Posted: Feb 28, 2013 5:00 AM
 
Meet Jamie Grayson, the latest addition to AllParenting's team of talented writers. Jamie is our baby gear expert and will be here every Thursday to fill you in on the latest and greatest in the world of baby gear. Buckle up and come along for the ride while Jamie assumes the role of both interviewer and interviewee in this hilarious get-to-know-him introduction.

Hi there. I'm Jamie. Jamie Lynn Grayson if you're really formal. Apparently my mother never wanted me to have a chance. If you don't know who I am, you're probably wondering who I am. If you do know who I am, bless your heart. This marks my first article with allParenting, and I thought it would be appropriate to let you know a little bit about myself. Instead of the usual boring about me article I could have thrown together, I thought I would do a question and answer.... with myself. We shall refer to the interviewer as Jamie Lynn. You're welcome. I hope I don't confuse myself....

Jamie Lynn
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Hey, Jamie. I know you're busy, so thanks for making time for this. It means a lot.

Jamie:  No problem! It's my pleasure. I've always got time for you, you charming devil.

JL
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I am sure the readers of allParenting would want to know exactly how you fell into the baby business, considering you don't have kids. Do you mind humoring us?

Jamie Grayson sitting in OrbitJ:  But of course. I was an actor/singer/dancer for years, and when I was tired of touring I took a random survival job at BuyBuyBaby in Manhattan where I demonstrated the Bugaboo Frog on the weekends. After a few months of trying to teach people how to fold it, as well as telling people in 5th-floor walk-ups that it was ideal for the lifestyle, I realized I needed a broader knowledge base if I was going to be honest and truly help people make better choices. I read everything I could get my hands on:  books, sites (SpillingTheBeans.net was the first blog I ever read and I fully credit the crew at Magic Beans with helping me develop a crazy interest in the world of baby gear — and they had no idea at the time), and instruction manuals. I would visit other stores on my days off and play with products. I did everything I could to inform myself. So, after I was well-versed in products I began doing registries at BBB. My reputation grew, and soon I left doing product demonstration and was one of their head personal shoppers. I was still doing theatre at the time, so I'd leave town for a few months at a time to do various productions. I remember one day I was in my dressing room getting ready for a performance of CATS, painting my face orange and looking incredibly sexy in a wig cap and pajama pants, and a message came through on my Facebook from a total stranger. I'd helped their friends and they were told to find me because they were overwhelmed. I helped them out, and then more messages slowly trickled in. This is when I knew something was going on.

JL
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That's crazy.Jamie Grayson with his sister as children

J:  Trust me, I know. (At this point Jamie picked up his cocktail and took a sip.) So, I would often get booked 3-4 months in advance with registry appointments, and people would often wait for a few hours to ask me questions on the weekends. It was nuts. While I worked there I met Tara Mandy and helped her with her registry for her first child. She took my contact info, we stayed in touch, and I am currently the Gear Guy for her site StrollerTraffic.com — that was the first site I wrote for, and I owe her a lot. I left BBB after nearly 4-1/2 years, and began working at a birth education center in Midtown.

JL
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What was that like?

J:  It was the hardest and most amazing year of my life. Without going into it, the place wasn't doing well financially. We'd often go for weeks without being paid, so it was rough — but the education I received there was unparalleled. I went through classes in childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care. I really broadened my spectrum of knowledge and that informed my opinion of baby products tremendously. I was actually going to begin doula certification in 2010, but that March I was in New York Magazine's "Best of NYC" issue as the "Best Baby Gear Guru" in NYC. The next morning I had several hundred emails in my inbox, so I was fairly confident when I left the center that I would be okay.

JL
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So that is when you began working on your own?

I am currently on the Board of Advisors for Parenting and Baby Talk magazines, and I travel the country speaking at events for expectant parents such as the Gearapalooza event I do with Bump Club & Beyond

J:  Yes, in March of 2010 I officially left the traditional work force and began to figure out how to make a living on my own. Families would contact me through my old site, TheBabyGuyNYC.com, and they'd hire me to help with their registries. I've helped families all over the country, as well as internationally — and it's really cool to work with families at such an amazing time in their lives. I also write for a few different websites, I am currently on the Board of Advisors for Parenting and Baby Talk magazines, and I travel the country speaking at events for expectant parents such as the Gearapalooza event I do with Bump Club & Beyond (Chicago, Austin and Minneapolis). We are taking Gearapalooza to several more cities this year, and that's very exciting. I'm also helping open a maternity store in Coral Gables/Miami called Tutti Bambini. We've been working our butts off, and it's going to blow people's minds. It's two floors and an entire destination: spa, yoga studio, classroom space, photographer, nursery design studio and event space. The baby gear showroom was curated by me and the Tutti Bambini girls, so parents won't need to worry about any products in the showroom being of poor quality or value. I'm picky.

JL
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It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Anything else going on?

J:  I'm very involved in my social media channels. BabyGuyGearGuide.com is my site, but my Facebook community has blown my mind. I've really found the coolest group of followers there. Everyone is incredibly supportive of each other, and it's great to see them help each other out when I don't have time to answer everyone individually — which I still try to do. It's just getting very hard right now as my numbers grow and my schedule gets hectic.

JL
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I can imagine. What do you in your down time?

J:  What's that? In all seriousness, I am blessed with the most amazing group of friends ever, and they do a great job of making sure I behave like a normal human being and get out of my house. I also have my family in Minneapolis, so I love to escape NYC and spend time with them as I am able.

JL
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Jamie Grayson Nugget hugIf you would, talk about your family. I know you share pics of The Nuggets on Instagram and Facebook constantly.

J:  Yes. I adore those kids. They're my heart. My sister and brother-in-law have identical twin girls who are 2-1/2, and a boy who just turned 1. They're the best ever, and I am slightly obsessed with them (not to mention they are great gear testers). They are now obsessed with FaceTime, so that helps when I cannot see them for longer periods.

JL
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I hate to keep you because I know you're busy. Judging by the boxes of strollers in your apartment, you've got some work to do.

J:  You'd be correct. I get shipments almost daily of baby products to review, test, and give feedback to manufacturers about. I've my hands in all kinds of fires in this crazy industry, so it keeps me busy.

JL
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Anything on the radar?

J:  I'm working on something awesome, but I cannot be public about it yet. We shall see...

JL
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Well, Jamie, thanks for spending a few minutes with me here on your couch. By the way, it's not that comfortable and you might want a new one.

J:  Shut up. I just moved.

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