Healthcare Professionals, click here

Q&A with Ashley Wade on the Launch of the Joeyband™’ and Supporting Women-Led Businesses

Q&A with Ashley Wade on the Launch of the Joeyband™’ and Supporting Women-Led Businesses

The catalyst behind Joeyband™’s launch was when our co-founder, Hayley, dropped her newborn while practicing skin-to-skin. When she failed to find a product that could prevent the same thing from happening again, Hayley realized there was an unmet need for parents looking to practice skin-to-skin.  She immediately turned to her sister, Ashley, to work towards a solution.

The Joeyband™ was invented and patented in the following months. It’s now used in over 300 hospitals across North America, and has helped over 100,000 newborns and parents to bond during safe skin-to-skin care.  

While Hayley was determined to help other parents to feel more confident practicing skin-to-skin, the Joeyband™’s success isn’t born from an individual vision. Instead, it’s a product of the drive, support, passion, knowledge and determination of the team behind it.

Hayley co-founded the Joeyband™ with her sister, Ashley in 2013.  Together, the dynamic sister duo then met Sarah Cox in January 2017, who would eventually round out the team by becoming the third co-founder and partner. Now, the entire Joeyband team works passionately to ensure the Joeyband is becoming the standard of care for newborns across North America and internationally. 

In this blog, we chat to Ashley about her drive to support women in business, the charities she works with and what it’s like to launch a business with the people you’re closest to.

You have an impressive history of supporting women-led organizations. In addition to co-founding Joeyband™, you’re involved with Visionary Women, a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of women, and SheEO, an organization which finances female-led and owned businesses. What made you so passionate about supporting women in business?

Well, I am a woman, and I am raising two amazing daughters. They’ve seen their Dad succeed in business, but women identifying entrepreneurs tend to fly under the radar a bit more - they often don’t get the same support, funding, or visibility that men do.  So many great ideas get left behind, ideas that can change the world.

When I see my daughters, and think of their future, it’s important for me to support women and get involved where I can.

All businesses go through challenging periods, and sometimes pivoting, brainstorming and restructuring are all required to drive growth. What kind of advice would you give to business owners when times are hard?  

Keep moving forward and trust your gut. Also, if you enjoy a nice glass of wine, that can always help now and again

As a company, we’ve navigated our fair share of twists and turns since launching. What is your ultimate vision for Joeyband™?

My ultimate vision is to have the Joeyband™ on every mom, in every delivery room, for every birth around the world. We know this product makes a difference, and together we want nothing more than for every mom and baby to have the healthiest start possible - no matter how or where they deliver.

You co-founded this company with your sister, Hayley as well as your friend, Sarah. Have you encountered any challenges launching a business with people you’re so close to?

What’s great about starting a business with your sister, is that you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how they really feel.  When we launched Sleepbelt (Now Joeyband™) in 2013, it wasn’t my first venture with Hayley.  We have been working together for 20 years, in some capacity or another - we had already figured out our roles and responsibilities, well before we started this business. 

When we met Sarah through SheEO™ in early 2017 and she joined us, she brought along a whole new set of skills, which is why she complemented us as a duo so well.  The three of us may not all see eye to eye on everything, but we have deep respect for one another, and that makes navigating challenges easier.

You’re heavily involved in philanthropy and supporting various causes. Are there any you’re particularly passionate about, and what is your biggest takeaway from supporting them?

I am incredibly passionate about Victim Services of York Region. Having spent most of my life in York Region, I was deeply shocked and saddened to learn about what my neighbours had experienced. Things I never realized happened in York Region, like human trafficking.

I feel it’s important for me to give back to a group that has heart, and is led by an amazing woman, Gillian, who truly cares. My biggest takeaway from working with both the team and the beneficiaries of this organization can be summed up in two words: Resilience and Kindness.

Businesses and the people behind them both rely on support and belief from others. Is there anything society can do differently to inspire more philanthropy? 

I recognize that the traditional form of philanthropy is a privilege and may not be something that everyone can do. 

I am a big believer in us all having something that we can give; whether it’s time, money, support or simply compassion. I also believe philanthropy could be a lesson that begins in school. We teach math and science, but there are no real structured lessons on empathy, support and giving.  It’s important to cultivate these skills early on in the developmental years,  and make it a lifelong commitment.

Philanthropy, and helping, feels good too. It’s not all giving; I find I receive a lot of value from it as well.