New Jersey is home to many ambitious and talented women who juggle family, career, and home. A select few of these women are also extremely busy building their own companies to help better manage the balance of work and family. At NJMOM, we want to highlight these extraordinary women building New Jersey businesses, and learn the secret to their success.
Behind the Moon and NJMOMpreneur: Brooke Sacco
Brooke Sacco is a mother of two girls and the owner of Behind the Moon in downtown Hammonton, NJ. Brooke’s love for all things “local” translates to the way she runs her adorable children’s shop. Her passion for getting involved in the local community is inspiring and supportive to everyone around her, and she even ran for Town Council in Hammonton to help bring positive changes to her city. This week, NJMOM traveled to South Jersey to learn about Brooke’s earth-friendly family business, what inspires her, and her favorite small businesses in New Jersey, including her neighbors in downtown Hammonton.
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Brooke: Behind the Moon offers a super family-friendly shopping environment and only carries the type of products that I would bring into my own home. There have been times where I am tempted to bring in lines that are “less than” but might sell well, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I only want to be surrounded by the good stuff. That includes the locally made items we carry, many of which are made by moms right here in Hammonton, New Jersey. I work with a local screen printer to design an ongoing line t-shirts. Our themes are relevant to our specific area or current events that the big stores don’t address. We also have a small section of resale and not only is it highly edited, it’s affordable. The mix of pre-loved and new is well-suited to millennial parents. You save dollars and give a second life to clothing – a smart, earth friendly choice. I can’t leave out our regular story times and fun events for kids, like our annual “Noon” Years Eve Bash.
NJMOM: What inspired you to come up with the idea for your business?
Brooke: I shopped resale for my girls. It just made sense since I wanted better made clothing (organic and USA made was a bonus) but without the price tag. The Nesting House in Collingswood was a big inspiration. I brought some family from Hammonton to visit (we used to live In Oaklyn) and they loved it. I thought that the combination of new and gently used was a model that would work in Hammonton. My husband’s aunts had always wanted to open a business in their hometown. I was just the first person to give them an idea. They saw their nieces who were pregnant and eager to shop the new/resale model and agreed it was a good time to try it in Hammonton. We visited similar shops and immediately got to work. I saw an opportunity to grow the market for young families in Hammonton.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Brooke: I was a buyer for Robinson Luggage/Luggage Online. They once had seven stores in South Jersey, Philly, and along the Main Line. I specialized in buying small goods like handbags, wallets, and travel accessories. Learning to run a small business while running a small business is certainly an adventure! Managing a schedule of employees can be a challenge for me. There are some days when I want to call out sick or attend an event instead. That’s not an option! I want to be lenient and understanding, after spending so many years as a retail employee, but we all know that doesn’t always work out.
NJMOM: Who is your role model?
Brooke: My role models are all the people who choose to make a difference each day. They are people who strive to make their lives meaningful. They are the people, who despite everyone around them questioning their intentions, get out there and make something happen.
NJMOM: What’s the best piece of advice your mom ever gave to you?
Brooke: My mom always said that you can do anything you put your mind to. Recently, a friend edited it for me to include, “you can do anything, but not everything.” I remind myself of this often. I get a kick out of seeing just how far I can push myself, but also have learned the art of saying “no.”
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
The days are long, but the years are short.
Brooke: No matter how many challenges we face throughout any given day, the weeks, months, and years seem to fly on by. This quote reminds me not only that this too shall pass, but to live in the present. It’s a great tool for parenting, especially. All of those challenging phases do pass, and when you look back, they were never as bad as they seemed while you were living them.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Brooke: Long Beach Island is very special to my family. My mother’s side of the family has summered there since 2001. Now in my own little family, I love going to Ventnor. I take my girls to the quiet beach and we go to Ventnor Coffee afterwards for iced coffee and a freshly baked sweet. It’s our own little girls’ day tradition. They are kid-friendly their and the prices are excellent. My husband and I are big craft beer lovers. He is a homebrewer and had the opportunity to brew commercially for a short time this year. Needless to say, we love visiting all of the new breweries that have been popping up in the garden state. We love Carton, Kane, and Spellbound in New Jersey and Tired Hands in Ardmore, PA. Gayle & Shawn at Tomfoolery in our hometown of Hammonton are great people and put out some creative styles.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Brooke: I love watching my daughters play independently when they think I’m not watching. Seeing their imaginations at work is rewarding. My little one loves playing with any sorts of dolls or figures. The other night, she was playing pretend using her fingers as people. I love that. My five year old is all about writing books. It’s such a pleasure watching her learn to read and write. It’s also pretty awesome to see that while they are both polite and kind, they are strong and assertive for three and five year olds. Whenever the girls come to the shop with me, we have to play shop. They pull way too much stuff off the racks and handle the money in the register more than I would like. My older one loves making “recipes,” which means she uses all of the spices and toiletries in the house to mix them up and make some weird concoctions. Needless to say, we have a lot of DIY soap and lip balm kits on her Christmas list to channel this hobby.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
I love my town of Hammonton. Our downtown has so much to offer. Casciano Coffee Bar & Sweetery is my daily place to get my caffeine fix and run into friends. Antique Marketplace is a giant treasure trove. Toy Market has the best selection of toys in the area and they put on some great events for kids. Sadee’s Clothing Boutique and Gorjess & LoveLee are where anything special in my wardrobe comes from. I also have to shout out to A Lovely Universe in Beach Haven on LBI. My cousin, Sarah, owns it and her style is always on point.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Brooke: We live in Hammonton, which is halfway between Philly and Atlantic City. My husband was raised here and all of his family lives in town which makes it special for us. There’s much more to Hammonton than just that though! Every summer we spend time in Ocean City; the girls love the fanfare of the boardwalk, my husband loves to eat, and I’m all about sitting on the beach. We enjoy going to the 34 Street playground together as a family. One of our favorite local businesses and places to eat is Randazzo’s, owned by a great family and the food is delicious. We usually stay in a house by Mike’s Seafood and enjoy ordering from them, too.
NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
I would encourage moms, now more than ever, to get involved in your community.
Brooke: Volunteer, join a moms group, attend your local school board or council meetings. I ran for our town council this year for the first time. Just like in business, I never imagined I would be involved in politics. Though I came just short of a council seat, the experience was incredibly rewarding. I learned a lot, met a ton of new people and I’m already excited to run next year.