My sister and I were raised by a single mother in the bustling metropolis of Little Rock, Arkansas, where we were blessed enough to have Bill Clinton play “Silent Night” on the saxophone on Christmas Eve at Immanuel Baptist Church. My mother married when I was a Sophomore and shortly thereafter I had another little sister. After graduating high school in 1997, I attended the “Harvard of the South” (the capital “S” is very important): Ole Miss. My freshman year, another sister was born. I think having two sisters nearly 20 years younger than me was what initially triggered my interest in children.
I graduated from Ole Miss in 2002 with a BFA in Acting and a Minor in English. After hopping around to various regional theatres, working on a cruise ship, and touring for a while, I landed back in NYC and my temp agency wasn’t cutting it. I applied for a job at BuyBuyBaby as a product demonstrator. When they called me back for a second interview I declined and never called back, thinking that I must have been crazy to want to work in a baby superstore. Then I remembered I had to pay rent. I went back, secured the job, and the following week began talking to groups of people about the Peg Perego Prima Pappa Rocker High Chair and the Bugaboo Frog. My career was born.
Hired because I had a personality and communication skills, I would spend my weekends yelling to groups of 30-50 people at a time about the merits of a $750 stroller. Obnoxious? Yes. Hysterical? Duh. Over the next couple years I became completely fascinated with the baby industry and juvenile products. I immersed myself in whatever I could read journals, blogs, books, etc. I went from demonstrating two products to having complete knowledge of everything in the store, even doing research on new products that they needed to carry. I began doing personal shops at BBB and was often booked 2-4 months in advance with customers based on my reputation alone. I organized what we jokingly called “Stroller Class” where I would demonstrate the more popular strollers for groups for the better part of an hour (comedy gold) and then this would eventually lead to speaking about high chairs and baby carriers and bouncers and breast feeding pillows and bottles and everything else.
Many of my clients at work told me that I needed to leave and stop working for corporate and start my own business because I was far too good at what I did to make other people money. I agreed. I started my own business, TheBabyGuyNYC (BabyGuyGearGuide.com).
I left BuyBuyBaby and started working at RealBirth in NYC. For nearly a year I worked alongside some of the top doulas and lactation consultants in NYC, giving me MUCH more insight into the childbirth/parenting process.
I’ve appeared on The Today Show, Martha Stewart‘s annual “Baby Shower” episode, and in 2010 I had the honor of being chosen as the “Best of New York” in New York Magazine’s annual “Best Of” issue as the “Best Baby Gear Guru.” I am a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and the host of “Jamie Grayson’s Baby Gear Guide” which launches this Summer on the ULive Network. I am currently the “Gear Guy” for StrollerTraffic.com, a position I’ve held since its launch. I’ve been featured in the New York Times, Fit Pregnancy, American Baby, Time Out NY, Time Out Kids, The LA Times, The Seattle Times, Babble, Cool Mom Picks, NY Daily News, OH baby Magazine, BuzzFeed and many other online media outlets. In my “retail days” I was even featured in the Wall Street Journal. I had a brief stint on the WE Television series “Platinum Babies,” and also appear on various news channels discussing—what else?—baby gear. I also travel around the country, speaking at expectant parent events such as Gearapalooza, New York Baby Show, Drool Baby Expo, Bump Club Chicago, MommyCon, Brooklyn Baby Expo, Big City Moms, and the Baby Bites MommyBites Summit.
I am 38, gay, childless, single (feel free to help with that one), and for some reason baby gear makes complete sense in my head. I am also a bit addicted to Twitter….and Instagram. I apologize about that.