Meet Grace, the heart behind Jaq Jaq Bird®. The company's founder and creative director is a proud Chicagoan, a mother of 3, and a Korean-American.
Jaq Jaq Bird® began without a plan: just a small vision and an even smaller amount of money. 15 years later, Jaq Jaq Bird is a thriving small business backed by a hard-working team with devout customers around the globe.
Jaq Jaq Bird began when Grace's family bought a tiny bungalow while stationed in Washington D.C. Seeking more space to accommodate their growing family, Grace and her husband hired a contractor to build an addition. However, the week before their third baby was to make his arrival, the phone rang: it was the FBI.
They were then given some shocking news: the contractor they had hired was a fraud, had embezzled their savings and left the family with no functional kitchen to feed their kids. With their savings depleted and Grace nursing a newborn, a six month period of chaos ensued as her husband began frantically working 12 hour shifts in an effort to finish the renovation work himself.
Innovating to Survive
Dining out became a necessity for survival, but Grace's three children were not engaged by the generic children's menus and crayons at restaurants, usually tearing them to pieces and making a mess. Determined to have peaceful family meals as a much needed respite from the chaos of life and renovation, Grace invented the Chalk Mat, now well-known as the Doodle It & Go erasable mat, in 2005. Like Jaq Jaq Bird's mats of today, it was a flexible, travel-friendly design featuring a placemat on one side and surface to doodle on with chalk on the other.
After other families took notice in restaurants, Grace created more chalk mats and approached local shops with the design. Soon after, Grace received a call from HGTV asking if they could feature her chalk mat design on a nationally syndicated TV show. Following the broadcast, Grace received so many orders that the mats went on backorder, as she was sill hand-sewing each one. Ironically, the chalk mat sales allowed Grace and her family to complete their home renovation, and Jaq Jaq Bird® was officially founded.
Partnerships and Press
Jaq Jaq Bird® has since been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, HGTV, CNBC, NY Time Out Kids, Rachel Ray, Parents Magazine, Washington Post, Dwell Magazine and numerous other media. Jaq Jaq Bird has proudly had the opportunity to partner with brands such as Land of Nod, Nordstrom, Target, Aaron Brothers, Anthropologie, The Container Store and other international retailers.
Why "Jaq Jaq Bird®"?
When Grace's third child was learning to talk, he would say "Jaq Jaq" - a Korean onomatopoeia translated as "chirp chirp".