You Oughta Know: Jill of Jillib Designs (Giveaway Too!)

Happy Monday to you all! I am so excited today because I have an awesome new gal to feature in my "You Oughta Know" series! I ran across Jill's etsy shop jillib designs when I was doing a search for tea towels, and boy am I glad I clicked on her shop! She has a great mix of the most chic & adorable items, which you will see more of below. When I read on her shop profile that Jill was previously a structural engineer who is now a stay at home mom pursuing her creative dreams, I knew she would be perfect for this series. Jill was so kind to answer a few questions for the interview and also has generously offered an amazing item for a giveaway! So read on to learn more about this wonderfully creative stay at home mom's life.

Jill & her husband

Q: Tell us about your jump from being a structural engineer to being a mommy and the owner of your own fab etsy shop. That is quite a change in life direction!

A: Jumping from being a structural engineer really was more like a rude push. I was just about to tell my employer that I was pregnant (13 weeks) when they laid me off. I tried to get another engineering job, but being pregnant and having your husband in the Navy doesn't really help your chances of landing a job in the "boys' club". So I decided to switch gears and try something new. I'm still pretty small, but it gives me a chance to stay at home with my daughter, Reese, and also explore some other avenues as well. I also tutor children in math and pet sit in my neighborhood. I work really hard, as every stay at home mom does, for not "really" working. I've always had a creative side, but pushed that back to hobbies while I was an engineer. Now that I've dabbled in it I don't think I could ever go back to sitting behind a desk all day.

Q: What did you find was the greatest challenge you had to overcome in this change, and what advice would you give to others who may be going through similar situations?

A: The greatest challenge to overcome for me was the idea that I failed in some way. Here I was 26 with a master's degree in structural engineering from one of the top universities in the country and I couldn't find a job. Something must be wrong with me, right? There was about a week that I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I've always been a type A personality. I need to be in control...I need to have a plan. Suddenly and without warning I was not in control and I certainly did not have a plan. My mom really helped me through this. She's always been my biggest supporter. She actually suggested pet sitting and one day while we were in a children's boutique I saw this simple cute bib and they were selling it for $30!! I said to myself, "I could make that!" and then it started. I think the most important thing for anyone to remember is to not look at what you lost, but examine yourself and see what else you can be great at. Just like the stock brokers tell us to diversify our 401K portfolios it's so important to do the same with our lives. If you love to paint, then spend time doing it and take a few classes. Learn new skills. Always keep growing. Today's economic situation is a great example of the importance of that.

A few of my favorite clutches

Q: I just adore your selection of beautiful clutches. What inspired you to start making them?

A: Oh, the clutches. They are all like my best girl friends. I love accessories. I'm a very basic dresser. I like black, grey, brown, white...those simple colors. What I love to do with those simple pieces is through a fun clutch along with a great costume jewelry piece into the mix and all of a sudden you've turned a plain Jane outfit into something fun. The best thing about the clutch is that you can take it to a fancy party or pair it with jeans to go out with the girls. It really is like your best girl friend...you can take them anywhere. I also like that I try and keep the cost below $30 on most of them. That way you can express many different personalities without worrying about the bill adding up. I name them each something different because I want the person buying them to know what I was envisioning when I created the bag about the person that would be wearing it.

Q: You also have adorable baby clothing and accessories. Is it a safe guess to say your daughter inspired these items?

A: Yes and no. My mother does a great job keeping Reese's closet full of fabulous clothes (she's the first grandchild), but I also love simple dresses and pieces on kids. I was having a hard time finding those types of garments for reasonable prices so I decided that I would try my hand at making some of them. About the same time I was bombarded with baby showers. Here I was on more of a fixed income since I had lost my job and I wanted to give all of my friends fun and unique gifts. That's what really started the ball rolling with the baby clothes.

Jill & her super cute daughter Reese

Q: I just love Fall and all the new inspirations it brings. Any new products in the works for your shop?

A: YES!! I am working on some new ideas for cool envelope clutches, have been working with making more variations of fabric flowers and have even been trying to come up with a way to have a basic clutch that you could change out the flowers to match your outfit or mood. On the children's clothing side, I'm working on adorable skirt and ruffle pant outfits. I'm also working on some new onesie ideas with little crocheted appliques. I'm in the process now of going through my inventory of fabrics, seeing what sold and what didn't and stream lining things a bit. I should have some new things out by the end of September...so stay posted.

Q: Can you share a few of your current inspirations?

A: My current inspirations...that's actually a tough question! I always have ideas floating around in my head. They usually surface if I can get 10 minutes alone in the shower. I love going into fabric stores and seeing a great fabric that I just have to have and then I figure out what to do with it. I love nature and flowers so they would be an inspiration. My friends and family...I try and listen to what they are interested in.

Q: A few of your favorite things?

A: A few of my favorite things...ok here goes. My family and my two dogs, Stella and Oliver. My computer...my husband is stationed in Japan for the next 2 years so it is my surrogate husband right now. My rainbow flip flops...they are my year round shoe. Old black and white photographs...finding the best deal and not paying retail for anything! Checking an item off my list of things to do (I'm a total list person...goes right along with the need for control). Space bags...one of the best things ever invented and right along with that my electronic label maker (I'm a dork at heart). Watermelon. Etsy. Cooking.

Q: Describe your typical Saturday?

A: My typical Saturday. Hummm...wake up around 7am, try and get some breakfast and let the dogs out before Reese wakes up at 7:30. Call my Mom and see how things are at home. Let Reese watch the Wiggles while I check email and try and respond to some messages. Get Reese and myself dressed and out the door to head to the zoo or maybe just to do some errands. Put Reese down for her nap at around 1pm and scramble to sew, cut the grass, pull weeds, clean, what ever I need to get done that I can't do when she's awake. Figure out something to make for dinner, then clean up the kitchen, get Reese cleaned up and ready for bed by 8:15pm. For the rest of the night I usually am sewing, cleaning, or maybe getting to watch a show that I recorded from earlier in the week. Bed is usually around 11:30pm. Some Saturdays I would also need to see some animals throughout the day if I'm pet sitting.

Jill is offering up for giveaway this gorgeous "Simone" silk charmeuse patterened clutch, valued at $28! GIVEAWAY RULES:
You may enter the giveaway up to three separate times:

1. Visit Jill's shop,
jillib designs, then come back here and leave a comment letting us know you visited.
2. Post about this giveaway on your blog, then leave another separate comment here with the link.

3. Tweet about this giveaway on twitter, then leave another separate comment here with the link.

I will leave the giveaway open through this Sunday, September 20th, and will announce the winner on Monday September 21st.

Thank you so much Jill for the wonderful interview and giveaway!


  1. Oh my! This clutch is gorgeous! I really like the white flowered one as well... hard to choose! What a fun interview and a great woman to get to know! I love her fashion sense (neutrals paired with fun accessories!). And you go girl having your husband gone for TWO YEARS! I'll remember that when I think my long days are tough! Thanks Jackie and Jill!

  2. "tweeted" as well... http://twitter.com/JillGG

  3. Loveee the Grace Dupioni Silk Clutch with Handmade Silk Flower!! Stunning!

  4. Love, love the clutches! My fave is probably the Eve Green Brocade one. Thanks for the giveaway opp!

  5. Jackie - what a fabulous giveaway! And I love the story behind her etsy shop. makes it all the more special to hear how it came about. Her clutches are truly amazing!

  6. I'm very excited about this giveaway!! I love the Emily Ruffle Silk clutch!

  7. What a great interview! I especially love her 'grace" clutch with the big flower; and the initial onesies would make the best baby gifts.

  8. I love the clutch. It has sort of a Pucci vibe to it.

  9. I tweeted too! https://twitter.com/lbunin

  10. I visited the shop and hearted the ava silk charmeuse bag - so pretty!

  11. tweeted as well :) http://twitter.com/ichbinseins

  12. ohhhh I love everything! it's all so beautiful!!!!! I adore the emily ruffled one!!!

  13. Love her designs... especially the modern stenciled tea towels in red squares. Very fun!

  14. Very cute clutch! I love her story about going from engineering to starting a crafty Etsy shop!

  15. After reading the interview, I think I just love her! Amazing stuff.

  16. Wow, those clutches are gorgeous. I'm totally in the same boat with the neutral clothing and awesome accessories. I especially love the Grace clutch with the silk flower!

  17. this clutch is gorgeous...as is the grace clutch with the silk flower. thanks for introducing me to this amazing designer!

  18. loving her work- wonder if she'd like to collabo sometime. Thanks for the intro


  19. Just tweeted about your giveaway!

  20. The Emma Handstamped Linen Clutch is so my style!

  21. what a cool interview! jill sounds uber cool and i love her clutches, especially that zebra one.

  22. those clutches ARE beautiful. i love the stenciled tea towels, too...so fresh and simple!

  23. Oh my! The grace duponi silk flower is the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life!!

  24. I checked out her cute shop. Love the purple print clutch!