The Story behind Jin Designs

I thought it might be useful to share a bit of background to Jin Designs, for those who have known me for a while and for those who have recently joined. It's always good to know a bit about who you are buying from and the story behind the products. So here is a very brief version. I might go into the longer life story one day!Jin sketching on Hove BeachThe inspiration behind my designs came from wanting to have something of my own, from floating about from one job to the next, from not really belonging anywhere and never really feeling a part of something. This is probably the result of being adopted which I believe can leave you with a lifetime of feeling on the outside looking in.

I was lacking direction but I knew I was capable. I didn’t really have a passion for anything but I knew I had certain skills. I had a good education and a degree but like some, I didn't know what to do with my life at the end of education. I got temping jobs but felt quite trapped in the 9-5. I hated it to be honest.In my early 20s, I took an evening class in web design. I'm not entirely sure why I did it. I think I wanted to learn this relatively new skill and was interested in the code and graphics side of it. It was from that simple 8 week course that I was able to apply for a temp job at a design studio of a further education college. 

I really enjoyed formatting - the art of making a page of words look clear and legible with headers and lines and sizes of text. I started to get involved in graphic design jobs and really enjoyed this. I could immerse myself in something and enjoyed that feeling. I think nowadays it's called the 'state of flow'.

So I followed this path for a while and developed my own clean and simple style. I still had the issue of full-time employment and feeling restricted. I tried to apply for different jobs. I had countless interviews which I didn't get, organisations that didn't want me with a face that didn't fit. Not surprisingly, I hated the rejection.

It slowly dawned on me that I didn't have to fit in to an organisation. I didn't have to feel like an outsider. I could use my skills and work for myself. I thought I could create something that was mine. I could create my own business and never have to feel that feeling again.  

When I was 15, I had a cat called Mittle. She was also 15. We had grown up together. She was my best friend. It was summer term, I went to school as usual, but when I returned home, I discovered my mother had taken her to the vet to be put down. I never got to say goodbye. I was distraught. I think I cried every night for a whole year. But it was silent grief. I didn’t tell anyone. It was only a pet after all. People didn’t understand.Jin Designs SketchesYears went by and I used to draw my cat, just doodles really, nothing special. In my 30s I had moved to Brighton with my graphic and web design business, Jin Designs. It wasn’t going particularly well with the rise of cheap logos and off the shelf websites and I was looking for change. I wanted to create my own product range. Again, something that I could call my own. I looked at other products on the market and really felt there was room for me and my products. I felt there was a need for simplicity - particularly with cat designs - which were either crazy cat lady types or cartoons.Sitting Cat Mug by Jin DesignsSo I set about designing my Sitting Cat and Sleeping Cat. Just simple designs that could be your cat, my cat or anyone’s cat. I chose mugs because of the clean white surface, the usefulness of the product, and that moment you can sit and relax with your favourite drink and enjoy a really simple, meaningful design - something that’s personal to you.

This is really how it started. I went on to use my skills as a web designer to create a website. I thought that with a website people would visit from all over the world. But a few months after, I realised that it was like having a shop down a back alley. Nobody knew I was there. And so the small business journey began…

To be continued

Designer / Founder of Jin Designs