Aunt Becky’s Jammies Program Provides Pajama Sets for Kids in Need
Writer / Grace Jackson
Photographer / Sarah Browning
The opportunities that life brings us ebb and flow, and it is up to us to seize them.
Just as surely as Sally – the one who sells seashells by the seashore – rolls with the tide, so does Becky Ruby-Wojtowicz. A mother, business owner, Hoosier and community member, she never planned to sell flowers out of an old home just one street west of the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple. To say she is simply selling flowers, however, would be an understatement. From what started as a niche offshoot from her previous career in the nonprofit space, lilly lane was born.
Through continued moments of serendipity, lilly lane grew into the thriving, woman-owned business it is today. As a Butler University graduate who “didn’t really leave the ‘bubble,’” as she puts it, she had strong friendships in the surrounding community that became her first clients. It was in the golden time when everyone around her was getting married, and she offered floral expertise that was sparked at a young age.
“I always made cute little crafts growing up,” Ruby-Wojtowicz says. Continuing such interest and passion into her adult life, she gained professional experience with arranging while working at the gardens located in the Indianapolis Zoo.
These pockets of passion and experience, along with a supportive group of friends and family, have allowed her to grow her business for over 15 years. Aside from making gorgeous wedding arrangements, lilly lane also provides their services for a variety of events, corporate and nonprofit alike.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they pivoted, further showing expert adaptability. As events and weddings were continuously being pushed back, lilly lane offered a monthly subscription program through which flowers would show up right at your doorstep. Despite minimal marketing effort for this service, Ruby-Wojtowicz found success in this too. “It’s fun to get to know people and make them flowers,” she says, forever focused on a personalized, not-just-another-vendor experience.
Building community is the cornerstone of lilly lane’s success. Just as Ruby-Wojtowicz’s early clients were friends, her new clients became friends, evolving together in the Broad Ripple and midtown area. There is even a close-knit group of lilly lane babies who have had the unique privilege of growing up together. Ruby-Wojtowicz has two children herself and loves the flexibility that her job offers to spend quality time with them.
Along with her niece and nephew, her kids were the inspiration for Aunt Becky’s Jammies, a holiday pajama donation program that will formally kick off this year. The first holiday season that Ruby-Wojtowicz’s daughter and niece were born, her sister-in-law visited her home and found a special surprise – matching PJs. At the time, matching holiday jammies was still a relatively novel idea, especially if the babies weren’t twins.
Nevertheless, it was a hit, and Ruby-Wojtowicz’s sister-in-law turned to her and said the words that would go down in history: “Aunt Becky jammies!” Now, every holiday season, her kids as well as her niece and nephew will wear matching pajamas – a tradition that allows the family to feel close even if they’re not all together.
Wanting to spread even a bit of that joy to her community, she officially began Aunt Becky’s Jammies. For every holiday gift arrangement purchased this year, part of the proceeds will go directly to purchasing pajama sets for children in need. This year’s package sales will dictate how much they can spend on jammies for next year. As a parent, Ruby-Wojtowicz feels very deeply about spreading positivity and magic to kids during the holidays, and wants to lift a small burden off of other parents who may be struggling. For her 40th birthday, her only wish is to give back to the community that has supported her and her own.
Though Ruby-Wojtowicz doesn’t describe herself as a go-with-the-flow person, the way she has seized opportune moments in her life is truly commendable. Despite little interest in a career in the florist industry starting out, she has sustained a vibrant, community-focused business where, as she says, “letting go of expectations is part of the process.”
“I think people really do associate flowers with feelings,” she says, when asked why she thinks people have an innate connection with flowers. She adds that a certain floral scent can bring up an important memory, and flowers can help people connect on a personal level. It is evident that lilly lane is a part of this memory-making process for countless folks in the north Indy area, and they’re looking forward to continuing it with Aunt Becky’s Jammies.