Happy Monday! Today we have a really great Creative Feature for you – Lynnette Rogers of Janey Mac. Lynnette is a self-taught graphic designer, mother of four, and creative talent behind Janey Mac – a popular online shop for home decor, including vinyl decals and wall prints. Lynnette shares the story behind her brand – as well as her advice for running a creative business, balancing work and family, and finding inspiration in everyday life.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a mother of 4. We currently live in the foothills of Idaho and my kids love to get out and explore with their friends. Since we finally live on acreage, we are looking for the perfect family dog – or two – to share all of our camping and exploring memories with. I love the warm weather and being outside, so Idaho winters are hard, but the summers are great!
Tell us a little about Janey Mac.
I started Janey Mac in the recession, it was the very end of 2008. Before this I had been working as a draftsman for an architect and my husband is a builder, so we were both deeply financially affected by the the bank failures in the fall of 2008. I had been self teaching myself graphic design in illustrator for the last 6 or so months and had some designs for stationery. My sister in law told me about this website, Etsy. She had been selling clothes on there and thought maybe I could try and sell stationery on there. I opened up a store on Etsy at the end of 2008 – stationery didn’t seem to be doing so well, but I had a bunch of cute designs I wanted to do something with. I noticed that large vinyl decals – firetrucks, trees, etc were on the rise in popularity. So I bought a vinyl cutter and found a vinyl supplier and figured out how to start turning my designs into decals!
This was exciting and super frustrating at the beginning – I had no idea what I was doing, but I was determined to figure it out and I did. Decals started selling right away and we did had a few pretty decent months to begin with. At that point my husband had to take a job in another state so we packed everything up – including the new vinyl business – and headed out. A few months after we moved, the business just sky rocketed in sales. I was pregnant with my 3rd child at the time and my two boys were 1 and 2 years old. My husband and I worked lots of very very late nights after the kids went to bed! The business has been steady and great ever since, and now that my youngest is starting to get a little older and I feel like I am starting to be able to invest more time back into the business again, we will be launching a few new products this year that I am super excited about.
How do you see Janey Mac growing in the near future?
The business has been steady and great for the last six years. I will admit that I have been mostly busy with dedicating my time to my kids, so my to-do list of things I would like to do with the business gets longer each year. Now that my youngest is starting to get a little older, I will be able to start investing more time back into the business again. We will be launching a few new products this year that I am super excited about. We launched digital prints last year. This year we will be adding more designs and adding printed – not just digital – prints as well. And more bedroom accessories to complete the whole room. Most of our sales come from our Etsy shop – JaneyMacWalls – and we have our own website as well – shopjaneymac.com.
Any tips for balancing work and family?
This is a constantly changing balance I have learned. For me, I can’t work with my kids around. I tend to be short with them and then I feel guilty, so I used to work really late nights every night after they went to bed. Now, with only one not in school, I am able to work during nap time – and then I have a nanny that comes in two days a week. I think a family-work life balance is different for everyone – this is what I have learned works best for me and my family. When I am working, I need to be focused and work since I only have a few hours a week to fit this in. And then when I am with my kids and family, I need to be focused solely on them. I also don’t work much during the summer. I love to play and enjoy the warm weather, so I try to get all my designing and new product development done during the school year.
Which of your projects are you most proud of, and why?
I think Janey Mac as a whole makes me really proud. I knew nothing about the vinyl industry and I was able to research and figure it out.
What inspires you?
So many different things inspire me. Seeing a random pattern can trigger a design idea. Watching Shark Tank can inspire a new business method. I think what’s important about inspiration is it comes in so many different forms, the trick is to be able to see it. Different inspirations continue to give me drive in my business. This year’s new product releases comes from an inspiration to brand my company. As I work at trying to brand my company, there are so many different horizons to be inspired by. It’s a fun time in your company when things are changing and expanding.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning?
Saturday mornings are all about family. Saturday is by far my most favorite day! If we aren’t heading off to a soccer or basketball game, we are either making a nice big breakfast together or getting ready in the summer time to go out and explore for the day. We also love lazy Saturdays when we sit around and watch college football with our boys and drink hot cocoa.
Do you have any advice for living a creative life?
I think everyone lives a creative life – we are all creative in one way or another. We all have talents in different areas. Everyone loves to be creative or expert at something. It’s hard when there’s a pressure to be creative, like when you have to fit things into deadlines. To me living a creative life, is living the life you want to live, feeling like you are doing exactly what you want to be doing with your life and then excelling at life, trying to be your best with the life you want to have.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lynnette! I love what you said about everyone living a creative life – sometimes it’s hard to see it, but it’s definitely true. We all have our own ways of weaving creativity into our worlds – and sometimes all it takes is stepping back a little to see and appreciate it. We wish you much continued success with Janey Mac and we will be following with excitement as you expand your brand this year!