If you’re looking for some home decorating inspiration, local designer and digital influencer Joanna Hawley-McBride is here to help. You can start by joining the 15 million people who visit her Pinterest page each month, or you can browse her Instagram, blog, or her work in major outlets like Country Living, Redbook, and HGTV.
From Panties to Pinterest
Before becoming a digital influencer, Hawley-McBride dabbled in various creative jobs. She designed for Nordstrom — if you bought floral underwear or pajamas in the late aughts, you probably have her to thank — and textiles, furniture, and home goods for Anthropologie.
Eventually she landed a job with the popular lifestyle and design brand, Oh Joy! (She got the job by cold-emailing the brand’s founder, Joy Cho.) Oh Joy! was one of the earliest Pinterest accounts, which is how Hawley-McBride discovered the platform.
For Hawley-McBride, who considers herself a chronic over-sharer of information, Pinterest was a natural fit.
“I was the kind of person who, before Pinterest and Instagram, I would cut out magazine and newspaper clippings and mail them to people,” she says.
After growing her own Pinterest following under the name Jojotastic, Hawley-McBride launched an accompanying blog in 2012. A few years later, after a brief stint in San Francisco, she moved to Seattle and decided to fully commit to the blog, which had begun to attract attention from sponsors.
Around this time, she bought a small bungalow in Ballard, using money her grandfather left her. She started documenting the renovations on social media, which attracted even more attention from followers and sponsors. From there, things just kept growing.
Today, Hawley-McBride’s Pinterest account has 3.8 million followers; her Instagram has nearly 35,000. Though in the beginning her blog posts covered a wide range of topics — recipes, DIY, fashion, etc. — she now focuses on home design and decor, specifically projects related to cabins and outdoorsy living.
A Cabin in the Woods
While living in Seattle, Hawley-McBride kept a close eye on mountain towns in upper Skagit, with the idea of some day moving her life closer to nature. Her dream accelerated when, shortly after the arrival of COVID-19, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that affects her lungs and kidneys.
“I was looking at my own mortality, in terms of the pandemic, and then I was diagnosed with this disorder…it made me reevaluate,” she says.
Sensing it was a time for change, she and her husband, Sean, bought a house near North Cascades National Park in September 2020. The home’s previous owners had “a lot of kids and a lot of animals,” leaving the house in a state of disarray and with a less-than-pleasant odor.
Since moving in, Hawley-McBride has managed to document “every calamity along the way,” from frequent power outages to a giant tree falling onto her patio … and nearly missing her bedroom.
It’s been rough, Hawley-McBride says, but admits that life in the sticks has its benefits. She enjoys the quiet, privacy, and having space to raise a flock of fancy chickens.
Jojotastic School of Social Media
Before the pandemic, Hawley-McBride began teaching courses to small business owners in Seattle, showing people how to promote their business on social media and even do photo shoots on their smartphone. When the pandemic hit, she decided to offer classes online in a go-at-your-own-pace format.
She quickly learned that, in addition to her course content, people also wanted to talk strategy one-on-one. She now offers a six-month mentor program. Twice a month, she and business owners strategize about their social media presence. She helps people navigate Instagram hashtags, plan photo shoots, or even build an account from scratch.
“It’s been so fulfilling for me, and really amazing to watch business owners take my strategies and put them into use,” Hawley-McBride says.
To learn more, visit jojotastic.com