Featured Zibbeter - RotemGear
Jean’s apparel has been featured on NBC, The Huffington Post, as Martha Stewart’s Doer of the Week, in The Los Angeles Times, Racked LA, the Cool Jewbook, Blueprint magazine, Happy Six boutique, Rare Bird Finds, Examiner.com, Grow Veggies for Less magazine, and more. Please enjoy the interview, leave Jean a comment, and then use the Share Tools so others can read it, too. Please spread the Zibbet Love!
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Jean Roth, a graphic designer and “creative alchemist” with a growing apparel line. I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between images, words and ideas, even when I didn’t realize that is what it was.
Perhaps that is why I started out as an Asian Studies major. (I have a Masters from UCLA in Japanese and also studied in Tokyo.) Kanji fascinates me–each character holds dynamic kernels of its own meaning within its somewhat “graphic” representation.
I’ve always loved languages and the unique aesthetic that each one expresses, along with the patterns and textures of that culture. In addition to my Japanese background, I am also fairly fluent in Hebrew, and lived in Israel for 8 years.
So getting here has been an interesting but circuitous journey. I worked for the Japanese government, in an Israeli-Japanese joint venture diamond company, at a leading architectural firm, and at UCLA’s International Institute. On the way, my work in PR, marketing and public information broadened to include layout, desktop publishing and graphic design.
I started Rotem Design Studio in 2002, after getting requests for freelance design services. When I left my job at UCLA, the studio grew into a full-time independent graphic design business. The apparel side of the business developed soon after. I was primarily working in pop culture tee shirts but in the past year I have started to focus more on my limited edition artisan scarves and apparel, which I hope will appeal to a different demographic.
Apart from being ‘creative’ what do you do?
It seems to me that most of what I do has a creative component. But I do like to keep up on “geekology” and tech; streaming video allows me to enjoy a lot of British and Korean tv shows, Japanese films, and vintage detective movies.
What inspires you to do the kind of work you do?
With my cross-cultural background, I’m drawn thematically to elements of global cultures – typography, patterns, symbols, as well as nature. Stylistically, for the most part I love space and stripped simple, clean lines – influences, no doubt, from both my background in Japanese and my work with architects.
When it comes to t-shirt design, I add in pop culture influences and American humor with the belief that an intelligent designer should be able to create a hip fashion tee with a clever and edgy design without being rude.
My newest direction, Rotem Gear Limited Edition, instead aims for an upscale, artisan fashion aesthetic, but still embracing nature and simple Zen-like lines. I am loving creating the designs for these garments
Do you look up to anyone? Who? Why?
Celebrated designers like Saul Bass and Paul Rand continue to be inspirations for me. Artist Yokoo Tadenori blends traditional Japanese motifs with modern techniques in a way I never tire looking at. I also love traditional Zen ink painting.
But equally admirable to me are artisans and designers like myself who have gotten to where their creations not only delight their customers, but also sustain them as a business!
What other passions do you have in your life?
Animals, vegetarian and ethnic cuisine, and photography. The last one is not only for my designs but also to see the world a different way. I love to focus on texture, odd angles, architectural elements and plants whether in full bloom or dead.
What do you like most about Zibbet?
Certainly the ease of use is a boon, and I also appreciate the responsiveness of the management. But the tremendously supportive and warm community is a special bonus I never expected. People on Zibbet are wonderful.
What ‘new’ things would you like to see added to Zibbet?
I am very excited about the rebuild and can’t wait to see it! I’m also looking forward to future developments that allow for greater integration with other software and sites so that we will have more professional tools at our fingertips and can be even more successful with Zibbe
How do you promote your work?
I do a lot of social media – especially facebook and twitter, but also LinkedIn, Pinterest, Klout and various online communities. I look for press opportunities as often as I can and when I get them, I promote them. I should be better about blogging and newsletters than I am.
How would you recommend other Zibbeters make the most of Zibbet.com?
I would definitely suggest following the Zibbet blog and newsletter, and becoming part of the community. This is where we support one another, share, and learn how to apply techniques (technical, marketing, visual) to make our shops shine.
In the future I’d like to be…
… in demand! Speaking where I am right now, I’d love to see myself in the future supplying lovely garments with my designs on them in much greater quantities, but not so great that I lose vision and can’t focus on the creative process. But who knows what I’ll really want in the future once I get there? I say, take it day by day.