Featured Biz Mama: Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE
Janine Vangool with her son and the latest issue of UPPERCASE magazine
‘s background is in graphic design and she worked for a dozen years freelancing for arts and culture clients. In 2009, Janine founded a magazine. It started out as her own side dream project and quickly took over! UPPERCASE
is a quarterly magazine for the creative and curious with content inspired by design, illustration and craft.
I met Janine by being a fan of UPPERCASE
(I recently gifted myself a subscription
for my birthday!) As a fellow designer, I admire and am inspired by her work, not to mention the feat of being a mom and magazine publisher.
Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.
I publish, edit and design UPPERCASE, a quarterly print magazine for the creative and curious as well as books on illustration, craft and creativity. It’s a one-woman operation, so I’m also customer service, distribution and subscription manager and tech support/web development. I wear far too many hats.
What are the ages/genders of your children?
My son is 4.
Did you start your business before or after having children?
I’m lucky that I began the magazine before Finley was born! It would have been impossible to do things the other way around. My hope was that the magazine would become a stable income that could support my family.
How did your business life change after having children?
I can’t even really remember what life was like before having a child! It seems so long ago; everything is different in that my focus has both shifted and intensified at the same time. For his first year, I stayed at home and worked on the magazine from the basement. As he grew older, I’d bring him to the office sometimes—but it wasn’t until he was three three that he started to really enjoy coming to the office with me and actually requesting it! (This is my dream come true, that my child would enjoy spending time in my studio… and let me get work done… most of the time!) But he spends most days with my husband Glen Dresser, who is a stay at home dad and novelist. Without Glen, I wouldn’t have the time to concentrate on my many tasks!
Describe a typical workday.
I wake up when the dog wants breakfast (hopefully my son keeps sleeping for a little bit after that). I check email and shop orders and then get breakfast ready for Finley. We have breakfast together and then I walk to the office. My walk is about 40 minutes so lately I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts during the commute. Once at the office, it is full-on multitasking with everything from design, writing, lots of emailing, filling orders, customer service, planning and so much more. My child might join me for a few hours while Glen gets some writing done at a nearby coffee shop. I’m hope by 6pm and I spend the rest of the evening with my family. I might do a bit more work on my laptop while Finley watches some bedtime tv.
What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?
Don’t view your working life and motherhood as separate entities: they’re both integral parts of who you are. I think it is important that my son sees and understands the hard work that I do to support our family. He’s growing to appreciate the time and effort it takes to get things done. In a sweet moment last week at bedtime, he offered to do half of my work. He said he would draw a diagram to explain this for me—one big heart representing me and a smaller one for him. Maybe someday, my company will be “UPPERCASE & son”.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada