Monday, August 15, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Jill Chuckas of Crafty Baby

Do you love to sew or are into crafting?  Do you have a particular project or gift you like to create and give to people?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, why not consider putting your skills to use to make you money.  Jill Chuckas, our Spotlight Mommy this week, has always loved to sew.  She took her passion and love of sewing and turned it into a successful business -- Crafty Baby.  Jill creates fun and functional creations for children.  She handcrafts children’s accessories including Nap Packs (all in one blanket with attached pillow), clutch balls, bibs, changing pads, toddler pillow cases, art smocks, chenille blankets, nappies (17 inch square satin trimmed blankets) and blanket pillows.  Head on over to her website to see some of her unique and beautiful creations.

In the meantime, enjoy my interview with Jill. Maybe she will spark that entrepreneurial fire in you to try your hand at making money off of your skills and passion.


Name:  Jill Chuckas

Company Name/Product/Service:  Crafty Baby ®

Company Location:  Stamford, CT

Company Website:

Facebook URL:

Twitter Handle: @craftybaby

Age of Company:  12 years

Favorite Inspirational Quotes: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Favorite Book: The Sneetches – Dr. Suess

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.  

Well, I have 3 children – Alexander, age 12, Nicholas, age 10 and Hannah, age 6.  Obviously, I love to sew.  I also enjoy yoga, listening to music and watching the kids baseball games.  I am passionate about children’s issues and have worked previously as a school social worker and am currently employed part time as a special education advocate, in addition to running my own business.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about? 

I’ve always sewn.  It is what I have done over the years to create things I needed, bring me inspiration and relax me when I am tense.  I was pregnant with my first child and, simply stated, I needed some things.  I went to the stores, but I just didn’t find what I wanted or needed in every category.  So, I started to sew.  Little by little, I started to create more things, try them out on my growing family and give them to my friends.  The business just seemed like the next natural thing.

What is a typical work day like? 

There is no such thing as a typical work day!  I get up, get the kids to school and then decide which of the hundred things on my list have to be completed immediately.  Sometimes I sew items, sometimes I ship orders out.  I also do all the advertising, book keeping, etc. for the business.  And, now that I am also working part time as a special education advocate, I am also traveling to schools throughout my area supporting parents in advocating for appropriate programs for their children with special needs.  Busy, busy days!

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  

Knowing where to put the most time, effort and money.  I made a lot of decisions in the hopes to get “noticed”.  I now realize that slow and steady can be a very good thing.

What did you do in your past work life?  

I was a school social worker.

What have been some of your major successes?  

I’ve had some great press over the years and met some wonderful people.  I haven’t had that big story done on me or my business as of yet, but the people who use and gift my line are devoted and so supportive of the work I create and share.

What have been some of your major challenges?  

The biggest challenge by far has been understanding, complying and ultimately, fighting to change the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  This well intended piece of legislation meant to regulate large multi-billion dollar companies that broke the country’s trust, left no flexibility for small businesses like mine.  The law treats my company just like Mattel.  I’ve worked for the last 2 ½ years as a Board (and founding) member of the Handmade Toy Alliance ( <>) to make common sense changes to this law.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?  

Good question – I guess it all comes down to the greater good.  Knowing that I create my product line with the utmost attention to safety and that there is a way to find a balance.  Actually, with every bad day, it’s just important to remember that balance will come and to just take a deep breathe.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?  

There really is no secret.  Every day brings forth new challenges.  It all about supporting each other, loving those around us and trying to make things better.

What is next for your business?  

Well, this year I’ve actually decided to back away from the business a bit.  Last year, I participated in 16 regional craft shows.  That was traveling 16 week-ends out of the year – valuable time away from my family.  Not to mention creating inventory that I wasn’t always sure would sell.  So, this year is a time for reflection and change.  A step back to see what is next with Crafty Baby.  It’s been a huge part of who I am for a long time.  I’ve only signed up for 6 events this year and I’m planning on focusing on internet sales.  We’ll see what the next phase brings soon enough.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

Breathe – follow what makes you happy and listen to what others share with you.  Don’t let people dissuade you from following a dream.  And, by all means, ask for help! J


  1. great interview!hope you can check out my blog for some +vibes and inspiration! I also have a LIMITED edition giclee print giveaway by the amazing Lark Calderon Gomez!

  2. Thanks for this amazing opportunity to share my story Robin! Really enjoyed working with you!
    Crafty Baby