Hi, I'm Grace, and I am the heart behind Jaq Jaq Bird. I proudly call myself a Chicagoan, and a mom of 3 kids. I'm Korean-American. This company started without a plan, and not much money or vision..it evolved organically for 5 years, and today is a thriving small business with a small staff. The mission of Jaq Jaq Bird is to make unique & beautiful products that will instill creativity and joy in a child.
You probably don't want to hear the long version, so I will give you the quick & dirty: We had bought a 900 sq. ft bungalow in DC before our 3rd child was shortly born. We hired a contractor who was to expand our tiny house to 2000 sq ft. The week before Micah was born, the phone had rang..it was the FBI telling us our contractor was a fraud. At this point we had given the contractor more than our life savings. Our house was a disaster zone: no HVAC in the middle of winter, no sink and oven either and the contractor ran off with our money. Our son was born, my husband worked 12 hour days, then he would head to Home Depot and Ikea (to this day my two kids hate both places!) and finished renovating and expanding the house by himself because our money was dried up. There was no functioning kitchen for 6 months.
We had to use the bathroom sink to wash dishes.. Whenever we would dine out, my kids got sick of the same kids' menus at the restaurants that they would tear it up and throw it on the floor. Desperate for some peace at the dinner table, I invented the Chalk Mat in 2005. It was a chalkboard one side, flip it over, and it became a placemat. It was flexible enough that it would roll up so it was travel-friendly.
I started to receive a lot of compliments so I approached couple stores in my area and they were an instant success. One day I received a call from HGTV asking me if they can feature the ChalkMat, after the episode, we received so many orders that the products were backordered for one month as I was cranking and sewing the mats. The happy ending is we finally made enough money to renovate the house and sell at a profit in the end. This is the story of Jaq Jaq Bird.
Why "Jaq Jaq Bird"? Our third child, Micah was learning to talk he would say, "Jaq Jaq," a Korean onomatopoeia translated as "chirp chirp."