Kirsty Johnson – Love J Frame
Kirsty Johnson, mum to Rylan (6) and Charli (4) is one half of the sister-in-law duo who run Love J Frame. Their personalised crossword inspired frame idea started 3 years ago as a heartfelt gesture to loved ones. Now their product proudly sits on the walls of thousands of family homes. Everyone is looking for that personal gift at special times and Kirsty and Stacey Johnson have developed a gorgeous keepsake that nails the brief.
Where did the idea for Love J Frame come from?
I saw a simple crossword idea at a friend’s house and had an “aah-haa” moment. I decided to make my husband a family frame joining all our names together with the words: Family, Love and Wye River (where we got engaged and married). It took me SOOOO long to make that first frame that the present was late! But, his face when he opened the frame…priceless! “Best present ever!”
Stacey absolutely loved the idea too. We started making frames for family and friends, “Unique and thoughtful” was the constant feedback we received. From there, the word started to spread through friendship and family circles and week-by-week we started getting more people asking us to make one.
What’s the meaning behind the name “Love J Frame”?
LoveJFrame stands for ‘Love from the Johnsons’ (Stacey and Kirsty Johnson), stemming from the desire to create a much-loved, sometimes quirky and unique feature for the home from our family to yours.
What were you doing before LJF?
Both Stacey and I were primary school teachers and were on maternity leave before LJF started. Going into our own business was never on the cards but we are so grateful and maybe a little lucky that we found a market to start the business up.Being at home with our children has always been at the forefront of our minds and not every week is easy juggling a busy small business while caring for our children but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We’ve been fortunate to have amazing advice and talented people working alongside to get LoveJFrame to where it is today.
What were the first steps you took to turn what essentially began as a hobby into a thriving business?
It’s hard to answer. This, as like any business, takes many hours, research, trial and error of products and each step you take is as important as the next. In the early days Stacey had to teach me how to use Instagram, then we started a Facebook page, website and started designing and importing our own frames. Now we have a small team of amazing working mums who assist with a variety of tasks from the production of orders, office management, product styling, designing, advertising and customer service.
What effect did Megan Gale’s Instagram feature have on the business?
We were in the process of designing our own frames to import but weren’t sure whether or not to invest in the purchase as LJF was still developing into a business and we needed to buy over 2000 frames! It was around this time that we were lucky to receive an amazing post from Megan Gale. Megan received one of our frames as a gift from a customer when she had her son. That one post definitely helped to develop Love J Frame into a business, promoting our business through Instagram. We are so grateful.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
We receive the most amazing feedback from customers. Sometimes we take for granted how meaningful each frame is to the recipient. It makes our job so rewarding and is our drive behind LJF. Products don’t always have to be expensive to be loved or sought-after. We absolutely adore family frames with all the names entwined together and newborn frames, which will proudly be displayed in nurseries. But we also love wedding and engagement frames and have been lucky to have partnered up with Global Weddings to create keep-sake wedding gifts for all the lucky couples getting married overseas.
What advice do you have for other aspiring business mums?
Team up with another mum. Being a working Mum is a juggle, especially if you are running your own business. Stacey and I are sister-in-laws, friends, business partners and mentors. We rely on each other in so many ways and LJF wouldn’t be what it is today if we didn’t have each other’s support.
And finally, what has Motherhood taught you?
Where to start? A quote from Marissa Mayer, “….motherhood forces prioritization. Being a Mum gives you so much more clarity on what is important.” We completely agree. I think females are often ‘pleasers’ and we like to say yes all the time but when we have children to look after we have to prioritize what is really important to them and our family.