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January 12, 2024 —

Love What You Do: Cody Bond of cai & jo

Cody Bond, founder of cai & jo, swapped a career in software development for one as an independent artist and designer, creating joyful and distinctive designs that bring a ray of sunshine
Cody Bond founder of homeware and accessory brand Cai and Jo
Colourful orange bedding by Cai and Jo
Sine Fleet - contributingeditor of 91 Magazine
Sine Fleet
91 Magazine contributing editor,
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How would you describe cai & jo to someone discovering it for the first time?

cai & jo is a place to find colourful summery gifts and accessories for your friends, your home or for yourself. 

What inspired the idea of setting up your business?

I always loved to draw and while I was at university I set up an Etsy shop selling prints. It grew and changed over the years and eventually I decided to make it into an actual business and designed a range of greetings cards and prints. It started to take off and I decided to quit my job and pursue it full-time, which gave me the time and opportunity to start designing more products and grow the business.

How did your career begin?

When I started my business I was working as a software developer. It’s quite different to what I do now, but I do sometimes use my old skills to update my website and I built myself a wholesale website too!

Colourful homeware by Cai and Jo

Colourful homeware by Cai and JoWhere do you find creative inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere, but for me I think nature is what inspires me the most. I grew up in Cyprus and the warm climate and incredible sunsets are a huge source of creative ideas for me.

How would you describe your style?

I never really know how to answer this one! I think my style is warm, organic and a little vintage-inspired though.

Cody Bond founder of homeware and accessory brand Cai and Jo

Colourful orange punch needle cushion and furnishings by Cai and JoAre there themes or influences that run through your work? 

I’m definitely always drawn to themes of the sun and moon, desert and of course, nature. 

Tell us a little about your creative process… 

It generally starts when I’m feeling creative and get out a sketchbook and start drawing out some ideas that come into my head. These are really rough to start with, and then if I like any of my ideas I’ll draw them out in a slightly more defined and finished way with pen on paper before transferring them to my computer to work on in Photoshop. I almost always colour digitally as I just love the complete freedom in it, and I’ve never been the best painter!

Colourful orange bedding by Cai and Jo

Boho palm velvet make up bag by Cai and Jo

How did you first discover your love for what you do?

I’ve definitely always loved what I do! It was a fairly easy decision to go full-time with my business because I was making enough money from it to live off when I quit my job, and when I realised that I could do what I really loved every day and hopefully still be financially stable it was just an obvious choice!

Could you describe a typical working day?

It varies quite a lot, but I always start by going through any emails that are important and check on the orders that need to be sent out. From there it could really be anything from designing new products, ordering samples, paying invoices, doing bookkeeping, photographing new products, re-ordering stock or basically anything else that comes up! 

Cai and Jo candles and bohemian coasters

What is the ethos behind your business, or the values that are a focus for you?

I really just want to run a business that brings something nice into the world. I try to make cai & jo a nice place to work, and I make sure all of our suppliers are socially responsible. I aim to design products that bring a little bit of joy into people’s everyday lives, and I like to share when I have success by donating to causes that are important to me. This year I was able to donate £5,000 to animal welfare charities which is something I’m really happy and proud of. 

Is there an element of your work that you love the most?

Honestly I love almost every part of my work, but I think overall just having the freedom of being my own boss is so valuable to me.

Colourful orange bedding by Cai and Jo

Colourful Leo tarot card print by Cai and Jo

How valuable is the online community to your work?

I’m so grateful to all my supporters online! I’m not always the best at keeping up with Instagram and I’ve completely neglected other social media platforms, so I really appreciate that people still follow me and are interested in seeing what I’m up to with my brand.

Do you enjoy working as an independent? What are the joys, and what are the challenges?

I love it so much! The joys are almost endless, coming into the studio every day and working on things that make me happy is amazing. The challenges can be really difficult, I think so many independent or self-employed people will share the same worries when it’s a quiet time, and when something goes wrong it can feel really overwhelming. Having my life and work so intertwined means that I never really stop thinking about work and it can be difficult to take real time off, but it’s something I’m working on improving. 

Colourful boho furnishings by Cai and Jo

Colourful orange velvet make up bag by Cai and Jo

What’s one thing people would be surprised you do in your work?

I’m not sure if it would be really that surprising, but I love spreadsheets and I have really detailed financial plans, product plans, and business spreadsheets that I work on at least a few times a week. I think this is something that keeps me sane and keeps me from worrying too much about the business finances!

Do you have any creative pastimes or hobbies?

I do still like to draw in my own time and sometimes I go to a speed sketching class which is a lot of fun! I’ve also recently started working on designing typefaces as a little side hobby which I’ve been finding so therapeutic.

What does the next year hold for you?

At the moment I’ve got some new products I’m working on that I’m so excited about but don’t want to share yet! I’m really looking forward to the new year and to releasing things I’ve been working on for a while. I’m also going to be at Top Drawer again and we have a sample sale coming up, so it’s going to be a busy start to the year!

QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS

Books I love: Infinite Jest by David Foster, Another Country by James Baldwin, and Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon.

Creative Heroes: Maxfield Parrish, Moebius, and Hasui Kawase.

Shops I love: Search and Rescue and Inspitalfields.

Inspirational places: Cyprus, Wadi Rum and Madeira

Instagrammers I love:  @mariamedem, @munisa_ceramica, and brazen_botany

caiandjo.com

@caiandjo

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