Women of Balance: Janine Lee, founder of Feathersome


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current job?

I’m a person who enjoys making new connections and solving problems. My job is “Designer”. I see this role as taking a complex issue then problem solving it to the point of clarity. I do this by researching, making connections, leveraging intuition, strategizing and developing creative concepts. All of these skills involve people, environment and processes until a solution is found at an intersection. I enjoy these elements in my current role as Creative Lead and Founder of Feathersome and designosaur. I am also a certified yoga instructor and have over the time run classes though more recently leverage the philosophy as a tool for balancing myself.

What are you passionate about / what is your goal?

I am passionate about uplifting women, supporting and developing platforms that give voice to girls and women so they can equally express themselves in leadership roles. Women lead in many ways throughout their days and these stories need to be told to resource people in the community with authentic information and raise the respect for how women lead. This is what has driven me to develop Feathersome and the One Hope Two Give Project.

“My personal goal is to remain authentic in every situation and strong in my femininity. By authentic and feminine I mean true to my values and to my lived experience as a female. This includes the full spectrum of wonder and challenge that being a woman brings.”

What are the most challenging things about your life?

I find time a challenge. I think this is because I am an overactive optimist. Working on three businesses, chipping away at studying a masters and as a solo parent to 3 gorgeous humans my days can be a logistical challenge. With the management of 3 additional calendars and the raising of independent souls adding to my mental load, it feels like I have filing drawers in my head to segment and categorise appointments, events and education needs. My challenge is to remain in the moment and give to each task simply what is required. Routines and lists underpin my creativity and flexibility in my life. I do rely on good systems and boundaries to help everyone feel safe and comfortable.

What are the most rewarding things and what achievement/goal are you most proud of achieving to date?

FEATHERSOMEThere are so many things I have found rewarding in my life. Not necessarily at the timeI have been going through them but upon reflection I can feel proud of what I’ve come through and achieved. I’m reaching milestones on a physical rehabilitation process just now and I have purposefully chosen meaningful design projects and supported many worthwhile campaigns over the years. It is Feathersome’s OneHopeTwoGive project that has gives me pause for thought. This is a concept I developed last year. It’s a message of hope collected from anyone in the community and physically given to a woman who is reaching out to a front-line Domestic Violence Service.

We digitally host the cards on Instagram where the recipient can see a picture of who sent the message and also find following and support from community. Most practically, other support services can follow the cards and help streamline her process of finding digital information that may help her to the next stage on her journey. In the 12 months since launch, we have collected 420 cards and it is estimated that collectively over 7400 people have written, received, physically or digitally touched the project. This is something my team and I are so very proud of. To know that it has impacted just one woman’s self-confidence and her ability to find help during a time of trauma is humbling, so this kind of impact is profound. I am seeking more support from front line services and always seeking community to write messages. It is truly inspiring what a simple and personal message of care and hope can mean to another person.

How do you find balance?

My yoga practice and Buddhism are core philosophies that underpin my intention and actions. I also lean on my friends and support therapies. My sanctuary is not a place as such but a combination of small gestures of self-care. A bunch of flowers, a long bath, dark chocolate, watching my chickens, going to a gallery, drawing, sitting on the front step in the sunshine with a cup of tea. They are very small acts of kindness to myself that I do with great purpose. The idea is to reclaim time, top myself up and actively congratulate myself for working as hard as I do. In a full week and on a very tight budget, I like that they are economical and realistic time increments to slot them in between other tasks.

Do you have any mentors or people who inspired you to follow your dream?

I am not driven by “success” or an ultimate outcome but very much by growth and journeys, so I am always inspired by witnessing people craft a unique strategy to get through a situation. My mother is my guide and a huge advocate. I know she will always give it to me straight and from the heart, whether I like it at the time or not. I value this kind of support and feedback because it adds to my growth as a compassionate person. Lots of people will say follow your dream but I have learned that very few have the constitution and compassion to stick with you through the fear and failure. When you find someone who will, give back to them and keep them topped up too.

What is inspiring you at the moment (reading/ watching/learning)?

I am inspired and drawn to the concept of designing beauty and recently read a book called DO/DESIGN: Why beauty is key to everything, by Alan Moore. Every page felt like an affirmation of a deep truth for me and clarified a value I hold for the appreciation of beauty. I’m also reading a book by Roseann Lake called Leftover in China: The women shaping the worlds next super power. . I also listen to a podcast called OnBeing by Krista Tippett. Great for reminders of how to be human in a complex world at what seems a complex time of flux.

Do you have a message for women over 40?

I decided that my 4th decade of life would have to be the best ever. I realised that I did not need permission any more. I am a grown woman and have a wealth of experience and some years on my side. I remember when I made this agreement with myself thinking that I was fortunate to have a functioning body and good mobility, so I’d better maintain and make the most of it. Then I got run over by a car. I’m so glad I’d made that pact with myself coming into the 4th decade. It’s been a challenge so far and at times felt like a setback so I’m not sure I’d have got out of the wheelchair as quickly as I did if I hadn’t already agreed to that personal goal.

So, my message is be grateful for your wisdom, apply it to new situations, look after yourself better than you did for the last 2 decades and don’t wait to try new things or leap as you just don’t know what’s coming tomorrow.

What does the future hold for you?

Only time will tell what the future will hold. I actively continue to design through complexity and make plans for the growth of Feathersome. If I scaffold this with some further study, a connected and healthy family, a healthy body and some trusted people to continue to share the journey with me – yeah for sure I could feel held in that type of future.


Feathersome on Facebook

Balance Team

This article was written by the brains trust of Balance . We are a talented team of writers and contributors with real life experience and a passion for finding balance.

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