Featured: Jen-Jen

Today I am featuring Jen-Jen Designs a very cool batch of local designs and decor items.  Take a look at her blog and see what she is making and creating.

Let's hear what Jen has to say...

Did your business start as a hobby – what was the inspiration?
My business started out as a little bit of a combo between a hobby and making a little bit of cash. My hobby of photography and graphics combined with a business mind for selling artwork is how my collection blocks came about.  After my collection blocks I added a decor line - of ottomans, cushions, lampshades, revamped furniture items and so on.

What do you think sets Durban aside creatively from the rest of South Africa?
I think the thing that sets Durban aside creatively is the laid back lifestyle we have. Durban has directly inspired me to use our local slang - which is translated and used on my artworks as part of my South African range of blocks. An example is 'kiff ' which I recently found out is not used in most other parts of the country and is considered seriously uncool... thank goodness for Durban. 

You tend to up-cycle and recycle unusual items and give them new life – what set you on this path of recreation?
The thing that set me on the path to recreating old items is simply just following the eco / up cycling trend. I studied Interior Design at varsity and I did my thesis on green design and revamping old items to fit the role of another / new items.  I think that’s what opened my eyes to seeing things in a very different way from what they are.
Your designs were exceptionally well received at this year’s House & Garden Show – what advice would you give creative business owners on product develop?
My advice would be to never give up hope, chase after your dreams and fight for what you believe in. Don’t get despondent when people don't love what you do, this can easily kill the joy you have for what you do. The best thing about a creative business is that you spend every day doing what you love, so make sure you are doing / making what you enjoy. Once things get busy and your business takes off you want to be happy doing it and still be just as proud of your products as when you first started. When you are developing your products they need to be pieces you believe in and think the world of - you need to be able to sell your product and have pride in what you have created.

What is next for Jen-Jen Designs?
What's next for Jen-Jen...? Hmmm who knows... I  have huge dreams and I know someday I will reach them. Over this last year I can’t believe how quickly my little business has grown. Over the next few months in preparation for our Christmas season I’m working on a new creative home decor range, new designs for my collection blocks, a range of framed sketches and a few more up-cycled items.