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Interview with Jeyn Reyn

October 21st, 2008

Drawing inspiration from everything around us, jeyn reyn designs and hand makes inventive and colorful felt and fleece accessories that are sure to fit everyone’s taste.

Jeyn Reyn will be at the November 2nd You Bazaar! in San Francisco.

First off, Your blog has a picture of your new(ish) baby and she is so totally adorable! How old is she now? Any exciting developments lately? Crawling or the like?
Thanks! That is Elodie Olive and she is turning 8 months old soon. Our first and she is so wonderful. She smiles all the time and looks more like her Dad, but at least she got my dimples!

I’m also suddenly (with the arrival of a baby) a stay at home mom also, how are you liking it? How do you fit in time for creating? Doesn’t it feel weird to think about your old desk-type job?!
Way cool! Big congrats to you!! I LOVE to meet other Moms and swap baby stories. Not to compare in the “my baby does this, my baby does that”, because every baby is different, but just see what other Mothers do, what they buy, how their babies react,etc. Being a Mom is the best and I’m super happy that I have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home Mom. At first it was hard to be away from a work environment and I felt couped up the first couple of weeks, but after she started to interact with us more it got even better and I didn’t miss working. I just knew that being home with her was the right thing to do. Plus, I could go full force with my Etsy shops and get a chance to use my creativity. Something I wasn’t using as much in my so-called career. I do sometimes think of my jobs in my cubicles and think of it as stupid and such a waste of time. Here, at home, I am surrounded by very tall pine trees, as I live in a woodsy environment with creeks, deers,etc. Very tranquil and relaxing. As far as fitting in time for creating, I do only have small windows of time when Elodie takes her naps, and sometimes it is difficult to start something (especially when you don’t know what to start), when you are not sure if you have 40 minutes, 1 hour, or more of time. So, I try to break up my day and spend the first nap on the computer, catching up on emails, doing research, and getting bills paid,etc. Then I spend the 2nd nap creating or designing, and the 3rd one is more for cleaning house, getting things in order, or taking pics of whatever I created and getting ready for it to post the next day or that week.

How did you get your start in sewing and crafting?
I started when I was pretty young, learning how to sew,knit, and crochet, by watching my Mom, and being inventive and creative by watching my Dad wire the electricity in the house he was building for us, or building my first car together with him. Even though electricity and cars don’t have much to do with the crafts I do now, just the teaching of such stuff wired me to think that way in general.

Were you a crafty kid?
Totally a crafty kid. Instead of playing with dolls, I was creating small businesses, such as library, a sailors’ bar, restaurant,florist,etc., everything down to the receipts, outfits, and such were made by me and my cousins. My parents would be our customers and they were good at acting the part.

Has becoming a parent changed how you think about crafting?
Becoming a parent has only changed the way I spend my time, not so much how I think about crafting. I did open up my second Etsy shop (, due to having experienced first hand the lack of an item that would help make my life as Mom easier, or bettering an item already out there. I have a ton of ideas for that shop written in my craft diary, but need the time to actually make them. I can’t wait. ;o)

Your etsy BIO is great, in it you mention that your mind is always racing with ideas. Do you ever have trouble turning that off in order to.. say… go to sleep?
Oh, great question. This is probably why I’ve been an insomniac most, if not all of my life. Down to the very last minutes before sleep I am thinking of new things to make, how to make them, when to do them, prioritizing my creative thoughts. It can drive me nuts sometimes and occasionally I’ll get up to write them down. I don’t drink caffeine, so my thoughts are my caffeine, which makes it difficult for me to go to sleep.

I like your graphic design style, do you have any formal training in that area? Thanks. No formal training really. I actually taught myself Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and use a Wacom tablet to illustrate on the computer. With some little Adobe tool tips from my Sr. Visual Designer/Illustrator fiance, I am able to do all my own marketing, artwork, and have my collaterals (business cards,tags,signs,stickers,mailers,etc.) printed out and I cut everything myself. It is a lot of work, and probably more than the crafts itself, but it is fun to do and very rewarding to see. If I get any feedback or compliments, it is usually on my crafts, but when I do get some kudos on my packaging, it really makes my day, because so much energy is put into it.

I’m always interested in other peoples work habits and work spaces. Do you set specific work hours for yourself or work when you’re feeling creative?
My work hours have changed since having Elodie, and I now divide my day into responsibilities in order to keep organized, but things come up and sometimes I have to switch roles at the last minute. Forcing creativity for me is very difficult. I’ve always had a hard time making myself be creative. The thoughts and ideas might be there and are one thing, but having the feeling of getting it out and making it real is another. But, once I do start, it is difficult to stop me, as I get pretty excited about seeing something go from and idea to a finished product. Are you super organized or messy? Absolutely both. I am very detailed oriented, spreadsheet freak, orderly with my stuff, and some say I might have some OCD, but then a couple weeks go by and I have too many things on my work table and have to clean up shop.

What does your workspace look like (include pictures if you like!)?

I just converted our living room (small room) into my studio and playroom for Elodie. We don’t use our living room anyways and since I’m working from home, I felt that in order to do this properly, I needed the right tools and space for my work. I bought a beautiful BIG and long Pottery barn table where one side has my sewing machine and sticky handy tape to design and sew, and the other side has a yard stick glued to the table so I can measure my fabric and spread it out on the table to cut (like in a fabric store). I also use my table for my light box to take photos, and I just recently added my white bookcase near me so I can have my fabrics, tools, and materials readily available and in plain sight. I find that once I made my own studio and had all my things in sight and not in boxes, I could come up with more ideas. The other side of the table has my computer and business stuff, as so to separate the two, which makes dividing my time easier and less tempting to get on the computer. And then the other side of the room has Elodie’s playpen and Jumperoo so I can keep an eye on her and she knows I’m around. I attached a photo for you (beware: still under construction though and the lighting is drab due to the weather outside).

What do you like about working with felt?
Felt is such a forgiving fabric. It is super simple to work with. Only thing is now that I bought some really quality (and expensive) 100% wool felt, I’m so nervous when I make a cut and have to make sure I am using the most out of each piece. The colors offered are gorgeous too. And do you have any other favorite materials? I love soft,unique, and fuzzy materials (velvet, velour, fleece), as well as working materials such as metals, glue, embroidery, buttons!,paint,ink,charcoal,watercolor,etc.), but believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do is work with wood. Not like “This Old House”, but more of taking older furniture and re-doing it in a way that no one would have thought of, and keeping the old character of the original piece.

Do you have any new surprise merchandise for the upcoming You Bazaar!?
I’m still up in arms on what to produce for the You Bazaar show. I’m pretty sure I’m going with my felt work, but I just might go with my Plushie work. Hard to say. Only a couple weeks to go though, so I better get hopping. I’m very excited about it.

Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?
Oh, very hard question, there are just sooo many to choose from. Paloma’s Nest has pretty nice work. I guess I like her stuff because it is uniform and clean or streamlined. Something I have a hard time doing since my items are not always the same. ChetandDot have some really cutesy items. Things I’d pick up in a boutique and possibly buy. PrettyLittle does great feltwork, very cute items, I even bought her award winning bunny slippers for my litlte girl. And, one of the first shops I bought from twice is PerfectChildren. Great idea to make quirky and oddball stuffed animals made from mostly recycled materials. I know I am missing a bunch more but I cannot think of them right now.

You can check out Jeyn’s Etsy store and she sells at these brick and mortar shops:
In SF,
and in Washington DC,

The interviewer, Minnie, also writes about crafts at Thank You For Not Being Perky.

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