Michelle Zahabia Baradarian
Ph. (917) 913-3097, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I went to school for art education and have been sewing since the age of four. Growing up in the city, the sewing and the arts were my my passion. The art room and sewing was my safe haven. It helped me so much and molded who I am today. Without the arts and without someone allowing me to make what I wanted to make and experiment with my own ideas, I don't know what I would do without it. It is so important as a child to have support from creative loving adults who can teach you and show you the way to create their already amazing ideas that they come up with. I wanted to create a place where children can be themselves and create what they want in a loving, fun, and creative environment.
I had a fabric shop, and I was working on a sculpture for a client, and some kids walked in and asked me if I can teach them how to make what I make. Their mom said " would you be interested in teaching my girls?" I had always dreamed of creating a magical space where kids can create and bring their ideas to life. I had previously worked at CMA as a teaching artist and outreach artist for many years, and now with my fabric shop had to leave. So I built a little room in the back and she brought her daughters and friends the first day. It went so well that the classes kept continuing and continuing and eventually I made the decision to leave and start JEMZ, the workshops I now do.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
Each person and each place carries their own energy, love, and passion. My intention is to love the children and supply them with all the tools and amazing materials to bring their dreams to life. I want to show them in this day and age with their one brain and their own hands they can create and make anything.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
Being yourself and always showing up each day with love and gratitude with a sense of community and building a home. I am so grateful to know and have this Jemz Family of wonderful children and families who all love and support one another.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I create a bond and relationship with love and support for each child. We teach them how to create and bring an idea from mind to paper to life. To see their confidence build and see and see what they create is amazing. The confidence, friendships, and bonds they create remind any child we are here for them and in the midst of all the crazy schedules in New York. This is a time for them, a time to be themselves, to be loved and find out through the arts who they really are while making great friendships and lasting memories along the way.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The love and bond between myself, the teaching artists, and the children. Every child and every person is so unique and bring so much life to the experience, I look around the rooms every day no matter where I am and thank my blessings that I get to work with such amazing children. Seeing them laugh, grow and create such cool pieces is the best part of my job. The excitement in the room and the love is contagious. They are my heart.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
One of them is little bead shop on Grand street called Sunwind. The owner opens only in the afternoons and when I happen to walk by on its unexpected serendipitous hours, it’s always magic. I walk into the little nook and she always seems to have in her little glass showcase a charm or finding from somewhere in the world that is perfect for me or any loved one I bring in that moment in my life.
How do you benefit mamas?
We provide a loving space for their children where they are happy and learning. We provide a place of learning to keep our families grounded and bring us back to the basics.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
Don’t ever change the open and experimental nature part of the day because that is where the magic happens.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
Collette Ishiyama a designer who has worked with us and the children.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
Always treat others as you would want to be treated. You never know what type of day someone is having or a person’s story, but if you treat people with love and respect and honesty, you both can overcome anything. Love and understanding can conquer all and change your day.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Make a list! At the end of the day we can't do it all but if you look at the day ahead and count your blessings with grace and gratitude in time it will get done. No need to stress just move forward.