The creative genius behind the world-renowned design brand, The Jungalow, is set to hit the stage for the PoppyTalk/IDS Vancouver collaborated Social Sessions this weekend. Justina Blakeney took a few minutes of pre-show prep to chat with us about her brand growth, online presence and famous signature style.
Your brand, The Jungalow, has such a strong influence within the design world, both online and with your published works. How have you driven your business from start-up to its current success?
I believe that a combo of my work ethic and my personal style – which is very non status quo – is largely responsible for the success of my business. I am very ambitious and I worked very hard and strategically to grow my social media audience in hopes of being able to spend my days designing and creating inspiring images – and I'm finally getting there. Having a style that was different from many designer/bloggers helped me to stand out in the crowd. I also have been lucky to be surrounded by amazing people who inspire me and support me – from my parents to my amazing husband, my sister (who is also a designer) and my creative community in Los Angeles.
With such a heavy online presence, have you noticed substantial changes in digital marketing and social media during your brand growth?
Yes! A couple of years ago I spent a lot of time and focus on Pinterest, now it's shifted quite a bit to Instagram. For a while it was Snapchat, but now that Instagram Stories exists I find that things have ricocheted back to Instagram. In this landscape one must stay nimble to stay ahead of the curve, and always continue to grow ones own site/blog so that you're not susceptible to failure if one of the social platforms loses steam.
Design is fluid and ever changing. How have you maintained your signature style as looks and trends have changed over time?
To me, my style is just who I am. It's not something that changes with trends, although, yes it does change and develop as I do. At the heart of my style is the combination of color, pattern and plants – and I strongly believe that those things are elements that I'll never grow tired of! Even if the types of colors, patterns, and plants change over the years as I do.
What advice to you have for current and upcoming designers looking to grow their brands and create their niche within our design community?
Come to my talk at IDS to find out! Ha! Also, try to drown out the noise, stay focused and tap into your own vibe and authenticity to discover what your signature style is. Surround yourself with positive, creative people. Be clear in your goals and your message.