I’ve been encouraging my friend Amy to submit answers to some interview questions for a feature on this blog for a while now, and I was super excited when she recently emailed me with some A’s for my Q’s. Readers, meet Amy Brown, the crafter behind Jumbo Jibbles, a.k.a. the crafter who made nutsawesomelyamazing giant artichoke and asparagus photo booth props for my wedding.
HO: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.
JJ: It all started when I made a joke and someone took me seriously. Â A new friend (Heidi, you) was having a wedding with a very specific theme, and I mused that it would be funny to have a giant artichoke and asparagus in the photo booth at the reception. Â They turned out splendidly and it gave me the confidence to explore fabric sculpture. Â I began an Etsy store to sell my stuffed stuff, as well as my smaller clay sculptures. Â When I moved to California, I was suddenly in a new market where I could advertise myself as specialized childcare provider in arts enrichment, due to my wide talent base in crafting. Â Years later, it still seems like a joke when I tell people, “I sew giant stuffed vegetables” or “I’m an arts and crafts tutor”. Â My elevator speech is “I take what’s in your head and put it in your hands”, and when someone asks me, “Can you do this?” I say yes and learn how to do it.
HO: Why did you decide to go in to business making this/these particular product(s)?
JJ: Making the big veggies was a lot of fun, and there wasn’t much market saturation (I’m totally pretending I know industry terms right now when I don’t). Word of mouth was helpful, as well as an internet presence, in getting me puppet commissions, another skill I didn’t have before I said “yes”. Â I’ve only just started doing fairs, and my products have a “pop” to them visually that draws people in. Â My creations make people happy.
HO:Â Do you have a day job, pets, a family, or a partner? How to you balance everything?
JJ:Â I’m currently in a charmed situation having gone from breadwinner to house-spouse temporarily. Â My spouse is incredibly supportive. I supplement my hobby-cum-business with freelance arts and crafts instruction for individual children and the occasional art party. Â I’m still getting used to the free-fall feeling of being in charge of my own success, but I have the luxury of being able to focus solely on growing my business and skills without a 9-5. Â I do almost all the housecleaning and cooking, but I cook what I want and spend the rest of my time making crazy-ass crafts.
HO:Â Whatâ€™s your favorite thing to make or do when youâ€™re not running your business?
JJ:Â My home and work life have so blended lately, that’s a hard question. Â I’m living in a city for the first time in my life, and I like to explore it. Â And if I happen to wander into a new used bookstore in my wanderings, I’ll bring home a stack of new books to lose myself in.
HO:Â Where can we find you online? (Website, Facebook, Etsy, Twitter, etc.)
JJ:Â I am on Etsy,Â (try to) maintain aÂ blogÂ of my projects and teaching, am onÂ twitter,Â tumblrÂ and mostly active onÂ Facebook. Â Sure, I’m onÂ Pinterest, but I have to have some time left over for work! Â If you Google “Amy Brown”, you’ll get nothing but the fairy fantasy artist, but “Jumbo Jibbles” is all mine!