We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Fullmer and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jen, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Art has always been in the air I breathe and the blood that flows through me. But, by nature I tend to play it safe. I guess you could say that art has always been a hobby, but the practical/rational need for security has always lead me down a different career path. In college, I almost switched my major to art, but was advised to stay the course in teaching. For the past 15 years, I’ve been a teacher. It’s super rewarding, but art is my chicken soup for my soul. My jewelry has always been a side passion. It started out with seeing jewelry I couldn’t afford and making my own version of it for myself. That morphed into selling once a year, for some extra Christmas money. I never fully sold out to my creative side. It wasn’t until this pandemic, that the pendulum shifted. I decided to take a leave from my teaching position, but still wanted to make a contribution to my family while being at home with my kids. I poured all of my energy into making jewelry and marketing it through social media. I set a goal of pursuing my art daily. Even if it was just wire framing one day, palette making another day. Posting daily. It’s been important for me to pursue my art as a job. It’s a job I love and actually want to go to every day.

I’ve never regretted making this decision, to finally let my free spirit take the wheel. I’ve learned so much and I’ve loved being my own boss, setting my own expectations for myself, constantly changing and experimenting with styles and mediums, and getting positive feedback from my customers.

The creative community is amazingly supportive and embracing!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I run Whimsy Grove, an at-home business that specializes in polymer clay jewelry, specifically earrings. Unlike many other clay jewelry designers, I mix mediums. My earrings are a playful mix of metal and clay. All of my metal accents are hand shaped, hammered, and wrapped by yours truly. This has been my conviction, to do as much by hand as possible. When I was a kid, my mom sold handmade crafts at boutiques, but eventually had to stop because she couldn’t keep up with wholesalers who didn’t make anything by hand. This resonated with me and carries over into my designs as much as possible.
Whimsy Grove is the thriving business that it is today, because of patience. This business has been a long labor, with birthing pains! It’s taken years to get where I am, but I’ve learned to breath and be okay with the ebb and flow. I give to my business daily.

The most challenging feature has been making a name for myself on social media, without purchasing followers or having someone else market for me. I’m told by other artists that it’s all about patience and consistency. And collaboration with other artists!

Another challenge has been balancing Whimsy Grove with mom life. My hours aren’t my own. But, I make time. When the kids nap or go to bed, I jam in work sessions. While they watch their morning cartoons, I take advantage of the morning light and shoot my products. There’s enough time, if you just look for the moments.

Whimsy Grove is a one woman show. It’s what I think about constantly. I close my eyes and see designs. I make sandwiches for the kids and plan out colors for palettes. It’s truly a piece of me. When a customer buys a piece, they are investing in me. And that’s an amazing feeling. To feel creatively valued.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m not much of a city girl, so all my city faves revolve around the beach! Malibu is a not-so-hidden gem! I could spend an entire day lounging and surfing First Point. The waves are long and have so much to offer every level from novice surfer to pro. It’s a great place to people watch too, so many characters and so many stories! For lunch, Fish Grill, along PCH makes a damn good tuna fish melt and has great views of the beach! Drinks? Take a drive through the mountains to Malibu Wines, where you can share a bottle of wine with your pals. For a cultural experience, the Getty! I swear you could spend an entire day here and still not see everything! The Broad houses funky modern art pieces and installations that can’t be missed.

Wrap the week up with a stroll through the Rose Bowl Flea Market for used treasures that beg to be given new life!

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?
My husband, Ian, has been incredibly supportive. He has encouraged me every step of the way. On a professional note, artist and writer Austin Kleon has inspired me with such great advice on how to be both an artist and a business woman.

Website: Whimsygrove.bigcartel.com

Instagram: @whimsygrove

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/whimsygrove/

Other: Tik Tok: @whimsygrove

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.