1. In a sentence or two, could you tell us what you do?
2. How did you get started?
I started my blog over 3 years ago, because I wanted to share the lovely things I saw around me and the things I made. And that’s pretty much what it still is, although I’ve become much more active over the years. I just scrolled back to my first blog posts and I’m ashamed to see I posted only a few times a year. Nowadays, I post a picture everyday for my 365 day project ‘Picture Perfect’ and one post a week about something I love, did, made or just wanted to share with my readers. It’s always a topic close to my heart and who I am, and with that, I hope to inspire others.
My Etsy shop is much younger. It turned one year old last April. In the JCLN Etsy Shop, I share my creativity with the world. I sell all different kinds of handmade things, from knitted and crocheted goodies for your house to postcards from my Picture Perfect project. But they have one thing in common, I only make things that I like to use/have myself.
Oh, and if you’re interested. JCLN stands for Joy, Creativity, Love & Nothing else. That’s the basics for my blog and shop. And it’s also my name without the vowels, Jacolien. So hi, nice to meet you!
3. What three words best describe your personality?
Creative, positive, enthusiastic.
4. What are your creative passions?
I just love to make things with my hands, it takes me back to myself. It’s the perfect way for me to relax, give my head some space to think and get my ducks in a row.
Currently, I mostly make things with knitting and crochet. Also, I craft with things from the thrift shop. Recently, I’ve painted old picture frames and added a clip to put nice quotes or illustrations in them.
I also like to draw, but I haven’t really done that for a while.
5. What’s your favorite part of your creative business?
The best part of owning a blog and Etsy shop is the reactions you get from your readers and customers. Also, when I’m at markets, I just love to see the smiles on peoples’ faces when they get the first glimpse of my products. That really is the best thing about taking your things offline and into the real world–you get to see their first reactions.
I just love to be able to create whatever I want with my hands and make others happy with it. I mean, what more can I ask for?
6. What’s a typical workday like for you?
My blog and shop are not my day job. Untill one month ago, I would work 4 days a week as a microbiological analist and then I would use my evenings and free Friday to work on my blog & shop.
But this job stopped and now I’m starting a study in September. So I don’t really know how things will go from there, but I’ll definitely make time for my passion. I couldn’t imagine to not have this in my life, I just love it too much!
7. Where do you get your inspiration?
I get ideas for blog posts and products for my shop from everywhere around me. Many times there’s just little things popping up in my head that spark ideas for blog posts or things I want to make. Inspiration always stikes at the most awkward moments, so I always carry around a notebook to capture the idea before it takes off again.
Also, Pinterest is a great way to get through a moment of ‘not knowing what to make’–although, that moment hardly ever passes my street.
8. If you had to pinpoint one thing that has helped your business more than anything in the past year, what would it be?
Last March, I followed April’s e-course ‘Blogging for Your Creative Business’ and this really gave me a boost. It was great to get feedback from all the participants and learn so much about the many different things you can do with your blog.
Besides that, it’s always been great to talk to other bloggers, receiving help from them and helping them where I can.
9. What books or magazines are you currently reading?
My very favorite magazine is Flow Magazine. I’m always reading one of the issues and I take the magazine through the whole house. It’s a Dutch magazine with great articles about finding more time, being yourself & making life simple, about crafting, great web shops and lots of paper goodies added in between the pages. Recently, they have released an English version of the magazine, so now the whole world can enjoy it!
My favorite business-related book is probably Danielle LaPorte’s ‘The Fire Starter Sessions’. It is full of to the point exercises and advice that makes you really think about some important stuff. You can apply it to any area of you life you’d want to.
The book I’m currently reading is ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams. I’m a book lover, so I thought I would have to read this. I’m enjoying it so far!
10. What are your top three favorite blogs?
Besides Blacksburg Belle, these are my favorites:
– Mayi Carles’ Heartmade Blog: I always look forward to her weekly video’s full of fun and great advice.
– Last Days Of Spring: There’s a lot of lovely recipes, hotspots, interiors and great photography on Marlous’ blog. She blogs mainly in Dutch, but there’s always an English translation.
– Anna Denise: She makes great illustrations and art journals. I really love her style.
11. What are you currently working on? Anything new coming up?
At the moment I’m finishing up some creative projects to get them ready to sell on a market soon.
There’s no big deadlines coming up, because I’m about to go back to school. But I am using my last bit of free time well–you should see my to do list. It’s full of articles to read and learn from and things to improve for my blog and shop.