Monday, January 25, 2016

Moms on Mondays - Jennifer from Hawks and Honey

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Today on Moms on Mondays, I am featuring a local mama who I've had the pleasure of also meeting, Jennifer from Hawks and Honey!  She is a hard working lady, with two cute girls, who makes designs inspired by her own artwork.  Read her post below and then go shop!

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you? 

Hawks and Honey is my apparel and blog, named after my daughters.  Hawk for my oldest, her middle name is Chetan which means Hawk Spirit.  She's named after a family of hawks that circled our home the week of her birth.  Honey is for my younger daughter, named Basil.  The bees were all over my basil plants during her pregnancy and her nickname is Basil Bee.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.

I hand write and hand draw all my tee shirts and silkscreen them in my studio by hand.  Everything I sell is made by me! I have t-shirts and toddler leggings, and am finally extending my selection to include skirts and dresses! I also paint and do photography, so sometimes those are incorporated into my shop or blog as well.

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

I started silk screening years ago, but restarted a new brand in 2013 so I'm still pretty small, and like it that way.  I still enjoy sewing and silk screening, it's small enough that I'm not overwhelmed with orders or burnt out.  I'm an overall creative person, and have a hard time locking myself into one line of work. I like having my own businesses where I can focus on what I want when I want.

How long have you been in business?

My apparel business has been around for about a year and a half, and I'm excited to see what happens next! Currently, my apparel can be found in Made Art Boutique and online. But hopefully, over the next year, I can expand into a few more local shops.

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

I'm actually an Art Teacher at a private high school.  I went to the University of Arizona and have a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art Education, with an emphasis in painting.  I'm a mixed media artist and usually keep it pretty close to home utilizing images I've photographed and incorporating those into my acrylic paintings.  Although, most recently, I've been juxtaposing my love of the ocean with my love of the desert.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

I have two little girls five and two.  I've taken a few years off from serious painting because I was focusing more attention on my kids, lately they've matured to a point where they can entertain themselves a bit more, and work on projects with me so I've been able to start painting again.  My husband works full time and that allows for me to mostly stay home.  Because of that flexibility, I was able to focus on starting this company and experimenting with my creative energy.

How does this company help your family? Or you?

Hawks and Honey helps my family by giving me that alone time to focus on my personal goals.  It shows my kids they can support themselves with their skills.  It helps me remain sane.  I need to be creating something, and making something, to feel purposeful.  This business allows me to do that, and thankfully I've finally reached a tipping point where it's not just a hobby, but also it provides a small income for my family.

Did you ever think you'd be doing this? What did you think you'd be doing instead?

I actually thought I would be doing exactly this.  I knew that I wanted to teach art, but more as a back up or part time.  I knew I wanted to make things since I was little, unfortunately I don't think people take art seriously enough to encourage kids and adults to focus their creativity on it.  I spent a lot of my education believing I needed a back up plan that could support me if my art didn't.  Not that I think there's anything wrong with that necessarily, but I know a lot of creatives that have wasted money on an education they're not using, because they are so good at their art they didn't even need it.  I think not going to school and interning or apprenticing with someone successful is a much better idea for the arts industry.  

Does anyone help you with your shop?

I have friends and family that support me.  Sometimes that's helping with my kids so I can focus, other times it's offering a t-shirt design that makes me laugh, and sometimes it's hanging out with me while I cut fabric.  Help takes a lot of forms and I appreciate all of it.

How do you find time to run your shop and create products? 

I don't.  I forget to wash my hair some days and sometimes my floor isn't mopped.  And sometimes, my kids watch too much Netflix.  It's really challenging, but I just make a list and do what I can.  In serious production mode, before a local event or show, I'll stay up late at night after the kids have gone to bed and work until 2am; but thankfully I haven't had to do that in awhile.  And now, I just have a daily goal of making one thing (or things), and if I do that I'm happy with myself.

What do you love about this businesses?

I love that my ideas become real, physical things people wear, and I love that people connect with what I'm saying or making.  It's really exciting to participate in a community of creative people and get feedback and support from other local creatives.

What is the most challenging part of this business?

Being original.  Especially with Instagram and Google, I feel like anytime I come up with an idea I have to check and make sure no one else is doing it.  It's disappointing when you arrive at something independently but someone else is already there. When that happens, I try to focus on my paintings because I know that there are so many levels to my work it's going to be original no matter what.

Where do you see your shop in the future?

I see myself living in Hawaii and working from home, sewing and printing daily and shipping items to the mainland or selling at artist markets there.  I love the desert but the ocean is calling.  {Sounds like a dream!}
Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

Right now my mermaids and cacti paintings are my favorite, and I'm so excited to show everyone what I'm going to do with them next!

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

My advice is to find your industry and immerse yourself in it.  Find people doing something that you respect and ask for help.  I know I've had so much help from people in this community, and I'm so grateful they took the time to show me something and teach me something.  They're generosity did not go unnoticed, and I can only speak for myself but I think paying it forward is something real and accessible.  I know I'd be happy to mentor someone interested in learning how to do what I do.  I'm really believe that we can all succeed and I love the saying, "don't compete, collaborate." Find your community and work with those people, don't try to work against them; they're there to support you and likewise.

What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?

A few of my favorite Phoenix shops are:  Indie Nook - witty apparel, Meesh One Love - essential oil blends and malas, Miss Veronica Jean- adorable jumpers for littles, Mer*Made Jewelry- earthy gems and metals jewelry, Moss and Mountain - 1970s vintage-y apparel for kids and Strawberry Hedgehog Soap - vegan, chemical free, soaps that smell amazing.

Thank you Jennifer, so happy to have you!!  :)

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