New Jersey is home to so many ambitious and talented women who juggle family, home and career. A select few of these women are also extremely busy building their own companies to help better manage the whole work- life balance. At NJ Mom, we want to highlight these extraordinary women and learn the secret to their success.
Jersey Stroller Moms: Helping Moms Get Fit
NJ Mom, Jessica Strom Hamel, the owner of a fitness company called Jersey Stroller Moms based out of Freehold, New Jersey, has been building her business and power brand over the past year.
Jersey Stroller Moms includes a daily, hour long full-body workout. Throughout the winter months, the moms work out indoors alongside their little ones, with playtime following the class. In the summer, the class is held outdoors in a park setting. Some days, the moms and their little ones stay at the park for hours following the class. JSM includes monthly Mom’s Night Outs, Organized Playgroups, Birthday Celebrations and monthly Running Races.
We asked Jessica a few questions about her business and about herself, here’s what she had to share.
NJ MOM: How did you come up with the idea for your business and what inspired you?
Jessica: As an Army wife, I move quite often. Every 2-3 years my life as that I know it is uprooted and moved. At our first duty station I was not a mother. I was working full-time as a middle school teacher and was not truly connected to any population of people except my coworkers. I had left New Jersey where I had deep, connected roots and found myself living in the south, not knowing many people. At 12 weeks pregnant we moved from one side of Georgia to the other side of the state to Savannah, Georgia. I started out life in Savannah as a full time 5th grade teacher. I completed the school year at 7 months pregnant and knew I wasn’t planning on returning with the upcoming birth of our daughter and 9 month deployment for my husband.
After the birth of my daughter I quickly realized how lonely it could be staying at home with a newborn. Although I was busy and exhausted, I was missing the comradery of my coworkers and friends. To add to the loneliness, my husband left for Afghanistan for the 7th time. I knew I needed to find an activity for my daughter and me. I quickly learned of a group called Stroller Strong Moms and knew I wanted to join. My daughter and I joined SSM as soon as I could and immediately found my “home” in Savannah. I spent almost every weekday at SSM with the most wonderful women, most of who were also Army wives. We spent our days working out and then playing with our babies turned toddlers at the park each day. Stroller Strong Moms provided a place for moms to be themselves, to focus on getting strong and reaching goals as well as providing social and play time for the children. There was simply no other place I could imagine myself. I became the strongest I had ever been in my whole life POST Pregnancy. I ran my first 5k and then one a month, every month for over a year. (I never ran a mile before in my life before SSM.) I completed a few 10ks and then found myself signed up to RUN ACROSS GEORGIA (260 mile relay race in the hot hot southern sun in May with a group of my best mom friends.)
Naturally, the Army moves you just as soon as you love your life. Ironically, we are now stationed at Ft. Dix, New Jersey and I am now living “back home”. It was strange to be headed home after being away. I was now a stay at home mom and had a completely different life. I could not find a Stroller Fitness group so naturally I started one of my own. I did not make up the idea of a stroller fitness program but I had a vision for Jersey Stroller Moms. This group is not made up of Army wives, but a diverse group of Stay at Home Moms, Working Moms and Moms on Maternity Leave. The best part is having moms come back on their days off to join us for workouts. Our population is ever changing adding new moms and saying farewell to others but it is a fantastic, supportive group that works hard and enjoys being around each other each day. New moms are instantly welcomed and included in the group.
NJ MOM: Do you have a background or education in fitness?
Jessica: I am a certified small group fitness instructor and also hold a certification in CPR and an AED trained. I am forever researching and reading about new and innovative exercises. I taught elementary education for 10 years and love working with children. I also hold a Masters Degree in Administration and Leadership. All of these together have allowed me to be successful in leading a successful and effective exercise program while continuing to be creative in incorporating the children into our workout time. Jersey Stroller Moms often hear favorite nursery rhymes and songs that are turned into rigorous and fun workout routines.
NJ Mom: Do you have a role model?
Jessica: My role model is my Granny, my maternal Grandmother. Although she passed away years ago, I have countless memories with her. She was a classy, one of a kind, woman who ran her own business starting in the 1950s and moved to K Street in Washington, D.C. as her business expanded through the 60s and 70s. As a woman, she showed tremendous leadership and drive to succeed. I believe that my sisters and I have all inherited her leadership skills and internal drive to be a successful woman leader.
NJ MOM:: What’s the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/ role model) ever gave to you?
Jessica: I can’t remember any specific words of advice that hold a special place but I was raised in a household that promoted leadership and excellence. Whether it was on the ball field, cheerleading mat or sorority meeting, I was always striving to be a leader and organizer. I love to make things happen and encourage others. I want to be a positive influence on others and want to be surrounded by those who are greater than me. I believe surrounding yourself with greatness only makes you better. I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing mothers each day.
NJ MOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey? What do you love most about the area?
Jessica: I currently reside in Jackson, New Jersey. I am a Freehold girl at heart spending 28 years of my life there. I left when I married my husband but knew I’d be back one day. Our family loves to spend evenings at Point Pleasant’s Boardwalk with the kids and relax boating on the Navesink River in Red Bank. We also have rented shore houses in Long Beach Island and enjoy beach days in the summer with our extended family.
NJ MOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey? Why?
Jessica: Jersey Stroller Moms love Runner’s High Running Store in Freehold on Schanck Road. Craig and his staff are top notch when it comes to fitting runners both new and veteran with the perfect shoe. I highly recommend stopping in to check out their shoes and supporting small business.
Personally, I am a big fan of Lululemon Athletica for workout apparel. I love the Shrewsbury store located at the Grove. My normal attire consists of workout clothes these days.
Pump it Up, Freehold is also a loved place for Jersey Stroller Moms. Throughout the winter months it isn’t easy to keep the kids inside. Pump it Up provides a fun and exciting environment for the children to run and play during the cold months. I love the staff and service at Pump It Up. Each time I visit I am more impressed with their helpful staff, clean facilities and organization. My daughter loves to meet her friends for open jump times.
Jersey Stroller Moms also has to send out love to World Cup Cheerleading. We are currently housed in the World Cup Hall of Fame Arena during the winter months and couldn’t continue our program without this facility. It is quiet during the day, but by evening World Cup is filled with New Jersey’s best competitive cheerleaders and coaches. If you have an aspiring cheerleader or tumbler certainly check out World Cup!
NJ MOM: Anything else you’d like to tell mothers in New Jersey?
Jessica: New Jersey is a special place. We have cities, beaches and country at our finger tips and only a short drive away. While always looking for things for your children to do, don’t forget about taking care of yourself. It is not selfish to take an hour a day to focus on you. A fit and happy mom is a better mom. Jersey Stroller Moms provides a place for Moms to get the best possible workout in an hour and a place for children to play every single day. My daughter loves to go see her friends each day. JSM provides a beautiful group of supportive mothers who share the passion for being healthy, promoting positive socialization for children and sharing their mornings with like-minded individuals.
Be sure to visit Jersey Stroller Moms on NJMom.com for more information, reviews and a free trial class!