Living and working in London and Shropshire, Jemima Sara Hand is the artist, illustrator, designer and sculptor behind JEMIMASARA. Offering unisex T-shirts, tote bags, jewellery, postcards and more, JEMIMASARA is a brand with self love at the core, with a mission to inspire confidence in women and men. For the second part in our Females In Focus series, we spoke to Jemima about her inspirations, her journey with the brand, and any advice she has for creatives hoping to launch their own business.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you decided to launch JEMIMASARA
My name is Jemima Sara Hand, I am currently studying puppetry at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama & running my own business on empowering men and women. I decided to launch JEMIMASARA due to several negative situations happening. 2016 seemed a bad year for us all and for me it was a time when I personally hit rock bottom. I had forgotten all sense of self-love and confidence, and I had no idea how to bring these key elements back into my life. That’s when I realised I was drawing these naked ladies who “had martinis and loved themselves”. Overtime, I started becoming one of these carefree ladies, thus my alter ego was born. The illustrations helped me find my own confidence and self-love, so I wanted to share this. I want to share this path of recovery for others to use. In the future, I want to break into fashion, testing its conventions by not conforming, just as a ‘Martini Lady’ would do.
What are your biggest creative inspirations?
My work seeks to find realism within the female form. I take influences from the Renaissance divine, Henri Matisse and the pin-up ladies of the 1920s. These influences have created my vision for ‘The Martini Lifestyle’, that being positive, fun loving and risqué ladies with few boundaries, ladies who love themselves just the way they are. My clothing and designs are based on these women, just owning their life and doing what they want. I have many inspirations, but I always think of those strong, independent women: Coco Chanel for example, and they really influence me and push me further. Fashion and illustration is a way of expressing your thoughts, fears and passions for people to wear and have. They can express it in their own unique way too and this is something I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to influence people and their life – to make them live a happier one and inspire them.
Have you faced any obstacles during your business journey?
Of course, I think a business journey is all a roller coaster ride (a bit like life). You have major ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ but that is what makes it exciting. Someone once told me its about balance, we must have ‘lows’ so that we can really see and appreciate the ‘highs’, and this is something I stick by, as if I didn’t go through my low in 2016, JEMIMASARA wouldn’t be here today. My biggest obstacle, however, is finding time to love myself. I preach self-love and confidence, but honestly, I really struggle with it. My way of dealing with this is to look back on all the things I am doing and take a time out. Self-love is about acceptance and for me that’s accepting something I like about myself every day. I usually do this in small ways as the main thing for me is accepting I am an artist and that others may appreciate my works. My designs/illustrations themselves were a road of recovery for me; they are my way of learning more about a different side to me which I am wanting to share and others to be influenced by. When I write the words in those speech bubbles, I feel empowered and it’s my way of accepting myself every day, making me feel more confident in my everyday life.
Finding time for yourself is so important – how do you find a balance between your business and personal life?
Finding time for myself is something I find impossible, and to be honest with you I don’t. One of my main difficulties is trying to balance my personal life, business and degree at the same time. I have never been a super organised person, but this is something I am improving on every day. I think in time I will find that balance, but for now I find my balance in taking 30 minutes longer to get ready in the morning and give myself the time to ‘pamper’ myself or have a coffee and have time to drink it. Just that 30 minutes sets me up for the day and then I can meet my social demands, business and uni. I think I am very lucky because my friends, family and university tutors are so supportive of the fact I have all this going on. Finding a balance is something I am learning but I am sure in time I will find a true balance.
Do you have any advice for women in the creative industries looking to launch their own business?
Working in the creative industries you really must trust yourself and believe in your ideas and products. There are so many amazing creative people out there, creating fantastic things and I think we should all be proud of each other! My main bit of advice is to not compare yourself, I know its easier said than done, I compare myself every day, but I have realised it’s not going to get me anywhere. We are all growing and moving at our own pace. We cannot compare our creative ideas, brand, business or product to anyone else or we are just going to get stuck in a negative cycle. To all the women out there wanting to launch their own business: trust in yourself, believe in your creative identity, don’t compare yourself and have confidence – you can do it!