Seven Smooches

Imagine for a moment that you are a stay-at-home mom with a workaholic husband, five kids between the ages of two and nine, a new dog, and almost no babysitting help.

What would you do?

How about start up a new business? That’s what Jennifer List, wife of my colleague and co-author John List, did. The result is Seven Smooches. They make handcrafted, one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories for children. Although they are just getting started, they have already been featured in Country Living and Real Simple magazine. Rumor has it that Halle Berry and Courteney Cox Arquette‘s daughters wear Seven Smooches.

Word to the wise: if you want it delivered by Christmas, you better order it right away. After all, Jennifer (and her business partner) hand-make everything, she has five children, and her husband is a workaholic.


If he is a workaholic how did they ever manage to end up with 5 kids?

(Also, I love how *us* economists don't seem to think calling someone a workaholic is derogatory. In the rest of the world - outside econ-world - it's not usually a complement that a friend would post to a blog.)


Why would you want to let the world know that your friend is a workaholic and that his wife doesn't have the childcare support that she needs? Who needs enemies?


Isn't child labor illegal in this country? ;-)


Mars, I *wish* I deserved the title.


I'd stop having kids if my husband didn't want to be a father. But that's just me.


"What would you do?"

Find a husband who was committed to his family?


That's a lot of judgement in the comments so far. I think a good general rule is to assume that if you've read one paragraph about a family, your knowledge of them amounts to not much at all, and judging their parenting is pretentious at best. Not to mention the fact that their situation was clearly simplified for space and effect.

On to the meat of the post, I think that's a great idea! I have no idea what it is that differentiates these from regular kids' clothes, but this is a further testament to the idea that anyone can start a business if they're willing to gather the knowledge, think creatively and put in the work.

Congratulations to your friend.


I think the idea of starting a new business is very smart. If she has the time and place, but is limited by her mobility, then it works. She has the inspiration from her own kids. What makes it special is that it's all one of a kind so there is special and individual thought to each garnment.
Its also special because it is not a money driven business; its just a woman seeking to pass time. She can refuse to make clothes whenever it becomes to hectic or when she needs a break. If possible I think more stay at home parents should follow this idea. It's not very demanding and a great way to get involved with your own kids.

#8 "Its also special because it is not a money driven business; its just a woman seeking to pass time. She can refuse to make clothes whenever it becomes to hectic or when she needs a break. If possible I think more stay at home parents should follow this idea. ==It's not very demanding and a great way to get involved with your own kids.=="

I'm guessing this commenter doesn't have kids. Or sew. Or run their own business. Or, um, walk around with their eyes open?


Call your visiting teachers.


I support what #7 is saying, there is no way that you can judge a person, or even less, a family, just with a two-paragraph guideline.

The fact that her husband is an alcoholic doesn't mean that love isn't present, so #6, that might not be an option.

Starting your own business sounds like a very good way to cope with the problem. If she is good at making clothes, then she should do them, have a good time while doing so, and get money out of it, so either way, she is better off with this new business she has created.

As #7 said, congratulations to your friend, but especially his wife.


Auw, what a cute name. 7 smooches. okay. just something I wanted to mention is that, man, its incredible how much power an artist can have. This implicit power of actors to trend set, such as Halle Berry, greatly outruns the power of money. This reminds me of a test I took today in my economics class because it makes me wonder the following: I thought that Long-Term in economics referred to a period where all costs are variable, not fixed. Short them would then be the time when there is at least one fixed cost and other varible costs. But in this company, is there a fixed cost of an apartment if the owner really didnt pay anything for it and can still use it for the same things she did before. I guess the home would be an implicit fixed costs or a sunk costs. hmm


Wow, that wife is probably the definition of being efficient. it is a rather smart tidea o take the spare time one has at home and convert it into a money making business. Not only that, but the wife is simultaneously working with her family, thus making the task a family activity which brings otherwise happiness and enjoyment. Hence, selling the garments is merely a plus to the whole family fun time. Moreover, its smart since the family gets to keep all of the profits since there are no extra laborers . So two- thumbs up for her!!1


As far as passing judgement, my first thought was, "those clothes must be expensive". I'm thinking if I had five kids, my lesuire time would be worth a lot of money.


First of all I must say I LOVE Friends!!(since they are talking about Courteney Cox. Anyways, umm, a small correction to JoseAngelCMS, he is not an alcoholic, he is a workaholic. Although both situations are very time consuming.
This seems as a good "job" since relatively no money needs to be spent on capital, since she can work at home. At first glance it seems that this profits her economy.
Next point, this wife definitely found something to spend her time on, although I believe this will be truly efficient, only if she participates in this with her children. Because this will be very time consuming, and she also has the "job" of raising her children, which is a much important job. Congrats! And remember to truly care about truly matters, FAMILY. And of course economics as well.


If her husband was so busy, I wonder how they were able to have FIVE children! The decrease in the number of children is due to stress and lack of spare time… Anyhow, I would like to congratulate them for a nice big family and for her successful business. As maxi pointed out, she's a super multi-tasker! Getting a lot of PPs (utility points) and making profit. She definitely wouldn't need a babysitter either. About the workaholic husband, he's very lucky to have a such an efficient wife!

Hilda CMS

I think this mother should be admired and followed. I mean, it's not everyday that you see a mother that is practically raising five kids on her own and has a new dog decide to open a business. I believe it is admirable entrepreneurship. Moreover, the fact that she decided to launch a clothing line for kids makes the whole business so much more personal. Also adding to that is the fact that each article is handmade and unique. The fact that the clothes are made in a home and with a family and also that they are unique adds a lot to the business's reputation and helps them a lot. I think it's a great idea overall.

Michael From China

five children and a workaholic husband are sunk conditions,what am i gonna do?i will call babysitting!


For the issues i have seen, Real Simple magazine is only simple if you have a boat oad of money and formerly lived in a huge house in the NYC metropolitan area. Not real simple like living in a single wide trailer, sharing a car, and using goodwill sourced dining plates and utensils... Same thing goes to Country Living... Maybe Country Estate Living is a more apt title...

Just like car magazines which don't show the real world...

All in all, I wish the lady good luck and hope she actually hasn't "nannied up" to accomplish her business goals. My wife was in Costco the other week and overheard some Williamson County (Nashville TN's Gold Coast) wife complaining about not having enough time to prepare party foods even with TWO nannies...


I would guess that a 'workaholic' economist like Mr. List must offer quite a bit to his wife and five children. I could imagine that these are kids that feel loved and protected -- and I would think that they are excellent readers and scary good at math. Maybe the definition of 'workaholic' can be extended to both mother and father, as it seems that both have managed to pile more than the average load of work on top of what seems like a admirable dedication to work AND family.