Jenny Brandt and Jens Grönberg aren’t your typical working couple. They are the creative force behind Sammy Rose, a website creating prints and images for record labels, magazines, and customers’ homes. The Sweden-based couple collaborate out of their home in Ystad—Jens is the illustrator, and Jenny is the photographer and blogger. Their secret? A great partnership, and never taking themselves too seriously.
We asked Jenny about their Jimdo website (that she built herself), their home office, Scooby Doo characters, and alternate careers. Read on to learn more about this awesome Jimdo duo!
How did you and Jens meet?
We had this thing for abandoned houses and kept inviting each other on trips to look for them. We also shared an interest in lots of other things, like 80´s television, pictures, and how to make pictures.
We met while I was an assistant to a photographer and Jens worked at an image studio that did special effects, photo retouching and (at that time) also developed film. “My” photographer was a client of theirs. When I came over to drop off film Jens would ask if I would like to see how hideous models looked before the retouching. (KIDDING! They looked wonderful before the retouching too of course, but we used to joke about it). He would show me some of the before-and-after pictures of images he was working on.
How do you two collaborate on your designs?
We are very involved in each other’s work. We often get hired as a team by clients, and those jobs are the best. We talk about pictures all the time, and sometimes our ideas turn into images that we can sell on Sammy Rose. But sometimes we pitch the ideas to our clients and it becomes something else, like a video, an ad, or an album cover. But 60% of the ideas just get added to a list called “Awesome ideas Jenny and Jens should do in the future.”
Why did you decide to build your website with Jimdo?
IT IS SO USER-FRIENDLY (sorry didn’t mean to scream). It really is. When we first started our shop in 2007 we built it from scratch. We hired a person to code it for us, we signed a contract with a payment service so we could accept credit cards. That ended up costing more per month than what we sold. It was soooo much work keeping it all running smoothly. I get tired just thinking about it. With Jimdo, I could set up a store in no time at all and connect it to PayPal. It is so easy.
I spent a lot of time on the web, looking at sites I liked. I wrote down everything I wanted to have on my website and what I hated. One site I liked was from Jimdo so I went with that. It has worked out very well for us.
Any advice for someone who is building their own website for the first time?
Study the web like it’s an exam at school. Make a list of everything you want to have on your website, and stuff you don´t like. Look at the details, like picture sizes, and make a mood board for how you want your product pictures to look. Product images are so important! Create a board on Pinterest labeled “This is what my site should look like” and collect colors, layouts, and images that show how you want your website to look and how it should feel to the viewer.
How would you describe your home office?
Jens and I sit shoulder to shoulder at a long desk. We recently added a studio to our house. So we have the luxury of “going to work” even if we still are at home. It´s a big wooden box that we added to the house, connected by a sliding door so we can keep an eye on the kids. Or rather, they can keep an eye on us.
Before we had our studio we sat at the kitchen table. But we grew out of it as our business grew. It’s such a drag having your work things (like boxes, paperwork, 10,000 USB cords) mixed with your personal stuff.
You collect Scooby Doo action figures—what character do you relate to the most?
I would be one of the villains. Perhaps I would dress up as a headless gallery owner to scare off all the visitors so I could have the pictures all to myself. (I like being alone with Jens, that’s why an online shop is just perfect for me).
If you weren’t a blogger and photographer, what do you think your career would have been?
It definitely would have to be a job where I get to work from home. Maybe a tarot card reader who gives you advice over the phone.