Meet the Maker: An Interview with Jessie M Design

Now if you know me well you'll know how much I love a good inspirational quote, pair that with my love of calligraphy and you are on to a real winner! I would absolutely love to be able to put pen to paper and create a beautiful piece of art but I am such a perfectionist it would probably take me weeks to plan what I wanted to do before bodging it out of excitement and then feeling defeated. I like to leave it to the experts. Artists like Jessie for example. I am proud to say that I own two pieces of her stunning work and I definitely have more purchases on the horizon...

1. Tell us a little about you and your business.

I’m Jessie and I run Jessie M Design. I’m 27 years old and I live in East Sussex near the beautiful village of Alfriston. We have recently moved here, to a converted stables where I have a very cosy nook office in my house! I also am a Graphic Designer for a family run publishing house local to me. I have a VERY energetic almost 2 (!! Feels like yesterday he was a tiny dot in my arms) year old. He keeps me very busy 99% of my time. The remaining, I’m lettering/emailing/eating!

2. What inspired your business name?

Me! My name.. I am known to my family and friends and Jessie. My surname is Moane, although I’m recently engaged so I need to make the decision whether I keep Jessie M or change to Jessie V!

3. How did you first discover your passion for your craft?

As long as I can remember, I’ve been more interested in art rather than academic subjects. I never enjoyed nor was good at Maths and English, and managed to get my A Levels doing ALL creative courses. From my Art BTEC I discovered my love for graphic design and especially typography.

4. How long has your business been running?

I began Jessie M Design in 2016, when I moved from London. I have worked as a Graphic Designer for around 7 years now, mainly in print magazines. I needed another creative outlet that allowed me to make more use of my love for type. I am left handed so I self taught calligraphy (in my own style) so I don’t smudge all my work!

5. What inspires your creations?

My inspiration tends to come from quotes I think will resonate with people and myself. I have popular Dumbledore and Roald Dahl prints with quotes that make you stop and think for a moment, when times get tough they are a great reminder that it’s temporary and to keep going. I also search for great quotes within books me/my family like, making things for my family is where I started after all.

6. What is your proudest achievement to date?

Appearing in my local magazine ‘VIVA Lewes’ as a maker introduction. It was great and I made some great contacts through appearing in there!

7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned?

Do not, under any circumstances, work for FREE! I get so many requests for tattoo designs and a lot of people say they don’t have the money to pay for a design. Often saying ‘but just this once..’ It upsets me that people don’t value my time or work. But will happily pay the tattooist for their time. Just because we don’t work face to face, doesn’t mean its free! On the other side of this, I have lots of valued customers who return for 2nd tattoo design, which is heart warming, they want MY work on THEIR skin?! Biggest compliment.

8. What is your favourite make?

I have an A3 piece called Life is Amazing. It was originally commissioned by a customer, but I loved it so much I asked her if she’d mind if this was made available to others. It was so fun to make and it always receives such great feedback. Its a ‘stop and read’ piece, but everyone who takes the time, it triggers thoughts to make you slow down and think about ‘life’.

9. What is the best feedback you have received?

I was asked by a lovely lady called Lisa to create a design for her first ever tattoo. It was such a pleasure working with her to get this right, with a small timeline she needed it fairly soon! Once I sent her, her designs, this is the feedback I received:

'OMG, YES YES YES! This is exactly it! Thank you so much, honestly I’m about in tears here!!! This is exactly it.’

It makes it all so worthwhile when your clients love their piece, doesn’t it?

10. Is there anything you regret?

I don’t have a particular regret, just that I wish I had done more to set out the future of Jessie M Design, before I became a mum, as I have so many ideas and just don’t have time to put my all into it. It’s not a complaint, as I love being his mumma! But I don’t think I am alone when I say to him, ‘just give me 5 minutes!’

11. What are your goals for the future?

My goals in the future are to just keep creating. I run this small business along side a part time job and being a mum. I thought about giving it all up when I became a mum, but I realised I need this, for myself. Something that is just mine! So, I obviously have long term plans to make this ‘my job’ but for now, I am happy and stable and that's all I can ask for.

12. What is the best part of being a maker?

Meeting other creatives that I would not have known if it wasn’t for the internet/Instagram. People that have the same goals and all inspiring each other to carry on with your small business. I noticed a spike in mums starting their own thing, and I feel like that has really helped spur me on when I see other people doing over and above (and they have more than 1 kid!)

13. What is your least favourite job to do?

Tax! And photographing work before I make it digital. Sometimes I use my iPad Pro to create lettering, which works well for speed if there is a short deadline. But other times, customers request watercolour. This is fun to make and get back to a brush, but getting the photo right to make sure I capture the ink effect is quite frustrating!

14. What advice would you give your old self?

Have faith. When I started out, I was constantly comparing myself to other calligraphers. Even though, I knew they had been doing it much much longer than me, and they had a very different style. I am glad its taken me a few years to gain confidence as it has given me time to find a style that is my own.

15. What advice would you give other makers?

Just do it. If you’re umming and arrring around starting a business/creative blog/Instagram or sketch diary, don’t think too much, or you’ll never do it! I did this and regret taking so long, it keeps me sane!

To find out more about Jessie and to see more of her amazing work, follow her here:

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