From California to Germany, the Jaq Jaq Bird® Team is staying safe at home, where we continue to work to provide you with creative resources to keep your little ones unplugged, engaged and learning during this sheltering-in period. Stay home, stay safe, explore creativity and get to know our team!
1. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
Grace Paik, Founder + Creative Director: I am Grace, the founder and creative director of Jaq Jaq Bird. I am a mom of three kids, my passion is my love for Jesus and my community! I live in San Francisco, California. I am highly allergic to animals, but my love for adorable furry animals won't hold me back... I just love dogs. I also love coffee, and living in SF does not help my addiction! There are so many local coffee roasteries here that keep me from leaving SF. I also love having deep (or shallow) conversations about spiritual stuff, life, and relationships. Don't get me started on beauty and fashion. I think life is so much about perspective, so lately I've been trying to be grateful and positive about anything that comes my way... so far, it's been working!
Stefan Wöger, Sales Director (Europe/ME): Hello, I’m Stefan, my family, the dog and I, we live in Nuremberg, Germany and I’m in charge for the European and ME sales at Jaq Jaq Bird. I love to meet and talk to our customers and I’m always amazed about the positive feedback we receive for our products and creative ideas. My motivation is fueled by the fun kids have with our products. As a soccer fan, I enjoy our Saturday’s matches and I also follow our pro leagues closely.
Dani Polen, Head of Sales (North America): Hey there, I’m Dani, and I am at home in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. I am head of sales at Jaq Jaq Bird, and I also get the opportunity to assist regularly in the brand’s marketing and creative efforts!
Rachel Seong, Analyst: Hi. I'm Rachel, and I live just outside of Atlanta, GA. Prior to becoming a mom, I was an engineer, so I get to continue my love of numbers by running analytics for Jaq Jaq Bird, taking numbers and expressing them in a way that provides meaning.
Amy Liang, Brand Manager: Hello from inside my home! I'm Amy, and I live in Pasadena, California with my husband and our daughter. I love to turn chaos into order. I also have a never ceasing fascination for all things paper (from brown paper lunch bags to stickers to the most exquisite gift wraps). How I was created and made has lead me to become a graphic designer. At Jaq Jaq Bird, I get to do just that with our product lines and I do a happy dance in my heart daily when I'm at my desk because of what I get to do and the people that I get to work with.
2. HOW HAS YOUR JOB TRANSITIONED DURING SHELTER-IN-PLACE?
Grace: Being the founder of Jaq Jaq Bird, I recently had to make some hard choices regarding cut backs and even lay offs. It really hurts, because I love my team. However, even with the new transition, every single team member was so understanding and those still on staff continue to work hard, which is such a testament to me that they are not doing this to just survive, but they love JJB's culture and team. My day-to-day schedule and environment hasn't changed that much. We have our condo-office that is on the side of the city and home we work out of but lately my husband will go there to write and work. Because all the kids are home 100% of the time, it's been hard to keep our own space, but we've been creative to occupy every single square meter of our tiny condo in SF: the garage, our make-shift office, living/dining area, and three bedrooms are all occupied for zoom meetings and class time!
Stefan: I’m missing to see and meet our customers and I feel the pain of our partners whose business is currently hit hard. We are trying to help and support as much as we can, and I’m impressed with the continuous loyalty to our brand. My new coworker you see on the image, is very pleased that now I can spend a little more time with her.
Dani: Like so many others, my family has been sheltering-in-place now for weeks, and I would say the most obvious personal transition has been making this our “new normal” and striving to reset my balance to fully meet the needs of my full-time co-workers (husband, daughter, dog and babe on the way). Another shift in my job role specifically has been transitioning my focus to figuring out how best to support and encourage our customers during this time through the creative development and execution of our #JaqJaqCares campaign. Our staff has been working together around the clock to share ideas, resources, etc., and internally for our team, it has been such an encouraging experience! More typically, my role's top priority is Jaq Jaq Bird's B2B sales strategy.
Rachel: During this period, since we're limited on working hours, I've had to concentrate harder at prioritizing tasks and focusing more energy on working more efficiently than ever before.
Amy: The biggest transition for me during this time has been my newly added "co-workers". I usually get to have my own time to work alone from home and as an introvert, that time is precious for me and it fuels my creativity. However, my new "co-workers" has changed that time and space for me and I find myself cooking 2 meals a day (breakfast is DIY) with endless dishes to wash, dry and put away. I'm also often interrupted with "Mom, look at this COVID-19 meme!" or "hahaha...you have to watch this coronavirus Tik Tok..." which I consider both as brain cell killers. Yes, so I think I've lost a lot my brain cells during this shelter-in-place time. Work wise, I've transitioned to working with more of our team members as we work together to personalize Jaq Jaq Bird for our customers through a different lens via social media. This is something we've always wanted to do and this pandemic has give us an opportunity to pursue that. I love how we turned a need into something so organic and how our team dynamic brought that about so easily.
3. HOW HAVE YOU USED YOUR PROFESSIONAL SKILLS CREATIVELY OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Grace: That's an interesting question. My real love is product development and design. As a result, I love to create things, but at the same time, I can't draw/sew (properly!), and I am not good with my hands. So, the way I have used my profession is to spend one day a week to help someone who needs help with their endeavors, business, projects, etc. I try to keep an open day where I can give back in this way to my community. Most recently, I got my sewing machine out and am actually sewing masks! I was also getting more involved in my local SBA chapter before COVID-19 hit.
Stefan: Honestly, my creative skills are limited, luckily enough I have a very creative wife. Or, maybe my creativity is simply different and more focused on finding solutions to business challenges.
Dani: As we looked to transition within one week from our originally planned "spring break" travel-themed marketing campaign to an unprecedented "shelter-in-place" campaign, we certainly had to get creative with our limited access to resources. With that being said, my daughter and I have shared in a few official Jaq Jaq Bird play day experiences, and I have put my amateur videographer skills to the test for our social media content! I have also recently used my design abilities to create personalized handwriting and name-writing worksheets to share with my friends’ little ones as they continue to learn from home.
Rachel: I'm not sure how creative I can get with numbers, but looking at numbers and finding their meaning helps me to look at statistics, especially news stories, with a critical eye.
Amy: I live and breathe graphic design. The skill that makes me a graphic designer (turn chaos into order beautifully) is applied to almost all other areas of my life from packing for a trip, to helping friends organize their spaces to branding for non-profit organizations. I speak color, proportion, alignment, and composition amongst other design languages and I love to "translate" for friends and families who just don't speak the languages.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPACE INSIDE YOUR HOME AND WHY?
Grace: Our make-shift office. Our SF home is very tight. We have one common space, which is upstairs (the living, kitchen and dining area) in our condo. Then the entire place is very compartmentalized and goes two floors down from the main living space. When we first moved here, the first thing my husband tried to figure is how we can use every square meter of our home. Right at the first stairwell landing there is a room where our duct, and heating are housed so we dry walled a part of this space and transformed it into a make-shift office. Currently this tiny five square meter office is my office/sewing room. Even though the rest of the family does use it to Zoom in with other people, I like the way the desk area inspires me. I have my daughter Ellie's drawing pinned up along with my products. It's colorful and very artistic. I like the little lamp that gives my desk space some ambiance and since we all share it, we respect our belongings and move it as soon as someone needs the room.
Stefan: My chair, which you can see in the photo—this is my relaxing and reenergizing space.
Dani: With a babe on the way, we have recently rearranged a bit. The soon-to-be nursery is now doubling as a temporary home office for my husband and myself. In an effort to begin the nesting process, we initially hung curtains, moved in a floor lamp and added a house plant. With our open floor plan, we quickly realized this was the only room that would fit our desk and allow us to take work calls behind a closed door. It sounds like an ironic way to “nest”, I know, but on any given day you may now find my entire family together in this room - windows open, working, doing arts & crafts, watching my daughter’s school videos - and it truly feels as though we are preparing this space for the new little addition that will bring life to it come July! Of course, it goes without saying that we are truly grateful for our outdoor spaces that we can retreat to as well during this time.
Rachel: My favorite spot is our backyard. No matter the season, there's always something lovely to behold and enjoy, be it the spring flowers and buzzing bees, the green green summer and bouncing bunnies, the fall sunsets and colored leaves, or the calm winter when even the grass sleeps. But, most of all, I get the greatest joy watching my four-year-old running around, playing. I love being able to enjoy God's creation daily in our little piece of property.
Amy: My office is my favorite room inside my home. It is filled with little spaces that displays things that I love. There's a shelf in particular that I love the most which displays a collection of washi tapes that I've collected throughout the years along with many other things that are meaningful to me or gives a glimpse into who I am.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE UNPLUGGED ACTIVITY?
Grace: I used to play the violin until I graduated college, recently I have picked it back up again. If I would have never quit the violin, I would have wanted to be a concert violinist in my other life. I can never get past a certain technical set of repertoire every time I pick up the violin, so I decided to watch Ithzak Perlman's masterclass which inspired me to change the way I practice. That has been helping me tremendously. Between 2-3 hours of scales and etudes everyday has been my favorite unplugged activity! I have also been cooking/baking a lot. All things that I have said I would like to do more of, but simply never had the time, I've been doing it. It's been enjoyable. My son and I have been working on the Beethoven #9 Piano and Violin Sonata (Kreutzer) the past month. We would have never had this much time together to work on such a piece together. But I think I am enjoying it more than he is! :)
Stefan: Sports, mainly soccer, active and as a spectator, in the arena or on TV. And reading, which I am currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is a marvelous written novel with amazing characters.
Dani: I feel such a heightened appreciation for unplugged activities after 6+ weeks of sheltering in place, so I can’t just list one… (1) Painting, outdoor play, beach time and neighborhood walks to pick wildflowers with my daughter (2) Currently reading Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday (3) Cooking
Rachel: I love reading. My favorite author is Brandon Sanderson, who writes fantasy. I made it my goal to read everything he's ever published—I just finished my 23rd book of his. His creativity amazes me, and his character-development is so in-depth. I had no idea one person's imagination could be so vast.
Amy: Reading! I love being transported into a life that I'll never get to experience otherwise. I just finished reading "Educated", a memoir by Tara Westover. I'm also currently reading "Everything I Never Told You" and am forever reading the Bible. God's word anchors and comforts like no one and nothing else. Since this pandemic started, I've downloaded Libby to borrow e-books (as opposed to purchasing them, even though I love to own books and feel the pages in my hands) and Goodreads to track my progress with other fellow readers.
6. WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU HAVE DISCOVERED ABOUT YOURSELF WHILE SHELTERING IN PLACE?
Grace: Let me put it this way - The good: I have been more disciplined in my personal goals than I thought I would have ever been, considering I have more time. Additionally, I think working from home for the last 16 years also helped me to manage my time. I am self-motivated. The bad: Stalking my puppy that we re-homed on social media and regretting my decision! So, right now I am looking for a new puppy... wasting a lot of time grieving and looking for a new puppy!
Stefan: To be patient for so many days is harder than I thought.
Dani: I have discovered that I am truly more resilient than I have personally believed myself to be in such a long time. I have also realized that I generally take too many of the little, but most important, things for granted. One personal SIP project for me has been to jot down all of these “little things'', as a reference for my future self to not forget what matters. Practicing gratitude is so important, and I will eternally be grateful to all of the heroes on the frontlines of COVID-19, whose work and sacrifices will ultimately allow us all to get back to truly appreciating our “normal” lives and all of the “little things” that make up each of our days.
Rachel: I realized I'm less of an introvert than I thought—I hate not being able to visit in-person with friends and acquaintances. I've also learned that no amount of time at home makes my house any cleaner—if anything the extra time at home makes my house messier.
Amy: I've discovered that I can live without Netflix or any other source of online entertainment. I've discovered that as much as I thought that can be a homebody, I do need to be out daily for walks and to be able to worship with my Creator in a way where I can see the sky, examine the flowers, and breathe in fresh air. I've also discovered that my addiction for boba is real.
6. WHAT ARE YOU FAVORITE JAQ JAQ BIRD® PRODUCTS?
1. ButterStix® 12pk Assorted Colors + Holder 2. New York Cities of Wonder erasable book 3. Reusable Table Runner (Black) 4. San Francisco Cities of Wonder erasable book 5. Perfect Reusable Wet Pouch 6. Wishy Washy Markers
1. Snack Perfect Reusable Pouch (Set of 2) 2. ButterStix® 12pk Assorted Colors 3. Hearts Sleeved Bib + Art Smock 4. Wishy Washy Markers 5. Lavender Chevron Binky Keeper 6. Perfect Reusable Wet Pouch 7. Seurat Color It & Go erasable book
1. ButterStix® Holders (Set of 3) 2. ButterStix® 12pk Assorted Colors 3. Safari Color It & Go erasable book 4. Monet Color It & Go erasable book 5. Reusable Wall Decal 6. Safari Doodle It & Go erasable mat
Beginning Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 8, 2020 at midnight PST — Receive a FREE REUSABLE POUCH with your order!
Choice of pouch style and discount will be applied at checkout.