#IMExclusive: Q&A With Mustard Co Founder Jess Stern

You may remember our trip to the London Design fair, earlier this year. That’s where I had the pleasure of meeting the innovative, bubbly founders of Mustard. In addition to the friendly personalities I was immediately captivated by the quirky yet practical designs.
That is literally me down to a T. So of course I wanted to know everything. How the company began, where the inspiration came from etc etc.
Here’s what happened when I Spoke to Co-founder Jess Stern about her journey with the company and hopes for the future.

Are your designs a direct reflection of your personality?

Great question! In some ways they are a combination of us both, I’m pretty organised and tidy and the lockers are really made to keep all your stuff safely tucked away. Becca is more creative and colourful and the lockers are definitely that!
Pink shorty by Mustard made designs

What do you love about being a designer? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

It’s funny, design is actually a pretty small part of what we do right now. Running a business takes up a lot of hours so it’s really fun when we get to enjoy the design process as we work on new products. The coolest part is seeing the idea go from a drawing into a real life object that you can touch and feel. It never gets old.

Who was your target audience when designing theses products?

We knew they would be great for kids so families are certainly high on the list but they are so versatile that they can really work for people who work from home, large offices or co work spaces and the colour range means they appeal to all genders so the potential is pretty big!

What gave you the idea to make your products magnetic?

All our lockers are made of steel which is naturally magnetic so it was just an added bonus!

Why was it important for you to showcase your work at the London Design Fair?

When we began putting the wheels into motion to create Mustard we knew we had to aim high and that means getting a healthy amount of exposure early on. London Design Fair was a great platform for us to introduce the style makers to our products as well as seeing the reaction from the public. We wanted people to be able to touch and feel them in person and it was so great seeing people stop to look at them as their faces lit up!

How many of you are there on the team and what are your roles?

Just the two of us! I manage the logistics of manufacturing and importing and the UK day to day and Becca manages the marketing, design and Australian day to day. In addition we have surrounded ourselves with people that form part of our wider team, our warehouses, freight forwarder, bookkeepers, accountants, web and graphic design. Being able to lean on a knowledgeable bunch of people across both sides of the world is what makes it possible. That said, there’s still a lot on our plate so we hope soon to expand the team and be able to share some of the workload.
Mustard founders sisters Jess and Becca Stern

What is it like working with your sister?

I love it! I’ve always worked in a big team and she’s mostly worked alone so it’s been a change for both of us to work together but on opposite time zones! Becca works really hard as well as being an awesome mum to her two kids and I really admire her. Working with someone you know so well and care about so much makes it all matter more. We also cut through the chit chat and get to the point because we trust each other and are quick to make up!

Do you find that different products are received better in different countries?

We were surprised that the Skinny is our biggest seller in the UK whereas the Shorty took the top spot in Australia. The colour favourites were totally different too with Mustard and Slate being the best selling colours in the UK and Blush and White in Australia. Even though we are both English the brand really is a mix of Australian and British style.

What’s next for the mustard team? Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

A Holiday!! We’re so excited we are taking a break for New Years and meeting up in Thailand with our families. Next year we have a few new products up our sleeves, some more travelling for trade shows and even some limited edition colours!

About Ray Sang 343 Articles
A music lover at heart IndustryMe founder Ray Sang is creative industry blogger from London, England, dedicated to shining a light on budding talent. Whether it’s a budding business owner, upcoming poet, musician or fellow content creator, if they are making waves in the creative industry Ray will be there to break the story. You can read more about IndustryMe and why she started the site in further detail here.

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