Super-Duper September continues!! For three more days! Today’s guest is the sister-in-law of one of my dearest friends from high school. We’ve never met, but any friend/sister-in-law of Tammy’s is a friend of mine.

Let’s meet Joanna Ivey of Ivey Expressions!

Me: Hi, Joanna. Tell us all about yourself!

Joanna: First, I am happily married to my husband, Tim, and the mother of a 4-year old daughter, Zuri, and a 16-year old daughter, Madisyn. Also the second photographer to my husband in our photography business.

I graduated with a BS in Social Cultural Anthropology which led to many different jobs. One of my jobs was the World Hunger Farm which at the time had a fair trade store. All the handmade items from all over the world really intrigued me with the colors and designs, and I had already visited some of these countries, like England, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, and Honduras. It impressed me how wonderful that these people could make all these amazing things to help bring income in for their family! In the back of my mind, I saw myself doing something similar just like the people around the world who made these handmade items to sell.

My grandma, aunt, sisters and mom sewed, crocheted, painted ceramics, and were always crafting something, but I never joined in because there was no interest. My mother bought me a sewing machine when I graduated college because I had expressed a desire to sew. So I finally got my sewing machine out of the closet 9 months after I became a stay-at-home mom and was homeschooling my oldest daughter. My thought was to try to make a handbag for myself. I think my creative side started growing in becoming a photographer’s wife and second shooter. My husband is very creative.

Me: Now tell us about your business, Ivey Expressions. (your bags are stunning by the way!)

Joanna: I also have always been drawn to fabric and had discovered a few online websites that sold designer fabric. After ordering my first 8 pieces of designer fabric, I was hooked! So my business started by accident about 3 1/2 years ago because of the interests that were stirring in me.

When I sold my first purse I thought maybe I too could bring in some money for my family. We had really stepped out in faith for me to quit my job. The math didn’t add up but my husband knew I needed to be at home with the girls. I later found at the same time I officially started Ivey Expressions as a business, that the handmade market was on the move and it was exploding all over the United States. People were starting handmade markets for vendors like me to have a place to sell their items as well as an online outlet called Etsy.

My mother and sister both love to sew and now we get together because we want to make everything we can get our hands on!! I love it! I love making things for all my family and daughters. I love that my mother helps me out whenever I need her and she enjoys learning new things with me and always helps me when I have questions. I just love making beautiful things and I have turned into a craft and sewing junkie!! And then Pinterest happened… with all the creative ideas.

Me: What does a typical “business” day look like for you, and how do you balance it with the rest of your life?

Joanna: I have to be very scheduled and on task to do all that goes into having two kids, a husband, a photography business and a sewing business. I’m a schedule freak so I love it because I want everything planned anyways! You learn as you go with scheduling and not letting things get in the way of family time and church and school activities, and your relationships. I have set hours that I work and the four of us have learned to communicate any changes along the way.

Me: Where you do you get your inspiration, and what other big ideas/dreams do you have up your sleeve?

Joanna: I love to dream up new ideas and just think about how I can keep making my purses/bags better to meet my fans needs. I have no idea where this will go or how far, I just take 6 months at a time.

Me: Thank you so much, Joanna!! You really have an amazing gift! Your bags are stunning and look like they should cost a billion dollars. I love the GIRAFFE WRISTLET you sent me!! Super-duper cute!!

Today, one lucky gal (or guy) is going to win a $25 gift card to Ivey Expressions! Woohoohoo!! Enter away, friends!

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