Welcome back to our Founder Stories series, where we sit with inspiring and influential women to dive into their entrepreneurial journey and discuss all things business (and wellness). Today, we speak with Amy Broch, the artist behind the current JOY Bomb installation in central London.
After growing up in rural Hertfordshire and spending time living in Spain as a young child, JOY Bomb London’s founder and whimsical gangster Amy Broch has spent extended periods living in the Middle East, New York, and Florida, before settling back in London last year. Amy creates site-specific interactive installations that transform ordinary spaces into mini-worlds – playful explosions of sunny, squishy, furry, rainbow-filled delights. Amy draws inspiration from childhood nostalgia, pop culture and the irreverent contents of her shimmering, candy coated brain. Her work provides opportunities to explore, connect and laugh. JOY Bomb London’s creative mission is to celebrate FUN for FUNS sake.
FLAURA: What inspired you to start JOY Bomb?
Amy: My late husband Sean’s 2018 ALS diagnosis. We had begun exploring every treatment available in order to treat and slow the progression of the disease. Learning that happiness was linked to better treatment outcomes and longevity for ALS patients was a big moment. Suddenly, the colourful, playful installations I had been creating and experimenting with for years had a greater significance. The drive behind each multi-sensory installation to date is to make the memorable moments happy ones. My work keeps my husband’s spirit alive. He embodied JOY in every single way.
*Proceeds from every installation support the Healey Center for ALS in memory of Sean, who passed in May of 2020. It is the largest hospital-based research program in the world and supports early stage trials of promising ALS treatments.
F: What do you hope visitors take away from JOY Bomb?
Scientifically, JOY is fleeting. It comes, it’s intense, and it quickly fades and it doesn’t happen all the time. If my art can generate that intense, however brief, moment of JOY for someone – how amazing is that?
F: What has surprised you most about the entrepreneurial journey so far?
How serendipitous it is! At lot is down to hard work but at least 50% of innovations come out of serendipity.
F: How do you stay motivated?
By taking breaks. I don’t think you can succeed in any sense by constantly working. Most of my ideas come in the ‘lulls’.
F: How do you stay optimistic during setbacks?
I try to focus on how lucky I am – I have everything I need but not necessarily everything I want! I’m so grateful that I have this creative outlet and it’s been amazing to see how people’s creativity has really flourished during this past extremely testing year.
F: What would you say are the three most important traits of being a successful entrepreneur?
I think success is relative but I’m sure a common trait is actually finding JOY in what you’re doing. I love what I do. It genuinely makes me happy.
Second, you have to have a work ethic. I joke a lot that I’m never working but in actuality I’m probably always working. It’s both lovely and difficult to be inspired by literally everything.
The last trait and arguably the most important I’d say is being vulnerable. Vulnerability is seen as a weakness but it isn’t. You have to put your authentic self out there and be ready for the judgements and opinions of everyone.
F: What are the best/worst parts of being an entrepreneur?
I think owning so much of the direction is totally empowering but also scary. I find inspiration in so many things sometimes it is hard to “pick a lane” so to say. It can end up taking more time but ultimately I want something to feel like authentically me so it’s worth going through the process and going down the various rabbit holes.
F: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Don’t eat shit!” is one of the things my husband Sean said to me before he passed. People often try to take advantage or underestimate people they know nothing about – especially women. It’s a great reminder to just trust yourself and only accept what you deserve.
F: Do you have a favourite installation you’ve worked on?
I love all of them but I did a shoot recently with a slightly different twist from the general feel of the ones I have shared so far. The vibe is still very JOY Bomb but it feels very natural to evolve.
F: Are you working on any new/exciting projects you can tell us about?
We are currently planning a lush Valentine’s/February installation that will be primarily a digital push given the current restrictions. We are asking the world to write “Love Letters to JOYself” as a reminder to be kind to yourself, restore your hope and revive your optimism. By sharing the love for yourself, you can also pass it (and JOY) to others.
Top Wellness Habits
Sleep. Taking time for myself. Drinking Wedding Imperial tea by Marriage Feres. Making or viewing art. Enjoying long (boiling/highly fragranced) baths. Eating Kinder Buenos. Take time away from my phone.