ll archives: The Jungalow's Justina Blakeney
Name: Justina Blakeney
Current location: Los Angeles, CA
Where are you from? Berkeley, CA
Education: B.A. from UCLA in World Arts and Cultures. Post Graduate Design Certificate from Polimoda (Italy)
Business & Formal Title: The Jungalow LLC, Designer & Owner
Tell us about The Jungalow. How did it come to be?
I’m imagining you’re referring to the blog? (because my whole business, and home, are all called “the Jungalow” :)
If it’s the blog you’re asking about…
I started blogging in 2008 when I moved back to the U.S. after living in Italy for seven years. I had a series of craft books out and started the blog initially as a way to connect with readers and share news and DIY projects. I got really into it and started blogging more and more until I realized how much I really loved it--and made a commitment to myself to blog everyday as part of my creative practice--you know, like going to the gym or something. That was in 2009 and, while the blog has changed quite a bit since back then... I haven’t looked back since.
What is your company slogan/mission?
Feel free, have fun and decorate wild!
What did you do before The Jungalow? At what point did you realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur (if you weren’t already)?
When I lived in Italy from 2001-2008 I owned and operated a small design boutique with my sister. It was a lot of fun, but not a very lucrative business! I then went on to work as a creative freelancer. I did everything from graphic design, to home decor, styling to creative consulting. I worked in several offices, with a lot of other creatives, as a waitress, hostess, tutor and even as a hair model before starting The Jungalow.
Whenever you decided that it was time to take the leap, what were your next steps?
It wasn’t a leap from one-day to the next. It was a little-by-little thing. I just started taking on less and less freelance work until The Jungalow was making enough money to support my family on its own.
What is the biggest, scariest thing you overcame launching your business?
I think parting ways with past business partners and doing something totally on my own was the scariest. It’s really tough to end/change relationships. Ultimately, however-- it was the right decision and I think that I (and my business) are much better off in the end.
Would you describe what you do as your “dream job”? Why or why not? What constitutes a dream job for you?
Yes. This is my dream job. As soon as my business is lucrative enough that I can totally focus on all creative stuff (not admin which I hate) I will be golden.
Are you working on any other projects or have a side hustle? Tell us about it.
The Jungalow has two branches: The blog, and the Design Studio. The blog (and the social media networks) provide one income stream and the Design Studio provides the other. In 2016 we launch the Justina Blakeney Home collections that is the culmination of years and years of work. We just launched wallpaper with Hygge and West, rugs and pillows with Loloi and we will be launching furniture, stationery and more in 2016. There’s a lot to look forward to!
Entrepreneurs live and breathe their businesses. How do you balance work and life? Do you think that’s even possible?
My mom says, ‘you can have it all, just not a the same time.’ I try and remember that. I have a three year old daughter and it’s definitely difficult to manage being a passionate mama and business owner. My husband is a stay-at-home-dad so I think that helps a lot. I spend evenings with them, and then (if I have to) work after she’s one to sleep. I also try and keep weekends for just family time.
What does your daily routine consist of?
6AM: Wake up, get ready, kiss my daughter and husband goodby, head to my design studio on my bicycle. Publish my blog post. Spend the day at the studio designing, having meetings, answering emails etc. Lunch break with my crew (there is usually 1-2 other people working with me at the studio). Afternoon more of the same. Evenings around 6PM head home. Catch up with the fam, have dinner (my husband usually cooks!) and do the night-time routine with my daughter, bathe her and brush her hair, read her stories etc. Hang out with my husband, watch Tv while I finish up work and make sure tomorrow’s blog post is all ready to go.
You have to do it and you hate it – what is your least favorite task(s) to do for The Jungalow?
The endless black hole of emails I can’t seem to ever be on top of.
You’re on the verge of a business-lady-breakdown. How do you unwind?
I go to the Korean Spa and get a scrub, then chill in the jacuzzi and eat ramen noodles.
What did you think you’d be doing now at age 10?
I thought I’d be a trapeze artist, a news-caster or a pop star.
Tell us 3 of your cannot-live-without ladypreneur apps.
Top 5 favorite cities?
Los Angeles, Florence, Marrakech, Istanbul, Barcelona (And I have so many more places I want to visit!!)
Red, White, Sparkling or stronger? Depends on the season.
Tell us the best place to eat in LA. If it’s your kitchen, share your best recipe.
Words to live by:
If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing. ~Nigerian Proverb
In the next year you’ll be:
Teaching in Italy (join me!) Launching Justina Blakeney Home, and trying to have another baby!
What advice would you give to budding ladypreneurs interested in your industry?
Make sure that you have the passion, and if you do, don’t lean on others to make things happen. Work hard, share your ideas (be generous with them!) and people will take notice. Don’t strive for perfection. Strive for your best version.