Maybe it’s because I’m an earth sign (a Capricorn, in case you were asking!) but just looking at the colourful wooden pieces by Jax and Co makes me happy. I also have a soft spot for South Australia’s Riverland region, where the designer, Jax Isaacson, lives and works on a pistachio property. My background’s in journalism and my first gig was as a casual reporter for a newspaper there one summer. But I digress, as Jax has her own fascinating story to tell…
Hi, Jax. How long has your label been around for and how was it ‘born’?
I am very excited that Jax and Co turned one [in September]. I wasn’t ever expecting to produce handcrafted jewellery but I am not surprised that I am either. I have two small children and I own and work on a pistachio property with my husband.
Before motherhood and our move into agriculture, I was a graphic designer in Adelaide. I have always had a strong creative drive and feel most at ease when I am being productive and busy using my hands.
I found a few months last year, where the property work had slowed down and I was going a little nutty in the house with the kids [AE: Nice pun, Jax!], I was so desperate to create and to do something for myself that didn’t involve anyone else.
I had always wanted to play around with resin and I have access to a large amount of amazing local wood. Organically, these two mediums came together, and I made a pendant. The reactions I got were amazing. I knew straightaway that I had stumbled upon a product that people would want.
In a nutshell, how would you describe your brand and its point of difference?
By using resin and local sustainable wood, I handcraft individual pieces that connect people to nature in a contemporary way. The process takes me around one-and-a-half to two hours per piece so they are truly handcrafted.
The access I have to the beautiful South Australian Mallee burl definitely sets me apart. The wood helps evoke a sense of wander and can transport the viewer on a journey through the piece.
There are others that use similar materials to myself. [However] I have been very conscious to produce a product that is not a copy of another person’s work but recognisably mine. I also offer completely tailored pieces at no extra cost, so I have many people contact me for the exact piece that they have in mind.
I really enjoy these commission pieces as I feel even more connected when I know the person the piece is going to.
Which piece is your bestseller?
As all my pieces are completely unique, there isn’t a bestseller. I have found, however, that the leaf-shaped pendants are the most popular shape.
If you had to pick a favourite design of yours, which would it be?
I love the bracelets and half-moons. As they have more surface area, I can show more wood detail, which for me, is the best part of my pieces. Plus, it adds to the challenge of cutting the wood the right way to produce a more spectacular outcome.
Which markets have you done, if any, and are you keen on them?
I have only done a few markets and a pop-up. It takes me a good six weeks to prepare enough stock for a market and the amount of time I have to work on Jax and Co is completely dependent on what our property and my family allows.
Having to travel a significant way to get to most markets also isn’t very conducive at this point while my kids are so little. I will be doing a few markets prior to Christmas this year in the Adelaide Hills and the Barossa but that’s all I want to do at this point.
What have you found to be the most effective form of marketing, and hence, the turning point for your label?
Starting a social media account was definitely the turning point. All of a sudden I had a reach internationally and was getting contacted by people from all over wanting their own unique piece.
Instagram also connected me to a few stores who wanted to stock my pieces. That was such an awesome surprise and forced me to accept that I have a legitimate business growing and not just a hobby.
How much time do you spend on your label per week, where do you do the ‘creating’, and what else in your life do you juggle it with?
As I mentioned above, I have two pre-kindy kids and a busy agricultural business. The pistachios become more demanding at a couple of key times throughout the year, during which I have had to accept that even though I want to be working on Jax and Co, I can’t.
For the rest of the year, I give myself two full days creating and a third for all the photography and computer-based stuff. When I get busy, that turns into many nights as well … though it’s absolutely arctic in the shed on a winter’s night, so not many nights [then].
“Before motherhood and our move into agriculture, I was a graphic designer in Adelaide.”
Is there a fellow creative/designer you regularly ‘stalk’ the social media account of? And let us know where so we can follow them too 😉
I have done some collaborative pieces with Heidi Helyard (another great outcome of Instagram). She is a super-talented creative from [Australia’s] East Coast. Her work is constantly evolving, and lately, she has been doing some awesome ‘weirdling’ pieces which you should definitely check out.
Where can people find your label stocked?
I have limited capacity to stock stores as my pieces are so labour-intensive and my time limited. I have lots of great pieces online and do currently stock 10 places in Australia. All my current stockist details are available online at www.jaxandco.com.au.