Q1. Tell us where it all began
Marie-Jeanne Jacob is the founder and proud owner of the creative gift business Mad Jessie. Not only a successful businesswoman, Jessie is also a true Entrepreneur and Artist, who has won on two Network Ireland Waterford businesswoman of the year awards on two occasions; she has also been a finalist in the 2021 National awards. Jessie lives in County Waterford aboard a self-renovated sailboat, and it is from the water and her surrounding location where she draws inspiration for her wonderful unique designs.
“Marie-Jeanne Jacob is the founder and proud owner of the creative gift business Mad Jessie. ”
The inspiration for the business came at a time in Jessies life when she had to rest due to back problems, and was unable to do very much over a two-year period other than sketch and draw. During this time Jessie filled countless sketchbooks with quirky illustrations, characters, animals, and hand-drawn designs. She then started getting some of her wonderful designs printed on fabric, and the business Mad Jessie came into being, and began to grow alongside Jessies recovery.
Q2. What differentiates you from similar businesses in this area?
Product uniqueness, collaboration and sustainability are the key differentiating factors of this business. Jessie continues to work hard finding ways to champion sustainability, fun, and kindness, in her products and in her way of life. The business is an alternative to Fast Fashion offering consistently high-quality products in distinctive styles. All designs are created by Jessie an experienced artist and are unique and hand drawn. Jessie loves nothing more than collaborating with others and supporting her local community. She frequently works with another local business Speak in Stitches to create bespoke Skipper Hats. All hats are warm, soft, comfortable and made from hardy wool. Each hat is unique and a result of a collaboration between friends, each design is inspired by adventurers and seafarers, such as the Pirate Queen Grainne Mhaol.
The sustainable Snuzzles range of scarves also known as multi-use tube scarves are hand drawn and designed. These scarves are unique and are made from recycled plastic bottles diverted from the sea. The design of each scarf is inspired by Jessies surroundings – her neighbours, the swans, otters, egrets and cormorants.
Q3. What are your top ‘moments of joy’ over the past 4-5 years?
Since launching the business in 2018 Jessie can recount numerous ‘moments of joy’. These special moments for Jessie included the official launch of her business at the Waterford Winterval Festival, to being nominated for and winning various awards and to being featured in a variety of magazines / papers. Jessie was the proud winner of the Waterford Solo Businesswoman of the Year” Award – Network Ireland.
She was featured in the Om Yoga Magazine’s 100th edition and was interviewed by Le Petit Journal. She was also featured in the Irish Examiner’s 100 places in Munster to shop locally and 2021 saw her win “Waterford Businesswoman of the Year” in the Creative Professional Category.
“Since launching the business in 2018 Jessie can recount numerous ‘moments of joy’.”
Q4. What would you say are the biggest challenges your business is currently facing?
According to Jessie sourcing sustainable, eco-friendly fabrics and products can often be a challenge. The business ethos is to use sustainable products wherever possible, and it can therefore be difficult trying to source the correct fabrics / products. In relation to the future of the business, Jessie has big plans and is hoping over the next number of years that her products will be available both nationally and internationally and she is looking forward to new challenges and exciting opportunities.