Who are you? I'm Jen Johnson -- domestic goddess, published poet, aspiring children's book author, proud SAHM and maker of beautiful things. I'm more original than my name would suggest! I'm an East Coast native thriving in West Coast soil, and I've been happily married for more than a decade. I've been many things in my working life, from high school teacher to professional artist's model. Being a mom is both harder and more rewarding than anything else I've done so far.
What is your Etsy Shop Name? BFBeads, which stands for Baby Friendly Beads(TM)
What EtsyKids items do you specialize in? I make Baby Friendly Beads, jewelry for breastfeeding -- and beyond! My nursing necklaces are designed to occupy and amuse those busy baby hands so that they won't scratch, pinch, or twiddle with Mom's skin and hair. I also make reminder bracelets to help keep track of breastfeeding sessions. My jewelry is stylish, sturdy, practical, and pretty.
What do you like about Etsy? I like the sense of community and the way that creativity permeates the site. I love hearting people and being hearted; IMHO the very existence of the "hearts" says something special about the spirit of the website. And there seriously is a "spirit" to Etsy.... which is a rare find in cyberspace. Perhaps it's the handmade angle -- I often find that quality handmade goods have a sort of spirit to them, a bit of soul from having been made with love. You find that in the shops at Etsy, and you find that in the website as a whole. And of course I adore shopping at Etsy, especially for gifts! I also like the contests that are sponsored by Etsy, though I've only been able to find the time to participate in one. Thanks to the Coproduction contest, I had the wonderful opportunity to befriend and work with amazingly talented people -- including EtsyKids' own StoryBlox and Clever Kitty! I was on two teams and had great fun collaborating. I even had the good fortune of winning second prize in the contest, with our entry of a mobile titled "Botanical Balance."
What do you like about creating? I've always been a compulsive crafter and a creative person. Before kids, most of my creative energy went into writing. Now, as the mom of a toddler and an infant, it's difficult to find the time and focus to write, so instead I take a moment here and there to work on my jewelry. One of the things I like best about creating is how it inspires me to constantly learn new things. Just making the same thing over and over doesn't interest me very much. I enjoy the opportunity to tweak designs and imagine new ways of doing things.I appreciate how crafting requires me to focus both on process and product. There's something magical in being able to make something new, working with my hands to physically create an object that did not exist before. And there's a special kind of satisfaction when the finished product comes close to what I'd imagined it coud be.
What do you love about your business? I'm delighted to make and share something to help other moms with breastfeeding. I believe that nursing is one of the most completely loving exchanges -- but I also know from hard experience that it can be extremely challenging. A baby nursing peacefully at the breast is a beautiful sight, but when baby starts to scratch, bite, or pull hair it can turn ugly pretty quickly! I started this business thinking, "If just one mother is able to breastfeed better thanks to my Baby Friendly Beads, then I'll be happy." I've since heard from many moms who say that their babies love the necklaces and that the jewelry has made things easier for them. I love imagining moms wearing my jewelry and babies clutching the beads with their chubby little hands while they nurse.
What is your favorite product right now? I'm really excited about my Custom Birthstone Baby Friendly Beads Jewelry. I like the idea of giving the customer the opportunity to participate in the design process and decide what semiprecious stones they would like in their nursing necklaces. I don't know of any other nursing necklaces that incorporate semiprecious birthstones into the design, so I'm proud to offer such a unique product. I'll be adding customized birthstone bracelets to the shop very soon!
What makes you unique at Etsy? While there are other Etsy sellers making lovely nursing necklaces, nobody else sells breastfeeding jewelry like my Baby Friendly Beads. My designs are all one of a kind and different from the usual nursing jewelry in several ways. First, my necklaces are made from one continuous piece of cord (instead of a loop that hangs from a necklace) so there is not one piece that might break off from another. They are also adjustable in length, and can be adjusted from choker to full length without taking off the necklace. I am also one of the only shops offering reminder bracelets, and (last time I checked) the only one to offer bracelets that coordinate with nursing necklaces.
What makes you unique as a woman? The same things that make each of us uniquely wonderful: my creative spirit, my brimming heart, my capacity for joy.What do you love about Kids?The way they look when they are asleep! (Just kidding... kinda!) As the mother of a new baby and a two year old, I'm blessed with the opportunity to witness boundless energy, utter innocence, ceaseless curiosity, and total awe -- on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. What's not to love about that?
What are some other sites to find out more about you and what you love to create? http://www.babyfriendlybeads.com/ is coming soon... for now, I'm just on Etsy, and my website forwards directly to there. I also just started my blog: http://mamasmagic.blogspot.com/