Today we’re getting to know Elana Joelle Hendler, the artist and designer behind EJH Brand
Tell us a little bit about the journey that led you to where you are in your art career today.
I’ve been drawing all my life, drawing in notebooks with a ballpoint pen since I was young. I studied art history in college but never had plans for a career with my art. A few years later, my life took a major shift and I decided to go out on my own and start a business. I knew then that I would use my artwork as the basis for the brand. As I began to work on the concept for EJH, I was drawn to designing products that I’ve always loved and enjoyed in my home. (I’ve been obsessed with candles since I can remember!) Your home can be such a sanctuary from the busy world around us and I wanted to create unique, design driven works of art that people could enjoy in their own environments.
You feature wildlife a lot – what inspired that and how do you decide on which species you are going to feature?
My earliest drawings were doodles that I would work on without really knowing what they were. As I would continue to draw, I would always notice the designs began to look like animals and then I would continue the drawing to look like that animal. I suppose you could say I’ve always been a wildlife artist. I find the modern elements of intrinsic designs in nature and wildlife absolutely fascinating and that is what I explore in my work. As far as selecting a particular animal to feature, the Wildlife Collection is a combination of work I drew before my business existed and other animals I adore that I chose to complete the series!
What are some of the benefits of and challenges with production in the USA?
The main benefit to having production in the USA is shorter turnaround and better quality control. The challenges are cost, sourcing and sometimes a combination of the two! The truth is, even though it has its challenges, I feel very proud to say that I partner locally and that my products are all designed and handcrafted in the USA.
What are your studio space and neighborhood like? How do they inspire you?
My studio is in Venice just lining the canals. I love working so close to the water and watching the different canal birds that share my neighborhood! The culture here in Venice has definitely had an impact on my aesthetic and how I create environments to showcase the brand. My studio is filled with reclaimed wood and metal furniture including an oversized wooden bookcase that I use to feature the full collection. The first print from each limited edition hangs along the walls and my view out the window overlooks the Venice canals.
Speaking of inspiration, what do you do when you have a creative block to try and shake it?
Whenever I have a creative block, I’ve learned it’s best to get up, walk away, and get back to it later. Since I live a block from the beach, I sometimes take a pen and notepad with me and will plant myself right there on the sand and take in the fresh air. Sometimes the change of scenery is enough to clear your head and inspire a new perspective.
I fear writing notes on nice notepapers and cards is becoming a lost art. Please tell us about the inspiration for doing stationary and how people should use it.
There is something so special about receiving a handwritten note on a beautiful card, whether it’s a thank you, invitation, or just to say hello. The heart of the EJH concept is to really appreciate the nuances of handcrafted works of art and in this spirit, I decided to design stationery letterpressed by hand on paper made from cotton recovered from the textile industry. It’s a modern spin on an age old tradition of expression, and I think sending a handwritten note can be such a beautiful gesture that people truly appreciate receiving.
Tell us a little about choosing luxurious fragrances for your candles.
Our two candle collections are designed with 100% pure essential oils, using a delicate combination of fruits, flowers, herbs and plants. I love fresh, sophisticated, clean fragrances! I have always been repelled by strong synthetic smells and so EJH is about all natural coconut wax, earthinspired essential oils that make you feel connected to the environment and add that subtle sophistication to your home space.
Anything else to add that my questions don’t cover?
I was 24 when I started the company with no business, product development or even product design experience. That’s a fun fact people usually find interesting. This business began on a dream and sheer determination.