When it comes to taking nature and fashion and making it one, it’s a family affair for JUST3Js. Phyllis Guthrie and her son Jay came together to make their fashion line a reality. With over 1,000 pieces to their name and more on the way, we sat down with Phyllis to talk about her creative family, microbes, and more.
Kendra: You’ve been on Etsy for some time now. Were you involved with fashion and design before then?
JUST3Js: I have never been involved in fashion per se, but have always had an interest in avant-garde designs. For example, I enjoy watching Project Runway to see what unique pieces the designers come up with.
Kendra: Working with family can be the greatest but also stressful at times. When you are working with your son do you put your parental hat to the side and just view things as business partners?
JUST3Js: Yes, working with family can be a challenge. My son and I live together in a large church and have a separate office and living quarters; which works out perfectly. We work pretty well together. There aren’t many times that we disagree on any issue. When we do, I put away my parental hat and put on my business hat (at least I try to).
Kendra: Are you two the only creatives in the family?
JUST3Js: No, my daughter is quite creative as well and enjoys doing mosaics. Her 10-year-old son, my grandson, attends an arts-based school and one of the teachers said he is a gifted artist! So, yes, I guess it does run in the family.
Kendra: What initially drew me to your products were the Microbes. That’s not a subject you see a lot in fashion. Whose idea was that to incorporate the microscopic germs on clothing?
JUST3Js: It was me. The first time I saw a paramecium under the microscope I was spellbound and wanted to see more of this magical microscopic world. So when I was studying pre-med, I majored in microbiology and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kendra: With that, are you two as into science and nature as you are designing?
JUST3Js: I’m thrilled I can incorporate my love of science and enjoyment of fashion into a piece of wearable art. My son has always shared my delight with nature. Whether it was looking for tiny creatures at the beach, or trying to identify the latest spider finding. We both enjoy nature walks; which also gives us ideas for clothing designs, whether it’s taking a photo or not. Jay has always been creative and has designed a few pieces in our shop by digital artistry. He is the computer guy.
Kendra: Currently you have over 1000 products to your names. With that, is there anything you hope to add to your collection? Possibly in 2019?
JUST3Js: I have been experimenting with a painting technique that uses acrylics and some other bizarre mediums. This will be my “Cell” line and I plan on adding this work in 2019!