Long Valley mompreneur turns creativity into a business

If the Internet and Twitter were around when I was a little girl, my mother could have started a successful business with her hair accessory creations. A Long Valley mom has done just that and has successfully used social media to help grow her business.

Joanne Schlesinger would buy women’s hair accessories for her daughter when she couldn't find something she liked in children’s stores. But then she realized: hey I’m creative; I can make these myself!

People started to notice her designs too.

“As my daughter started wearing my designs, people started asking where they could buy them,” said Schlesinger. “I enjoy creating accessories that add to the beauty of any girl’s hairstyle and there was such a positive response that I knew I could take something I enjoyed doing and turn it into a profitable venture.”

And so Little Miss Julia was born in December 2008.

Offering a crayon box collection of flower, fruit and critter barrettes and bows, the Little Miss Julia collection has a color to complement any outfit. And little girls can do glam too-add some extra sparkle with the crystal barrettes.

While Joanne gathers ideas from online research and browsing what's in the stores, she develops new designs from her own daughter's wardrobe.

“I get a lot of ideas from a need,” the designer added. “I look at my daughter's clothes and if I don’t have something that compliments an outfit, I create a new design.”

Her daughter, who was the inspiration for the business, also acts as her creativity partner along with her other children. But it’s her daisy barrettes that Joannes loves and has grown into quite the collection of colors, sizes and even sparkles!

Sparkles are not just for little girls however. Little Miss Julia sells a line of Swarovksi crystal barrettes that are appealing to teens and moms. But wait! It doesn’t stop there. Joanne sells her line at pet boutiques in the state. Paris Hilton did you hear that?! So you can see: something for all ages, making the company one that a girl can take with her as she grows older...or use to accessorize her own dog!

Little Miss Julia is a growing child too. While the growth of the business has been gradual, Joanne took to the Internet and social media networking sites like Twitter to make connections and spread the word about her unique creative style.

“Twitter has been an incredible networking tool,” said @littlemissjulia. “I have made a lot of contacts which have lead to interviews, features and advertising links. The power of Twitter has been more far reaching than I expected when I first got involved with it.”

Sidenote: it is through Twitter that Joanne found me (@mrsmonj). She’s one of my NJ Twuddies.

And it’s the hard work that Joanne has done by networking through Twitter, reaching out to bloggers and working on search engine optimization (SEO) that has resulted in a steady growth of her sales both online and in the stores. She currently sells her barrettes in a few local NJ shops and hopes to expand to Long Island, Westchester, New York City and Rockland County as well as throughout New Jersey. (Hint Hint!)

In addition to her available designs, Joanne also offers custom barrettes for customers with a specific color or design in mind. Simply select the “create your barrette” option from the website to view colors and floral options.

Gift sets and party favors are also available and can include any combination of barrettes and clips presented in a cellophane bag with matching shredded paper and bow. How cute is this idea: Joanne made favor bags for the girls at her son’s birthday party including barrettes, a mirror and little brush. How many girls want a super hero goodie bag when they can have cute barrettes!

To start shopping, visit Little Miss Julia online. Follow Joanne at Twitter and drop her a line.

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