Meet The Mama: Art Director Jane Riley Johnson

We spent an afternoon with our art director and co-founder of the soon-to-launch beauty line Wiley Body, on the streets of Venice in Los Angeles. Despite the fact that we work with Jane day-in and day-out, there are so many things we don’t know about her! Like the fact that she started her career out of an apartment on the North Shore of Oahu. Or that she dreamt up the shades in our new collection by gazing at pictures of Jenna Lyons. Basically, she’s one awesome mama, a creative powerhouse raising 3 kids, and she’s full of great advice about how to pair our new colors with your baby’s wardrobe (!). Read on.

What was your career trajectory? How did you get to a place where you are a self-employed creative (i.e. living the dream)?

I majored in Fine Arts (ceramics) and minored in Psychology in college. I graduated in 2008 when there were literally no jobs to be had, especially not anything that would allow me to apply my artistic skills. I decided to go back and do two more years of school for Graphic Design. When I finished that program I was living on the North Shore of Oahu where, once again, there were very few jobs that would allow me to use my artistic/design skills. I blogged a lot and hustled to get as many freelance jobs as I could. I worked with people and companies remotely. Our neighbors in our apartment complex had the idea to start a magazine called Kin and Co. (which later became Kinfolk). I helped them with layout and styled their first photoshoot. It was a lot of fun and gave me confidence and great experience. I continued blogging and taking on freelance design clients and before I realized it I was running my very own branding and design studio out of my apartment. Now, I am fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose some of the clients I work with. After having three babies (Henry, age 6, Wayne, age 4 and Goldie, age 1) I have become particularly passionate about design in the parent/kid space. I designed the website for Mother Mag, did the re-brand for Sakura Bloom and am art directing for Doddle and Co. I am currently working on my own line of baby skincare products called Wiley Body. I love design and products that are beautiful yet functional!

What's your relationship to color?As a designer I love color. Color is everything! It says so much without literally “saying” anything at all!

Do you wear a lot of color?

I do wear a lot of color. Right now I love golden yellow—I have yellow pants, jumpsuits, shirts, shorts—you name it, I have it in golden yellow!

Do you use color in your home?

Of course! My home is filled with color! Because I buy so much stuff with color, every room in our house is in constant rotation. "I got a new bright pink and purple Pendleton blanket in the living room! Better change out the pillows to match!" and my husband just rolls his eyes and goes with it. (He secretly loves a lot of color too.) 

Are there colors that are off-limits for you? Shades you just don’t love?

Never! No color is off limits! There are definitely color combos I probably wouldn't go for. But no color is off limits. To prove this point: I buy anything that has a rainbow on it.

What are the trends you see in the world of color?

I definitely see people gravitating towards more color in their homes and in their wardrobes. Black, white and neutrals were having such a moment for so long. Now I see people expressing their personalities through color so much more. Bedrooms are no longer bright white with neutral bed linens but, instead, they’re monochromatic green, floor-to-ceiling, with a green bedspread, to boot! Or people will play with color like a deep navy wall coupled with a velvet pink bed spread. It’s just so fun. The wildly popular Color Factory exhibit (now in NY) is a great testament to this.

What would you say to someone who feels like every baby thing is saturated in colors that they would never wear themselves?

I would say you are definitely looking in the wrong place. There are so many hip up-and-coming baby products and companies that are doing color well. At Doddle we have a motto: “Just because you had a baby doesn't mean all of your taste went out the window!”

What’s the most difficult part about being a working mom and raising three kids?

The most difficult part about raising three kids while working from home is, quite simply, finding the time to get work done. I usually have pretty consistent child care so that I can find good chunks of time to get all of my work done during the week. But there are those crazy times where a kid suddenly has a two week fall break and I am left scratching my head wondering when schools starting having "fall break" and why the heck it’s two weeks long? Or our nanny gets offered an incredible director position at an academy (true story) and I’m left scrambling to find childcare for my baby girl. Those are the most stressful times. I have learned over the past 7 years that childcare can be spotty and I just have to roll with it.

What’s the best part?

Being able to be there for my kids: Getting them ready in the morning, picking them up from school each day. I am available when they need me.

What one thing do you wish you could change or improve?

I wish I could chill out sometimes. Because I work and thrive on a schedule it is hard to sometimes just relax. I wish I could remember from past experiences that things usually always work out and if something is an hour or two late, it's not the end of the world!

Talk to us about The Dream Collection! What was inspiration behind those shades?

Quite honestly it came from pinning images of strong women and mothers that I admired on Pinterest. I was creating a board of artistic, stylish women that embodied the type of mother and designer that I want to be. I pinned images of women that are on the Doddle team as well as women I admire in the design space like Jenna Lyons and Jordan Ferny. There was a rainbow of color on this board but a lot of bold navys and greens popped out at me alongside these really feminine and beautiful light blues and lilacs. I pulled quite a few colors from this board and then narrowed down the selection to colors that I felt parents would particularly be excited about seeing in their babe's mouths. These colors have been so fun to work with during our photoshoots and while revamping the entire Doddle site.

Your favorite Pop shade?

Either “Romaine Calm” (dark green) or “I Lilac you” (light purple). I love the dark green in my little girl's mouth when she is wearing a really light feminine color like blush or white. And the light purple shade is just a color I’m really drawn to at the moment.

What advice would you give to someone who is a bit color-phobic?

Color ain’t nothin’ but a number... A Pantone number.

Finally, the question we wrap all our interviews up with: What are the wisest words uttered to you by a child?

“My thinger is a dinger?”  My kids are just full of the wisest words.

Thanks Jane!


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