What inspired the name of your business?
Juncos (dark-eyed juncos) are small birds commonly seen around Vancouver. I love birds, and found out that juncos are sometimes considered to be symbols of movement and change in your life, as well as representing a sense of playfulness and adventure. This felt perfect for my business name as it represented my current stage in life, aspects of my personality, as well as what I'd like my customers to feel when they see and wear my designs. It also aligns with my creative process: I transform photography from my adventures into vibrant, textural and playful digital art. There is a junco incorporated into my logo to honour the inspirations of the name.
What is the story behind why you started your business?
I have been a graphic designer and photography enthusiast since I was in high school, eventually making graphic design my freelance career. I also spent several years experimenting with various art mediums including print making, mixed media painting, and eventually textile design that involved painting and dying fabric by hand and printing on it with my own block prints. I loved the process of creating wearable art but I felt I couldn't really make a viable income with the amount of time it was taking me to create new textiles. After a bit of a break, I looked into printing digitally on fabric. In 2015 I found a company in Montreal that was printing digitally and creating ready to wear clothing items in an ethical and affordable manner. It was a perfect way to start experimenting with making my digital art into fashion. This was the real beginning of JUNCO, and it became a merging of my love of textiles with my graphic design and photography background.
What is the dream you wish to fund through your business?
I want to buy property in rural BC and transform it into an art and wellness eco-retreat, where there are opportunities for people from all walks of life to spend time in nature, find peace, and explore their creativity. I know how much this helps me develop myself and my work, and I think it is something everyone should be able to experience if they desire to, but it can be expensive in a standard resort model. I want to implement a business model that makes it possible. It feels like a big dream right now, but it has been in my heart for a long time so I know I need to do it! I want JUNCO to help me achieve it.
What are you most proud of in your business?
I am proud of finding sustainable methods to produce my designs locally for fashion. I want to do more, such as print on natural fabrics, but for now I'm limited by what is available close to home, and am committed to small batch production on high quality fabrics with eco-friendly printing dyes in Vancouver.
I am also proud to have created something unique that resonates with people's love of nature. Seeing customers eyes light up when I tell them how I make my designs warms my heart! Each of my designs has a story and a lot of love put into them, and there is something for everyone to feel a connection with whether it's to the mountains, the tropics, botanical inspiration, the ocean, the forest, etc.
How have you grown as a person as a result of your business?
Last year I made the difficult choice of leaving a salary job with benefits and lovely coworkers in favour of honouring my passion for art and working in areas that align with it. I do not regret it, and have been enjoying working part time with Lisa at Giving Gifts, helping her business grow while I develop JUNCO and my other goals and dreams. It has been an amazing and challenging year with lots of personal and professional growth!