- Name: Stefanie Jamison
- Age: Old enough to know better than to answer, and younger than my husband.
- Location: Gilbert, AZ (original residents of Power Ranch)
- Children: Joel (20); Daniel (16); Anneliese (14)
You founded a business! Tell us about your company.
Why did you want to start your own business?
I have a very unique story in how I came to teach Kindermusik. I had a child with serious developmental delays due to a life-threatening infection and intensive surgical intervention in his life when he was a toddler. I knew the power of music therapy from my background of study and research in child development at the University of California, Berkeley. So I took him to Kindermusik, and he learned to sing before he regained his speech.
Our experience at Kindermusik was life-changing as a family. We then were blessed with two more children, but we struggled to find a consistent Kindermusik experience for them. With the economy changes in our state we had 10 teachers in less than 5 years. So our last Kindermusik teacher recommended that I become licensed. It was an outrageous thought because at that time I was mostly bedridden from a serious illness. But I thought it would be a way to help my own kids out of the isolation that my illness inadvertently brought to them. It was also a reason for me to get out of bed and get dressed each day.
I started with one class a week. I was a solopreneur. Over time, I increased my teaching load to over 30 classes a week. The miracle of sharing music with others is what improved my own health and well-being. I will always have pain – that’s my reality – and yet singing and dancing helps me to function. Based on what I do on a daily basis as a Kindermusik teacher, no one would ever guess that the prognosis given to me by doctors years ago was that I would never walk again.
Tell us a little bit about your family!
I have been married to my college sweetheart, Robert, for nearly 27 years. We moved to Arizona for his career shortly after he completed his Ph.D. in engineering. It was always a dream of ours to run a family business together. Now that dream is realized as he is the tech genius behind our family business and chief problem-solver. He works full time now with me.
Our kids are actively involved in our family business as well. They started out by attending classes, then became aids in classes and now help ensure the studio runs smoothly on a daily basis.
Our oldest son has taught private piano lessons for the studio for the past 5 years. He is a sophomore in college pursuing a double major in piano performance and composition. The best thing about having a family business is that we get to spend quality time together and teach our children the value of hard work while they are still young.
What was your motivation to pivot your career to being an mompreneur?
Actually, my first priority and greatest joy is to be a mom to my three children. I was told I’d never have kids due to my serious illness, so they are a treasure to me. I never wanted to miss a moment with them. The Musik Box is an extension of what I wanted to give my own children in their very early years.
How do you make time for self-care in between all that you have going on?
I’ve been blessed to be a part of an international and interdenominational Bible Study since 1996. Bible Study Fellowship has provided the framework for our entire family to systematically study the Bible. This is the first and most important thing I do each day for myself and my family.
I also am excited that I get to exercise each day because there were many years when I was bedridden and confined to a wheelchair. I am also an avid crafter – from knitting to cross-stitch, I love to hand make gifts.
What lessons have you learned in your career that you apply to parenting?
My choice of career is perfect for parenting. My background is in early childhood development. So I am a specialist on knowing what children need and how to best optimize their learning. I take all the best research and apply to it how we can help our kids learn and thrive in their gifts. My kids are the recipients of my expertise and then from lessons I learn as a mom, I can encourage other parents. I have become a better parent through being a teacher. I have to learn new strategies for the classroom and challenging situations that arise that help me in being a better mom to my own three children.
What do you teach your children about success and failure?
My children have been part of our business from the very beginning. So they have seen our failures and have seen the hurt that comes with a business that you lead with from the heart. They have also directly contributed to our greatest successes. We have been named a top Kindermusik program for over 7 years. We are recognized by Kindermusik International as one of the top 1% programs worldwide.
How has motherhood impacted you personally and professionally?
Motherhood is the reason that I do what I do. My goal is to help parents in their most important roles – first teachers to their children. I am passionate about encouraging them and equipping them to connect with their children, so that these children can be the change that we want to see in the world.
Is there a promo code or discount code you can offer readers?
Yes, they will receive a referral credit towards their first month tuition of $20 by mentioning East Valley Moms.
How has your marriage been impacted by your joint career-life?
We have always wanted to work together, as we are each other’s best friends. We have different strengths that we bring to the business that work synergistically together. Robert’s zone of genius is that he loves to solve problems and he excels working through ambiguous problems and crisis situations. He really shined brightly during the early weeks of COVID by quickly pivoting our business to online offerings.
I have the heart and passion of an educator who wants to help children to meet their fullest potential. I love it when I see moms and kids have those magical moments of connection in class and carry it through the week.
What’s great about working with my husband is that we are able to be together throughout the day. We get to encourage each other through the challenges and celebrate the wins. It has definitely been a boost to our marriage.
For some fun chit-chat, now!
Favorite East Valley date night activity: We love to try different restaurants that allow us the time to chat and linger after the meal. We never run out of things to talk about!
Coffee order: Much to my husband’s dismay, I do not like coffee.
Favorite restaurant in the East Valley: As a family that runs a music studio, we need to pick a musical option. We love Organ Stop Pizza. That is our “go to” restaurant to bring out of town guests to for dinner and a show. We have even rented out the entire restaurant to have a parties with all of our Kindermusik families at one time.
Greatest challenge in your career thus far: This past year represented the greatest challenge with COVID and yet that helped us to innovate and create new ways of reaching families. It is really true that the trials help to refine you and grow you.
Best mom advice you’ve been given: Make the most of every day that you have been given. Yes, the days are long, but the years are short. If you invest in your children when they are young, you will have the most beautiful relationship with your teenagers and adult children.
Last show you binged: Our family loved Mandalorian
Favorite family tradition: Christmas is our favorite family holiday. Before we had kids, Robert and I created a Christmas flannel board and play for every family member to participate in. We have continued the tradition with our own kids and also with our Kindermusik kids every December. We love a tradition that can grow as your family grows.