A Handmade Brand in Bloom

INTERVIEW WITH JANNINE FROM JE LIEFSTE TANTE

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How did you get started with your own business?

Ever since I was a little girl I have been a creative soul. My creativity radiates towards different ways of expression. Music, painting, woodcrafts, pyrography, hand-lettering… and so on. Making cards in wood with pyrography or making hand-lettered cards did make me smile but somehow I always really missed creating something from scratch. I’ve always loved working with raw materials like wood and iron and without really taking notice I started seeing the perfect combination of using raw and soft material. The iron wire met the cotton yarn. It all just sort of evolved and a love story began… 🙂
One of my friends was blessed with a lovely baby girl and I wanted to give her something of my own. Something where I had put my time, effort, and creativity in. So I made the name of the little girl in this knitted wire. The outcome was not perfect, but it had a heart. And I for one loved to do it!

Soon other names followed and other requests followed for me to make. I wasn’t involved on Instagram & Facebook yet but I felt that I should, so I had to have a business name.
I came up with “Je Liefste Tante” which translates to “Your Dearest Aunt”. Your Dearest Aunt actually represents you! You are that dearest aunt that gives away this personalized present to a special person.
Maybe you also had that sweet aunt, granny, or grandpa that moved mountains for you. Now you can be that person for someone else. And the best part is, you are the one that spreads the happiness throughout the words that you choose to share. How lovely is it that a little man can look up and see ‘Superhero’ above his bed. That’s inspiring, isn’t it?
I make it with love, like a dear aunt would, and mail it for you. Even with a personalized text card that you can include for the (little) recipient.

How do you usually keep yourself inspired?

Family, friends, and music. That’s it for me. I have a big family and a lot of childhood friends. They are precious to me. They say things in the most glorious of moments and I feel lucky to experience those moments. Also through music comes a lot of inspiration. Words, sentences, combinations, my mind wanders off with music to get creative in my business.

What does handmade mean to you?

Handmade for me means attention, care, joy, and knowing that my decorative item will be in an actual person’s room. And that an actual person represents this gift because they’ve selected the gift carefully. Handmade allows me to function as an intermediate between caring souls somehow. Which is a very pleasant place to be.

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How do you use photos to elevate your brand?

‘Photographs have the power to embrace the product so it can stand out in its own right to be alive in the picture. ‘ – Jannine.

Earlier this year I read a Press Cookie Interview with Photographer Krati Agerwal from Simple and Sustainable, I learned that lighting is a critical influencer for a photograph. I also entered a PressCookie giveaway and won an online product photography session with Krati. It was great fun and a really valuable lesson for me as a business starter. She gave me really useful tips and tricks to display my brand in different ways. She encouraged me to play around with different kinds of moods and settings. Since then I’ve been experimenting more and more with different backgrounds and props to find the best way to represent a knitted wire creation from Je Liefste Tante.

What are your best-selling gifts?

The personalized custom names are definitely a bestseller. Who wouldn’t want to glorify that new person’s name on the wall!?
Custom words are also ranking high. Lovely words for in the baby room like ‘smile’, ‘love’, ‘superhero’, ‘dreamer’ and so on.

Which milestone in your business are you most proud of and why?

There have been a lot of milestones to remember and cherish but the one that I think is the most important for the growth of my business, is the request to do collections for wholesale. They went global and that is the icing on the cake!! It means that there is confidence in me and my product and that is very, very valuable to me.
Maybe there are still some sprinkles to be added on that topping in the future but this is already a big accomplishment for me.

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What’s next for Je Liefste Tante?

I have some surprises up my sleeve that I can’t reveal just yet, however, I am very eager to hear your reactions. So please check in every now and then! From a business point of view, I hope to learn more about how to grow my brand around the world. From a creative point of view, I hope to create what I have in my mind and to create and make more customized items. What’s next for me now is to wish everyone a healthy new year, with lots of moments of joy, care, happiness, and a little bit of Je Liefste Tante !

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Je Liefste Tante

Wire Word Art

www.etsy.com/nl/shop/JeLiefsteTante

Love these words? Make contact & follow Jannine here:

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