Jenn Hill & Jenny Tiffany
of Robot Candy
I was at Handmade Bazaar this past summer running my bright and shiny booth over in a dark and hole embellished corner, and after shouting to a customer over a band I would have seriously otherwise enjoyed, my sister in law came over to me all cheery eyed and bushy tailed. She said excitedly the "light plate lady" is here! Then she showed me a fancy new coaster purchased directly from Robot Candy. I just had to check these ladies out for myself. I'd missed them at Crafty Wonderland where my sister had bought the light plate and I wasn't about to miss them a second time around. She watched my crafty type goodies while I checked everything out. I honestly don't remember who was sitting there at the time, whether it was Jenn or Jenny, but I do know I loved EVERYTHING!! From coasters to light plates to note cards and the cutest darn stuffed animals I’d ever seen!! So when I asked Robot Candy if they’d be interested in being featured in Portland Made and they said yes I was thrilled. Yay Robot Candy!!
Robot Candy was started in 2001 by Jenn Hill and Jenny Tiffany. Using recycled materials wherever possible, Robot Candy carefully handcrafts useful house wares that are visually pleasing as well as affordable. Jen and Jenny have an online store as well as three incredible Etsy shops; Plants and Animals, Chet and Dot & of course their first born, Robot Candy.
Did you two always know this is where you wanted to take your company? Has any of it surprised you along the way?
In the beginning we would talk about how great it would be if we could run Robot Candy full time and have it be our sole source of income, but I don't think we ever really thought it would be possible. That has been one of the biggest surprises for us I think, that we can do what we love and get by financially.
I love how you have three different shops, has branching out and diversifying your art and your company like this given you two the opportunity to expand in areas you’d never imagined or was this always the vision?
When we started out we did everything under Robot Candy, but as time went on, we decided that Robot Candy was primarily associated with housewares. This ended up being great for both of us because it sort of allowed us to create our own product lines and art work separate from Robot Candy.
What are the advantages of running a business with a partner compared to doing it alone?
I think the advantages are myriad. It's great to have someone to share the responsibilities equally. We have the advantage of working very well together. Jenn tends to be the one to start projects and then lose interest, while Jenny has a harder time getting started but is very good at finishing them. So it works out great in many areas of our lives, even cooking and cleaning. It's also just nice to have someone to share ideas with. There are disadvantages but not very many, it can be hard being together 95% of the time and sometimes it's hard to get work done when we both have projects we want to work on but overall there aren't many disadvantages.
Where can Portlander’s find Robot Candy around town? Where else can your products be found??
Robot Candy products can be found in all New Seasons Markets (in the Portland area), as well as many other shops across the country. A comprehensive list can be found here: http://robotcandy.com/about.html. We will be at Crafty Wonderland's Holiday Sale on December 16th and at the Handmade Bazaar. We can always be found via our website and offer pick up/delivery for Portland buyers. If you ever need a gift in a hurry, email us and we'd be happy to meet you someplace or you can stop by. We also have our annual Last Minute Shopping Party the week before Christmas, more details available as it gets closer.