For an expectant or new parent who is unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe The BabyGuy Gear Guide?
My site is just an extension of my Facebook page and my life. I never wanted it to be an encyclopedia of baby products—other people can do that, I don’t care. There’s too much out there and there’s too much clutter, so having an edited site is much more efficient. If it’s on there, it’s on there for a reason—not just to be a “review.” The Guide is broken down into categories, and we also have Gift Guides if you need ideas in those areas. We are pretty thrilled with its new look (it just relaunched last year) and cannot wait to keep curating content for it—that is, when I have time.
You initially pursued an acting career, and then took a product demo job at buybuy BABY. At heart, are you an entertainer, a gear buff, or someone who really loves babies and helping parents (even though you aren’t a parent yourself)?
This is a good one. I have sisters 20 years younger than me, and I’ve always jokingly been called the Baby Whisperer because I’ve always been good with kids. I was an actor and on tour for years, but I knew that eventually when my knees gave out from doing “CATS” too many times, I would go into teaching. I was fortunate to have incredible teachers growing up, so I needed to pay that back. What I do know how to do is a perfect combination of entertaining people and educating them. It’s incredibly fulfilling and I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life right now.
What’s the best way to follow you online? Do you have a favorite social media platform? On which platform are you the most informative? And which platform are you the most fun?
Social media is constantly changing, but I would say that Facebook is my primary platform—even more than my site. Facebook is where everything originates. Instagram and Twitter (both @TheBabyGuyNYC) are a bit more “unfiltered Jamie” and I find Instagram to be my place to be a bit more relaxed. If you want to keep up with me, Facebook me. Always Facebook! And if you want the more unfiltered and sassy side of me, you’ll want Twitter. I’m just sayin’.
Two years ago you launched babyguybox! It’s a monthly subscription box of baby goods that you and your sister, Jennifer, curate and offer at a discount. What else should people know about it?
It’s a blast. It’s an insane amount of work, but it’s fun. We launched it in summer 2015 and the first month sold out in three minutes. It was nuts. We like to think of it as a “boutique in a box” because not everyone has access to cool specialty stores to find items. So we find them for you. It’s been interesting, as is launching any small business, to say the least. We have a few changes coming soon, so pay attention!
Your next big adventure is a website called Parental Guidance. What’s it all about?
This is gonna be huge. My sister, Jennifer (who works with me), and I have been chatting about this idea for quite some time now. We basically wanted to combine something visual like Pinterest with a review platform and social media platform. Think of it as a LinkedIn for parents. You can find reviews, but it’s more user-based. We have about 300 people beta-testing it now and will launch later this year.
What can parents expect from you at the 2017 Chicago Baby Show? You’re the Keynote Speaker each day. What topics will you cover? You’re also doing a separate talk both days with Shari Criso, a well-regarded expect on child birth, breastfeeding, and baby care. What will those chats focus on?
The Keynote is going to be a half hour of me chatting car seat safety, strollers, babywearing, and other products—and full of Q&A. And I am very excited to be doing a Q&A with Shari Criso. I’ve known her for years and we do a monthly Q&A live on my Facebook page where we answer anything and everything that pops up. She’s a wealth of information, we get along famously, and I trust her. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and I’m proud to count her as a friend. In fact, she and I will also be part of a panel of Parental Guidance experts at the upcoming Chicago Baby Show.
Babywearing is one of your big passions—tell us why.
I love babywearing. Love it. I could give you a giant list of reasons why, but it’s truly a game-changer for urban parents. As much as I love strollers, they can be a giant PITA on subways and buses. Wearing your baby makes navigating the city much easier. Don’t get me wrong, there are definite pluses to having a great stroller, but babywearing is just easy.
We know of no other baby product expert whose motto is “Conquering Baby Products & Life One Cocktail At A Time.” So we have to ask: What’s your favorite cocktail?
I love a great IPA. Or wine. Or bourbon. Or anything. I’m not picky. But I am a giant beer nerd, so my recent move to Denver has been a glorious thing for many reasons.
You can learn more about Jamie Grayson at Facebook.com/TheBabyGuyNYC, and more about his monthly subscription boxes at babyguybox.com. He’ll also be the Keynote Speaker at the Chicago Baby Show on August 26-27!