We’re all about organic products here at Bitte, and brands get bonus points in our book if they’re made here in the U.S.A. Jean & June is a brand that falls under both of those categories. Plus, they’re sweet, cheeky, minimalist and comfy.
We’re hosting a giveaway with @jeanandjune over on Instagram, but before you head that way, read our interview with their founder, Blake Alfstad.
This is the question that almost every mom wants to know...How old are your kids and how do you balance motherhood and your business life?
I have two children, Paloma (4) and Orlando (3). I started the brand when Orlando was 3 months old so the juggle is really the norm for me. I try to remind myself that this idea balance we all have is ever evolving. That equilibrium changes everyday just like we as mothers do, our schedules do, and our children’s needs do. Instead of always having an unattainable goal in mind I just try to take things one step at a time. Making sure I’m practicing self-care, no matter how small. Deep breaths, no-phone time and hot baths can work wonders on my often tired spirits. That being said, it is, often times, a circus in my household. When life is moving quickly and our plates are overflowing I try to remind myself to carve out small moments where I can be totally present for my children, even if it’s just a few moments in the sunshine. At the end of the day what really matters is that they are loved, wholly and unconditionally. My best advice is to give yourself grace, as we’re all doing the best we can. Try to remind yourself that your children are seeing you work hard and give it all you’ve got on a daily basis to provide them with the life you want for both yourself and them, there’s no better example than that.
Jean & June has such an active and engaged Instagram following. How in the world did you build such an online presence?
Oh, thank you! Hmmm, I try to be as authentic and true to myself as I possibly can be. I hope that shines through. I’ve always focused on making products that I feel really good about and forming a brand with a personality. My background is in fine art so I approach it all like I would a creative process. I try something, see how it goes and how people respond, and act accordingly. I always head in the direction where energy and growth is and go with that. It’s mostly about relationships, both with customers and peers. Networking and collaborating with people that inspire me has always been a big priority. Every opportunity I’ve had has been has really started with someone I’ve crossed paths with and worked with or learned from. I mean yeah, it’s social networking which can often times feel impersonal but at the end of the day it’s the people behind the screens that are important.
We’re all about organic and American made clothes…and what we love so much about Jean & June is that all your tees are made and printed in the USA and are made from organic cotton! Tell us more about your manufacturing process?
Yes! I absolutely love knowing where and how my tees are made. About two years ago I started looking into the cut and sew process in LA and man has it been a huge learning curve that I think this year I finally managed tackled. It’s really a from-scratch process that I try to be highly involved in. I work with a pattern maker to design the fit of my tees, so I can get them just right. Then we buy rolls of organic cotton which ultimately make about 150 tees each. They’re cut and sewn and then my favorite part happens, garment dying. I’m a total snob about my tees and am always spending an arm and a leg on my own clothes. Now that I’m behind the scenes on the process I understand why that is. To make the best and softest tees you dye them after they’re sewn and enzyme wash them to break down the fabric a little. The result is honestly heavenly, buttery goodness. Like your favorite shirt that you’ve washed so many times it fits you like a glove. Your kiddos deserve that, too!
After the tees are made they’re picked up by my printer who hand prints every morning and promptly ships them out. Finding a printer in LA was really when the stars aligned. Before that I was managing all the printing and fulfilling them here in Washington State. Now I have more time to focus on the fun things and packages are sent out in speedy fast timeframes. Things are going so well that I’ve started to make tees for other brands, too!
What are some of your favorite items from Bitte?
That’s a tough one because I really, truly find Bitte to be one of the best curated shops for children on Instagram. I love Fourth + Pierce. The owner Danielle and I started our brands at the same time and I consider her a good friend. Her bows are impeccable and she’s incredibly creative. I personally have a total soft spot for stuffed animals so Maileg gets me every time, my son has a truffle pig that he adores. And lastly I’d have to say anything Fin and Vince, those are some incredibly beautiful clothes and coming from someone who knows what goes into manufacturing I’m incredibly inspired by their vision. I 100% believe in sustainable, conscious consumption and their products give me life.