We had the good fortune of connecting with Jemma Swatek and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jemma, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I think as I get older I have realized how important it is to set boundaries between work and personal life. Being a small business owner does not make that task easy but I have started to make my weekends email and work free as much as possible. Also as a creative person I think it’s important to find those still moments where your mind can really wander because I find when you aren’t trying and you are just being free, the best ideas come to you. You need that space for creativity.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My clothing is my art and I have always strived to make ethical classic styles. I always try to think about what I want to wear and what I will still want to wear in 10 years. I hope to make clothing that makes people feel good when they wear it. Things that let you feel like you can do anything in them. I started out doing environmental studies with a focus on sustainable agriculture and then shifted to fine art and then design. I think that is what makes me and my brand unique -my focus is not so much on reinventing the wheel of design but making what feels good and right with my own ever evolving take on it. The challenge has always been overcoming financial constraints as a self funded business. But I have overcome it by never giving up and continuously learning from my mistakes. As an artist learning to run a business, it has not always been easy but I learn something with every mistake I make and it has only made me stronger.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well under the current Covid restrictions I think I would be mainly staying away from crowded areas. My favorite thing to do right now is go for walks in Elysian park by my house, I like to go up on the paths no one else really uses and get views of the city and sunsets. Magic hour is my favorite hour. I would probably also take them on a drive through the Angeles Forest and take them to some of my favorite lookout spots. As well as order take out from one of my favorite neighborhood spots, Ostrich Farm, and eat it out on my patio.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Honestly I think it takes a village and there have been so many people throughout my career that have inspired me, supported me, helped me and been there for me. There is no way I would have gotten to where I am without so many people and I am grateful to them all. It has been a long and unpredictable journey and I don’t have one person to thank. But grateful to every job, friend and person who has been involved in my business over the last 10 years.
Photos by Dirk Mai