1. What is the name of your company?
2. When was the company founded?
3. Tell us the story of how you brought your company to life.
Ceramic was a serious hobby I continued from college and remained as a source of calming therapy while I pursued the high demands and growth of my graphic design studio. What started as a casual start on Etsy, became the unexpected launch of my ceramic business now known as Jumie Ceramics. A wonderful editor from The New York Times reached out wanting to include my “FOOD” and “WATER” pet bowls in her May 2016 article. I was not prepared for the amount of orders and support that came afterward. To meet the sales demands, I was fortunate enough to find a studio space in time to begin full production of bowls and custom ceramic work.
4. How did you feel after it launched?
After the launch of Jumie Ceramics, I felt a mixture of overwhelming gratitude and panic of feeling “I was in way over my head” and not wanting to disappoint my new supporters. I had to quickly learn the complex world of shipping, communicate realistic timelines of project completion, and find time in between running my design business and now ceramics to hand make and hand paint all the orders coming in. This past memory will forever be the moment that changed my life.
5. Where do you draw your design inspiration from?
With my background in graphic design. I was first fascinated by the work of Herb Lubalin, an American Graphic Designer most known for his expressive typography. I believe letters can be used to create interesting images and shapes that also exude an emotion or reaction based on the words they create. I would love to transfer this sentiment into my functional ceramic ware for each individual user as they experience their everyday moments. I also have a deep love for the tactile language of braille and the abstract beauty found in nature which is also expressed in my ceramic collections.
6. Why was it important to you to create an “out and proud” LGBTQ+ company?
I want to share a different perspective with my work as a queer-owned, small business that feels authentic to me. I believe “out and proud” can also be seen in the subtle, intentional details found in my ceramic ware that feel inviting and joyful. During the summer of 2023, I launched my first collection in celebration of representation and identity. Colors are represented in thin linework that feels genuine in how I identify with Pride and versatility.
7. Was there a defining moment in your company’s history (so far) when you knew you created something special?
My most defining moment and the confidence to start my business will forever be credited to my feature in The New York Times. To have the support of a major publication has been a validating moment at the start of my business journey. It still feels like a dream.
8. What has been the reaction of customers to your brand?
The positive support and exciting reactions by customers at the in-person markets and on social media platforms online will never get old for me. When you spend almost every waking moment creating work and rushing to meet deadlines, the creative process can sometimes become a bit robotic. The love and support I’ve received after all these years have been moments of recharge for me. Thank you so much.
9. Any special customer stories that you want to share?
I’ve had the unforgettable opportunity to create planters for a wellness event hosted by Adidas Woman LA. It was very rewarding to experience each personal engagement by the members of this community as they planted their own mini herb gardens in their handmade pots. It is often rare I have the moment to see my work being used after a purchase or shipment. The conversations I’ve shared throughout this special day with individuals who also value health and well-being left me feeling inspired.
10. At Fruitloots, we call all the amazing products that we find our “loot”. What's your favorite piece of “loot” you have created?
My typography-based collections, also known as my "Statement Ware”, best represent me and my design aesthetic. The "TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY” collection is my most time-consuming collection as each vessel is hand-lettered and then hand-painted with meticulous care. It's the one I seem to have the hardest time parting with. My "FOOD" and “WATER” pet bowls carry the most sentimental value due to the start of my business and my deep love for pets. Each purchase of a bowl or set comes with a beautiful story of their furry loved ones which immediately is followed by mutual gushing and sharing of pet photos.
11. Tell us about the Fruitloots products that we have chosen.
The “BADASS” mug originated out of my failed attempts to find a truly unique yet practical and functional gift for the BADASS people in my life. Nothing seemed to convey “I love you and I think you are such a Badass” than a handmade BADASS mug.
12. Where do you see your company in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to have a thriving, intimately staffed ceramic business with a branch dedicated to teaching small classes. I would also love to occasionally host dinners at my studio using my handmade dining ware with the intention of building community.
13. If you could do a special collaboration with any person in the world, who would it be and why?
My guilty pleasure is in reality cooking competition shows, such as Top Chef. Seeing a queer, Korean American chef and their rising journey is not often seen on TV. I would love to collaborate with the winner of the show’s 10th season and now the new host of Top Chef, Kristen Kish! Hi Kristen!
Kristen Kish (image courtesy of Gunshow)
14. Any advice to queer entrepreneurs?
If you’re waiting for that perfect moment to start your business or if you’re debating on quitting your primary job to focus on your small business, JUST GO FOR IT because that “perfect time” does not exist. The many businesses that began during the least opportune moment, the pandemic, and are still thriving now is a perfect example of this. If you’re like me, the big leap of faith to go all in on one business goal may be the fire that’s needed to grow and keep the dream business alive. You may need to find peace in the vulnerability and discomfort that comes with running your own small business. Attend a few of the many popup markets that are always happening around the city to meet other like-minded small business founders and creatives. It’s a great way to do research on what’s already on the market and to network. We are all in this together. It takes a village.
15. If you could throw a party, with an unlimited budget and you could invite anyone, tell us about the party and who would be there!
As an introvert, I thrive in intimate settings and enjoy deep conversations. Because of this, I may need to have several small dinner parties for my nearest and dearest as a way to show my genuine gratitude for being with me on my crazy life journey. As a single, small business owner, I am often buried in deadlines and work schedules so given the opportunity, I would like to shower my family and friends with a memorable full-course dinner surrounded by string lights, flowers, live music, and of course cute puppies everywhere!
16. Last question - If you could be any fruit, what would it be and why?
When it comes to fruits, there’s nothing more satisfying than finding thee perfect watermelon. I am convinced I have finally found the hack!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON JUMIE CERAMICS AND TO CHECK OUT THE REST OF THEIR COLLECTION, CLICK HERE
TO SHOP THE FRUITLOOTS X JUMIE CERAMICS DISCOVERY BOX, CLICK HERE
. . .
Photos courtesy of Jumie Ceramics