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Jenny Luckett of January Moon

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Patience is a virtue that we moms tend to indiscriminately extend to one another, in life as well as in business. Thankfully, Jenny Luckett–lifelong creative, glowing wife and mother, tireless go-getter, and founder of January Moon–proved to possess such patience.

When Jenny and I were originally scheduled to chat on a Thursday morning a few weeks back, we had a mix-up in time zones (Tennessee vs. New York) and had to push our call back an hour. Normally, I would be anxious about such a miscommunication, fearing that this error would reflect poorly on me. But when Jenny and I finally connected, we had a good laugh over it.

To say a mother’s life is incredibly busy would be to state the obvious. Juggling career, children, the responsibilities of home, and the pursuit of one’s own enjoyment leave little margin for error. Yet all too often a mother’s inability to be “perfect” (being late to a meeting, having to take a personal day, needing flexibility in her schedule) is viewed as a lack of professionalism. That is the kind of misconception that Jenny and other female entrepreneurs are helping to discredit by successfully navigating family and career.

Jenny was motivated to start January Moon during her first born’s teething journey. Having worked in the jewelry industry for years, she was disappointed in the lack of options for wearable pieces that could double as entertainment for baby. She knew that she could fill the niche. Named for the month in which her son was born and inspired by the sleepless nights of early motherhood, January Moon was launched in 2017 to great reception. Jenny took care in designing, safety-testing and planning for the launch of her business, and she had the opportunity to collaborate with many talented, dedicated and professional mamas along the way.

“I work with so many creatives who are also moms,” said Jenny of her extended January Moon family of photographers and branding specialists. “We all meet our deadlines and enjoy our families.”

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Although Jenny embodies the supermom grit that many of us strive to achieve, she doesn’t pretend to do it all on her own. She speaks affectionately of her supportive husband, Mike, whom she credits as being an encouraging partner in life and a collaborative partner in their shared creativity. They constantly bounce ideas off of each other, help one another carry the immense responsibility of balancing children and careers, and bring their unique, professional skill-sets to aid each other in work.

“Mike is an incredibly skilled craftsman. He can always turn my messy sketches into beautiful displays, craft booths and signage. I am just as proud of the displays that he makes as I am of the jewelry.”

To recap: Jenny has two beautiful children, a loving husband with whom she can share not only life but a creative passion, and a career that challenges, engages and fulfills her.

But before you mistakenly conclude that Jenny’s story is somehow inauthentic or unattainable for “real” mothers, consider that her business demands constant over-scheduling, intense deadlines and frequent late nights. Lack of sleep and virtually no time for regular, prioritized “me-time” can be trying for anyone, let alone a person who focuses so much on what she could be doing better or differently. To combat this she employs her own unique brand of self-care grounded in self-acceptance. Instead of beating herself up over beating herself up, she is choosing to focus on all that she loves about life. Although being a mother and business owner means that she will always come second, Jenny couldn’t be happier with the life she has created for herself.

So what is Jenny’s advice for finding balance when life stretches you thin?

“Take walks. Always take walks. When the baby doesn’t sleep, when the toddler has boundless energy, when you hit a creative wall, when you haven’t had a good conversation with your husband. The walk is essential to my life and Mike and I make the strongest connections when we’re walking outdoors with the family.”

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Read more about Jenny Luckett and discover her beautiful line of teething jewelry and accessories here: www.JanuaryMoon.com

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Photo credits in order of appearance:

Amy Miller

Brooke Dainty

Amy Miller

Amy Hobbs

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Amy Hobbs

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“Papoum Papoum”

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Papoum Papoum.” The name says it all as it’s meant to represent the tiny heartbeat of a baby or our own happily beating hearts as we think of our little ones. My heart certainly skipped a beat when I discovered this teething doll, named Sweet Pea Baby by creator Sophie Guindon, while poking around Vieux-Montréal on our recent trip.

In the grand tradition of my family traveling across borders before turning one year (my first flight was to France at two and a half months), Leo crossed into Canada at two months. I was turning 30 and Joe’s most recent film, The Sleepers, had been accepted into the famed Fantastia Film Festival. A trip to Montreal seemed to be the perfect celebration of our new parenthood, our shared creativity and my 3rd decade of life.

Joe kept busy during our stay in the great city of Montreal attending his own film’s screening and catching some of the other programs that the 3 week festival had to offer. I split my time between our Downtown Montreal AirBNB and the beautiful streets, shops and cafes of the city—baby-in-tow—meeting up with Joe between screenings for some quality family time.

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On our third day we devoted the morning to exploring Vieux-Montréal and the old port. What became our favorite part of the city was criss-crossed with cobble stone streets, awash in summer blooms and, of course, teeming with tourists and the tacky shops catering to them. Although the old part of the city lacked originality in some of its gift shops, hawking the same wares as all top international destinations (insert “Montreal” on your $10 t-shirt), it made up for it with its galleries and art shops.

Metiers d’art du Quebec caught our eye with its entrance off of the main street in a little side corridor. Designs by local artisans filled the sunlit space, including a comprehensive baby collection. Sweetly embroidered children’s clothes and fantastic, cooky animal pillows were among the most exciting offerings. But the delicate, imaginative Sweet Pea dolls and teething friends were perfectly made for our growing babe.

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Sophie, creator and designer of the PapoumPapoum brand, is a native of Canada. Her vision for these precious, keepsake toys came as she was a stay-at-home-mom and made the first rag doll for her daughter. She then devoted every free moment to creating her original dolls and the business was born. With a background in herbal therapy and a love of the planet, Sophie instills the same morals into PapoumPapoum. The toys are as safe as they are durable, hand made in Quebec using environmentally-friendly materials, like her series of bamboo blanket animals. Uniquely created, each toy slightly differs from others in the same collection, and all are made to love for years and years.

Papoum Papoum… is the sound of a little heart beating, it’s what we feel for a new-born, and it’s also a sound that can trigger a small child’s laughter, the kind that fills the world with sunshine.”

Leo isn’t yet teething so he is still too young to use his Sweet Pea, but I know he’ll be enjoying it sooner than we think. If new parenthood has taught us anything it is that time truly does move too quickly. Another month of his life has already clipped by, filled with his first travels in our blissfully nomadic summer. Now we’ll have his first doll to remind us of these moments and of his first, tender heartbeats. Papoum papoum. 

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Hands of Creation

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Fall, in its infinite crispness and newness, always brings me deeply in touch with my meditative side. I turn inward after the mania and excitement of the summer months and celebrate the opportunity to get back to routine and back to nesting after summer’s nomadism. Fall is also my favorite time to delve into life’s slow arts—cooking, crafting, creating in all manner—and so it is appropriate that I should have the pleasure of introducing to these pages a wonderful creator who has come to discover the slow art that moves her most and who is making her life for it and from it.

It was still the height of summer when I first came to visit Ivy Weinglass at her studio in all her sprightliness and warmth. It never ceases to amaze me that, while wandering the streets of Brooklyn, one can be in the presence of such magic, tucked away just beyond sight and consciousness. And so it was that I came to discover her ceramics studio, cool and earthen smelling in delightful contrast to the tinny August heat, nestled in an unassuming building off of a dead-end street in Williamsburg. Here Ivy spends her days in the company of other artists who share this studio, the healthy buzz of creation filling the railroad style space and the gift of a grape-vined secret garden in the back to escape to for moments of calm.

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A voracious crafter of all disciplines, Ivy has tried her hand at many projects. And something that she may do just to pass the time inevitably yields enviable and covetable results. Her vintage bandana bags and quilts, for example, are straight out of a southwestern, wanderlust dreamscape, conjuring images of cowboy kisses, dusty road trips, and sleeping under the stars. Likewise, her latest adventure in embroidery has garnered well deserved attention from all angles and adorns the wearer in a happy neo-grunge halo. But it is her work in ceramics that, above all of her other artistry, makes her feel completely herself. She found the craft after a stint of creative drought and took to it feverishly, compelled by the challenge and patience that it required. And here she is today, creating truly stunning pieces (now available at ABC Carpet and Home {yeehaw!} among many other awesome outposts across the country) that feel simultaneously ancient and cutting edge, original and universal. She says that her devotion to long hours in the studio surprised her at first, having thought of herself previously as someone lacking in attention. But the nature of working with clay has found her in complete meditative clarity and possessing a work ethic with a laser beam focus to achieve the pieces that she envisions.

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Perhaps her most iconic pieces are her ceramic hands. Always having been drawn to the symbol—collecting hands of all mediums from thrift stores, markets, etc—she conceived of her own motif completely out of function, to serve as an elegant spot to snub out her beloved palo santo sticks that she burns incessantly in her home. (It is her practice, even, to gift purchasers of her ceramic hands with a stick of palo santo, known for bringing balance to the spaces in which it is burned.) The result, of course, is the perfect, soulfully pleasing designs that enchant every person that lays eyes on them. The ideal talisman to adorn our homes with as we settle into these months of sacred nesting, with shorter days and falling temperatures.

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What I find so special about Ivy’s story is that she has truly made a life of her passions, seemingly unfettered by any commonly used excuses or frequently referenced obstacles like time, money, and the thing her mom calls “monkey brain” (aka the chief demon of all creatives: the little voice that tries to stop us each day as we sit down to make our art). Her recipe to keep focused when the voices of doubt and distraction surface is to take a break. When her work flow is off and things don’t feel right in the studio, she escapes completely until she is ready to return to the task at hand. And it turns out that sometimes those days away are more important to her continued work than days spent at her bench. She references, and I couldn’t agree with her more, that we have to be our own best cheerleader if we are ever to accomplish (and still find joy in) our work. Ivy also fights against the societal constraint to put money above all else by reveling in the beauty of trade. She’s found many other incredible artists on Instagram whom she has cultivated relationships with and made exchanges of her work for theirs, rendering her life and her spaces full of amazing artifacts that fuel her creativity. But money inevitably comes with great effort and determination, and I am so happy for all of Ivy’s well deserved success.

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It is the solid influence of friends and family and the vision of other creatives that keeps her motivated and inspired. She is intimately aware of the fact that when you keep trying your hand at “making it” in the creative arena, something is bound to stick. And like the sage she is, she acknowledges that inevitably  one will have to keep trying to break through to the next source of inspiration. One thing that she never hopes to be is complacent, understanding that complacency is the ultimate enemy of creativity. And so Ivy strives to keep learning, keep exploring and keep building upon her creative foundation. And we, the awestruck admirers of her work, couldn’t be happier for it.

To purchase, or for more on Ivy’s work, visit her at her brand’s website: IIIVVVYYY.

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