Saltee loves seeking out inspiring brands so with that said we introduce Jem + Bea, the multi award-winning, luxury accessories brand designed with the modern parent in mind. Launched in 2015 by friends Dominique Hughes and Rebecca Da Silva Lima. Unable to find a desirable changing bag on the market when looking for themselves, they set about creating a collection that was both covetable and practical for stylish mothers.
We love the whole ethos of your brand – can you tell us a bit more about it?
Thank you! Jem + Bea came about after we were dismayed with the baby bags on offer when we had children – it was all chintzy flowers and cup cake prints, blurgh! We wanted to shake up the changing bag market with stylish, luxurious and design-led bags that modern parents would really want to carry.
Would you say one of the first design elements when creating a new must-have for parents is multiple pockets for all the essential carry-ons?
Yes multiple pockets very important, but they need to be intuitively designed. We make our bags so that the organisation is really well thought out – pockets and functions that work for when your with baby and beyond. For example, all our full size changing bags come with a slip pocket that can house a changing mat when your out with baby but then converts to a laptop pocket on work or baby free days.
What would you say are the essentials that parents mostly carry around with them especially during these testing times?
Well 2020 has certainly brought about a new normal which none of us could of imagined in the halcyon days of 2019! These days obviously you can’t leave the house without a mask – we are currently wearing the tie dye 100% Human set from Everlane. Then another bag essential is a hand sanitiser, not just due to Covid but as a parent it’s always been a must-have after nappy changes and the general messiness involved with parenting! Having to use a sanitiser throughout the day can be really hard on the hands which is why we’re obsessed with the Saltee Hands sanitiser – not only does it work, but it smells divine and leaves your hands neither dry nor sticky. We also love the chic design of the bottle.
For baby – essentials will also include biodegradable wipes, muslins and eco nappies/ cloth nappies. Then other must-haves for parents are a good hand cream and lip balm.
How would you best describe how your products make parents feel?
We hope that our products make parents feel more like themselves!
What we mean is that our aim is for our products to make parent feel like they retain their (pre-parent) style and fashion identity. We also recognise parenting is hard, so we make our bags thoughtfully designed inside and out to make parents feel organised and confident when they step out the door.
Where would your ideal Jem + Bea get away destination be?
Ahhh travel (anywhere!) is something we are dying to do when lockdown is over!
For a work/research trip – we’d love to head to Copenhagen, so we can drool over Danish style and design.
For family – we both love Portugal, Rebecca is half Portuguese with family there. Dominique has always had an affinity for Portugal after many family holidays. We love the golden sands, fresh sea food, beaches and the laid back vibe of the Portuguese.
Do you have any handy tips for parents during lockdown?
Well we struggle as much as any parent during these testing times, but a few things we’ve found works:
- Getting out in the fresh air when it all gets too much always helps.
- We’ve rediscovered old fashioned games (which helps to avoid too much screen time!) ie Snakes and ladders, jigsaw puzzles, Battleships – also, these are all things that the whole family can enjoy together.
- Don’t try to be the perfect parent or teacher – just aim to get through this with your sanity in tact!
What is your personal favourite Jem + Bea item that you just couldn’t be without?
Dominque – Cara Crossbody, the perfect mini bag. I’ve been stopped in the street and asked where it’s from – people can’t believe it’s a changing bag!
Rebecca – Jamie Python Backpack – it’s one of our best sellers. I’m a total backpack lover as I like being handsfree, especially as I tend to walk from home to the office. The subtle snake pattern on this is so cool and gives it that elevated, fashion edge.
What destinations are on the Jem + Bea bucket list for when we can travel again?
Japan would be amazing! It has such a fascinating rich culture, especially in Tokyo where you have the clash of the old meditative sensibilities within a modern and frenetic city. And as big foodies, we are both dying to go to a Yakitori!
How do you think lockdown has changed some every day habits and essentials for parents?
Obviously general hygiene has become a big thing – cleaning and sanitising to keeping your family and other people around you safe.
One of the lovely things about lockdown, is that it has forced people to revert to a simpler way of life – walks in the country, cooking at home. It certainly makes you appreciate the simple things in life which is one of the wonderfully positive outcomes of lockdown life.