[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #DC943C;”] C [/dropcap]reators like Johanna Glennen have found a way around balancing their craft with raising their children: they are taking their work online.
Johanna, of Warrnambool, is behind the hugely popular joeyjellybean label of children and infant wear that she makes at home and sells, mainly, through an online store and Facebook.
The funky outfits – including bibs, baby onesies, hoodies, t-shirts, bandanas and dresses – have sold by the thousand since Johanna started her business about five years ago.
At that time, she only had one child – Ezekiel – who provided the inspiration for joeyjellybean.
“It was after I had my first born that I realised there wasn’t a lot of interesting clothing out there for babies, and especially for boys, there was a real gap in the market,” Johanna says.
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #DC943C;”] W [/dropcap]hile Johanna’s mother, Oriel Glennen, is an established artist, Johanna says she “missed out on the artistic gene”, but she did teach herself how to sew.
She began her venture by making children’s clothes from interesting and eye-catching fabrics, but has soon branched out into drawing her own designs and screen-printing them onto plain fabrics.
“I grew up with a lot of Native American Indian stuff around the house, so I have a lot of those types of designs in my work,” she says.
“I am obviously not an artist – I can’t draw that well – but I think the naivety of the designs have become part of their appeal. They are a bit quirky and a bit different.”
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #DC943C;”] S [/dropcap]ince the launch of joeyjellybean, Johanna has had another three children, including her first daughter, Esmae, who was born just a couple of months ago.
With four children aged six and under, Johanna should technically not have much time for anything, but she has proven to be the ultimate multi-tasker.
“I taught myself how to screenprint and bought a screenprinting kit that can be set up on the kitchen table,” she explains.
While the children are sleeping, Johanna sets to work filling orders and making new lines: by the time they awake, the kit is packed away and the kitchen table has been restored to its normal self.
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #DC943C;”] A [/dropcap]side from screenprinting, Johanna has decided to also design her own fabrics -that are digitally printed by another company – before she sews them into gorgeous garments.
While Johanna sells through the Baby Bird Boutique in Warrnambool and at various art and craft markets in the area, the vast majority of her sales come from online.
It is a micro-business model that is being repeated around Australia.
“There is definitely a trend where there are a lot of young mums getting into making their own products and selling them on the Internet,” Johanna says.
Life may change, however, when Johanna’s children are older.
“I actually have a commerce degree and I am supposed to be an accountant,” she says with a laugh.
“I love accounting, so when the kids are older, I will probably go back to that.”
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