so many different ways to wear it. So then we did what any entrepreneur would do and we started googling. We found hundreds of sneaker designs online, it was overwhelming but nothing really nailed this idea we had in our heads. And that small discovery was enough for us to dive head first into trying to bring this sneaker to life. Full disclaimer: Neither of us was technically qualified to design any product much less a kid’s sneaker. But we just had this feeling that we needed to make it happen.

3. What is your role in the business?

We’re both creatives. So we both thrive in the creative space. That’s our happy place. Designing the logo the colors and the tone of voice. But as the business has evolved we have organically found ourselves taking on different roles. Jade is more on the branding, marketing, and design side and Dani is more on the product dev, newness, and retail side. Dani has an incredible eye for detail and Jade for design so it works really well.

4. Where did you study and what did you study?

Jade: I got my degree in Marketing and Politics from the University of Johannesburg and then went on to do a Post Diploma in Business at the Wits Business School.

5. How did you finance your business?

Up until now, we have been lucky enough to be able to finance the business through our own savings. But as we grow we will certainly need to look into raising some capital.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

We’re both moms, Jade has 3 girls and Dani has 2 boys, so our days are always busy. We have about four hours in the morning that we dedicate to being in the office and then once the afternoons come, we officially start the school run and spend the rest of the day in the car running from one extramural to the next. It’s just the two of us in the business so we do everything, pack orders, answer emails, post on social media, design marketing collateral, we mostly have around 2-3 meetings per day. We also have a little store-in-store inside weareegg in Rosebank, we try to get there when we can to engage with and meet our little customers.

7. How do you balance your home life and your work life?

Thankfully we’ve learnt not to strive for balance. We just know that sometimes we’re going to give more to our family and kids and sometimes we’re going to give more to JoyJoy. To balance your life is incredibly hard and then the guilt creeps in, followed by exhaustion. We should all cut the guilt and do what’s needed of us in that moment. On that day.

8. What drives you and inspires you?

We want to build something meaningful. Adding Joy to kids’ and parents’ lives is the north start of our business, and the pursuit of that, is what drives us every day. We are constantly inspired by other mompreneurs who juggle the daily ins and outs of raising a family and building a brand. We keep them close for comfort and support. At the heart of JoyJoy, our kids are our inspiration, they’re our biggest fans (and our biggest critics) and we have loved going on this journey with them.

9. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

Ideas come at very strange times, mostly when you’re in a quiet space and have time to let your mind wander. Reading is a brilliant idea source. We get tons of ideas from articles, books, podcasts, and social media. We also constantly bounce ideas off each other, some stick around, while we laugh at the absurdity of others.

10. Where and how do you market/advertise your business for sales leads?

Since we are predominantly an e-commerce business, we spend a fair amount of our time and budget on meta-advertising. We also put a lot of effort into growing our social media page, we love to build relationships with influencers and invite them into the JoyJoy world. Collabs are definitely a part of our strategy, we would love to find some strategic and joyful brands to partner with. We are yet to do outdoor advertising but we would love to see a few billboards dotted around Joburg. We do pop ups when we find the right space but word of mouth is our biggest marketing channel.

11. What is next for your business?

We would love to see JoyJoys on lots and lots of little feet giving lots and lots of endless Joy. We would also like to explore international markets both physical and online; create and design some amazing collabs with other colorful and fun brands; be able to give back and add joy to our local communities; and perhaps one day have our own joy-filled stores on the high streets of the world filled not only with shoes but with lots of joyful products. But for now, we will celebrate every sale, treasure every customer, and relentlessly pursue our brand purpose.

12. What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business?

Jade’s advice: Just start. Whatever it is you want to do, however big or small the idea, just take the first step. Whether that’s doing a little research on-line or with friends, having a coffee with someone who inspires you or has been in a similar situation, drawing a design, writing a page, testing a service, asking questions, reading books and articles, understanding more. Just start. And if you’re a mom, cut the guilt. Life doesn’t have to balance, sometimes you give more to your work and sometimes more to your kids and family, accept and embrace the constant sway.

Dani’s advice: Ask for help, advice. Reach out to those who have been there and done that and are still doing it. There are so many people who want to share and hand over their own experiences so others can learn. To help them avoid the mistakes they made (even though you will still make your own, as we have done many, many, many times). And share resources, tips and tricks.

As a society, we are often too scared, too polite, too reserved, too vulnerable to put ourselves out there. When in fact, the world is full of kind people who just want to see others succeed. We have gained golden nuggets of knowledge from businessmen and women who have willingly and openly shared their time, stories and truths with us.

For more visit: www.joyjoy.co.za