I just read Joy’s post about juggling motherhood and business ownership. I loved how unglossy it was. A lot of blogs and social media post the pretty things, and we (or I) start to feel really unpretty because my life isn’t glossy. We’ve been talking about this in the studio a lot lately and I wrote this post months ago but never published it. Joy inspired me too.
Recently a company that we’ve had great success working with for about 2 years told us that they appreciate our work, but they have enough travel prints and if they wanted to work with us again they’d be in touch. Ouch. I wanted to yell “I’ve been doing this for 10 years! When I made a wall calendar it was hard to find one that didn’t have a cat on it!” But in the end that doesn’t really matter.
It’s something I’ve known for about the last year. Whether it be on Etsy or on Fab, it seems like everyone and their mom is making travel prints. Some really cool but some are direct ripoffs of other artists (how many versions of Ork’s beautiful typographic maps have I seen on Etsy? And now someone is doing laser cut maps on Fab, just like Karen O’Leary’s hand cut pieces).
It’s been really stressful to start questioning my work, something I was always really sure about. It’s difficult to build a company and then start to feel like one in a crowd or irrelevant. I’ve started looking at my work and thinking “is this even any good?”. I’ve started wondering if my work is too inaccessible. Do I make things clever to the point that only a certain few get it? I’ve been told by some very big companies, that my work is “too beautiful and too interesting” for their customers. Are the patterns too complex? Too many colors?
It’s difficult when something that is a creative passion becomes a way to support your family. It’s scary to take risks because you are sacrificing income and time that is now really important. You start thinking of ideas in terms of numbers – I have to make X amount a day to pay the studio rent, and employees, and my salary, and for preschool…
It’s hard to get inspired when you are on the daycare clock. You have to get all the orders out and all the client work done and you can’t afford a full time employee to help because you are paying for someone to care for your child. When our son isn’t in daycare I feel like I should (and I want to) be with him, and I don’t really think of spending time wandering the museum or delving into old books in the library. Because of time constraints and the easiness of the smartphone, I’ve started to look for inspiration solely on Pinterest, but this isn’t working for me anymore. I see SO many extraordinary beautiful things, things I would have cut out and pasted into my sketchbook in old times. There are so many that I scroll by thinking “that’s pretty. that’s cool. that’s pretty”.
Juggling being a mom and an artist and a business person… that is a whole different post. It is something I get asked and emailed about a lot. In the words of my wise friend Jill, “I do it all, but I’m not doing it all well.”
Sometimes I’m energized thinking of taking the business in a new direction, sometimes it tires me out. I’m going to start doing handmade mixed-media versions of our prints. They will use silkscreening, embroidery, marbling, paper cuts… I don’t know if it’s going to be profitable. I’m not even sure our current customer base will want them. We might sell zero. But I want to try. I love my son seeing me use my hands and getting messy instead of sitting in front of a screen. I want him to know that life isn’t inside a computer or an iPhone. It’s outside.
So that’s it, my unglossy truth. I encourage you to share yours.
We will be in the studio packing orders and eating candy. We’d love for you to come and join us and do a little relaxed holiday shopping. Feel free to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org – See you Sunday!
We are at the tail end of a big website revamp (can’t come fast enough…). The next to last part is updating our Phone Case section. We are now going to offer iPhone 5, iPad, Kindle Fire and Galaxy S4 cases, but only in about 10-15 patterns. We want to know from you which patterns you would want to see our new collection of Tech Cases in. As a bribe we are offering a free phone case, pattern and model is the winner’s choice. Contest closes Sunday so head over here to give us some feedback and enter!
We recently launched our Neighborhood Map Prints. Each city’s neighborhood is filled with one of our JHill patterns. We did a bold color way and a muted color scheme for each place. The maps are available in 3 sizes and range from $12.50 – $50 (we are always happy to quote LARGE sized maps!) Right now the series includes Boston, Chicago, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Bostonians – we also have Cambridge and Brookline! Missing your city? Leave us a note in the comments and we will see what we can do!
Chicago Neighborhood Map Print in teals and reds.
Brooklyn and Los Angeles Neighborhood Map Prints meet a tiny dinosaur. It’s amazing how many neighborhoods LA has.
Brooklyn Neighborhood Map print in Bold patterns. Each one of our Neighborhood Maps comes in a bold colorway.
Manhattan Neighborhood Map print in peaches and greens.
Our dear friend and studio-mate, Sarah Winchester, happens to be from Atlanta. She was the perfect person to give us some insider tips on what to do when you are in ATL. Eating is always the most important thing to us. Here is where Sarah says to take a seat:
1. ROSEBUD: (Virginia-Highlands/Morningside) This great little neighborhood restaurant has some of the best food in the city with many farm-to-table selections. In fact there is a farmers market every Saturday in their parking lot where the purchase most of their food. I use to live right down the street from Rosebud and would seriously eat there at least once a week. The enchanted mountain springs trout is my favorite dish in the whole world!!!!
Photo via Atlanta Events. Check out this post on her brunch at Rosebud.
2. TWO URBAN LICKS (Midtown/PonceyHighlands) Very cool, big warehouse restaurant. Great food with a little southern fire to it. The restaurant also showcases a gorgeous, huge Todd Murphy painting. Todd Murphy is on of my favorite painters and I swear one day I will have one hanging in my home.
Photo via Todd Murphy
3. YOFORIA: (Virginia-Highlands/Morningside) – another neighborhood favorite and right across the street from Rosebud. WAAAAYYYY better than Pinkberry and with only 5 grams of sugar and ounce you can eat your heart out.
Photo via Yelp.com
4. HORSERADISH GRILL (Buckhead) – Even though it is technically in Buckhead it is tucked away in a beautiful neighborhood setting. A favorite for years of my whole family (we held my mothers 60th birthday there) it is across from the beautiful Chastain horse stables. A little country club chic and a little casual southern elegance, this place it perfect for any group. They have a killer trout dish as well and a lovely outdoor patio.
Photo via Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen, check out this post on eating their way through Atlanta.
5. GRAMERCY HOME (Buckhead) – Love love love this store. I have done multiple photoshoots for them and they always have the best things, I could go on, but check my previous blog post and post, to see for yourself.
Photo via Gramercy Home’s blog
6. PEICES (Buckhead) – I am sure most of you have heard of Peices and the uber chic owner Lee Kleinhelter. The little shop is perfectly curated with all those coveted interior design goodies you see in every magazine. Everything is totally lust worthy.
Photo via Manner of Style. Check out this blog post about Peices for some amazing shop pics.
7. B BRAITHWAITE (Howell Mill area) – World’s best baby store. The owners are a mother/daughter team (I went to college and am good friends with the daughter Chaffee, so please tell them hi if you go in). Their shop is gorgeous and the pristine white decor, makes you feel as though raising a baby will be the most wonderful, blissful event. When the baby challenges do come, they have an awesome blog, and a rolodex full of experts to help. Oh, and their cool and modern Kiawah Island beach house was in April’s Veranda magazine.
Photo via Sovereign, which has a great round up of small boutiques in Buckhead.
8. LABELS RESALE BOUTIQUE (Buckhead) – Do not judge a shop by its website. This is a great little consignment shop (hit or miss as with all consignment shops) but I have gotten some great stuff over the years.
Photo via Yelp.com
P.S. I would recommend approaching Atlanta by neighborhood. Each one has it’s own little feel and great shopping and food. Otherwise you will spend half your day driving…oh and always use back roads if you can. Most Atlantans, who live in the city, avoid the highways like the plague.
THANKS to our dear Sarah for a great round up!
Having a liquor store open below our studio has spurned a few more cocktail hours over here. We planned on doing this peach cocktail because we’ve been inspired by our Atlanta pattern and the studio has been a gazillion degrees. Of course the day we made them it is 60 and raining. C’est la vie! They were just the right mix of sweet and savory. A great brunch cocktail to replace your tired Mimosa.
We have been getting a crazy number of requests for a Buffalo, NY pattern for the last year. Little did I know that besides buffalo wings and snowy winters the city has some amazing architecture. Elements from some of these buildings inspired our new Buffalo pattern. There is only one thing… we are a little stuck choosing the final color scheme. I love all of these options, so I’d love your feedback. Which color way do you like the best? Leave your choice in the comments. Thanks for the feedback!
In 1936 Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind, the story of Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction. She tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in.”
I’ve yet to see the movie or read the book, but I know it includes everyone’s classic tell-off “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” This summer we have an intern working for us who is really into hand-written type. Brittany and I decided to collaborate on a Atlanta print / GWTW inspired screensaver. Click here to download and brighten up your desktop.
In high school I had a coke addition… Coca-Cola that is. I don’t drink soda anymore, but these new Coke bottles made of ICE could turn my cheek. Created by Ogilvy +Mather Bogata, the bottles have the signature Coke shape with the company’s embossed logo. Water is poured into a silicone mold, frozen and then filled with Coke. Each comes with a koozie-like red, rubber band to slip around the bottle, keeping the consumer’s hand from going numb. Pretty cool (sorry) but you have to hop on a plane to Columbia to get one for now. P.S. have you seen the sharing can?
I doubt Vivian Leigh (the actress that played Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind) and I have all that much in common… but one thing we do share is Bitchy Resting Face. It’s all in the eyebrows, a pressed lip and passive eyes. I can’t question anything without one of my eyebrows raising, and my husband and son get this look a lot (see the top right picture). And while I am a very nice and friendly person and do not mean to have a bitch face, it totally comes in handy on public transportation.
We are all about Boston as we release our new Boston Neighborhood Map Print, we asked our friend (and studiomate) Erin Gates who writes Elements of Style to tell us what she loves about Boston’s neighborhoods. Erin moved to Boston in the summer of 2011 after graduating from college and her favorite neighborhoods are Beacon Hill, Fort Point and the South End. Erin is spot on about Fort Point, our Studio neighborhood is quickly becoming the home of many great new restaurants (Blue Dragon, Tavern Road, Bee’s Knees, Trillium Brewery and soon a Mario Batali pizza place!). The South End is home to one of my favorites weekend haunts, SoWa and all those dogs at Peter’s Park are super cute. Beacon Hill is totally a postcard, especially around the holidays when snow dusts the cobblestones. Thanks Erin!
About a month ago I was excited to send out an email blast telling everyone about the new Neighborhood Map Print series, how we were kicking it all off with a Fab sale. But the Boston Marathon bombings happened the day before we were set to launch them, (we also had a Fab sale the weekend of Hurricane Sandy…) and after that I didn’t really care about promoting new prints (even though they took over 6 months to finish). Because we love our city of Boston, for the rest of May we are giving 50% of the sales from all our Boston prints to the One Fund. You can read more about that here.
I moved to Boston in 1997 to attend MassArt and I have lived here ever since. I have always loved Patriots Day, it is a MA-only holiday and has always had a “skipping class” feel to it. You can watch the Boston Marathon, see a sox game or hang outside with friends and family. And it is always sunny (ok not always but in my mind it is). I’ve never watched the Boston Marathon from the finish line, but I have many times on Beacon Street. I love that no matter if you are rich or poor you can watch the race anywhere along the route and cheer on those amazing runners. I love when, months later, I’m on Boylston going to the library and I cross over the faded finish line. It seems to linger there forever.
We heard about the bombs a few minutes after they went off. Our studio is about 2 miles from the Back Bay. We were so scared for our family and friends. It’s impossible to track down everyone one you love in a city so large. So many people I know have friends that were harmed in the bombings, they’ve endured terrible wounds from shrapnel and some have lost their legs.
In the past we’ve done fundraisers selling prints and giving the money to charities that support those affected by natural disasters, but I couldn’t bring myself to do this right after the bombings. The manhunt, the lockdown, hearing the victims stories, listening to a neighbor who went to high school with the youngest bomber, my husband having his train searched by armed police minutes after they killed a police officer outside… it was all too much. But a few weeks later I am morphing all that sadness, anxiety and anger into something positive. So for the rest of May we will give 50% of the sale of all Boston Map Prints and Boston Sports Map Prints to the One Fund (the charity set up by Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick to aid the bombing victims). Who knows, if it goes well we may do it longer.
Many of the victims have their own donation pages. I wanted to share the pages of those connected to us through friends, incase anyone wants to make a direct donation.
Marc Fucarile, is the father of one of my mom’s students. She has spoken very kindly of him, he held the door for her before he headed out to the marathon. He was critically injured in the blast. I can’t imagine what his family has gone through and I’m glad that his 5 year old son has my mom in his life right now. Besides medical bills and lost wages there must be a myriad of expenses a family incurs when a member loses a limb. You can donate directly to Marc via a website that his sister has set up for him at www.gofundme.com/marcfucarile
An hour or so after the bombings I saw an uncropped photo of Jeff Bauman online, his legs in tatters. It is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It turned out that he is the good friend of one of our son’s (lovely) babysitters. Jeff lost both his legs, and his friends he was there with also had serious injuries. There have been many stories in the news about Jeff, he seems to be making a miraculous recovery and has a very positive attitude. You can donate to Jeff at www.gofundme.com/BucksforBauman
I think of these victims everyday and they have helped me to curb any complaining I may be doing and to be grateful and thankful each day. I hope that we can raise some more funds for them this month!
xo – jHill
Besides doing our pattern/print line, JHill still does a little website and branding design – though we are picky about our clients. We’ve been working with Simons Shoes in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner for about 10 years doing design for their store and website. This year they said they wanted to start talking more about travel and I thought YES! So we designed a campaign all about imaginary travel for one of their new shoe brands, Chocolat Blu. It was so fun and (obviously) so easy – armchair travel being one of my specialties. With the help of our awesome designer Lizzie we expanded the email blast campaign into a series of blog posts. See how we’d wear these shoes to Barcelona, Marrakech, Nantucket and Crete!
I love stencils, I think it comes from spending our honeymoon in Maryam’s BEAUTIFUL Peacock Pavilions in Marrakech. The stencils at Peacock Pavilions were done by Royal Design Studio. In our last apartment I was inspired by our Moroccan room to do a black and gold pattern on a wall in our old apartment. Last summer we bought a victorian house and I’m really excited to do another stencil piece somewhere. I’m thinking maybe the wall in either our living room or dining room in one of these African patterns from Royal Design Studio. See all of Melanie of Royal Design Studio’s amazing posts on Morocco here.