It's my pleasure to feature fellow Canadian artists. Meet Janis and Jessica, our Saturday Artisans! They are the two ladies are mother and daughter, the artists behind JaJeJems. It is my dream to visit Newfoundland and Labrador one day. Let's get to know them more, shall we?
Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?Before I retired in 2009, I worked as a dietitian, managing the food service department in a large residential facility. During these years my husband Roy and our two children, Kiah and Jessica lived on a hobby farm where we raised pigs, sheep, cows, horses and chickens. In addition to raising animals, weaving, spinning, quilting and needlework were a part of everyday life. To prepare for the idle hours of retirement I took a water colour course, on a whim. Not only did I enjoy this new creative outlet but also I made friends with a woman who operated a framing shop and sold jewellery findings. That is when I started taking apart old jewellery to make new pieces for my friends and family. The response was positive! At about the same time my daughter Jessica moved to the east coast and started collecting and wire-wrapping sea glass. From that point we started making jewellery together and soon added new techniques to the mix, like making handmade glass beads.
What is the story behind your shop name?When Jessica and I decided to open our online store we had to come up with a name for it. JaJeJems was our choice, combining the first two letters of our first names with the word Jems which we felt could describe not only our jewellery pieces but other pieces of creative work that we might want to add in the future.
Who is your target market?At first I would say that we just make jewellery that was fun with everyone in mind. Now we are more focused on appealing to people who love glass in all it's forms, from frosty sea glass to uniquely individual handmade beads.
Which part of creation process that you enjoy the most?For me the most enjoyable part of the creative process is the planning. I love to look at what materials I have at hand and dream of a possible finished piece. Part of the plan of course means selecting other components and deciding on what techniques to use. Sometimes new techniques need to be learned. Often the plan changes as the project progresses but keeping the dream alive can be the biggest challenge and the most fun!
For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town/ city?For several years my husband and I have had a cottage on the west coast of Newfoundland, his home province. It has been our dream to retire to the same area. In March 2013 we purchased a former convenience store in York Harbour and moved there last September. York Harbour is a small quiet village which livens up in the summer with tourists and cottagers. The scenery is breath taking and we feel like we have arrived in paradise!
What is your best seller?At the present time we find that our best sellers are our sea glass jewellery and sculptures.
How do you balance your personal and work life?Balancing personal life and work is always a challenge. I have found that the best system for me is to devote a designated number of hours a day, five days a week to the business. However, working at home means interruptions and distractions and the plan doesn't always work. I often find myself popping in to the online store in the evening hours to do a little "work". Having said that I remain happy with both my personal and work life.
What inspires you?I am inspired mostly by the everyday things around me. One thing that painting has taught me is to appreciate the subtlety of the world whether it be colour, contrast, shadows or even the simplest objects that I see daily.
What is your goal for 2014? And are you on the right track?When we purchased the store here in York Harbour our goal was to open it this year as a gallery/cafe to become the "bricks and mortar" home for JaJeJems and to offer bakery items and homemade pizza to the local people and tourists. Well we are still on track with those plans with the opening of our gallery/gift shop on May 8, 2014 and the bakery and cafe to follow later in the year. Exciting times for sure!
Any advice for others running their on-line shop?Three things that I think are very important in running an online shop:
Have very good quality pictures of your work and more than one, write detailed descriptions of each piece, learn as much as you can about social media marketing
What does handmade mean to you?For me handmade has a special meaning. When I think of an artist or craftsman designing and making a work I always feel that they are pouring a bit of themselves into it. If I receive an handmade gift I appreciate the work that has gone into making it unique. Whether the artist made it with me in mind or it was purchased by someone who knows my taste, it becomes a treasure. No factory produced piece could measure up!
What is your favorite quote, song, or movie?Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with the big dreams has more power than the one with all the facts (anonymous)
Where can we find JaJeJems?Facebook
Websites: www.jajejems.com and www.theroostatyorkharbour.com