The Inspiration

Jenn Neilson

When Jenn was pregnant with her daughter, she went shopping for baby clothes with her mother-in-law. Jenn was really excited about getting some cute things for the baby, but she didn't want all pink or all blue for her child (which is part of the reason she hadn't found out if they were expecting a boy or a girl). She didn't want all pale yellow and pale green either. She wanted red and navy, dark green and bright yellow, and she wanted messages that didn't back her child into a corner as a sparkle princess or a sports fan before the baby could decide on interests of his or her own.

So they went to the mall, and it didn't take long for Jenn to discover that what she wanted just wasn't available. Each of the stores they went to had a boys' section and a girls' section, and you could tell which was which from a mile away. Jenn found the staggering uniformity of the boys' section and the girls' section in each store deeply troubling. It was at odds with both the way she wanted to raise her child, and with the ethical views she had developed as an academic researcher. Not only were the available options extremely limited, they reinforced harmful and outdated ideas about gender, and taught children that there is only one right way to be a boy, one right way to be a girl, and that you have to pick one or the other. So much for well-rounded leaders of the future, right?

Jenn knew that she needed to do something about this, so she decided to start a company that prioritizes the well-being of kids, inspiring them to think beyond pink and blue, and become the well-rounded leaders that we need to solve the world's big problems. And that's how Jill and Jack Kids was born.