I remember one of the first items I coveted when I became pregnant were a set of Petunia Pickle Bottom onesies. There’s just no mistaking something from Petunia Pickle Bottom as their patterns take center stage from diaper bags to slings and totes. I am so excited today to be presenting you a QA with DeNai Jones, founder and designer of the flourishing brand. Want to know what inspires DeNai?
I loved reading that you grew up making things out of paper, scissors and glue and that this helped parlay into Petunia Pickle Bottom today. Now that the company has grown from 3 to 20, how do you keep the creativity fresh and new?
I think when we are given a gift or a talent, as long as it is cultivated, things blossom and grow. I am drawn to anything design related, and I allow myself to indulge in these inspirations found anywhere and everywhere, be it in museums when we travel, snapshots of patterns in places like floor tiles, ceilings, or church windows, or even in the large stack of design and fashion magazines that pile up by my bedside every month. My ongoing appreciation for all types of design, from the simple to the ornate, constantly refreshes and rejuvenates, helping us all to grow.
About the boys in your life: what’s it like working with your husband? how do you find time for your sons?
Working together definitely has more pros than cons. We are fortunate in that we get to share in the joy of success, but also be understanding when one of us has a tough day. Work also requires a bit of travel, whether it be to our factories overseas or to various trade shows, so it’s a big perk to be married to my travel partner! We had the luxury of taking our sons Sutton (5yrs) and Miller (3yrs) to Asia with us for 4 weeks this year, it was a trip of memories we will never forget.
At home, we try to be careful about turning the day off. We really make an effort not to talk about work at the dinner table with our boys. There is a lot of ‘let’s talk about it later’ and I am also a big fan of stashing away the cell phones when we walk in the door. It truly is a constant effort to keep work at work.
As for time with my boys, I keep a very jam-packed Tuesday/Thursday work schedule so I can stay home and just be mom the rest of the week. It’s not easy, and of course things always come up where I need to swing into the office for meetings or design reviews, but I’m very diligent with my time. This is year 11 for PPB and I have a well-oiled machine in place at this point to afford me the perfect balance. Then, of course, there is always the “night shift” after the boys go to bed—that’s when I get some of my best work done.
What’s a typical day in your life like?
A typical day at work is a juggle between fabric design, fabric colorway edits, product development, sample approvals, and general meetings. I told my husband just last week, I truly have my dream job. Ten years ago, not so much, due to the fact that I was spending the majority of my time running the business and the creative process got marginalized. A typical day at home is spent with my boys, riding bikes, playing at the beach, baking, and volunteering in their classrooms- basically just being Mom.
When you think about a new collection, how do you go about assessing the needs for today’s mom in both practicality and style…do you rely on data, survey moms, get inspired by your friends?
Thankfully we have a lot to draw from—Everyone on staff uses our products, with six employees having had Petunia babies this year alone. They are all a great resource for offering up suggestions and feedback to better our product line, making us like our own think tank by default.
We also do a mix of surveys and get lots of input from our Facebook fan base—good or bad they let us know! Social media is such an animal all its own and it’s fun to see how people respond to the brand or new products. Really though, our fans are pretty passionate about the products, and give the most thoughtful product development ideas. We are lucky to have such loyal fans.
What’s your one true blue piece of advice for moms out there who might be thinking about launching something on their own?
Be in the moment.
I could say more but it speaks for itself in both parenthood and business…and it is a daily effort.