We had the good fortune of connecting with Jaya Amoako-Agyei and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jaya, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
At one point I did give up because I was overworked and it became hard to balance. However I decided to reopen because my shop is something I’m really passionate about. So I changed my strategy on how to run it, like having limited stock, making my products more exclusive. So when it comes to knowing whether to keep going or to give up, I know to keep going because I’m passionate about my work and willing to make adjustments to make the process work. Overall I’d say it’s never a good idea to give up. However you are allowed to step back, re-evaluate, and figure out what works best for you, Be flexible with your goals, visions, and how you do things.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started sewing at the age of 11, and actually learned most of my sewing techniques from watching YouTube tutorials. I started my business as a hobby around February of 2020 at age 13, and during quarantine is when I decided to pursue it more professionally. For me, sewing is a hobby as well as my work. When I’m not sewing to fulfill orders, I’m looking up tutorials on how to sew something new and it’s something that brings me immense joy. I remember one time I was out for dinner with my family, and my brother spotted someone wearing a popular hat from my shop. Having an experience like that changed my life because it showed me that people really like my products, and it gave me confidence in what I was doing. There was a time however when my shop had become really popular and I was getting orders everyday. I was extremely thankful for all the orders, but I was overworking myself and needed to take a break. So, I finished the orders and closed my for about a year and a half. The break was longer than I anticipated because things like school and sports made it difficult to find time. So when it finally came time to reopen my shop I knew I had to figure out a system that wouldn’t repeat the same pattern of overworking myself. So I decided to do things like limited stock, making my products more exclusive. And I’ve been able to enjoy my craft and run my shop with ease.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would definitely start with my two favorite places. First, Changing Hands Bookstore, my favorite place to spend an afternoon! I love to find a book and then sit in the lounge/coffee shop they have. Later that night I would go to my favorite restaurant, Southern Rail, for dinner. They have the most delicious southern-styled, soul food – my favorite would be the brioche buns with apple butter & the mac and cheese. Highly recommend. The next day I would take them to AJ’s Fine Foods to get the flavored lemonade (sooo good.) and then to the Scottsdale Quarter to go shopping! If I’m in the mood for thrifting instead of shopping new, I’m eager to visit Antique Sugar or an Ivory House event! When it comes to getting active I enjoy hiking Thunderbird mountain, or playing soccer at Deem Hills.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to thank my family & friends for their endless support, especially my mom. Thank you mom for the last minute trips to JoAnns when I need sewing materials, taking me all over Arizona to look for a certain fabric, and doing things like filming behind the scenes footage of my photo-shoots. I really appreciate all that you’ve done to support me.

Website: lovelybyjkshop.com

Instagram: instagram.com/lovelybyjk

Image Credits
John Zeng

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