Interview with the founder of Hello Jonesie
She is young, creative. She is launching her clothing brand. We met her.
A designer and DIY enthusiast from Nashville, Tennessee, Amy Jones has been living, studying and creating in Paris, France since January 2012.
The Hello Jonesie story truly began in 2009 as Amy learned to embroider while studying Fiber Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Six years later, the launch of Hello Jonesie comes from a profound love for design and embroidery and a desire to share her hand-stitched creations.
After coming to Paris to study Communications, Amy has worked in an Art Association, a Design Gallery and in both Advertising and Digital agencies.
Today, she is thrilled to be the Founder and Creative Director of Hello Jonesie.
LSW: Amy, thank you for meeting us. Who are you and what is your background?
AJ: Hi! I am an American living in Paris and loving every moment of it! I was born and raised in the South of the United States and I absolutely love living abroad. Even though sometimes I really miss my amazingly patriotic country and my friends and family over there, I have met some amazing people during my time in Paris.
Time to define your brand to us.
Hello Jonesie is all about unique and hand-embroidered products that can be easily customized and are always stitched with the highest of care and quality. It doesn’t take itself too seriously; sometimes I like to think of my tees and sweatshirts as “grandma chic”.
What drove you to do undertake such a project?
At the end of last year I felt really ready for a change and for a challenge. I am a big believer in “starting the year off right”, so my 2015 New Year’s resolution was to launch Hello Jonesie and do the best I could to get it off the ground.
Why in France?
I came here with a group of students from my University for five weeks during the summer of 2011, and it was perfect. I wandered upon the art association 59 Rivoli in the center of Paris one day and made a good enough connection to be able to come back for an internship. Six months later I was in Paris and never left. I finished my studies here and now almost three and a half years later I love this city as much as that first trip in 2011.
What is your vision of aesthetics?
Aesthetics for me are kind of two-fold. On the one hand I love graphic work with pops of color and hand written text and on the other hand I am drawn to work that fades into the background and is romantic, refined, free of clutter.
Do you think that everything is available in fashion today?
I must admit that I don’t take fashion too seriously; I like to dress comfortably above all. I guess you could say that everything is available in fashion, but what’s going to be most important is dressing for who you are and what makes you feel good about yourself. That’s different for everyone.
We notice the emergence of many young designers aged between 20 and 30; did you notice that as well?
Yes, I noticed several different projects on KissKissBankBank when I was launching my Hello Jonesie campaign, however to be honest I don’t really follow the high-fashion world.
Do you see a common point between them or their creations?
One common point that I see in Paris is the “Made in France” statement. A lot of new brands are really focused on using organic materials and being very transparent about where their products are coming from, and I agree that it’s super important.
What do you keep in mind when you design your collections?
Today I am still finalizing the collections for my e-shop. I want there to be something for everybody. The WORDPLAY collection is easy, 10 characters of your choice. My HJ designs are split into four categories: Words, Patterns, Objects and Animals. Following my KissKissBankBank campaign, my project’s contributors will be proposing their own design as well to be embroidered. I don’t take it too seriously and just try to have fun with it.
Besides the clothes, your brand is very strong and you manage the communication very well. In what extent did your professional experiences helped you?
Thank you. I am currently getting my Graduate degree in Communications and I have spent the past two years working in advertising and digital. These experiences as well as my schooling have definitely helped me to realize the importance of communication on social networks but also word of mouth. This must be a priority when launching a brand.
Can you describe concretely the steps you went through to give life to your adventure?
1. Make the decision and take the plunge, 2. Start drawing and stitching, 3. Drink a lot of coffee, 4. Get emotional support from my lovely friends and family, 5. Make endless to-do lists, 6. Try and come up for air every so often, 7. Repeat
What are your goals in the long term?
Most importantly, my long-term goal is to be able to continue to grow Hello Jonesie for a very long time! I would also like to do regular collaborations with other designers and expand my product range beyond t-shirts, sweatshirts and totes.
When does your first collection go out?
My first collections will be available to order on my e-shop (coming this summer) – all of my KissKissBankBank contributors have early access and will be receiving their custom articles in June.
What is the feedback so far?
It’s really been mainly positive. People are excited to see the old craft of hand-embroidery being used in a modern way, and I’ve realized that everyone loves having things customized – it’s very personal and you can have a lot of fun with it.
Stitch all of the t-shirts for my generous KissKissBankBank contributors and then of course… Launch!
Thank you very much Amy! Hope we can order a customized t-shirt for the summer soon!
It would be my pleasure to stitch for you! Keep your eyes open for the e-shop and follow me on Facebook and Instagram for some pre-launch contests.