Written by Emily Hajec & Monica Brown
Photos: Little Wishes by Emily Hajec Photography
When Emily Hajec first moved to Chico six years ago, she found herself inspired by the landscape of Northern California.
“Bidwell Park in the fall, Butte Creek Canyon at sunset, the orchards in spring: It was all so beautiful and unique. It really inspired me to just pick up a camera and start documenting it all,” says Emily, who is originally from Reno, Nevada.
And it wasn’t just the beauty of Butte County she found inspiring. It was also the Downtown Chico business community.
“There is a strong sense of small business support here in Chico. You walk down Main Street or drive down the Esplanade, and it is just incredible to see so many little boutiques and locally owned specialty stores thriving,” she says of the dozens of Downtown Chico shops and restaurants.
In a world where consumers are being driven towards online shopping and big name brands, Emily knew there was something really special and different about Chico’s business district and the community supporting these local business owners. She soon found herself wanting to be a part of it and dreaming big dreams that, after five years of growth, would finally come to fruition.
With a love for photography and a passion for small business, Emily began envisioning plans for a studio; a home for her business-Little Wishes Photography- which specializes in natural light newborn, baby/child, and maternity portraiture in addition to her outdoor family sessions. She wanted something more than just an average photography studio; she wanted something different–something she could share with other women and organizations as well. “I knew that I wanted to open up the space to other women in business and groups empowering women.” So, when she met Monica Brown in the spring of 2017, it was a perfect match.
Monica-who is also a full time kindergarten teacher and children’s book author-is the Northern California Trunk Keeper for Matilda Jane Clothing, a unique and beautiful line of one-of-a-kind wear for little girls and women. The Matilda Jane brand is unique in that its pieces are seasonal and limited in their styles and designs. The clothing line is sold exclusively through official Trunk Keepers like Monica. “A Trunk Keeper is exactly as it sounds,” Monica explains. “I am the ‘keeper’ of the clothes. The Matilda Jane clothing, which is on display at the studio, are samples of the current line. Customers may schedule a private ordering appointment to try on the clothes, or book a personal show to host at the studio and invite their friends and family to attend.”
This past September, the two “mompreneurs” opened their 600 square ft studio, together at 1372 East 1st Avenue, and hit the ground running. “What sets our studio apart is that we each have a unique, specialty niche that we are passionate about, but we are able to time share the space. And-while running our own unique businesses-we are also able to promote and support one another during our separate business hours,” says Emily.
In 2018, the pair will continue to open up their studio and host monthly meetings and small events for other community organizations and businesses, including: La Leche League, Tuesdays Together; event coordinators such as North State Events; and independent consultants such as LuLaRoe and Stella & Dot.
And in addition to their regular services, Monica and Emily will also offer special events at the studio to bring parents and other business owners together. Emily will continue to host business seminars and photography lessons at the studio, in addition to scheduling her usual photography sessions for newborn and babies. With the Matilda Jane line, too, Monica has planned once-a-month Matilda Jane “Mommy & Me” events for the upcoming year. These are special mother and daughter themed crafting events for girls of all ages to promote bonding and cater to the whole child. “I want to show young girls that we can have big dreams and influence our community,” Monica explains. “I want this endeavor to be more than just clothes; the relationships that this business has brought, and will continue to bring, has meant so much to me.”
Both Monica and Emily agree that they want their customers to leave with more than just a product and service; they want them to leave with a positive, memorable experience. “We are just so excited to be able to support one another’s businesses, as well as other women in the community, while following our business dreams and pursuing our passions,” Emily explains.
To learn more about: the Little Wishes & Matilda Jane Studio, located at 1372 East 1st Avenue; the services and events offered; and/or to inquire about hosting a Matilda Jane Clothing show, please visit www.emilyhajec.com and/or www.matildajaneclothing.com/MonicaBrown.