Here's the eighth interview in the #feminestchats series with the talented and kind Amanda Jane Jones, graphic designer and the founding art director of Kinfolk. Amanda and I knew one another from Chicago where I reached out to her when she was producing Define Magazine and got to work a bit with her on it. Which was delightful.
How are you feeling right now, 10 being the most incredible?
A 10! Playing the glad game a lot lately and it really helps you feel your best.
Glad game? I need more info….
Oh! It's from Pollyanna the movie. Just looking on the bright side of things, finding things to be glad for. Basically counting your blessings. Once you start thinking about all the things that make you glad, it's pretty hard to be unhappy about things.
Of course, Pollyanna! Oh man, flashbacks. I need the glad game in my life.
What's the fam doing right now? Is cree hiding out with them in the back?
Cree is picking up Jane from school with Miles! I think they are going to get some hot chocolate so I can have an extra 30 minutes of work time. ;)
I would love to know what it was like to be a part of Kinfolk as it grew and scaled massively Scary, exciting? All of it?
It felt like a big scramble, but it taught me that you don't have to know how to do something to try it. We were just making it up as we went!
Did you find yourself designing differently when you were getting bigger? if so, how?
No and yes - I've always been a simple designer, but I've toned down a bit. Right out of college I was very into letterpress and vintage style design and my work has become more modern - more classic. I also think that's just part of the changing styles.
I have a friend who likes to eat desserts alone and for whatever reason I get it, what's your "I'm alone I'm going to have THIS dessert"
Oh man - a stan's donuts just was built close enough for post-mates to deliver! If I order by 7pm, they get to me before 8 - right after the kids go to bed. Ha!
You do so many amazing collabs! How do you decide when to do one and when not to?
I've felt so lucky! It's been SO much fun. I tend to say yes to companies that have similar styles and companies that are open to letting me be me while designing.
Your insta following is cult-level, what's your criteria for what to post?
I guess the insta-stories are more casual and "instant" - my actual feed is more curated and polished.
You seem like you curate everything in your life - have you always been this way? I'm just really curious to know what the AJJ teen room was like. I know you're a Hanson fan but I'm assuming no Hanson posters on the wall?
Haha, I did actually have a complete hanson wall - floor to ceiling! But then my mom said she would pay 50% of a room make-over and I painted my walls lime green and bought inflatable furniture. I LOVED it.
Um, this sounds like Delias/Alloy catalogue, AKA drool worthy for a teen in the late 90's, right?
Oh! I'd forgotten about Delias - I devoured that magazine - couldn't wait until it came. I never purchased anything from there, but my mom found fabric that matched a dress I liked and asked a friend to help make it for me.
Who should I be following on insta?
What's your biggest takeaway from the Define Magazine project?
I loved so much about it! but it took so much time away from my family. In the end, it made me grateful for my current job and it's flexibility.
I know Lake Michigan is a huge source of inspiration for you, any others?
I love books! I have a book wall at home that is a wonderful source of inspiration. I also love going to concerts and movies and listening to jazz.
Do you have a system for how to handle mean comments?
Haha, I've learned the hard way just not to engage - or just kill them with kindness. It's not really worth it to engage.
I know you got a lot of push back on your McDonald's sponsored post. It's been a couple of years now since that happened, any retrospective thoughts?
Oh man, well - it was a mistake to take on that job in the first place. It was the first actual "sponsored" post I'd ever done and I was like, "WHAT? I can make this much money by posting one photo of my daughter with a clementine??!" Cree had a crazy stressful schedule with school and I was a new mom in a new city trying to support my husband and family financially on top of it all - so I was really excited to make some quick cash. It was a great learning experience though because, some brands just aren't a good fit and not worth the grief no matter how hight the price or how much you need the money.
Yes to all of that. I can’t even imagine the grief. I think that was when McDonald’s was pushing a campaign to help their reputation with Moms and I’ve never spent more time in a comments section as I did when DesignMom had a McDonalds sponsored post, and started with, “I felt hypocritical — I felt like I was pretending I’m never a McDonald’s customer, when actually, from time-to-time, I am.” I guess there are people who never eat at McDonalds’s, I’m not one of them, and I don’t think you either. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be so hard on yourself.
You're so nice - I loved McDonalds growing up. It was such a treat! And when they had those mini-beanie babies in the happy meals?! THE BEST. Usually it's one of the few options when you're on a road trip, and we road trip a lot - so in my mind it was a great step in the right direction that they were adding healthier options to their meals. I think McDonalds is just fine in moderation - just like most things in life. I forget all the crazy comments people made - but one woman compared me to the devil or something random like that which was just ridiculous.
THE DEVIL. HAHA.
Let's say you have all the flexibility, time with family and balance in the world, what are your career goals?
I'd really love to start up Define Magazine again when my kids are older and I can afford more hands on deck. It was received so well and was growing so fast, but I just didn't have the manpower. We also have our first children's book coming out next fall and I'd love to do some more in the series. I've also been working on some other book concepts that I'm keeping my fingers crossed too!
That’s incredible! Congrats on the children’s book and do you have a link to pre-order or should we just follow you on Insta to know how we can buy it and all your other books coming out? :)
Thank you! We're so excited. It's a dream of mine and it's even more exciting to get to do it with my BFF, Cree. We don't have pre-order links yet, but I'll post the minute they are up!
Amanda you’re a dream. Thanks for sharing and being a source of inspiration for so many people!
Past #feminestchats interview:
Jamie Nugent, all about money mindset?? Check it out!
Or the second with graphic designer Lidia Varesco Racoma? Here it is!
Or maybe the one on closing a yoga practice and starting podcasts with Andrea Klunder? Go watch!
Or brand therapist Leisse Wilcox - have a watch.
Domini of Her Words! Click here.
Elle Steele on giving yourself permission to do what you want. One step away.
Whitney Lundeen who recently got a deal on Shark Tank! Here.
Know of anyone that I should interview? I’m looking for strong feminist business owners that have a story to share!