We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesi Josten and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jesi, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My mom can tell you that I wanted to start my own business since I was in 3rd grade! I remember making little magnets out of the tiny plastic communion cups from church. Then in high school it was tie-dyed t-shirts, and later when I was in college I designed custom wedding maps (before smart phones were a thing!). So it’s probably no surprise to anyone that I do have my own business, but I never would have imagined it would have started with baby bibs!

When my daughter was born I noticed two things: baby bibs were really tiny – they didn’t actually cover her clothes, which meant I usually had to change her entire outfit after every meal, AND they were boring! So I tried to remember all the things my Grandma Ginny had taught me and sewed up a few HUGE baby bibs out of cute fabric I had stashed away. My daughter Violet also happened to be in a body cast due to hip dysplasia at the time (that’s where I got my business name), so keeping her clean was extra important!

There was a lot of trial and error while I figured out the best way to make them so they’d hold up in the wash, what materials made the most sense, and the best way to ensure they couldn’t be pulled off by little hands. After I made a few for myself and my sister, other friends and family started asking for them, and I decided to put a few on Etsy. I still remember how excited I was the first time I sold one to someone I didn’t know! That was almost 13 years ago and still going strong.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started making baby bibs when my oldest daughter (and company namesake) Violet started eating solid food AND had the added bonus of being in a body cast from Hip Dysplasia. We needed to keep her cast clean during mealtimes and the tiny bibs I was getting at the big box stores weren’t cutting it! I made some oversize bibs and they worked really well, and within a few months I had my Etsy shop up and running. As mentioned before, I’ve always had the bug to start my own business, but I never ever thought it would be sewing, especially making baby bibs! I feel like I completely lucked out – they are STILL fun to make, I still love picking out fun fabrics, they are inexpensive to ship, and easy to pack and haul around for craft shows.
I love that my bibs have made a small difference in parent’s lives. It makes my day to hear about customers who toss out all their others to only use Hip Violet bibs. My Special Needs bibs truly are a game-changer for so many families who were previously unable to find large bibs that weren’t made out of baby fabrics. Plus my line of bibs, masks, and can koozies made from vintage sheets are always good for some hilarious and nostalgic stories from my customers – I can’t wait to get back out to the craft shows and hear more!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I LOVE when my friends and family visit Denver! There really is so much to do and it’s so ridiculously beautiful! Here are some of my favorites: • Red Rocks Amphitheater
• Red Rocks Hike
• Lookout Mountain Sunset
• Golden Riverwalk
• Rocky Mountain National Park
• Celestial Seasonings Tour
• Denver Art Museum

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I was starting out in 2008, we had just moved to Denver from Michigan and I was so excited about all of the new crafty people I was meeting! One of the bigger shops that I may have been a little fan-girling over was Vital Industries. They were pioneers in how to make, market and sell an amazing handmade product, and were rock stars on this cool new handmade website, Etsy. I met the owners Brett & Crystal at some events and not only were they incredibly nice, but helpful too. They took me under their wing and were more than willing to share what they had learned. Not only did they help me optimize my Etsy shop to get more sales, but they also came over to my basement home office one day and helped me set up the perfect little photo corner for my product photos. I still use their tips to this day! They have since moved back to Wisconsin but Vital Industries is, of course, still going strong.
Because of them, I quickly learned how vital (no pun intended!) it is to help out fellow crafters, especially those who are just starting out. I love doing website critiques, or helping friends set up their new Etsy shops. Thanks Brett & Crystal!

Website: www.HipViolet.com

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/HipViolet

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/HipViolet

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.