Crafting Beauty with Nature's Palette: A Q&A with Cody, Founder of Cai & Jo
We are thrilled to have featured Cai & Jo in "Tyler Exclusive" subscription box and would love to introduce the brand to our audience. The stunning corduroy pouch for makeup or travel caught our attention, everyone was obsessed with the design and quality. So, let’s find out more about this brand.
Can you share the inspiration behind founding Cai & Jo and the journey from a self-taught artist and designer to establishing an independent brand?
Initially the brand just started as a hobby, I always liked to draw and during university I decided to sell prints online. Eventually my shop started getting busier and I decided to dedicate more time to it and create a more cohesive set of products and build it into a brand.
Your pieces are known for drawing inspiration from the natural world. How do the textures, colours, and shapes of nature influence your designs, especially evident in the corduroy pouch featured in our subscription box?
I love these corduroy pouches, and in designing each one I drew inspiration from nature, some being the sun and some being plants like agave and palms that I love so much.
Being a small team of two, how do you manage to design, package, and ship your products internationally from your sunny studio in London?
It’s always a difficult balance! At the moment we’re so busy I probably won’t have the time to design anything new for quite a while as I’m helping Kaysee and our occasional helper Els with orders a lot. There are other times when it’s less busy and I can focus on product design and planning, but I just have to go with the ups and downs!
What does a typical day at Cai & Jo look like?
For me it varies so much, but I always try to make sure any urgent emails are responded to, and we try to keep on top of ordering stock and everything that keeps the studio running smoothly. We’re always trying to send out orders as quickly as we can so that has to be our priority, but then if I have the time I can focus on design, social media, product photography and everything else that goes into running a small business!
Could you share more about the specific steps you take to ensure your products and business practices are as sustainable as possible?
This is really important to me! We plant trees for every order and on top of that we donate to schemes to offset our carbon footprint, hopefully making us carbon neutral, though it’s very difficult to prove. We also reduce plastic as much as possible, re-use packaging and send zero waste to landfill. Additionally, I donate a percentage of profits annually to sustainability and animal welfare causes.
Planting two trees for every order is a fantastic initiative. What inspired you to implement this and what impact has it had on your business and the environment so far?
"It just came from my goals to be as sustainable a business as I can be, and I’m so happy to be able to contribute in some way. So far we’ve planted over 3600 trees and avoided more than 147 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere."
Take us through your typical design process.
The corduroy pouches are designed to be the go-to for keeping things together in your bag. I always have about 3 on the go to separate my things and I wouldn’t be without them now! I designed it with functionality in mind, something that’s useful and just the right size to throw into any bag.
As a self-taught artist and designer, what advice do you have for others looking to pursue their passion in the creative industry, especially in establishing their own brand?
I think you just need to find your own unique style, and really dedicate time to building up your products and your brand. Success almost never happens overnight so you need to stick at it and work hard to get where you want to be!
What has been the most rewarding aspect of running Cai & Jo, and are there any memorable stories or experiences that stand out in your entrepreneurial journey so far?
For me it’s just the freedom of being my own boss, and choosing what I want to work on and what directions to take the business. It can definitely be challenging but I love it and can’t imagine anything else now. One of the biggest moments for me was getting my first stockists and seeing my products in shops in person!
Looking ahead, what can our subscribers and readers anticipate from Cai & Jo? Are there any upcoming collections or projects you'd like to share?
I’m excited to work on some new products this year, definitely a few new pouches and makeup bags, as well as more cards and prints of course!