A beautiful little business that was born from the marriage of the owners’ European and Australian roots, JANICKA by Hana Jelinek aims to offer their customers with luxurious and feel-good scarves, blankets, and shawls without breaking the bank. Handmade with love and built on the foundations of being sustainable and ethical, JANICKA‘s products offer a warm and welcoming appeal with their patterns, which are adorned on locally-sourced fabric and add a level of coziness to get through our wintry snap this year!
In anticipation of their participation at the upcoming Gathered Design Market – virtual edition on August 22 + 23, 2020, I did a social-distancing-friendly Q and A with Hana to learn more about the ethos around JANICKA – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hana: My name is Hana and I’m originally from the Czech Republic. Since I had my kids, I wanted to open my own business. So when we moved to Port Lincoln, I thought we could bring some of the European styling that I love to people that appreciate stunning, sustainable, and ethical products. Before we moved to Australia, we were living in Prague for seven years. My husband is Australian and ever since I’ve known him, he always wanted to come back to his hometown, so I followed him here. Port Lincoln definitely isn’t Prague, and I’m still not used to the spiders here (laughs)!
Tema: How did the concept of JANICKA come into focus? What made you decide to start up a business from scratch?
Hana: My husband is working away quite a lot and his family is not very close-by, so it is just me and our two children Marcus and Veronika here. I am not the person who would just love to be home looking after the kids and keeping the house clean. I needed to do more than that, so I decided to make my dream come true and open my very own business. Now, I’m home run-off my feet, looking after my kids, and running my business that I’m trying to push into this crazy world, and my house definitely isn’t as tidy as I would like. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for (laughs)!
Tema: Is there a meaning behind the name and if so, would you like to share that with us, please?
Hana: Yes! Janicka was named after my sister who passed away seven years ago and the moon in the circle above the “i” is actually the letter C for Carolyn who was my late mother-in-law (one that everyone could wish for!). As much as it is a sad story, I don’t see it that way. To me, this name is to honor my loved ones.
Tema: Why did you choose to start up a business around blankets, scarves, and shawls in particular?
Hana: When I was living in Prague, I came across a couple of companies who made something similar to my triangular scarves. The first time I saw those scarves, I absolutely fell in love with them. So I wanted to be the first person to introduce my version of the triangular scarf to Australians, as I think they are absolutely amazing and unique. I also knew that I couldn’t start a new business with only one type of scarf, so I searched for the manufacturer of my other products that I import, who is trustworthy and gives me the best of what he can offer. The blankets, scarves and shawls in my range complement my triangular scarves and it gives me the opportunity to offer more products to my customers.
Tema: How long have you been in business for and what has the experience / journey been like, so far?
Hana: Good question (laughs). I’ve been running my business for one and a half years now, and I have to admit that it wasn’t a very easy start – in fact, it was much harder than I had anticipated! My beginnings were very rocky, because I quickly found out that I actually didn’t know heaps of stuff, which I thought I knew. Now my business is starting to pick up and I’m learning new things about how to run my business all the time. I started selling at local markets, we started our online shop, and I have been able to stock some of my products in some local shops and further around the state. We are still very small, but it’s encouraging to see how far we have come and what our plans are, moving forward.
Tema: What products in particular would you like to highlight as being “top recommended” and “highly popular” that new customers should know about?
Hana: My triangular scarves are handmade by me right here in our home, making them all limited-run items that are sure to give you that unique and individual look. At the moment, I am only making 4 – 8 scarves in a particular colour combination. My shawls are pretty good value for the money as well, as you can style them in so many ways, creating a poncho, sweater, vest etc from them. I am running live videos every two weeks on my Facebook page about how to style and create a variety of clothing from one of our JANICKA shawls.
Tema: How did you get involved with the Gathered Design Market?
Hana: I saw a Gathered post on Instagram in one of the company feeds that I follow, so I Googled it and have to say that I absolutely LOVE the concept. So I sent an email to the Gathered team and asked if I could be part of this amazing project – they said yes and now here we are, ready to go!
Tema: What are you anticipating from your participation with the Gathered Design Market?
Hana: I am anticipating that more people will see the same potential in my business and products as much as I do. I would also like to share our European experiences and make more people warm, happy, satisfied and feeling special in our unique triangular scarves and hopefully, they will also help spread the word about us.
Tema: What have you found to be rewarding about being a small-scale business in Adelaide / South Australia?
Hana: I can run my small-scale business and still be a good mother for my children at the same time. I can spend quality time with them and I know I won’t regret anything later on. It’s important to me to be balanced and not always be working instead of playing with them, or doing activities and taking them outside or for day trips.
Tema: What have you found to be challenging about being a small-scale business in Adelaide / South Australia?
Hana: Being a small-scale business is hard because people don’t know about us and social media is pushing big businesses and people with thousands and thousands of followers forward and the small businesses are left somewhere in the background.
Tema: How has COVID-19 impacted on the successful functioning of your business? How have you navigated through this pandemic-filled curveball that has affected everyone around us?
Hana: When COVID-19 happened, my business plans for 2020 flew through the window. We had plans for interstate trade fair/expos this year and the restrictions have also cancelled the markets that we usually attend. But on the other side, if COVID-19 hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be part of this amazing journey with Gathered SA. I think COVID-19 took a lot away but at the same time, brought something new and exciting for us to navigate and experience.
Tema: What do you think helps JANICKA stand out from the rest in the industry?
Hana: JANICKA stands out from the rest of the industry with my triangular scarves. They are made only in limited runs, handmade here in SA and no one else makes them. I am also showing customers tips in my live videos on Facebook the other usage of our shawls, which other companies don’t do. We commit ourselves to high expectations for satisfaction, because our customers really do matter to us and we want them to have the full experience when they buy one of our products!
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about yourself and JANICKA?
Hana: Customer service, support and satisfaction are very important to us. We aren’t a faceless department store or overseas seller. I am always here for our customers, so if they have a question, or they are not sure about something regarding JANICKA’s products, they can contact me anytime. My details are all on the website and I will be happy to help.
JANICKA will be participating in the upcoming virtual Gathered Design Market on August 22 + 23, 2020. There will be discounts on the market weekend so keep your eyes peeled on the Gathered Design Market’s social media platforms (Facebook + Instagram).
In the mean time, you can support JANICKA by following them on social media and/or peeking at their website for what’s currently on offer:
All photos in this article credited to Rachel Radovini Photography