She continued experimenting with screen printing at home, eventually starting to sell her prints at design markets in her native Switzerland. A couple of years down the line, Nina realised that while she loved screen printing, she didn’t enjoy the design process as much and the idea of offering workshops where she would teach people to print their own designs was born. Having relocated to Frankfurt for work, she set about finding an atelier to make that dream come true and in June 2019, Nina started hosting screen printing workshops alongside her graphic design job. When Corona put a stop to workshops a few months later, she quickly rethought her concept and began collaborating with other creatives, printing their designs on limited edition products.
Over the past couple of years, Nina gradually reduced the hours she worked at her graphic design job and last month she took the big step of going full-time with Jakob & Tatze. She is now looking forward to all the screen printing projects and collaborations the future has in store for her.
1. BETTER TOGETHER were the words you screen printed on T-shirts recently and it is also a guiding motto for you. What would you say is the secret to creating a thriving creative community?
I think the basis is to be enthusiastic about what you do and to show that to the outside world. So not being afraid to talk about yourself and your projects, to celebrate your successes but also to talk openly about what doesn't go so well in everyday life and that things are sometimes difficult. I think the mixture of having fun and being transparent creates trust and encourages an exchange, which is super important for a lively community.
What I also like to do is to involve people directly. For example, when it comes to new designs or products, my followers on Instagram can have a say and express their opinion. For me, that's much more exciting and also more fun than working everything out by myself in secrecy.
It is also important for me to introduce the people I’m collaborating with and to show them appreciation in that way. If they get a few more followers or a new commission as a result, that makes me very happy – plus, the creative network grows.
2. Now that you have shared how to build a community, what do you think are the benefits of creative collaboration?
In my opinion, it just makes everything bigger and better. :) I'm actually not all that creative when I have to come up with something on my own. This stressed me out for a long time! After all, I'm a graphic designer, so it's my job to have lots of creative ideas. At some point I was able to admit to myself that I am much more inspired and creative when I team up with others.
I’m at my best when I see a design or a product and then think about how I could use my skills and possibilities to develop it into something new and surprising. This is also exciting for the other person, whose own creative horizons expand when I share my ideas and techniques that they might not have thought of themselves.
The positive side effect of such collaborations is the exchange with like-minded people and, of course, you also benefit from each other's reach and community.
3. The past year has forced you to make changes to the plans you had for Jakob & Tatze. What has been the best thing that has come out of this challenging situation for you?
That was definitely the change from hosting workshops to setting up my own online shop. I don't know if I ever would have developed my own products. In any case, certainly not so quickly and with such intensity as has been happening. It has set so many things in motion and had a lasting impact on my entire concept.
I also believe that this crisis has created more awareness for special products, small business, and slow fashion. It has certainly served me and my project.
4. You have just become a full-time creative entrepreneur. What are you most excited about? What fears do you have?
At the moment, everything is still new and uncertain. I'm really looking forward to the moment when it suddenly clicks in my head and I think: Wow, I'm really self-employed and it works!
Of course, sometimes I worry that I won't earn enough money and that I'll lose track of all the important things. But I already dealt with the same worries three years ago and that hasn’t stopped me from coming this far. So, I just hope for the best :)
5. How would you like to see Jakob & Tatze evolve over the next couple of years?
Oh, I have a lot of plans! A big dream is larger premises with enough space for my screen-printing operation, workshops, creative events, and networking events. Preferably a whole building with a café and shop where lots of other creatives and freelancers work. And I would also like my digital network to grow into a big platform for creative collaborations.
I would also love to take on employees in the field of screen printing and packaging/shipping at some point. A co-founder would also be great.
5 Questions for ... is a blog series featuring creative self-starters, artistic late bloomers and those who have created a thriving career by following their passion.
Is there someone you know or who inspires you that fits that description?
Do tell me about them!
Hi, I'm Chantal Valerie. I'm a writer and self-taught illustrator. I am inspired by late bloomers and creative self-starters (I only started drawing at the age of 34) and since I believe they deserve more visibility, I started my blog series ‘5 Questions for …’.