Chances are, you’ve heard of the talented Justina Blakeney. She’s founder of The Jungalow and she’s the queen of all things boho-chic, vibrant, daring, and fun — and there’s absolutely no denying it. At first glance on Justina’s IG, you quickly become inspired through colors, patterns, nature, and all sorts of good vibes. As you get to know Justina, you pick up on her infectious positive energy and you’ll definitely learn a thing or two along the way.
We were lucky enough to chat with her about how she started her empire, how her travels around the world have inspired her brands, and how she tackles the work-life balance thing (because we all know it ain’t easy). Scroll on down, get to know Justina and be inspired by this incredible human.
You are an absolute inspiration. You do it all, and you do it all well. From designer to New York Times bestselling author to artist to retail owner to mother — tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. What came first for you?
Thank you!! The first stop on this journey for me was my blog. I started my blog in 2009, and that’s where it all started! It took years for my blog to gain traction. I was working as a graphic designer and interior designer at that time, working on residential and commercial projects and consulting for many small businesses. I blew up on Pinterest, and that was the first platform I had a large following on. From there I started to learn more about social media marketing, and began to use that knowledge for my own business along side client work. Little by little, year over year my brand grew enough to where I could focus on my own stuff.
Your designs are daring. Patterned, textured, layered. A wonderful marriage of bursts of colors, prints, shapes, and materials. What defined this aesthetic?
I’ve always been a more-is-more gal. I just love visual exuberance! I’ve travelled a lot and I grew up in a multi-cultural household where there was a convergence of culture in every aspect of our lives — including the decor. I think this had a large effect of my personal style. Also, I’ve also understood the healing power of nature since I was a small child and love figuring out ways to bring nature indoors.
You’ve lived in Berkeley, Florence, New York City, and Los Angeles to name a few cities. How has this inspired your brand today?
I think living in different places and travel in general just helps to expand the mind. Living as a foreigner in Italy for nearly seven years and Switzerland for two years pushed me out of my comfort zone on the daily. From those experiences I learned that being vulnerable can be a connector, that there are many ‘right’ ways to go about things, and that this world is far from binary. Those experiences strongly informed my life choices, and my brand.
Aside from travel and your home, who or what else inspires you?
I am inspired by nature more than anything else, I think. I was just in Valle de Guadalupe, in Baja California and I couldn’t get over the colors of the stones and the sandy earth-tones in the sand. Mama nature never ceases to amaze.
What’s one piece of advice you’d offer someone just starting out in the creative field?
Listen, listen, listen. Practice, practice, practice. Hone in on the parts of the biz that you truly love and follow your heart. Also, get out of your head. Put yourself out there. Don’t let fear be your road-block.
As a mother and entrepreneur, what are you thoughts on work-life balance? Do you think it’s a real thing?
I feel my work/life balance thing is pretty tight. My husband helps out with the biz, but he’s primarily a stay-at-home dad which helps out immensely. Also, my studio is a block from my house, so I have zero commute which maximizes the amount of time I spend with my family. We’re not perfect, but I do feel like things are good, (#blessed :P)
What’s your favorite room in your own home? Why?
Currently crushing on our #CasitaJungalow because its like a vacation home in our backyard! It used to be our garage and we converted it into our rec/room entertainment room/music room.
Do you have a morning ritual you can’t live without?
Two words: outdoor shower.
What are five things you’re loving and can’t live without right now?
What can we expect next from the fabulous Justina Blakeney?
Rumor has it I’m working on a new book!