When Baby Boy Bakery was founded four years ago, Jacqui Saldana had no way of knowing where her blogging adventure would take her. In the beginning, the site served as a space for Jacqui to share baby food recipes and recaps of family events. But fast forward to 2014, and this creative mama was forced to endure one of life’s hardest challenges: the loss of a child. Following the passing of her son, Jacqui made the difficult decision to keep Baby Boy Bakery going, and today, the site and Jacqui’s passion for design, motherhood and family have allowed Ryan’s memory to live on and inspire so much.
We recently had the honor of speaking with Jacqui about her most recent collaboration—a new collection of children’s shoes launched in partnership with Zuzii. Read on for insight into this tender-hearted mother’s life and business, plus a look at the couldn’t-be-cuter shoes in the new BBB x Zuzii line.
Can you tell us the story behind Baby Boy Bakery? How has the site evolved over the years?
Baby Boy Bakery started when my son, Ryan, was just a baby. I wanted to find a way to capture our little life together. My first posts were about sweet treats I baked for family and friends, creating baby food for Ryan and how I was growing into my new role as a mother. My blog has always been an outlet for me and a place where I can come to unleash my thoughts. When my husband and I lost our son last year, my blog became even more important, as I wanted to keep it alive in memory of my Ryan.
How did you come up with the design for “The Ryan Oxford” in collaboration with Zuzii Footwear?
At first, I thought designing a children’s shoe would be an easy task. Though Zuzii supplied me with endless choices on beautiful colors and textures, I quickly became overwhelmed. I really had to take a step back and channel what my son Ryan would have loved and enjoyed wearing. Ryan was always into shoes and had a few pairs that were delegated his “Fast Shoes.” I wanted to emulate that and thought that the lightening bolt was the perfect symbol to use. Of course, it had to be red, Ryan’s signature color. I also love the small shining detail of silver behind each lighting bolt pattern. It is as if each shoe is laced with a glimmer of Ryan’s power to run really fast.
Why was No Kid Hungry chosen as the destination for the proceeds from the collaboration?
Because my collaboration launched fairly close to the holidays, I felt that No Kid Hungry was a great charity of choice to give back to. It is a humbling thought that, no matter where you live, there are children around you who are hungry. Especially as we all gear up for the festive holidays, it is important to take the time to think of others and do whatever we can to help support them. I know selling shoes isn’t going to solve the world’s problem, but even if we help a few children, that is still something beautiful. Baby Boy Bakery is now known for giving back to multiple child-based charities, and I am so proud to have the chance to do so in any way I can.
I really had to take a step back and channel what my son Ryan would have loved and enjoyed wearing. Ryan was always into shoes and had a few pairs that were delegated his “Fast Shoes.” I wanted to emulate that and thought that the lightening bolt was the perfect symbol to use. It is as if each shoe is laced with a glimmer of Ryan’s power to run really fast.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
My favorite holiday tradition is decorating and baking. When I was little, my siblings and I would make paper snowflakes and we would listen to Christmas music while my mom helped us tape them around the house. Then we would always bake sugar cookies together. My first holiday season with my son, Ryan, was incredible because I was finally able to introduce my own child to things I love most about Christmas. There is truly nothing better than getting the chance to see holiday magic through your child’s eyes. I have found that the most simplest of traditions are the ones that create long-lasting memories. I am very certain my son will forever fondly remember decorating and baking with me as I do with my mother.
What are you most looking forward to with the birth of your baby girl?
My baby girl’s due date is Christmas Day! With it quickly approaching, I am finding myself a mix of emotions. What I am looking forward to the most is finally being able to meet her. I think we are all anxious to see if she will have brown hair like me or red hair like my husband and her older brother. The holidays for us will always be difficult without Ryan with us, but this year we have been given the sweetest gift of all. Our baby girl has no idea how much she is loved and also how much she will help us heal.
My hope is for parents to really live loud and wild with their children daily. It looks different for everyone—embrace what it looks like for your family and enjoy creating long-lasting memories.
Any advice for other moms and mamas-to-be?
The best advice I can truly give is to live in the moment and capture it all as best you can. Since Ryan was born, I made it my mission to capture our life so we could look back someday and relive all the moments—even the mundane ones. I took photos of him daily and really strived to make each day an adventure. Your children grow up so fast and you truly do not know what tomorrow holds. My hope is for parents to really live loud and wild with their children daily. It looks different for everyone—embrace what it looks like for your family and enjoy creating long-lasting memories.
What makes you feel invincible?
My son makes me feel invincible. Since seconds after losing Ryan, I have always felt him close. He is never far from me or my husband and I know this because of our strength to get up and live each day. Life without Ryan can get pretty unbearable at times, and all too often, I feel like quitting all my endeavors only to roll over and sleep. When I think of Ryan and his strong spirit, I become inspired to live just as he did. When I think of my Ryan, all I want to do is make him proud and show him that all I do is for him. I feel invincible because my son gives me all the strength I need to continue on in his honor.