Welcome to Handsome and Pretty Introduces …
With us today we have Michaela and Janine of MOJO - a home-wares and accessories company that they run together in Derry, Northern Ireland.
We are two hard working, dedicated mothers, and have been best friends since studying at St Cecilia’s College Derry (aged 11) where we both shared a passion for art and design. After studying textiles at the North West Regional college, we went to university in both Manchester and Leeds where we studied Textiles and Surface Pattern degrees.
Being homebirds, the big cities were a bit too much for us and so we both returned home to work together in Mission Hall quilts shop in Pump Street Derry. As well as working in the shop, we also taught quilting and children’s craft classes. Through the experience of working and making together, we soon saw that there was great potential for us to start our own business.
As our nicknames for each other have always been “Mo” and “Jo”, we decided to call ourselves Mojo. Combining our shared obsessions with home magazines and interiors, and our passion for vintage fabrics, our unique home-ware range was born. Just recently, through screen printing, we began designing and making our own fabric. This has been very inspiring and has opened up lots of new and exciting avenues for us.
How and where are you today?
At this very moment were both having a large cuppa and cream bun, to keep us going for the hectic day ahead – we’re surrounded by our 4 baminos, 2 each!! As for Mojo - we are at a very exciting stage. We are in full swing designing and screen printing our own bolts of fabric which we are looking forward to making lots of exciting and beautiful things from.
How would you describe the journey that has brought you to this place? And were these the roads you expected to take?
Well where to begin … it started when we were both very young and had the same interests – the love of creating, making, taking apart and altering. We both attended art school and university, and worked in a local quilting and fabric shop. From our years of working and making together we knew we wanted to create something unique and special together as a business, so then Mojo was started. Our own little business.
Do you have a process to ensure you are in the right frame of mind to create?
Most definitely - an all day babysitter, a fresh pot of tea, a plate of hot scones and a clean studio. These are all must haves to start the process of a productive day. And then we let the creativity take over.
How do you think your background and culture influences your creations?
Both being from large families and always having to make do with what you are given, has brought out a very creative side to us both. It made us appreciate the smaller things in life. The simple things like going to car boot sales and secondhand shops, searching for unusual finds, vintage keepsakes – things that people don’t really find special and reusing them, making them unique to us. We were up-cyclers before our time!!!
What does beauty mean to you?
We find this question is a bit of a thinker! Because to us it is many many things. Its all around us in different forms, shapes sizes..its everywhere in things,people and places you cant define it as one thing.
If we had interviewed you when you were 11, what would you have told us you wanted to be when you grew up?
We always knew we were going to be something unique, different and creative. We may have said an artist or painter. When we were 11 we set up “The arty farty club” in Janine’s grannies attic, it was 10p to join!!! We would paint, draw, make cards and be creative… little did we know it was the start of Mojo.
What advice have you received that you would like everyone to benefit from?
It takes a lot of time, effort, dedication, positivity and a never giving up approach.
Thank you so much Mo and Jo for taking the time to be with us today and answer our questions. We wish you so much success for the future and are so happy that you are now part of the H&P family!
handsome and pretty