Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

I Am a Gainesville Mom: Jala Harris

We’re so excited to present our new series, I Am a Gainesville Mom. The moms in our community are our number one passion. After all, this site is written by and for local moms! The I Am a Gainesville Mom series will highlight moms from all around our community featuring the work they do, the families they love, and the ways they’re giving back to our community. We’re interviewing them to learn more about their amazing lives, passions, and contributions. So, link arms with us, read, share, and celebrate moms in Gainesville. 

gainesville mom with sons and husband on a bench

Tell us about yourself!

I am a wife, mom and graphic designer.

Where are you from?

I was born in Lake Wales Florida but moved a lot growing up all over Florida. I consider Apopka my hometown since I lived there the longest.

What brought you to Gainesville? College.

What do you love most about it here? The central location in Florida and fun activities for the kids.

How old are your kids? I have two boys who are 4 and 9 years old.

Tell us about your career! We’re also passionate about all things personal identity so tell us about your hobbies and interests too! 

I’ve been a graphic designer for 17 years and now run my own graphic design business including an Etsy shop called Southern Twist Designs. I found graphic design through photography which was my first passion. For hobbies, I love anything outside and in nature. My boys love sports so we are always outside playing.

What made you want to start Southern Twist Designs?

Trying to find balance with family and my career. Being a graphic designer is so much more than a job to me, it is who I am so I wanted to continue that but be more present for my family and meet the growing demands as a mom.

How do you balance working from home and your family life? Any tips or secrets for trying to make it work?

Lots of to do lists. Some days are easier than others so I just try to take it a day at a time and try not to stress if things don’t go exactly as I planned. I make adjustments as I go. I wrote a post about how to balance it all here!

What is the biggest misconception about being a mom who works from home? How would you describe your typical workday? 

That I actually work or that I am doing it just as a hobby. We need my paycheck just as much as we did before and I probably work harder now. I start the day by checking emails and handling any fires and then I plan my day. I check back in around lunchtime. I do most of my design work in the afternoon or if sports or after school activities keep me busy, I design at night.

What are some of your favorite projects to work on when you design for clients? 

Branding and logos. It is so exciting watching a business or idea launch from the ground up and to be a part of that is just an amazing feeling. I love listening to the client’s ideas and making something unique to sell their brand.

Do you have any tips or tools for moms who also like to be creative and dabble in graphic design or who may like to DIY some of their own projects? 

There are a lot of YouTube videos or online classes/tutorials now. Most are born with creativity but the biggest part of graphic design is how to work the programs. I use all Adobe products and I am constantly learning new things and tricks.

What is the hardest thing about being a mom? What is the most fun thing?

Just trying to keep up and find balance in the busy. The most fun thing is just watching them grow and grow into their own personalities, etc.

What are your favorite things to do as a family in Gainesville? 

Sports. Whether it is watching our boys play sports or attending any of the Florida Gator games it is always exciting and so fun to be a part of. We also love to go to the springs or make a trip to Cedar Key or St Augustine.

What do you do around town that is just for you?

Cloud 9 Spa or one of the many good restaurants.

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