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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Interview with Jo of Jojoebi Designs

Everyone, say hello to Jo! Her blog is such an interesting read, with all of her crafts and Montessori fun! Shop her Japanese fabric, my patterns and handmade goods on Etsy and at her site.

SwapDex: Tell us a bit about you.

Jo: I am a Brit living in Japan, I arrived here in '98 and did a two year stint up north, in the wilds of Iwate, which is where I met my husband, we went off to South America for a year then when we came back we settled in Saitama. which is just outside Tokyo. I have a cute 4 year old boy, before falling pregnant I was an manager/English teacher but now I design sewing patterns and kits and sell Japanese fabrics. It is something I have been working at little by little whilst my son is still at home but he starts kindergarten in April so I hope to work on the design side more then.

SD: How long have you been swapping? How did you first learn about swapping, and what made you decide to start? Do you remember your first one?

J: When my son was a new born I got interested in Montessori and did an online course, through my research I came across Montessori By Hand which was Meg McElwee's (of Sew Liberated fame) first blog at the time she was teaching in a Montessori school in rural Mexico, I don't remember who made the suggestion but we decided to swap some objects for the culture boxes. She was interested in making up a Japanese tea ceremony exercise for her school children to do so I sent her various things for that along in return she sent some great little miniature items, a lovely bag and a cute basket that has been home to many Montessori activities. I think that would be early 2007 and I have been swapping on a regular basis ever since!

SD: What is your range of swapping? Do you stick to swaps hosted by people you know or are you likely to swap with anyone, anytime?

J: hmm, I alway sign up for Meg's swaps, she does a great holidays traditions swap and I have a regular swap partner in The Netherlands, there is a Japanese magazine she likes, so I send that every 2 months and she sends me a surprise, sometimes it is a magazine or something she has made, cute plates from Hema or fabric, I never know what to expect. Apart from that I usually just stick to my own swaps.

SD: Do you swap with any organized groups like yahoo groups, flickr, groups on swap-bot, other message boards, etc? Why or why not?

J: No, I have looked at swap-bot but no actually signed up for anything yet, I am a bit scared of getting sucked in too far, if you know what I mean.

SD: What's your favorite swap you've ever been in or hosted?

J: I always enjoy the miniatures swaps, you never know what people are going to find, I have had some great items from that but I think the last swap I organised might be my favourite. There were 7 people in the group, one for each continent and each person put together a package to represent their continent, we got some great packages from that. Oh, yes, the postcard snack swaps are always great too, you have to send a postcard with an easy snack recipe on the back, we have had some great recipes for that.

SD: Hostesses: What do you think is the most challenging part of hosting a swap? Any advice for someone who is thinking about hosting a swap?

J: Trying to get people to read the instructions! I usually ask people to mail me with their name, email address and which country they will represent but there are always someone who sends me their mailing address or incomplete info or they send the info to the wrong email address, it usually means I end up wasting time trying to sort it out which is a bit annoying. The advantage is that I get to pick the groups! I see it as the perk of the job :o) I used google docs to organise everything, after hosting several swaps I have a nice little system set up now.

Awesome advice! I wish all hosts were as careful and organized as you!

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