In honor of Valentine's Day we are bringing back the series Making Love: Love Stories from the Makers. We ask some of our Makers to tell us their love stories. Today's story - A Brainstorm love story!
Let me first tell you that the (soon-to-be) husband and wife team behind Brainstorm are two extremely talented people who are SO down to earth. Their aesthetic is charming and their eye for details is impeccable, even their mailing boxes arrive all cutified!
Jason and I met at Rowan University through a mutual friend and roommate. We were both in the art program. I was going for graphic design, Jason for art education. We officially began dating in March 2007 and immediately started sharing an ink cabinet in the printmaking room. I was a junior and he was a senior. We started collaborating on screen printing and graphic design projects. One of the first was a publication called Brainstorm Magazine (how original). That summer after Jason graduated we incorporated that business name Brainstorm, not thinking much of it, and went to our first craft show together to sell our student print work and miscellaneous handmade stuff. I still had one more year of school left but we continued to collaborate and make prints (and never thought to take a business class, DOH!). After I finally graduated, we moved in together and my "official" job search had begun. Jason had been working a job at a promotional ad agency (think cheap pens and embroidered hats) and I worked hard at getting freelance design jobs to hold me over while the real job was somewhere out in the distance (floating around in a 2008 economy). We kept going down the path as we thought it was supposed to be, searching for someone else to tell us we could be creative for a living. Jason eventually took a job working for Rowan building online courses, and I continued the odd jobs while working freelance under the Brainstorm name.
During all of this, we continued to make work together. We moved 6 times in 6 years, always renovating a studio space everywhere we went, making prints and doing the craft show hustle. We took on logo design jobs. Wedding invitations. Christmas cards. We printed other peoples work. We said yes to practically everything. Sometimes very interesting and challenging stuff came through the inbox. Sometimes it was complete crap but we did it anyway because we started to realize there was such a thrill that came with working together. We wanted to make a living by doing something ourselves, without a boss. It was challenging and scary, but so full of hope. Our victories were to be doubly celebrated. We started to gain some momentum with retail craft shows and the online shop when our eyes were opened to the world of wholesale. So in April of 2011, I stopped looking for a boss and Jason quit his very stable, full time job and we forged the full-time artist path with reckless abandon.
Fast forward to 2015, we have been together for eight years and have technically been working together since day one. We have prints and products in almost 50 retail stores worldwide. We try our best to keep our lives very simple and so we can continue to make the bright prints and products we believe in and that make us happy. We've seen up and we've seen down. We fight hard and we laugh and are wickedly honest about everything, because we have to be in order keep this lifestyle afloat. We've had many, many failures and we're still figuring out how to run a business and always learning new ways make it work romantically and creatively. We're so grateful that we get to work together every day because of the decisions and paths that we've taken. Every decision, every creative and professional win, is magnified when you get to share it with the person you love. We are getting married this year. Jason proposed in March of 2014, on our 7 year anniversary, in our current studio.
We came to the studio just like any other day. I was growing some plant seedlings inside, getting ready for a spring garden. I started to work on normal studio upkeep stuff, taking out the garbage, cleaning up from the day before, when he came up to me and gave me a hug. His heart was pounding and I thought something was wrong. I asked him if he was ok and he was silent. My eyes began to scan the room and I turned around and he had put a ring in one of the seedling pods with a soil covered note that said "will you marry me". The ring was made of wood and moss and of course I said yes. :)