Jules Sherman is a designer who specializes in luggage tags, pouches, belts, hair clips, and other accessories, all done in rubber relief. Visit Jules online at YosiGirls.com (for little girls), and YosifaPenina.com (for big girls). Pieces can be purchased at SmashingDarling.com, your source for indie fashion.
You have an interesting bio on your web page. Can you elaborate a little bit on your background?
Growing up, I had a great deal of encouragement from my parents to develop my artistic skills. My father is a very talented and prolific painter, and my mother is a savvy business woman. Both of these influences led me to where I am now. All of my life I knew I wanted to be some kind of artist.
When I went to RISD [Rhode Island School of Design] the first year, I had my heart set on a printmaking major. I enjoyed the technical aspect of printing, and of course, I love to draw. However, after a few of my 3D design classes, I changed my path, and thanks to the encouragement of an incredibly talented friend, Justin Brown, I decided to major in industrial design.
After I graduated, I realized I still didn't know what area of industrial design I wanted to focus on. This indecisiveness led me through a labyrinth of job experiences. I've designed everything from custom furniture to spice racks and water-bottles. In between, I dabbled in bathroom hardware, outdoor fireplaces, costume jewelry, and perfume bottles. I learned that large corporations feel like being on a design-slut treadmill, and that working for small, or family owned companies was more my style, as I received more respect and freedom to express my point of view.
How did you come to start your own company?
It was only in the last few years that I had the money to consider developing my own product line. I decided that instead of saving my bonuses for retirement, I would invest them in myself so I could one day work full-time for myself. It is still a dream in progress, as I continue to hold a design director position as my day job. Luckily for me, my mother's real estate business is slowing down these days and she has offered to help me with the sales and marketing of my products. I couldn't do it without her. I would say that most of my sales are because of her efforts. The tough thing about starting a business while working full time is that I am always working. I work most week nights and every weekend. It's a commitment that requires a lot of consistency and care. I am at a point now where I am filling more and more orders, but still not enough to pay the mortgage, and the costs of new product development and trade shows.