We Want To Know More About

jess sec

We fell in love with her amazing rag dolls long before we knew anything about her, but once we met her at the Playtime trade show this winter, we fell for her too.

How did you come up with the first doll? I have always made dolls for both of my kids. The design and shape of the doll comes from wanting to create a doll that was long and lanky enough to hold Stella’s hand and still have its feet hit the ground. I always love working with really great materials. Cashmere seemed like the obvious choice for hair. then I wanted to put my growing collection of textiles to use. I made a few to put in my shop and the response was really great!

Tell us about yourself: I was born in New York in 1970, and we moved to California in 1981,  so I have grown up a complete NY-California girl! I met my husband  when I was 18–just as I started college–and we’ve been together since the day we met. I was raised around the fashion and music industries, but became a preschool teacher and taught for 11 years. When Stella was born, I decided to stay home and dedicate myself to her early childhood. Once Tiger was born, 3 years later it was clear I wasn’t going to teach again. This is when I really began experimenting with my creativity and passions within design and textiles. I started a small clothing line called Bluebird and then eventually moved away from that and opened the shop, Maude, with a friend. The rag dolls as a business really came through Maude.

Were you really into dolls as a little girl? I had a few comfort dolls that I really cared about. I don’t think I was really in to dolls necessarily… I was just really connected to this group I had.

What’s a typical weeknight? Ummm, I usually pick Stella (12.5)  and Tiger (9) up from school and we either come home, hang out, bake, or go to their activities. Then Erio gets home around 5 and dinner prep and homework begin. Everything seems to happen in the kitchen. We eat always as a family, then we do dishes together. Lots of loud music and dancing. Always in the end a bunch of wrestling and lots of craziness.

What’s in the breakfast rotation? We are pretty basic… cereal and milk, toast and honey and eggs (which Stella hates).

Any food-based family rituals? We bake cookies a lot! We always have a bread board with a loaf of french bread and olive oil and cheese while we are cooking.

What’s your take on screen time? We used to be pretty rigid about media. No tv and one movie on the weekend. Now, as they have gotten older we’d like them to have more balance. They get to watch a bit more, but we watch with them.

How do you celebrate birthdays? We always start the morning with a super yummy “surprise” cinnamon roll! Sometimes flowers on the table and cards, then the presents come later after dinner when we are all home together. We always have at least one hand made gift.

Like what? Hand made gifts could be like a little sewing kit.. maybe an antique pin cushion with a great group of fabrics and trims.. some wooden spools. All of it would go in to a beautiful old box. And, of course, dolls.

Do you like or resent the goody bag phenomenon? I am not a big goody bagger! I love a small parting token that represents the event..

What websites inspire you and for which parts of your life? I really like design sites. I love the pia jane bijkirk site … it makes me want to travel and redecorate my house simultaneously!

What’s a typical weekend? Well, Saturday morning we all wake up lazily and eat breakfast together. If it’s warm enough,we hang out in the yard. Light gardening and feeding the fish, reading, occasional yard sales! Then I go to my shop by 11. Sunday we have all day to play. Slow morning, then out to the beach or to San Francisco.

Any family rituals you carry on, or that you have created? I think hand made gifts and cooking together will stick with our kids.

What music do you listen to? We listen to a lot of everything, from old stuff like The Clash, Toots and the Maytals, old punk rock, old albums from the Cure, Billie Holiday…to newer music like the White Stripes, Broken Bells, Tim Armstrong.There’s a lot of dancing in our kitchen!

What’s the thing that always stays on your to-do list? Photo organizing for sure!

Top 3 favorite books: For the kids it would be the My Father’s Dragon books, The Little Prince,  Harold and the Purple Crayon. For me—definitely The Little Prince, and I loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books… also, Little Bee.

Fail-safe beauty product or routine? I really love Kiehls products and use them in the morning and at night…I also love rose water and use it all through out the day.

Favorite family trip? We had a great trip to Kauai a few years ago. Trying so hard to find the time to get back!

You feel your best when…? I am in a really creative space… in my studio, just on a roll! Or when I am sitting in the sun.

Favorite clothing item and why? An antique French gardener’s top . It’s made of linen.. super old and washed a million times. I live in it! So many people have asked if I would make them, so this top is now the inspiration for a line of women’s pieces I am working on, and I’m so excited about it! I am hoping to launch it this August—the concept is based similarly to how I have done the dolls. I have a  collection of antique pieces that I am recreating. I am including details in to each pattern that really represent how the clothes had been originally sewn. The line will be a small group of what I consider pieces to live in… Each piece will have a bit of updating, but really the goal is to maintain these great original  shapes and details. The collection will also include throws and quilts and possibly a few other accessories.

Proudest moment in parenting? Stella’s solo art show at a local gallery and Tiger learning to ski and finding his love of reading!

Guiltiest pleasure? Oof! Ummmmm, definitely clogs!


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Comments (2)


  1. Posted by: Susanna

    Love her and her dolls are fabulouso.

  2. Posted by: Vale

    We could be friends. :)

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