By October 3, 2013 Read More →

Unusual homeworking jobs – Swedish dishcloth designer

Homeworking jobs with a difference

Unusual home working jobs - Marie Davis, Jangneus DesignI’ve seen Marie Davis’s colourful Jangneus dishcloths and tea towels in the press, and was delighted to learn she runs the business from home so I had an excuse to find out more for our Unusual Homeworking Jobs series!

Let’s start with the obvious, Marie – how does someone living in Oxfordshire come to sell Swedish dishcloths and tea towels? I moved to Oxfordshire some 20 years ago and as I couldn’t find this type of dishcloths in the UK, brought them back from my Sweden trips. Friends and family soon also got hooked on them – they are quite addictive!

The thoughts of running my own business and making use of my creativity had been with me for some time so when I was unexpectedly made redundant, to set up a business to bring this great product to the UK seemed the perfect solution.

Exporting the dishcloths was something I’d planned to do sometime in the future but soon after launching I got a fantastic whole sale order from Japan and haven’t looked back since. We’re now exporting our products to 15 countries.

Your dishcloths and tea towels are ideal for cheering up a homeworking break. Where do you get your inspiration from?

My creative vision is strong and I find inspiration through my observation of the world that surrounds me: colours, places, art but most of it comes from nature, especially when I’m in Sweden where I do most of my design work.

What’s the process of making the design into a dishcloth or tea towel?
It’s quite a slow process, a bit like a stew boiling away! When I get an idea, I start off with a rough sketch on paper, and then continue to work on the design in Illustrator. Seeing an idea develop from a sketch to a finished product gives me a huge sense of satisfaction.

Unusual homeworking jobs - Jangneus Design cloths

I imagine your house piled high with boxes – how does the packaging and posting work?
When I first started my business I ran it from a garden building but soon outgrew that. The business is now running from a purpose built extension to my house so we have pretty much space but are actually almost outgrowing this space as well so are currently trying to find a solution for storing stock.

To be organised is paramount for my own and my family’s sanity and it’s only at the final stage of large whole sale orders the house can be taken over by boxes.

We process on-line orders once a day and take them to our local Post Office late afternoon. How we deal with trade orders vary by size, some large orders take weeks to complete as they have to be custom printed.

What’s your homeworking routine?
My homeworking routine is not to have one! Every day and week is different. It’s taken me some time to realise that the no routine route works best for me.

I used to beat myself up over my lack of routine, and have tried different variations such as allocate certain hours to certain tasks, work a set amount of hours per day/week, start and finish at a set times etc but it only makes me miserable and actually less productive.

At times when we’re really busy I work silly long hours, 7 days a week but then we have some quieter periods when things ease up a bit. My system is to try to keep on top of everything important and urgent and the rest gets done on the quieter days. I’m organised though, and couldn’t survive without my to-do list.

However, there are some things that every working day contains; answering e-mails, phone calls with customers, compiling orders, a visit to the post-office, going out for a quick coffee or even lunch- on a good day – and taking my dog for a long walk.

You have to protect your energy when you run your own business and walking and to meet up with friends is my way of recharging. In the early days I found it pretty difficult to work from home but after 4 years of my own space, freedom and no commute I feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Of course there are still challenges but I no longer look upon what I do for a living as “work”, it simply is my life. And if my business wasn’t home based, my family would rarely see me!

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give someone hoping to start a retail business from home?
Drive is absolutely essential to be successful. You have to be hungry! Specific to retailing from home is to be realistic about the space it requires, even if you start small. Obviously for stock but also for packaging materials etc.

When I first started out, I felt I had to have all my ducks in a row before I could take the next step but soon realised that that’s impossible because there will always be new and different ducks arriving on the scene.

You have to learn as you go, be brave and sometimes make mistakes as long as you learn from them. So Just Get Going!

Marie’s striking designs are ideal for brightening everyday tasks and giving a lift to those repetitive homeworking jobs in the kitchen! Check them out at

Enjoyed this? You might like to read more in the unusual homeworking jobs series, which includes an opera singer, chocolatier and custom bra maker.

1 Comment on "Unusual homeworking jobs – Swedish dishcloth designer"

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  1. Lisa Gilbert says:

    That’s the good thing when your working from home, you get to work on your on time and schedule.