We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Kiptoo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, why did you pursue a creative career?
Ever since a young age I have enjoyed making and creating things. I have had a knack for it and took a lot of art classes in high school. Also growing up I worked at a place called Cobblestone Arts Center. I worked with adults with disabilities in an arts based day program, took dance class, and painted sets for their children’s theater program. I worked there for 10 years and then decided to peruse a career in nursing. I went back to college after getting a teaching degree and after I graduated I realized I was missing a part of myself. I no longer had a creative outlet. I had kind of let that go to the wayside because who had time to paint with kids running around or take a dance class? I knew that this had to change because being creative had been such a huge part of my life growing up. So I bought a cricut. I had always been interested in creating all the things, and the cricut allowed me to do that. Honestly though, that machine probably sat there unused for a good part of a year before I figured it out. Then I just started designing personalized items for myself, friends, and family, and one day I decided that I could make it a business. Why not? So many people told me I should sell the stuff I make. That’s when I opened my Etsy shop in February 2020, a month before the pandemic hit. Despite the pandemic my business did pretty well. My bestseller is my groomsmen socks, something I made for a friend and decided to list in the shop on a whim. The business has grown from there as I learn new crafts and ways to create things. I found my joy again in creating and I am so glad I did! My two sons see me run this business out of my basement, my 3 year old even likes to help and has his own little desk to create too in my shop. I feel very deeply that being creative is an amazing way to express yourself and that deep down inside everyone there is a creative side. It may not always be art, but building, crafting, designing, or even just dreaming big dreams and inventing new things. All of it is creativity. And you don’t need to be a girl to have a craft business, there are so many ways men can get involved too!
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.
My full time, I work as a registered nurse. I took a travel nurse position back in the end of 2019, and I have been doing it ever since. As a nurse I grew up in the emergency department of a community hospital, and now as a traveler I work as a med/surg float pool nurse. Each day is different and I love that about my job. It may seem funny, but being a nurse has helped my customer service in my Etsy so much. I am providing care and customer service to my patients and their families every shift. I work 3 overnights a week a little over an hour away from home. Then Etsy I work the other 4 days a week or whenever I have orders. I like to bulk them together as much as I can so that I still have time with my family. Work life balance can be hard to find though when you are the one woman show in the Etsy shop. Someday I hope to have my shop be my full time job and nursing be part time or per diem because I do find so much joy in creating things.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people have helped me on this path. But I think the two women who made me realize that I could be successful at whatever I put my mind to are my mother Ellen Edler who always showed me what hard work looked like. She ran her own chocolate business in the room that I now run my craft business out of, she sold Tupperware, and she now is starting her own floral business on her farm. She has always been there to support whatever journey I choose to go on. And the other is Lori Benson, my long time boss at Cobblestone Arts Center who was like a mother to me as well. She always pushed me and believed I could do big things, she taught me to dance, to teach, and to give everyone a chance. She shows everyday that the arts can bring people together no matter what there abilities and that you just need a dream and a lot of determination, and you can make things happen.
Instagram: @jesskiptoo or @jkcraftymama
Facebook: Jessica Kiptoo/ JKCraftyMama