Rhapsody Hahn — the youngest recipient of NJBIZ's 2014 Forty Under 40 award — didn't know the gender of her firstborn.
“I was one of those crazy moms that didn't find out the gender, so I got all gender-neutral items,” Hahn said. “And I realized just how beneficial it was when I had my second child because it saved me a lot of money without being plain or boring.”
It also inspired her to become an entrepreneur.
With more than 10 years' worth of experience in retail management, fashion design and cut-and-sew production — unstable and inflexible industries for anyone, let alone a new mother — Hahn decided to become her own boss.
In the baby fashion biz, that is.
Hahn officially launched Turnovers Baby Shop — an e-commerce company based in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton — in June 2013, following a successfully funded $10,000 Kickstarter campaign.
“I thought, 'How can I launch and grow a business organically using the least amount of money?' ” Hahn said. “I came to find out it was a trend for startups to ask people to preorder products in order to raise the funds to produce … rather than go into debt and then try to sell. I was already in enough debt from college.”
So what made her products so popular that she sold more than $10,000 of inventory on nothing but DIY marketing and business-to-business trades?
Buzzwords: ecofriendly, all- natural, soybean-based, ultra-soft and durable.
Oh, and fully reversible — meaning Turnovers' two-in-one outfits can eliminate the need to return clothing, be used for additional children, hide messes and save parents as much as $2,300 on baby clothing in the first year, the company estimates.
With pants and reversible onesie sets retailing for $42, hoodies for $45 and bibs for $10, Turnovers is on track to double its sales within the first year and a half of being in business.
And while Turnovers items currently sell on Amazon, Etsy and in select boutiques — such as Behind the Moon in Hammonton — Hahn also makes sure to make appearances at festivals, farmer's markets, trade shows and more in order to expand her brand.
“We want to grow the line in terms of the sizes we offer past a zero-to-12 month range,” Hahn said. “That way, we can retain our current customers.”
At just age 27, Hahn has made her overnight success look easy — even though it was anything but.
After earning her bachelor's degree in fashion design, Hahn worked as a customer service manager for European apparel chain Zara and interned at Donna Karan International in New York before accepting a position as a children's apparel designer for a Manhattan-based fashion house.
Then she started having kids.
After struggling to commute from South Jersey while raising an infant, Hahn instead accepted a yearlong contract as a seamstress for the U.S. Coast Guard before deciding to start Turnovers — a New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners member since last June.
“I hope that I can one day offer secure jobs to other women and mothers that have the same needs that I did and still do,” Hahn said.
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The biz in brief
Name: Turnovers Baby Shop
Headquarters: Mays Landing
Founder: Rhapsody Hahn
Employees: 1. Hahn contracts with additional designers and graphic artists when needed and plans to hire in the near future.
Revenue: Hahn said sales have doubled since its founding.
One more thing: One of the hardest decisions she ever made, Hahn said, was leaving the workforce to raise children. “It would have been great to keep a flexible schedule or use the work-from-home option,” she said. “It’s terrible that school-aged children need to go to aftercare because most parents are required to work until dinnertime or later.”