"I was thrilled to become a grandma," former Charlie's Angels star Jaclyn Smith tells PEOPLE
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Credit: Michael Simon

Jaclyn Smith couldn’t wait to become a grandmother.

“The love that you have for your children, it’s like ‘Oh my God. But this is even bigger — there are no words,” the former Charlie’s Angels star tells PEOPLE of welcoming granddaughter Bea in September 2016. “I was thrilled to become a grandma.”

Smith, 71, says she was a very protective parent but has learned to take notes from her daughter Spencer Margaret, 31, on being more laid-back as a first-time grandparent.

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Credit: Michael Simon

“Last night we were playing with Bea and water got all over the sleeve of the pajamas and I go, ‘Oh that’s horrible!’ and Spencer Margaret said, ‘Mom, that’s gonna dry. She’s enjoying herself.’ She’s a free spirit, and that’s good,” says Smith.

Spencer Margaret’s husband, actor Fran Kranz, is currently working in New York, which means lots of grandma time for Bea at home in Los Angeles as well as on family trips around the globe.

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Credit: MIchael Simon

“I got the chance to go to Rome recently and I wanted Spencer Margaret to come along,” says Smith. “She said, ‘Only if we can take Bea.’ I said of course! I don’t want to be away from her ever.”

Spencer Margaret’s pregnancy was not only a personal joy for Smith, but also led to a new professional endeavor for the family. As part of Smith’s ongoing partnership with Kmart, the actress and her daughter have launched a new layette set called Spencer.

“I was doing a meeting on my apparel line and I said, ‘I’d love to design baby clothes,’ ” says Smith. “And they listened and they said, ‘Boy, that’s the best idea I’ve heard.’ ”

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“You maybe would think we’d see things the same way, but we don’t” Smith says of working with Spencer Margaret on the collection. “She made me better and I made her better. She has a very sensitive and critical eye and she just wont go with it if she doesn’t like it. She stepped up my game in this area. Her research that she did was fascinating.”

Mother and daughter started a Pinterest board where they would share ideas and inspirations for the collection.

“I knew she wanted soft, muted colors and I knew it was going to be a sophisticated take, not the typical pink and blue,” Smith says of going with hunter green, navy and gray for the boys’ line and “whimsical prints” for the girls’.

“I couldn’t have done this line without Spencer Margaret,” says Smith. “I couldn’t have made it as sophisticated. I maybe would have done it in a more baby-baby way. I think having multiple points of view is important — and making this a family project was a great way to spend time together.”

Spencer is now available at Kmarts nationwide and at Kmart.com.