Meet Jojo Rubnitz and Becca Flyer. Both Jojo and Becca work for an organization called KAHAL that helps study abroad students find Jewish resources no matter where they are traveling in the world. The pandemic has obviously shifted their work a lot, so the team has been refocused on some other projects, like PPE distribution within the Jewish community and virtual language exchanges. Now they started a side hustle selling hand made tye-die for moms.
Meet Jojo and Becca
Jojo Rubitz went to college at the University of Wisconsin for studio art and focused on photography and ceramics. Her senior project was about Buddhist art, and she has experience selling ceramics on Instagram. Since college, she bought her own kiln and supplies. This is Jojo’s first step back into the art world since college. She also does freelance photography for ChiTribe and other Jewish organizations in Chicago.
Becca Flyer has always loved art and has taken classes since she was a little kid. Her grandmother was an artist. Becca used to be really into photography and actually developed her own prints. She also loves to watercolor. Tits and Tots is her first experience in the business of selling art, and so far she has enjoyed learning more about selling on Etsy.
Where are you both living right now during the Pandemic?
Jojo: I spent the first three months with my dogs (and family!!) in Milwaukee and am now back at my apartment in Lakeview.
Becca: I’ve been living at my house in Capitol Hill, DC.
How is life different for you recently?
Jojo: Recently I haven’t been working at my daytime job and have been working on my art full time. My apartment has turned into my art studio (sorry roommate!).
Becca: I had a baby six months ago, so pretty much everything is different!
Favorite takeout spot during the Pandemic (Chicago and DC respectively)
Jojo: I’m a huge fan of the nitro brew and smoothies from Colectivo Coffee in Lincoln Park.
Becca: Yes! We’ve been doing lots of family walks to get lattes from Peregine and the Wydown. We’ve also been getting way too many bagels from Call Your Mother.
Best virtual resource for people working from home?
We love Icebreaker for fun, virtual team bonding! It’s a great way to get everyone energized in the middle of a Zoom marathon.
The Story of Tits and Tots
At the beginning of the quarantine, Jojo enjoyed the popular trend in America and started doing a lot of tie-dye for fun. Becca would always comment on how much she loved Jojo’s creations until finally, they decided to team up. The project has evolved into a new business call Tits and Tots with the tag line “We make products for babies, doggos and the humans who love them”. They are mama-centered design at the core. Tits and Tots create hand made tie-dye baby onesies, t-shirts, and bibs, and with matching dog bandanas.
It started as just an inside joke! Becca and Jojo loved joking around about turning tie-dye into a business and using Becca’s dog and her new baby (Frank and Stevie) as the models. One day of the quarantine, Becca decided to tie-dye herself and called Jojo immediately after.
I had been joking with my friends about needing to get Frank (my dog) and Stevie (my baby) matching bandanas/ bibs. When I got back to work after maternity leave, Jojo had all this awesome bleach tie-dye and I asked if she would make a matching set for them. She started telling me about how she was spending more time making art and really wanted to sell it on Etsy, and I wanted to encourage her
Becca called Jojo to ask her how serious she was about starting this business. Becca tells ChiTribe how there is nothing she loves more than seeing her daughter and dog playing together and she has loved tie-dye since her youth at camp. She figured there would be other moms out there interested in matching stuff for this exact niche. When Becca and Jojo found out they would have some time off from work this summer, it felt like the perfect opportunity to try and make this a real thing.
We are both HUGE dog people, Becca just had the cutest baby and I want to be a mother one day, and we both have this creative artistic side we wanted to share. It’s just awesome to get to be so creative with every element– coming up with a name, a logo, designing products,Jojo Rubnitz
These colleagues already had a great remote working relationship before they ever started the shop. Jojo and Becca both value feeling productive so having something to do while they were on a break from their day jobs has been incredibly important for both women. Jojo shares how “the pandemic is what’s given us the opportunity! But there are definite challenges — shipping is more of a hassle, and tie-dye is a hot commodity. This is also the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other in person since we’ve known each other, so that’s hard and sad.” For Becca, it has been challenging to dedicate the time needed to start a business because she is also taking care of her six-month-old daughter full time. Together, Jojo and Becca have learned to make time for the things that are important to them and feel it is and it’s such a blessing that they can do this all from home.
Ultimately, it brings us a lot of joy to create these products and to see others enjoy them. In such a dark time, it’s so important for us to be able to spread joy!Becca Flyer
Tits and Tots Products
Everything is handmade. Jojo and Becca both create the products behind Tits and Tots. From Chicago and DC respectively, Jojo and Becca make hand made tie-dye baby onesies, t-shirts, and bibs, with matching dog bandanas. Jojo also makes little boobie bowls, which have been a huge hit! Even before the pandemic, Jojo had a kiln in her bedroom where she fires and glazes the boobie bowls herself locally.
Next Up for Tits and Tots
Tits and Tots already has a lot of product ready to ship in their Etsy shop. “We’ve loved making something fun out of a tough situation. It’s empowering to do this together as two women, and we’re excited to see where we can take it from here!” Since they also cater to custom orders, especially for clothes, many people have been asking for matching grown-up sizes and masks. Jojo and Becca have not done those yet, but are happy to make whatever customers are interested in. They have lots of ideas for other products Tits and Tots will produce but are staying focused on their staple products for now.
Learn more about Tits and Tots
Find all the Jewish Events in Chicago during Quarantine on ChiTribe’s Calendar