Featured Artist – Jeanne Oliver of A Bushel and a Peck
Today’s featured artist is the very talented Jeanne Oliver. I came across Jeanne’s work via Etsy and instantly fell in love with her creations. Jeanne is the owner and designer behind A Bushel and a Peck, a lovely boutique offering vintage inspired goods. I love reading her blog, mainly because she also is a mother who shares her thoughts on business and raising a family. Not to mention her cool sense of style and self confidence. Without spoiling this interview, shall we begin?
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
First of all, I would like to thank you for asking me to share about my business and life. I am a stay at home mom of three children, we homeschool and I run A Bushel and a Peck out of my home. I create paper and fabrics creations that are vintage inspired. I have an addiction to all kinds of papers and fabrics. I had to have a reason to buy more, and fortunately, A Bushel and a Peck was born. When I am not running after the children, trying to catch up on the laundry or filling an order I love to read, hike, shop and watch movies.
2. How do you run a business while being a mother to young children?
I have been fortunate to have my business grow very naturally. What I once did as a hobby has become an amazing business. It started very slowly which allowed us to learn, grow and adapt as the business changed. My children are my dream. I have always wanted to be a mother, so I don’t take that role lightly. I constantly have to make compromises and say no to things regarding the business that I would love to do now, but know that I will have the opportunity to do later. I want my business to be successful, but not more than I want my family to be a success. I think any mom knows that being a parent is a juggling act everyday. We have a home to keep, errands to run, groceries to buy, school projects to help with, dinner to make and in the midst of all of that we want to give each child attention and keep our marriage healthy. When A Bushel and a Peck was born I just made decisions that would give me the time I wanted and needed to help the business grow. I don’t watch as much television and I don’t read as many books as I used to, but I am so happy with the compromises I have made. I feel like my whole family has embraced this creativity in me and really tried to support and encourage. I couldn’t do this if my husband wasn’t behind it. It is prioritizing everyday and some days saying yes more to the business and other days I don’t even touch a piece of fabric or paper. It is getting harder as my business has grown. I am fortunate to have my mom and sister help when things get really busy. I couldn’t do this all alone.
3. Do you have a studio/work schedule? What works for you?
What works the best for us is that Monday-Friday we do school till 1:00. This time is only for the children. I don’t usually answer the phone or check emails. This is their time. When my youngest goes down for a nap I catch up on emails and print, shipping labels, etc. It is really after the children have gone to bed that I work on filling orders and new creations. I always take time on the weekends to clean up my space and get ready for the next week. There are many nights that I am up extremely late working on a retail order, but I have also learned to say no to the work and cuddle up on the couch with my husband and watch a movie. My work will still be there the next day. If I don’t take that time I could start to resent what otherwise seems like a blessing and a joy.
4. Where do you look for inspiration?
Oh my goodness….look at Etsy! With blogs, websites, Etsy and similar sites, it is just amazing the amount of talent out there. I am in awe of the creativity! If I want inspiration I go to my journal that is stuffed full of my creations and other sketches I have made. I also stick in other things that I find beautiful. If I don’t write down my ideas or sketch something I will forget them as quickly as they come. I also have a vintage cabinet full of vintage beads, keys, jewelry, tags….all I have to do is open one of those drawers and an idea is sure to come. I have little collections all over my space. Every person needs an inspiration board or a collection of things that inspire them. I find inspiration in quotes, fabrics, papers, photos and different treasures I have collected.
There are many times that it can not be separated. Sometimes we are all down in the basement together. Kelly (my husband) is on the computer, I am creating, the kids are playing the Wii and Benjamin (our youngest) is in the midst of it all. Other times Kelly takes all the kids and gives me that time to myself and then there are the nights of playing catch up at the end of a long and tiring day. Sometimes I am not motivated to head downstairs and get working on all the orders, but when I get down there and turn on the music, the time flies. I am always glad I showed up. I feel like my business was a gift – an amazing present that was given to me to satisfy a deep desire in my heart to create. It is a part of who I am. I love that the children see this part of me. I love that the whole family plays a role in the business’ success. As everything changes and grows I am sure we will have to adjust again. They all know they come first… just like the children and I have always known that Kelly places us high above his career. He loves what he does, but we are his heart.
6. What’s your idea for a perfect day?
Some of my most perfect days have been spent in Napa with my husband. We sleep in, drive around in our rented convertible, go from vineyard to vineyard, drink amazing wines and eat incredible foods. We also love to get massages. Our day wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spa. We then love to watch movies in bed. Another perfect day for me would be with one of my closest friends. We would start the day with coffee, do some shopping, go to some antique stores or flea markets, have crepes for lunch, talk the afternoon away and then drag ourselves away from each other.
7. Do you keep/have a wish list? What’s on top of the list?
I have always wanted to go to Italy. I love history. There are so many incredible places in the world that I have never seen. I can’t imagine how splendid it would be to see the Coliseum, Pompeii and Venice. I have requested the trip for my 40th birthday… three and half years to go.
8. What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Wow… I have to choose one thing? My husband answered coffee in a seconds notice. I think I would have to say my computer and the Internet. It is the first thing I check in the morning… then I get the coffee.
9. What makes you smile?
I smile when my children belly laugh, seeing a good friend, walking into Anthropologie (that store triggers all my senses), watching my husband with our children or when something I have created brings joy to another person.
Thank you Jeanne for allowing us to get a glimpse into your world.
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