b[+] Designer Interviews: Jessika Mejia
For those that do not know you, please introduce yourself with a little background.
My name is Jessika Mejia. I’m a native Texan who has been crafting since I was a tot. Never in a million years did I think I would end up in Alabama, but a hefty soccer scholarship to Samford University sucked me in. I have spent the last six years here in Birmingham where I work as a graphic designer at Big Communications by day and crafter/wanna-be ballerina by night.
How did Craftlab get started?
Craftlab was my senior graphic design project at Samford University. It started off as a ficticious company named Craftlab whos main goal was to show people the creative side of recycling through DIY projects. It was meant to be predominately web driven, providing creative online resources, information about environmental issues, and DIY starter kits as well as projects. In the back of my mind I know i wanted to make it a reality so I when i signed up for my first craft show in December 2009 I went with the name Craftlab hoping it would turn into something.
My favorite pieces of your designs are your T-Shirt scarves, how did you come up with the idea?
After 18 years of soccer I had way too many T-shirts for one person so i decided it was time to do something useful with them. Some went to friends others went to thrift stores and some I couldn’t part with so were stuffed into a box. On top of making things when i’m bored, I am the kind of person who refuses to buy something when I know that I can make it. That’s how a majority of my crafts came about. I would see scarves, jewelry and other accessories that were way over priced that I could make for free. So I pulled out my scissors and went to town on my shirts. Low and behold came the scarves, t-shirt and chain necklaces, flower brooches and hair pins, window draft stoppers….and the list goes on.
What is your favorite piece to make for Craft Lab: earrings, necklaces, scarves?
I like to make all of my crafts. Sometimes I have to be in the mood for certain things because some require more time than others. For example, I can start making a scarf and decide to stop twenty minutes later. However, if I start making my newspaper necklaces I have just signed myself up for five hours of non-stop fun. I like that all of them have a process and a rhythm. I guess you could call me a crafting robot at times.
How long have you been making recycled designs; do you do any non-recycled designs?
I have been using recycled materials ever since I was a little girl. When I would get bored as a child I would start making things out of found items. For example, the button earrings I sell at craft shows were made from my grandmother’s buttons over ten years ago when we were in Canada for christmas vacation. I do make non-recycled items when I can’t find something to recycle or if someone has a special request but I try my hardest to repurpose everything.
What are your hopes for your line; would you like to be picked up by a major distributer?
Just like my senior project, my goal is to show people that recycling can be made fun and fashionable. I love that my products have become a success and have made a profit but at the end of the day I want people to think green and feel inspired to create something new from something old. I would like to sell my products in more local stores and boutiques in order to get my stuff out in the public as well as support local businesses.
It would be great to be picked up by a major distributor. I would love that but I’m afraid that I would be in way over my head being that I am a one man show and have little experience with the business side of crafting. However, I welcome the offer.
Where can people in Birmingham find your designs; and where is your office and contact information for requests?
Web: coming soon. I plan on starting an Esty site in 2011
Scarves can be found in the following local stores as through me:
2707 Culver Road
Birmingham, AL 35223-2313
2826 18th Street South
Homewood, AL 35209
Nashville, Charlotte and Atlanta Pure Barre’s will be selling my scarves soon
I work from home and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am currently working on store orders and preparing for a show so I will not be taking personal orders until the new year; however, those who would like to purchase scarves or other goodies should visit the local stores mentioned above or come to the 5th Annual Holiday Craft Bazaar in Downtown Avondale Dec. 3-5 where I will have a booth full of recycled goodies.
*all photos by Mary Britton Senseney