Being a new mom is hard. Being a new mom who’s also trying to provide the basic essentials for herself and her new born, is a burden no woman should endure.
Adrienne Harper is hoping to lighten that burden with Bundles of Joy New York, a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides essentials to babies, toddlers and new parents in critical need. Located in the heart of Westchester County, Bundles of Joy New York helps those in low-income or homeless situations in the greater Westchester area. With one of the most drastic poverty gaps in the nation, Westchester is perfectly situated to headquarter Bundles of Joy. As a place of extreme haves and have-nots, Westchester is the ideal location to engage communities that have with communities that need.
Adrienne Harper is a momprenuer with heart, who enlists local business, media and influencers to help create bundles of essentials that are new and “nearly new” items. Donations are then sorted, bundled and delivered to disadvantaged children through a network of social service agencies, shelters, hospitals and school partners.
Find out how this mom of two saw a need and decided that rather than talk about it, she could leverage her business skills to be part of the solution to support new moms a more joyful start to their journey of family life.
How old are your kids? We have a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old.
What was the catalyst for the launch of Bundles of Joy? Bundles of Joy New York launched in 2017. Prior to launching, while I was pregnant with Sloane, my first born, I volunteered for an organization similar to Bundles of Joy, in Boston. I was filling orders and reading what parents were asking for, and it was the most basic of items – bath wash, socks, new pajamas. Meanwhile, I was 7-months pregnant and already had a full nursery ready for my baby at home. I had all the resources to be “successful” and care for my child, and I just couldn’t imagine the pain one must feel not being able to provide the most basic essentials.
Motherhood is really hard, even under the best circumstances. That was my inspiration for launching Bundles of Joy. I want to support all moms and babies, and to give strong starts.
What were you doing before? I worked for NYC Parks, where I created partnerships and found jobs for participants in the nation’s largest welfare-to-work program. Later, I transitioned into a role as Chief of Staff to a Parks Commissioner. This was invaluable learning for my eventual launch of Bundles of Joy. I also have a master’s in Public Administration and Management from the London School of Economics, which gives me a really solid foundation for managing my business.
What motivates you to hustle for your business, when mom life seemed to be swallowing you whole? The sheer number of children that rely on Bundles of Joy New York for everyday essentials.
What’s your biggest challenge right now? We’re deep in fundraising mode to keep going and expanding. We’re about to overhaul our internal inventory operating system, and that will enable us to scale our organization by multiples!
What was your biggest challenge when you launched the business? I think we all struggle with feeling balanced. But, that looks different for me each day. As BoJ is becoming more and more demanding, I carve out blocks of time or even whole days that I promise myself I won’t work. It’s really hard, especially when you love what you do. Startups can take as much as you can give, so it’s really important to know when to back off and play with your kids.
What inspires you to keep pushing your business forward? My work is really closely connected to motherhood and the challenges we face, no matter one’s financial circumstances. I’m really inspired by the families we serve – knowing they’re managing really difficult motherhood journeys, many of whom without the bare necessities like clothing and diapers, inspires me to work harder and also be really grateful for my own motherhood journey. When I face a struggle or challenge, I remind myself that we have everything we need and it’s all going to be okay. When you tell yourself that, tantrums in the middle of Target don’t seem so mortifying.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment this year? We’re part of a national network under the umbrella of Baby2Baby and hearing how other similar organizations operate, is really helpful. Nobody has to reinvent the wheel, and I feel so lucky to be part of a community that shares ideas. We have thousands of children to serve, and we rely on one another to achieve our shared goal.
What does it mean to you to Hustle Like a Mom? Moms are the best, truly superhuman. I have an incredible mom to look up to, so I think it’s a really high standard to be a Hustlin’ Mom. My mom always said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person,” and she’s SO right.
What skill set should every entrepreneur seek to acquire? Knowing great people to have around you. Nothing great is rarely ever done in isolation. I rely on my team to make things happen, and I feel really lucky to have such incredible moms and partners around me.
What advice would you give to a mom who is looking to launch a service- based business? Make sure you really love what you do. So, many people get burnt out and end up hating what they initially set out to do.