The Wickedly Talented Ladies of Macabre Merch: Six Questions for the Beauty and Brains Behind the Killer Shop, Jess Adorables
I first discovered this wonderful small business when it was called Ragamuffpins. I fell in love with the company’s highly unique and incredibly charming visual style, described by artist and owner Jess as “Creepy Cute Infected Creations”. As the company’s brand has evolved, its product line has expanded to include pins, patches, clothing, art pieces, and even books. The recent name change to Jess Adorables reflects the company’s growth, as well as Jess’s increased role in running the business and in driving the creative vision for new products and designs.
1. What was the inspiration for starting your own business and how did you get started?
I’ve always created art, mostly for myself and close friends and family. It wasn’t until my husband was laid off back in 2015 that we dived into the business aspect of the art scene. We needed a way to keep food on the table… and figured we’d take a gamble. I had previously made and sold chicken themed t-shirts amongst my fellow backyard chicken friends but wanted to branch out. I absolutely love owning pet chickens, but my creepy/horror loving side was waiting to come out.
Personally at this time, we had started collecting enamel pins from companies we had came across on Instagram. The pin that started it all was a little ghost by @AXELHONEY. We saw enamel pins as tiny wearable masterpieces, the perfect medium I wanted to learn and try.
The husband and I put our head together and decided to start Ragamuffpins. It would merge our common interests into merchandise that others might like, and want for themselves, and hopefully feed our growing family while the husband looked for a new job.
One common interest the husband and I shared was horror, so it was a no-brainer that our first pins were horror based and of course a zombie chicken! The zombie chicken merged our love for chickens for zombies. As time passed, and the husband returned to work, I gradually starting taking over his responsibilities. My artwork and art style started to become the front runner. He felt I had become the face of the company and insisted that Ragamuffpins have a little makeover. So after many months of him trying to convince me, we both finally agreed. Ragamuffpins is now known as Jess Adorables.
2. When and how did you fall in love with horror?
I’ve always like a good scary movie. They reminded me of Halloween, a holiday I love. Children of the Corn, It , Pet Sematary, Sleepwalkers and especially Rosemary’s Baby seriously had an effect on me as a child. I was terrified of them and wanted nothing to do with them. But now that I’m older, I’m absolutely obsessed with them and they just take be back somehow.
3. Where does inspiration for your products come from? What is your creative process like?
I find that most of my inspiration comes from my flock’s interests and hobbies. The products I make are influenced by what we’d like to have ourselves. My kids love creepy things just as much as the husband and I do, but you just don’t find creepy kid-friendly items out in the big brand stores. Thats when my DIY mindset steps in and I make it happen.
My creative process is a messy one. My mind is always going a mile a minute, with things I want to do and make. I find it hard not to think about art.
After an idea pops in my head, I then take a blank piece of paper and do a real sloppy rough pencil sketch. Then I take the sketch and digitalize it. If it makes me smile and giggle once done, then I show it to the flock to get their opinions. If the finished art piece doesn’t make me smile, I toss it aside to be reworked another day.
I strive to make pieces that make you laugh or fall completely smitten for… and if I am not smitten with the piece, I cant expect someone else to. Once the piece is done, then the struggle is deciding what to turn it into. Some pieces are turned into art prints, others t-shirts/ fabric prints. Some pieces get turned into pins, other into hand sculpted mini-figures. While some ideas just get put on the back burner.
4. What’s the best part about running your own business, and what’s the hardest part?
Being able to work in the comfort of my own home. PJs…Messy hair… no one cares.
With living a homeschool life, I can work whenever and wherever. Some days I work alongside the girls while they work on their lessons. While other days I wait for everyone to go to bed. It all really depends on me. When you run your own business you make the rules! Plus I get to contribute to the family! It’s rewarding in its own.
The hardest part of running your own business is balancing! Balancing the business aspects with the family aspects. Knowing when to take off your business hat so can wear the Mom hat.
It gets even harder when the majority of your business is ran on Instagram. Some days it’s a struggle to get a photo put together to make a post. The other struggle is battling with the ever changing Instagram format. Knowing when to post, what to post, how to post… It can all be a little time consuming just to keep and stay relevant. I always worry if i post the same stuff over and over will my followers get bored and unfollow? Or if I don’t post will they forget and then I get lost in Instagram?
5. Tell me why you think it’s important for people to support small business? Is it especially important for people to support female-owned business (if so, why)?
Every big business was once a small business! If those businesses didn’t have a support system, they wouldn’t be the big businesses they are today. So the potential for a small business to grow truly depends on support from others. I like to support fellow small businesses with the idea that perhaps I am helping them live out their dream. As far as female-owned business I feel like people should buy what they like regardless of the owner’s gender, political view, etc.
I don’t know who owns Whataburger, or who they voted for, but I’m not gonna stop eating there! LOL
6. How can people follow/interact with you on social and purchase your products? And is there anything else you’d like to add or promote?
People can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @JessAdorables. I am most active on Instagram, so I highly recommend following there to keep updated with all the latest news and event dates. Don’t hesitate to comment or send a DM… I try my hardest to respond to every comment or message sent our way.
People can buy my products on our website at JessAdorables.com They can also buy in person at pop up events and comic cons, dates to be listed on website and Instagram. My anime themed pins can be bought locally at Nine Tails located in the Wonderland Mall of the Americas in San Antonio. Some of our Creepy cute pins and prints can be purchased locally at Creative Creatures Gallery located at 1420 S. Alamo St. #106B San Antonio, Texas.
Other things to promote? Peck, our mascot, my zombie chick! Hopefully one day she’ll be loved as much as Hello Kitty is! LOL