Women in Business Ep. 3
Welcome to our blog series, 'Women in Business' where we chat with a range of creatives all working hard for something they love.
A place to talk about the challenges.
Where and how they started.
The process they've taken and tips they recommend.
Why socially conscious brands are doing good things.
The hacks for productivity and mental health.
The struggles and rawness of business.
And the advice for us all.
Welcome to Episode #3 with Jessica Davies, Founder of Jessica May Creative. A true inspiration and talented women we are absolutely honoured to feature in our series 'Women in Business'. Jessica is the epitome of hardworking - creating her brand of hand painted prints, watercolours, commissions, signs & stationery. Jessica makes so many pretty pieces with love and inspires us daily.
1. How was your business born?
I think this is probably the most common thing I’m asked and it definitely has the longest answer haha. To try and keep things short, ever since I can remember I have loved to paint. It was never something I had imagined calling a “job” though, it was just a fun little hobby. I was studying Interior Design and felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be. Then in 2016, I broke my back and was in a wheelchair and bed bound while I waited for some major spinal surgeries. My hands and arms still worked perfectly fine and I needed something to help pass the time and this is when my passion for painting was refuelled I guess. It became a type of meditation and helped me through some really rough times. Due to some on-going complications from my injury, a “normal” job isn’t something I can really do. So I guess the whole broken back thing was the universe giving me a not so gentle nudge in the right direction and it’s the absolute best thing that’s ever happened to me. Being able to do something I absolutely love every single day and call it work, is something I will never take for granted.
2. Walk us through the process you went through to take Jessica May Creative from just an idea to where it is today.
As I mentioned above, it wasn’t something I really planned on creating so as much as I hate to use this word haha, it has been a very “organic” process. A few years ago I remember posting a photo of some elephants I had painted on Instagram and a couple of people messaged me asking for a copy or for a commissioned painting. I did little bits here and there and then after a couple of years of focusing purely on healing my back, I decided to put more of a serious and conscious effort into it. Towards the end of 2018, I made a website and released some prints. From there it’s just been a matter of painting what I love and trying to find my feet with the whole business side of things. I’m so lucky to have such beautiful clients and be able to work on a range of projects from surface design, wedding and event stationery & signage and commissioned pieces.
3. Where do you find inspiration for your brand?
I’ve grown up by the beach, camping and going for bush walks and they are the main things that continue to inspire me everyday. I also find so much inspiration in listening to people’s stories, reading books and in the people I look up to.
4. We love that you focus on creating an ethical brand, can you tell us more about why keeping your brand ethical is important for you?
I think as humans we all want to do good in the world, it is something that comes naturally if you want to feel fulfilled and proud of yourself. I also feel lucky enough to live in a place of so much privilege so the least I can do is to try and give back. As a business owner I think it’s our responsibility and it’s something I’m proud and humbled to be able to do.
5. Explain in a few words the positive impact your business creates.
I choose to paint mostly flora and fauna to remind people of how beautiful life is. It’s these simple things we can sometimes forget to appreciate and I like to believe that my paintings can remind people that even when life gets tough, there is so much beauty in it.
6. What challenges have you overcome in creating your brand?
So many haha! I’d probably say one of the main ones is comparison. It’s such an easy trap to fall into and can be so harming. I try not to follow artists who have a similar style to me because naturally you just compare yourself to what they are doing and as soon as it’s different, you doubt yourself and question if you’re good enough. Another big challenge is just ensuring I’m creating a financially sustainable business. This is obviously tough and I’ve said from the beginning, I don’t want to create something just because I know it could generate a good profit. I want to always ensure I’m creating for purpose and from the heart, so I guess this is a challenge I face regularly.
7. How do you balance life, work and business? Do you have a specific routine that motivates you to stay balanced and productive?
I definitely haven’t perfected the “balance” and I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I probably never will haha. I think for me, it’s been important to recognise that different periods of time will look different and present different priorities. And I think that’s the beauty of being able to generate money from something you love, it becomes part of your life which I think is beautiful. In terms of routine, every morning without fail (unless it’s pouring rain) I go for a walk down at the beach and have my morning coffee. This way I start the day feeling inspired and ready to work, which for me is essential for productivity. Being a creative, I’ve also learnt (the hard way) that inspiration won’t always be flowing and during these times it’s important to be okay with that and not force it. It’s a good time to focus on getting all the boring tasks done aka admin. This is something that has helped my productivity a lot. I also ensure that I prioritise my loved ones, at the end of the day they are more important than anything else and when I feel fulfilled in that area of my life, I feel the most balanced I think I ever will.
8. What is a blow your business has taken as a result of this Covid-19 pandemic?
Being in the wedding and events industry, naturally, this has hit really hard with weddings etc being cancelled. I've also had a few clients cancel commissioned orders and my print sales have taken a hit. Of course, this is all totally understandable as my products and services aren't essential or a priority during financial hardship but it is certainly rough on the bank account. I am so thankful to have some clients still going through with work and some new clients who are small businesses and using this time to get new logos sorted, surface designs, packaging etc. So incredibly grateful for them!
9. What's a mental health practice that you have implemented to help you through this?
I think acceptance is probably the most important part of getting through times like this. Learning that you can only control what you can control and letting go of everything else can be difficult to practice but something I work mindfully towards everyday. A quote I first heard a few years ago from Baz Luhrmunn "worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum" has always stuck with me and my golly gosh, if you can start to practice not worrying life is so much more wonderful. Instead of wasting our energy on the negatives, I think it is so important to just be grateful for everything we have, the lessons we are being taught and take this time to slow down and spend some time loving ourselves. Getting out for an early morning walk (in Aus thankfully this is still legal) and meditating also help me a lot!
10. What is one piece of advice you’d like to leave with our readers?
Follow your heart and always, always be thankful for the little things. Oh, and always wear sunscreen.
Follow along on our blog series 'Women in Business' once a month as we chat with a range of creatives all working hard for something they love.
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