JEN AND BAILEY THE DACHSUND
When they were inspired to launch their own art-based fashion brand, Club Surreal, after finding out that Salvador Dali's wife, Gala, bought together a group of investors to help the artist, Jen and her wife, Fritzi, thrive off the creativity it brings to their life. Hear from Jen, and meet her little sausage...
Words: Simon Glazin Pictures: Fritzi Lara
Meet our first ever international pooch, Bailey, and her 'human', Jennifer. They live in San Diego, California, and we actually met on Instagram. Oh the power of social media these days!
It's quite hard to get to know someone properly over email. With everyone else on site, we've gone to their homes, spent time with them and the dog(s) and taken the pictures. With Jen and Bailey, everything was orchestrated from our inboxes which, really, is quite amazing. I was first drawn to little Bailey - her colouring is gorgeous - and then when I realised Jen had her own super creative brand, everything got more interesting. In an attempt to get to know a bit more about Jen, I asked her for a little biography which she sent over in point-form. I thought about constructing a cohesive paragraph with the information she provided, but I think it's more effective this way. So, here's what I found out:
Jen is 29-years-old, born and raised in San Diego, recently moving back there from Berkeley with her wife, Fritzi. She is Chinese, Filipino and Hawaiian - her dad is from Hawaii and her mum is from San Diego. Fritzi and her are both artists and have been together for five years. She has a twin sister and an older sister. Her twin owns her own swimwear line and her older sister is a teach at University of California. She went to school at the University of Santa Barbara when she studied environmental science. She is a self-taught artist and has learnt everything she knows online by watching videos. She has never taken an art class. After she met Fritzi, they moved to Northern California where they launched Club Surreal two years later. She has always altered her clothes to fit, and you can usually find her wearing black shorts, a Club Surreal tank top and leather Oxfords. Her favourite tattoos of hers are a Salvador Dali elephant, a San Francisco Victorian house and one that says: 'Share Your Heart' with an equality sign. She loves to travel, hang out with Bailey and go to museums.
Scroll down to see more of Jen and Bailey, and to hear all about Club Surreal!
"Whenever i do yogo at home, she slowly creeps up next to me to press her face up against mine!"
On life with Bailey: I literally dreamt Bailey up. Seriously! I’ve always wanted a dog, they’re just amazing, happy creatures. At the time, I was living in a tiny studio in San Francisco. For years I would look at dog rescues and animal shelters. I would dream about having a miniature dapple dachshund. One day I saw her on an animal rescue site and we adopted her the next day! We've been best friends ever since.
On Club Surreal: I started it with my wife Fritzi after we couldn’t find clothing that conveyed our own artistic style and expression; minimal and clean with a bit of whimsy and sarcasm. So we designed our own and launched Club Surreal back in April. I love the creative process of it all. Just seeing it from start to finish. We’re both artists and have had an intense passion for the arts since we were kids. Last year we went on a trip to Spain and we visited the Dali Theatre and Museum, a dream of ours. Our tour guide had told us a story about a group of investors that Dali’s wife, Gala, brought together to help support and nurture the artist. At the time, we had been designing or brand but didn’t have a name for it. It was on the bus ride back and after hearing the story, that we knew we wanted to bring together a community of creatives. Our designs express the passion that we have for art history. They should make you think about art and following your dreams.
On work before and a career plan B: Before this, I was a manager for a restaurant in San Francisco. I’ve been able to take those skills and apply them to what I’m doing now. I would have loved to be a tattoo artist. I love tattoos. We collect them as souvenirs when we travel. It’s such a cool way to meet other artists and collect art!
On her daily routine: I’m a morning person. I get up at 7:00-7:30, let Bailey out, I usually drink my coffee while she eats breakfast. Typically, I’ll do some design work in our studio and Fritzi will work in the office. On creative days we’ll do photoshoots, take road trips to Los Angeles and find art or visit museums. Back at home I’ll lounge in the sun with Bailey, we usually take a nap out there. Have dinner and work on some more stuff for Club Surreal.
On career advice:
My top 3 advice tips would be-
1) If you’re going to launch a brand, or anything really- research, research, research. You can never learn too much, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn on how to start a company. Make a list of all the things you’ll need/do to launch your company. You’ll realize many of the things are easy to check off. Set goals and deadlines. Start small if you need to, you’ll grow in time.
2) You’ll never know who you’re going to meet. Talk to people about your dreams and what you’re passionate about, we’ve met complete strangers who have given us so much advice and mentorship. It’s incredible how many people are out there that are just as excited about what you’re doing as you are!
3) Work hard and never give up on your dream! It sounds cliché but it’s true. There will always be obstacles but never doubt yourself. After all, it’s your life, your dream, your passion!
On taking risks: At the time, it didn’t seem so risky, but thinking about it now, it was a big risk. Every day for almost a year, we’d get off work at 3:30, go straight home and work on Club Surreal until midnight. We left 2 full time jobs... Fritzi had been working for her company for over a decade. I was working in restaurants since I was 15 (I’m 29 now). In the end, it was and still is the right decision. We couldn’t be happier!
On her favourite Bailey tale: She’s a cuddler, that’s what I love most. Whenever I do yoga at home, she slowly creeps up next to me to press her face up against mine. She’ll also lay down next to my mat and watch. She’s so cute!
In an ideal world... Dogs could paint graffiti. Their messages would be amazing! Just love, happiness and positivity. That’s all they are. Just loving, loving souls.