#EmiTogether: Marianna Sachse, founder of Jackalo, offers her fresh perspective from the Netherlands

This week we are excited to have Marianna Sachse, founder of Jackalo, an industry-changing line of long-lasting and organic children’s and women’s clothes. Jackalo accepts all of the used clothes back to be repaired and resold or responsibly recycled, thus reducing the environmental impact of the children’s apparel sector. Marianna is a third generation home sewist. She grew up in a household where if you wanted something, you could figure out how to make it. She is a mother of two active kids (ages 3.5 and 10), a maker, and a cancer survivor. She and her family currently reside in the Netherlands.

During this pandemic, Marianna has pivoted to making facemasks – she is also currently sending masks to medical providers free of charge. Marianna was generous to provide the Emi community with a discount code for all products on her site: Type in “emi15” for 15% off on her site https://hellojackalo.com

Similar to the US, the Netherlands had a heavy shutdown from mid-March until mid-May. In mid-May, however, they opened up nurseries to non-essential workers, started school half time for primary-aged kids, and asked adults to continue working from home as much as possible. So while Marianna’s family was home all together for the first part of the shut-down, they now have two kids in school part-time. Keep reading for her amazing perspective!

In light of what’s going on with COVID-19, WFH, and Social Distancing, what are some new routines or rituals that you’ve introduced as a couple or as a family?

As a Jewish family, shabbat has always been part of our life, but we often struggled to get a solid shabbat dinner on the table on Friday nights with work schedules. We’ve found it much easier to have a real shabbat dinner (sometimes with homemade challah, thank you #coronabaking), which  has been a nice centering to our weeks. 

We live on the edge of a small city, right where the town meets the fields of the country. We’ve found great joy exploring the fields and forests nearby much more than we even had in the past.

What are you doing intentionally for you and your partner to stay sane during this challenging period?

We do a lot of tag-teaming with the kids. Just checking and being super communicative about when one of us is going to do  an activity with just one kid, or when we need some alone time. We try to respect the need for alone time without questioning it. 

Now that the kids are back in school part time, we’ve enjoyed quiet lunches and walks on our own in the middle of the day.

Can you inspire us with something positive that came out of this situation?

We’ve been fortunate that our older son has really taken to home education. He loves the less structured pace of the mornings, thrives without the distraction of classmates, and has flexed his email communication skills. It was really wonderful to see him stretch and grow so much. 

We love the half-in-person/half-at-home school schedule. It allows him to get the peer time he so craved, and some good in person instruction time. And on his home days, he works independently on assignments. It feels like such a nice balance that five-days of school just doesn’t allow. If we worked from home forever, we’d love for this to be his normal routine. 

We know that we are very privileged that this is even a possibility. But as more work places adapt to working from home as the norm, or in-person work changes to align with reduced school schedules, I’d love to see more companies moving to a 4 day a week schedule.

With all children at home and both parents working, how do you divide up child-care and home duties? How do you balance work?

When both of our kids were home, we did our best to take turns to focus on our work. We each got two shifts a day for work while the kids were awake.  Then we usually worked after they went to bed (but did our best to chill out, watch some TV together, or just chat whenever we could.) Admittedly, my husband’s work had less flexibility and he needed longer shifts, which meant that mine had to be shorter than I’d like or am used to. I focused on just owning the pause and being as productive as I could be in the shifts I had. On the weekends, I’d take advantage of his downtime to get some more of my work done or dig in on creative projects for my company.

What are 3 things you want your children to say about the relationship you have with your partner?

I want our kids to say that we are loving, have fun together, and don’t shy away from difficult conversations.

Let us know if there are any initiatives your company is working on during this period that you would like to let our community know

At Jackalo, we make long-lasting sustainable clothes for kids and women. During the pandemic, we’ve pivoted a bit to add homemade facemasks (made by me) to our collection. I love seeing how many makers have just jumped in to help people stay safe. It’s wonderful to be part of such a dynamic community that’s ready to make change.