This week’s Meet a Mom interview is with Jenny Jackson, mom of two, Texas-native turned Bergen County resident, and founder of Ave Lumi – an ethical and sustainable fashion destination for the modern family. Jenny is on a mission to provide beautiful merchandise at achievable price points that not only make family’s daily lives better but consider the earth and maker in the process.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I am originally from Houston, Texas but I moved to NYC when I was 22. I lived in and out of Brooklyn for about 15 years before we moved to Tenafly.
Children and Ages?
Anjali is 6 almost 7 & Bodhi is 4 almost 5.
What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids?
I used to say travel…but these days, I’d say my favorite thing is to discover new things through their eyes. We have done quite a bit of local traveling since the pandemic, and we’ve loved discovering the Jersey Shore both near and far. We are now forever fans of Cape May! Going to the beach is always a magical experience and watching them learn to swim has completely blown me away. We also love to go to the mountains in the Poconos and Upstate New York.
Are you involved in a business venture? Please share!
Yes, I started Ave Lumi 3 years ago while living in Brooklyn. I stayed home with my babies, but when I was ready for my son to attend pre-school, I started developing the sustainable fashion concept I had been preliminarily planning for years.
Ave Lumi has made many pivots already, as I launched my online marketplace and pop-ups at the end of 2019. Yet, there have been incredible silver linings to the past few years. I am so grateful that I’ve still been able to grow my business despite moving out of Brooklyn, despite my husband working on the front lines, despite not having the kids in school for a period of time, and all of the other insane experiences we’ve all gone through. I’m thrilled that I now have a beautiful retail outpost in Tenafly to share with my community. I love being a vehicle for others to discover that sustainable fashion and lifestyle does not have to be out of reach. My goal is to lift up my community and my community to lift up my ethical supply chain, so I’m creating more events and opportunities to invite people to come into this space and enjoy themselves and the thrill of discovery!
Why is this so important?
Early on in my studies in fashion merchandising and design, I was bothered by the fact that we as consumers had become so far removed from the clothing making process. Then, when I went to work in the NYC fashion industry, my conviction was strengthened as I observed how exploitive the supply chain was to everyone and everything along its ladder, except to those at the very top. The soul of the creative process felt completely washed away, and I was honestly afraid that maybe it would go away forever. In 2009, I quit my corporate job and headed to upstate NY for a yoga training course. I figured that if I wanted to contribute to the healing of an industry, I’d better heal myself first. I followed an extended year of a monastic yoga experience with an MBA in sustainable business, then supported my husband to go to medical school….in the Caribbean…he wasn’t doing that ALONE! After moving back to NYC AND having two children, I finally found the space to realize this dream. And as any mother can understand, my dedication to this dream to a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry and marketplace is stronger than ever now that I have these two little people as my inspiration.
What sets you apart?
I am on a never-ending journey to discover brands and merchandise with achievable price points and a commitment to sustainability or social platform. I am constantly doing the behind the scenes work so that the shopping experience feels effortless for my customers. I love meeting designers and helping them to grow while also delighting customers with purchases that fill them with joy. I never push anyone to buy anything, especially if something they’re trying doesn’t make them feel absolutely delighted. I want to contribute to a healthier, happier way of consumption, so I am always considering the entire mindful process. I don’t like to directly compete with anyone, I’m always looking for new ways to light up the industry and customer experience, and I don’t want sustainability to feel like a judgmental experience. So often, mission driven businesses will highlight the harms of industry on the environment, and yes, I think that knowledge is important, but my work is not to hit people over the head with these harsh realities. The world is a dark place, so I’ve committed myself to highlighting the good and uplifting the positive steps that we take to make the world a better place. I’m not saying I’m the only one working like this, but I do know that you won’t find the Ave Lumi essence anywhere else.
If you could give one tip to fellow moms, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to go for your dreams. If you need help achieving them, reach out to other moms. I definitely get the most out of working with and helping moms. Together we can make the world even just a little better for our babies. Inch by inch, hour by hour…we can do it when we come together.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My dad is a cowboy. I guess you could call my mom part cowgirl, too. For enjoyment, my dad raises cattle and ranches in central Texas. My mom grew up helping her sister with her horse ranches. I, myself, was delighted to learn that my aunt even had her own line of women’s western wear! Long story short, people think my parents must be liberal hippies…but that’s not the case. I became hippy”ish” when I started getting into the Grateful Dead, I have my brother to thank for that. These days, I’d like to think that I’m just my own person…not a hippy, not a girl from Texas, just a unique mama on a mission.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I’m just getting to know the Local Moms Network. As a mom new to Bergen County, I’m grateful this community exists. I can’t wait to meet more mamas and get to know how I can better serve families here in my own community.
Visit Ave Lumi at: 9 JAY STREET TENAFLY, NJ 07670