You were previously an industrial designer in Los Angeles. How has that experience influenced your design process with Jujumade?
Having an industrial design background gave me great insight into how things are made. I used to travel overseas to visit factories and to work out production/design complications. I focus and design in components: how things come together and how people will use it. I wanted to make my products wearable but still fun, unexpected, and playful - that is where the ceramics come in. Each ceramic piece serves not only as a design element, but also as a functional piece—the ceramic bead cinches the square bag shut, the two ceramic elements on the tote tighten the bag together when the straps are pulled, and of course the ceramic feet on each bag keep it from touching the ground and getting dirty! Each of the pieces ideally have a purpose.
You've made an unexpected material like ceramic wearable with your bags, jewelry and hair accessories. Where did that inspiration come from?
I love bags and I've been collecting them since I was young! The original idea came from combining ceramic and leather together because I was working with these two materials individually. I decided to try combining them since I had never seen that done before. All of the accessories then came together as a happy accident, because I wanted to utilize the remaining clay from making all the bag parts.
The hair accessories line was a collaboration with BROOK&LYN. Mimi wanted to work together on some hair pieces and my ceramics worked perfectly with our idea. A few ideas eventually developed into two full lines!
I've added more styles since my first collection and switched out both the leather and base ceramic to give it a refresh. I love mixing materials together—ceramic is definitely the main material I work with, but I will slowly introduce new elements, too!