BALTIMORE — Jodie Fair has two loves in her life.
She loves being a mom to her sons Dylan and Jaxon and she loves designing and sewing wedding gowns.
But finding a way to make her dream job actually pay the family's bills was challenging at first.
"I just wanted to make beautiful things but I didn’t know how to run a business," she said. "So as a mom it was either continue to fulfill my dream or get a real job and lose my passion."
Determined to hold onto her passion, Fair reached out to the group "Moms as Entrepreneurs", or MAE, which was founded by two business-owning mothers. Jasmine Simms owns a nail salon in Fells Point and Dr. Tammira Lucas owns several businesses.
"They made you be more disciplined [and ask questions like] how your business is going to thrive, who your customers are, how to reach those customers, what resources are available to you," Fair said.
MAE offers two programs for moms. Moms as Entrepreneurs Academy is an eight-week course (or cohort) about running a business that costs $149 to register.
The other program is Moms Makers Academy, which is a free, 16-week cohort for moms living in Baltimore City. This program runs out of Open Works and teaches moms how to build businesses in fields like fashion and tech.
"We bring in financial planning, we bring in attorneys, we bring in people from the state to help them really organize their business," said Simms.
"Our goal is to get the moms to reinvest back in their communities and not just build a business and leave Baltimore but build a business and invest in Baltimore," said Lucas.
At the end of each cohort, MAE holds an expo to officially launch the moms' businesses. Fair debuted her company Farrah Covington and her beautiful, handmade wedding gowns.
"One of my problems was charging what I was worth," she said. "It was no longer a hobby, I had to put a different type of business mindset into what it is that I create."
The other main component of MAE is to teach the women how to balance work life and home life. They even offer babysitters while the moms are in their training classes.
"We also teach them how to build a community with each other so its not just about your needs, its about the entire cohort needs and how you can support one another," said Lucas.
"This is about longevity and sustaining their neighborhoods, sustaining their families and building their legacy and we want to be a part of that growth long term," said Simms.
Fair says she is thankful for the knowledge and support MAE gave her, as well as the confidence to continue to pursue one of her loves to benefit the other two loves in her life.
"All of our children have a dream and we want to encourage that and we want to nurture that so why would we lose that?" Fair said.
"We set the example. If they see us living our dreams, fulfilling our dreams, they’re going to want to do the same thing."
The deadline to apply for the Moms as Entrepreneurs Academy and Moms Makers Academy is Friday March 8. For the MAE Academy, you can register here. For the Makers Academy, moms can send in an application by clicking here. Interviews will be done to choose 10 women to be part of the Makers cohort. Both cohorts will start April 1.