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19 June 2013

meet the sponsors :: ji ji kiki (+ a sale!)

*apologies in advance for the wonky formatting, blogger was having an actual mare*

as you know, i've been on the ji ji kiki bandwagon for sometime now. i had the pleasure to work with the company earlier in the year, and it was an absolute dream-come-true. well, this week i was lucky enough to catch up with the creative driving force behind the company, owner emma, and in true meet the sponsors tradition i thought it only fair to ask emma a few questions about her amazing brand...

so emma, as the founder of this fab brand, can you tell us the ji ji kiki story?
Ji Ji Kiki is an independent online boutique, dedicated to bringing you the best in cute and vintage jewellery, clothing and accessories by indie designers.

The majority of items are available in a limited quantity, meaning you can shop knowing that you are not only supporting people who are creating items they love, but you will also be able to purchase pieces you won't be able to find just anywhere.

where does the name 'ji ji kiki' come from; is there meaning behind the rhyme? 
The name Ji Ji Kiki comes from the two main characters in the Studio Ghibli film 'Kiki's Delivery Service'. I can't remember the exact point that I chose it for the business, but its unusual and I am a huge Studio Ghibli fan so it works well. The letter 'I' does suffer a bit on my keyboard though!

 what did you do as a job before you opened the store online? 
While I was at university I sold vintage jewellery and accessories on eBay. I also put on gigs for local bands and ran an alternative club night with my housemates so working for myself has also been something I've enjoyed.

I did a couple of temp jobs when I left uni, while Ji Ji Kiki was starting up. As the business started getting busier I decided to take the plunge to run Ji Ji Kiki full time-luckily its paid off and I've not looked back!
I started running Ji Ji Kiki fulltime in 2008, and mainly sold my own line of handmade jewellery alongside vintage finds.

Since then the website has grown to include homewares, vintage and kawaii jewellery, bags, hair accessories and clothing from indie designers from around the world. We now stock over 35 different designers and this number is increasing month by month! 

I do at some point want to get back into something music related-I'd love to own an alternative club which puts on gigs as well, but at the moment running Ji Ji Kiki is a fulltime job. Watch this space though!

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your brand is widely embraced by personal style bloggers around the world. why do you think we love your products so much? 
Aw, thank you very much! I think the fact that Ji Ji Kiki sells pieces that are a little different, but still quite girly, is a strong draw. I love working with bloggers, so its great that the items do appeal to so many people.

you do a lot of work with bloggers - big and small -  was it an active decision to avoid traditional marketing for that of the buzz created in the blogosphere, or was that a natural progression? 
As an independent brand, stocking pieces from indie designers, it just seemed a natural path to work with bloggers. I love the interaction and feedback from working with real people, rather than the more traditional marketing and advertising routes.

My customers are mainly girls aged between 16-30 and working with bloggers who have a similar style and tastes to me (which hopefully means their readers do too!) makes much more sense than running a print ad through a fancy agency that maybe can't relate as well. Having a human side to Ji Ji Kiki is so important and working with bloggers really helps with this.

do you still handmake the jewellery as you did back in 2008, or do you rely more on wholesalers? 
I do make a small line of pieces, which can be theraputic amidst all of the 'business stuff', but the majority of pieces are made by other designers.

I do really enjoy the business side of things (I moan about it, but deep down I love the more boring things like number cruching and tax returns!), so while's its nice to have the freedom sometimes to come up with new jewellery, I feel that my strength is in the business and its better overall to leave the creative side to others ;)

your products are really, really unique - i always find something quirky and original in there - how do you do it?!
I personally pick all of the pieces and love finding things that are a little different-luckily there seems to be lots of people that share my taste!
Social networking and interation with my customers is so important. I use FacebookInstagram and Twitter a lot to get feedback on new items and pieces I am looking at stocking. After all, there's no point in stocking a piece I love if my customers don't feel the same way! Ji Ji Kiki obviously wouldn't be here without them and so their feedback is so important.
emma // spring green bag

can you describe your style for us? 
It varies really, depending on my mood and the situation. Generally on a day to day basis I wear jeans and t-shirts or jumpers as I'm quite active, photographing new products, answering emails and packing orders.
Because I wear jeans a lot I do try to dress up a bit more when I go out or have the day off (which is quite rare!) and usually wear a dress or skirt. I'm not a big fan of heels, I tend to live in with Converse or flats (my favourite is flip-flops, but obviously there's not many opportunities living in the UK!), and do keep my jewellery quite simple. I'm a bit of a tomboy really!

what's your favourite piece in the shop at the moment? 
Ooh, that's a hard one-its like asking someone to choose their favourite child! Can I say more that one thing? 

I have just got some new satchels in with an owl print, which I absolutely adore and I also love the Persian PerfectionDress. Seeing as I've chosen a bag and dress I am also going to say the Dala Horse Earrings for my jewellery choice.

where do you see your brand in 5 years time? would you like to have a shop front somewhere, or a travelling camper, or are you happy to grow amongst the internet? 
I'd love to keep building and expanding the number of indie designers we stock, to be the place to go if you want something quirky and unique. World domination is on my list - haha!

I love getting our customers involved in the site and getting their feedback on our Facebook page, Twitter and through emails.

I think the interaction between online shops and customers is so important as you don't have the face-to-face interaction you would with a bricks and mortar shop.

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thank you so much to emma for chatting to me about her adorable shop. there's a lot of amazing pieces on sale over there at the moment, and don't forget about the generous 15% discount with the code beingerica.

so, what are you buying?

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  1. Oh my gossssh! I adore Emma and Ji Ji Kiki, so I loved reading this. <3 I'm longing for so many of her gorgeous products. Ji Ji Kiki holds a lot of my loves. Cute animals! Plushie jewelry! Miniature jewelry! The list goes on. :D Thank you for sharing this, Emma and Erica!

  2. What a great interview and they have such amazing goodies .


  3. Thank you so much Angie it's always great to get feedback and I'm so glad you share all my loves too (can't beat anything animal related :D

    Meghan, it was such a great interview to answer (nice to have some more unusual questions) and glad you like the website. I'm definitely entering your recipe book giveaway, everything looks delicious!


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