We are so lucky here at Jack & Willow to work with some amazing brands from all around the world, owned by some of the most wonderful, inspiring people. We decided it was about time we shared them with you and asked our fave makers to answer some questions about themselves, their business journey and their upcoming children's trend predictions.
We're kicking off our Meet the Maker series with Michelle Carlslund, the namesake creative behind one of our most-loved wall art brands.
We just love Michelle's super cool prints for kids' rooms, which feature in the home of Jack & Willow's owner, Vanessa.
Michelle lives in Denmark, where she creates all of her work, and kindly agreed to sit down and take the time to answer our Meet the Maker questions for you all!
1. What inspired you to start Michelle Carlslund prints?
7 years ago when I was still studying Graphic Design I tried to take my printed-at-home illustrations to a design market and it really went well! A few shops started requesting to sell my work and at some point I thought that I better start a business. Slowly more and more shops began to sell my work and I got some freelance illustration commissions too. So I really did not have a big master plan - it just sort of happened. And it was great being in school still. Here in Denmark we get a monthly pay to study (nothing fancy - but you can just get by). So I was able to start slowly and actually I dropped out of school to be a full time illustrator when I realized that I earned enough to support myself. It was a big step for me - but I never regretted quitting school to focus entirely on my business. After all, it is your portfolio that counts in this business - not what degree you have.
2. What inspires your artworks?
It is so hard to say! Most of the time ideas just land in my head without me knowing where it came from. However, I do get inspired by things around me – but in a quite unconscious way. Trends and colours crawl under my skin and sneak their way into my work without me deliberately deciding that I want to go in that direction. I get a lot of inspiration from just browsing instagram or Pinterest. It is not often that I actually save stuff or remembers the names of the designers but I like to just scroll and scroll and just be filled up with visual impressions. I try not to be pretentious in my work – one human quality I really treasure in other people is self irony and I like to have a twist of that in my work too.
3. What’s been your favourite single moment in your business journey?
When I decided that I needed to outsource a bit part of my sales work and hire someone to manage our warehouse (I was so lucky to be able to hire my mother as warehouse manager - I could not ask for someone more dedicated!). These decisions freed so much time for me to do new products and fun freelance collaborations.
4. What is your favourite quote?
Well - I have a print that says “don’t forget to kiss” and I think it is a good reminder to remember to have fun and enjoy life. I have a tendency to worry and I am constantly working on being able to worry less. It did not get easier as I became a mother in October last year. It just gave the work worry a whole new meaning, phew!
5. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in business?
Again - outsource all the stuff you are not the best at if whenever you can afford it. It is impossible to juggle all functions at once.
6. What is your favourite print in your collection?
It is almost always my most recent work. In this case it is my cold collection and probably the Gold Roller Skates. It is really simple but for me it just reeks of childhood memories. In the house where I grew up we had an island in our kitchen and you could run - or even better roller skate - round and round and round grabbing every corner for extra speed. We spend so many hours just rolling around that kitchen, haha!
7. What are your predictions for key trends in kids décor in 2017?
I think that nature will keep on being in - like the botanical trend that has been popular for quite some time now. And of course gold - says she who just released a golden print collection ;)
Thank you again Michelle for taking the time to sit down for our Meet the Maker series. It is so fascinating to hear about your journey and the inspiration behind your beautiful brand. You are certainly one talented mama maker!
You can shop our entire Michelle Carlslund collection here.
And stay tuned Jack & Willow fans for Michelle's latest gold collection, which will be with us very soon!
Team Jack & Willow xx