Friday, October 7, 2011

{Featured Artist} Jana from j. marie designs

Welcome to Featured Fridays on Snuggly Monkey! Each Friday we chat with a different Etsy artist and take a peek inside their Etsy world. This week we are talking with Jana from j.marie designs.
 Jana is an amazing children's clothes designer. Her designs are meant to be unique and are filled with special personal touches, such as embroidery, applique and monograms. She offers Skirt-of-the-Month and Dress-of-the-Month clubs (a great idea for a unique holiday gift for that little fashionista in your life!). And she does this all from her home on a small island in Alaska! Jana runs across some unique challenges in her business life - read on to find out more about this great lady and her business. 

Your shop is called "j.marie designs" but your Etsy shop name is actually Why is that? 
I had my Etsy username before I started selling custom items, so it just stuck.  The onetallmama comes from the fact that I am 6’2” tall.

How would you describe your work to someone who asked you “What do you do?”  
I love designing unique custom children’s clothing.  Hair bows, embroidery, applique and monograms just add that little special personal touch.  I love polka dots and I think I usually try to find a way to work them into almost every outfit!

How did you get into sewing?   
I started sewing as a young girl.  I started making clothes about 7 years ago.My mom and grandma were a big influence.  I remember my mom was always working on some sort of sewing project.  She made a lot of our clothes when we were young.  Mom taught me to sew.

What is your favorite item to create?  
I think the dresses with layers of ruffles with matching ruffle pants (or as we call them Maddie pants).  It is really hard to pick a favorite.  I also really enjoy baby gift sets and doing custom embroidery as well.
What aspects of your Etsy business do you find challenging? 
I haven’t really had many challenges.  Sometimes shipping times can get out line when we don’t have mail coming or going on the island due to bad weather.  But that is just part of the adventure of living and running a business on a small island in Alaska. 

Any ideas for how you might overcome these challenges? 
LOL  I can’t change the weather.

How do you advertise or promote your shop?  
My blog/website recently got a facelift and it has made a huge difference in the perception of my business.  It gave my business a polished and cohesive look.  I worked with a great designer from Media Mom Creative.  I think that having a cohesive look and feel is really important.
I also use both facebook and twitter.  I have also found that Pinterest has been a great resource – not just for inspiration, but also for showcasing or getting my name out there as well.

What is your marketing “philosophy”? 
‘Branding’ is really important, I believe.  There was an article that I came across on the Etsy blog right when I was struggling with the decision to redo my website and my look.  It discussed the importance of having a unique look.  (Article:  Courtney took the vision in my head and it evolved into the design of my website.  

Your website looks fantastic! How did you set up your banner and avatar on your Etsy shop?   
My shop appearance is all tied to my new website.  The design of my website also included my Facebook ‘landing page’ and my Etsy page as well.

Do you photograph your own items? 
I have been incredibly blessed to have a great photographer friend.  Amy, from Simply B Photos, has been one of my biggest cheerleaders.  I have sewn outfits for her daughter for over a year now.  Amy’s photography style really meshes well with the style of my designs. 
You have so many fantastic photos in your shop! Any photography tips to share?   
I think good photographs are important.  And a variety of different angles or shots that shows off your product will help the customer get a better idea of what they are purchasing.  Good lighting is key to great photographs of your products.

 As a fan of Inside the Actor's Studio with James Lipton, I've always enjoyed his final 10 questions that he asks all his guests. So, inspired by the questionaries of Mr. Lipton, Bernard Pivo (Lipton's inspiration) and Marcel Proust here are a few final questions for Jana.

What is your favorite word? Coolbeans (it covers a wide range of emotions when a ‘that’s great’ just doesn’t fit).  I use it a lot!  
What is your least favorite word? CAN’T
What sound or noise do you love? My favorite sound, which could be noise to others, is the laughter from my 3 kids.
What sound or noise do you hate?  whining
If you were reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be?  Dandelion.  To bloom, blossom and float away on the breeze…
Who are your favorite fictional heroes/heroines?  I love Dr. Seuss characters and books.  There is always a moral hidden away.
Who are your favorite heroines/heros in real life?  My mom.
What natural gift would you most like to possess?  Healing. 
What would you like to be when you grow up?  I’m still not sure.  J  I’m pretty happy with my life.
What makes you smile?  Life make me smile.

Thank you so much Jana for giving us a peek into your shop world today! Be sure to keep in touch with Jana & j.marie designs!
Twitter:  JMarieDesigns
Pinterest: Jana Mays

Jana has graciously offered to sponsor a fantastic giveaway for Snuggly Monkey readers! Tune in tomorrow for details on how to win a Custom Bow Tie and Suspender Set from j.marie designs!! Thanks Jana!


Henria O. said...

I think your Dress/Skirt of the Month Clubs are neat ideas!

Steph said...

I'm in awe over her designs! They are amazing! The Dr Suess dress is darling!

Tara said...

wow! it must be a bit of a challenge running a business from Alaska.
taraz9 at excite dot com

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