Friday, December 7

{Interview with} Jahje of Baby Jives

Hello friends,

I have another wonderful friend and small business owner's story to share with you all today. Welcome to Jahje of Baby Jives on EtincelleCreativeSTUDIO! We've been in touch for a year or more, I really can't remember how and why and who.... but I believe we first "met"via Twitter.




Jahje is making absolutely stunning mobiles made of wood, wool and fabrics, and loads of love too. She always comes up with the sweetest designs (butterflies, birdies, boats or clouds) and the best color combo ever! I got a bird mobile for my children's room a while ago (I thought it was for my office, but they insisted...) and they love it. I now have my eyes on a cloud mobile, just too cute!


Wonderful Jahje, welcome on ECStudio!


ECS: Jahje, please kindly introduce yourself, your work, where are you currently living and anything else you would like to share about your background and your family?
I am Jahje Ives the mama behind Baby Jives Co which specializes in handmade mobiles to inspire wonder.  I began the idea for the company when I was pregnant with my son, the original Baby Jives, and searched for a unique mobile (without finding one).  My mobiles are handcrafted one at a time using natural materials such as cotton fabric, metal, and wood so they will endure for years as a work of art meant to last long after the last diaper is changed. I am also working on expanding the line to include other children’s decor items in 2013.



The Ives family


I live in Philadelphia, PA with my husband Joe and our 2 children, Gavril (3 ¾) and Elodie (9m).  I was actually born and raised in Philadelphia and have lived here most of my life, minus 4 years spent in Houston, TX and 1 wonderful year spent in Rome, Italy.  I love to travel and joke that I must have gypsy blood since I jump at any opportunity for travel.  Of course now with 2 young kids travel is much more complicated.  As for dreams, I am living out my dream right now.  I get to work from home every day making art that goes all over the globe while I raise my kids.  It’s not the easiest job but it’s definitely the most rewarding.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Cloud mobiles {here} and {here}


ECS: What are your sources of inspiration for creating your adorable mobiles? How often are you introducing new designs?
Many of my designs are inspired by nature and my daily adventures with my kids. One of my favorite mobiles was conceived on a summer day when we were at the botanical gardens chasing butterflies and I thought, “What a wonderful moment.... I want to capture this and bring it home!” So my butterfly mobile was born. I am constantly sketching new ideas but I don’t often have time between my family and my orders to create new designs as often as I would like.  I try to give myself a day every month or two to just be in my studio and work on a new mobile without too much interruption (some is inevitable).  When I don’t get that day to focus I start to get very cranky.


Birds mobiles {here} and {here}

Where the magic happens... So pretty and dreamy!


ECS: You are a mom of two little ones who must keep you busy day and night. How does your working schedule look like?
Yes, Elodie and Gavril keep me very busy during the day and often during the night too {sigh}.  My work schedule is shaped around them.  Gavril goes to school 2 mornings a week and in the mornings Elodie takes a long nap so I get a few hours to work then.  Then many days we head out for a playdate somewhere so the kids don’t get too crazy.  Then my mother lives nearby and she comes over almost every afternoon which is an incredible help. I honestly could not do this without the help of “Gran-nanny”. When she is here I can get a bit done in my studio but my kids often clamor for me after a while and who can resist?  Then I make dinner and after the kids are in bed head up to the studio again to work for a few hours before collapsing into bed....and then it all begins again the next day.

Dreamy cloud mobile {here}


ECS: I have witnessed your growth over the years which is wonderful to see. How do you make things happen overtime? Are you setting up precise goals at the beginning of the year and if so, how often do you revise them?
I fly by the seat of my pants. Really. I do keep goals in my mind but if I try to lay out anything tangible it seems like life gets in the way and I just get frustrated that I am not accomplishing what I would like.  I have long term dreams of where I would like the company to go and I try to challenge myself to do something once a month for my growth (like reaching out to a blog or researching for a new product idea). When my daughter was born in February 2012 I made myself a promise that I would let myself just enjoy that first year of her life without stressing out too much about growing the company.  Now though I am hoping I can take a day for myself  at the end of the year and send the kids out with my husband and sit down and really plan some things for the business. But for now it is managed chaos.


I love Jahje's photo styling too! {here}


ECS: What got you started on Etsy? What do you like most about this platform?
I honestly can’t remember how I found Etsy - is that terrible?  When I was pregnant in 2009 I searched for a unique mobile that was not made of plastic or covered with cartoon animals and I think it might have been then that I stumbled across Etsy. I didn’t find anything I liked so I decided to make a nature inspired mobile using fabric that I had been collecting for years. It was my first bird mobile and the response was so great that I decided to open my shop Baby Jives Co on Etsy about a year later (when my son finally slept).  

What I love about Etsy is that people from all over the world can find my work and buy it while I play at the playground with my kids.  I love the freedom that Etsy gives me to run a business without an actual storefront.  I have actually run galleries in the past and I often think of my Etsy shop as my gallery that is open at all hours to anyone.




ECS: You recently launched a brand new website with its own e-shop. That's a wonderful leap I am ready to take as well. Who did you work with, and what advice would you give others when developing their own website?
My website took almost a year to launch and it’s still being tweaked mainly because I am a perfectionist.  I worked with the wonderful Eleanor Grosch, who I met a few years ago through a mutual friend.  Eleanor is an incredibly talented artist and designer who helped me create the look of the site that I wanted.  I created the drawings and the text for the logo and then gave Eleanor an idea of the different pages I wanted and she went from there.  Now that’s it’s live I maintain the shop, blog and some of the graphic aspects while Eleanor is my architect and site guru (I bow to her knowledge).

When developing your own site look to other sites you love for inspiration.  They can help give you a good idea of the pages you want to include and how to create a good flow for site navigation.  I would also say be patient and know that your site will always be a work in progress.  Once my site was launched there were a whole bunch of things that I realized needed to be added or changed but if I hadn’t let people on the site I never would have known.  And remember things will go wrong but with patience all can be fixed.  





ECS: Which design(s) are you the most proud of in your shop?
My clouds are one of the designs that I love best in the shop.  It’s such a simple idea and there are many cloud mobiles out there but there are no other clouds quite like mine.  Mine are fat little rain clouds with dimples and all.  Of them my favorite is the Showered with Love Mobile aka the Rainbow Heart Mobile.  It’s such a simple idea and honestly the inspiration is a bit kitsy; it came from all those years of watching early 80s cartoons like the Care Bears and Rainbow Bright where hearts would rain down from the sky to melt the hearts of the villains or chase away a bad day and the idea of simply wanting to shower my kids with love.




Showered with LOVE {here}



ECS: Last, you were recently among the finalist of the Martha Stewart American Made Award which must have felt quite amazing. What were you able to learn through this experience?
It was an amazing honor to be selected from over 2,000 talented applicants and then I managed to make it into the top 15 finalists.  One of the things that I learned from the whole experience was don't be afraid to put yourself out there. I almost didn't apply for the Award because I thought I had no chance of being selected. A fellow maker actually pushed me to apply and I am so glad that she did because even though I didn't win, the publicity that the event generated for me was amazing. Also since it was a public vote and you had to generate your own rise through the ranks I had to overcome my shyness and ask people repeatedly to vote for me. That made me reach out to a lot of folks that I had previously admired from afar to find that they actually knew of me and my work and were even admirers. 
                            
What an accomplishment!


ECS: Will you decorate your home for Christmas? Is there a family tradition that you love to follow as well?
I keep things pretty simple in the house but we always have a lovely Christmas tree.  Over the years we have collected and been given so many ornaments that pulling them out is always a sentimental journey.  This year with a baby who is pulling up on everything we will be getting a small tree for a table and letting the kids decorate it. Every year I also try to create a handmade ornament for Gavril and now Elodie.  I also love baking for the holidays and Gavril loves to help me decorate.  I have been collecting cookie cutters for years and along with angels we also have dinosaurs, guitars, and hippos on our Christmas table.

Baby Jives mobiles in gorgeous nurseries {here}


ECS: Etsy favorites/ pick up 4 items from different shops on ETSY that you really like.
It’s so hard to narrow down but here are a few things that I would love to end up with in our home this year.  


For my husband
A laser cut print by Rob Ryan {here}

My husband and I have collected art for years and I love the message of this one (something that we need to be reminded of now that we have children).

For my daughter
Freja Toy’s Crochet Baby Fruits {here}

My daughter chews on everything and is delighted by rattles.  I love that she could use these to teethe now and they would be a wonderful imaginative toy later.  

For my son:
Transportation memory game by Little Sapling {here}

My son is obessed with trucks and I know he would like this not just to play the matching game but also to pretend with.

For myself
Aztec geometric legging by Iheartnorwegianwood {here}

I live in leggings and dresses in the winter and I can’t wear jewelry right now with a young baby so why not dress up my legs?  

{...the end...}

I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Jahje has been such an inspiration for me these past months, and I am so inspired by just thinking all what she was able to achieve in just 2 years with two little ones in toes. I hope she has inspired you as well.
Thank you for accepting this interview Jahje!




Behind the scene...


:: Jahje is extending a special discount for you dear readers. Use the code ecs2012 for 10%off on www.babyjives.com and www.babyjivesco.etsy.com.
Valid until ....


:: You can read all my {Interview with} posts by clicking {here}. If you have started your Christmas shopping and are looking for unique, special gifts, I have got it covered for you!

Have a wonderful weekend ahead!





2 comments:

Natalie Barnes said...

Wonderful interview! I adore Baby Jives pieces - artistically beautiful but still functional - and it's lovely to go behind the scenes.

Marie Maglaque said...

Thank you for your comment Natalie! I am an admirer of Jahje's work and I own one of her beautiful mobiles... more to come!

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