Connecting art and apparel: loveJACK
Kim Schofield is the owner of loveJACK, a company connecting art and apparel with its unique items.
What’s the story behind loveJACK?
After seeing an art Retrospective of Jack Hamilton Bush, Canada's foremost colour field abstract artist (1909-1977) at the National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, my husband and I visited the gallery's gift shop for some memorabilia. They had a wonderful book and a poster of Jack's work, but there wasn't anything else. I saw so much potential to create with his art and after securing permission and a copyright license, I began to create using art detailing from Jack's work. loveJACK’s start was based on a need and want people had to take home a piece of an artist.
Your products feature designs from many famous artists including Tom Thomson, Emily Carr and David Milne. What gave you the idea and desire to make these works of art wearable?
My Jack Bush products were selling in art gallery shops across Canada and when there was a show at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection I produced products for their shop. The quality and design were appreciated and I was asked if I'd like to produce Tom Thomson & David Milne paintings on pillows, scarves and makeup cases. From there I have ended up creating merchandise for many artists and art galleries, including the Art Gallery of Ontario. People that love specific artists and their paintings really appreciate they can purchase a scarf or pillow to have for themselves or give as a gift.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What were you up to before starting loveJACK?
I have lived in Ajax for 26 years but I grew up in Don Mills in a very musical family. I've always been a creative person and my first love is music. I've been a musician all my life. I taught piano for 20 years in my home and I also continue to be the leader and bass player of a terrific band called Kim & Company. We have played for many galas throughout the years in Toronto and Durham, including Pickering JamFest, Millennium Square, Oshawa Peony Festival and Whitby Station Gallery. One thing we are all really missing right now is live music. We can't wait to be able to perform again!
When did you start loveJACK? Is there a piece of advice you can pass on to fellow entrepreneurs?
It's in our souls to create. The last year has been extremely tough but we need to stay positive, promote each other and lift each other up. It's also important to have a solid business plan, take advantage of opportunities and seek advice.
My online shop was never meant to be my main source of income - it is now. My products have been sold to the gallery shops and select boutiques across Canada in a wholesale manner but they are all closed right now. I have to look at the positive side of this pandemic - and for me that has been growing my online presence and being able to offer and showcase my products locally, to individuals who may have never known about my products unless they happened to be at an art gallery shop! You don't have to love art to love my products. You don't even have to know it's art! I'm very proud of Durham Region for creating the online marketplace for vendors to showcase their work.
In addition to focusing on ecommerce, how else have you pivoted your business in the past year?
I’ve also started designing face masks for kids and adults alike. We’ve got masks featuring art as well as some fun animal designs. loveJACK donates a portion of all animal design mask sales to the Ontario SPCA. We also donate a portion of proceeds from all poppy products, inspired by artist Anita Cole-Brunger, to our local Royal Canadian Legion to support veterans Canada.
At Shop Durham Region we believe our business community is stronger together. What’s one of your favourite Durham-based businesses?
Two of my favorite Durham Region businesses are Case Verde (Italian Cuisine) and Erin Melinda's Hair Studio. I have many others as I try to always support locally.
Looking for a unique gift idea? Check out a selection of loveJACK’s products including shirts, socks, ties and accessories on the Shop Durham Region Online Marketplace.