Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dreams in my pocket - Jessica Constable

I can't get enough of good blogs and strong coffee. A few months ago, on a lazy Saturday afternoon, while rifling through blogs, I came across Jessica Constable's inspirational blog Make Under My Life. As I read, I came to know that Jessica is an entrepreneur, who runs her own jewelery brand called Jess LC. She's just the kind of woman I love to read about...yes, you got it. I love reading about women who have the courage to chart out their own career path and choose to start businesses instead of work the 9-to-9 shift.

So people...let's catch up with Jessica Constable over coffee.

I am…. 
I’m a jewellery designer in Chicago, Illinois
My business name, Jess LC, comes from my name and initials. But I have to admit, in 1999 the company was originally named Starlette Jewelry. As a 15-year-old living in Rochester, Michigan, I taught myself to make “totally rad” star ankle bracelets at a local pool. While making these beaded ankle bracelets, four women bought them from me on the spot. These unintentional sales changed my professional life forever. Inspired to earn my “fun money” selling jewelry rather than baby-sitting, I soon learned new jewelry techniques and sold my designs to teachers, students, and stores across Michigan. When I graduated high-school, my jewelry was sold in 12 boutiques.

In 2003, I began college at the University of Michigan and studied Business Administration at the Ross School of Business. While struggling through operations management and corporate finance classes, I continued selling jewelry and re-named the business Jess LC. My junior year, I interned in New York City at Macy’s Merchandising Group within Product Development. Though the experience was great, I found myself wanting to make changes to the designs, pricing, hang-tags, even the LOGO. Needless to say, as an intern these changes were beyond my control. So I resolved to take a CEO position after graduation… at Jess LC. When I graduated I was also named “Entrepreneur of the Year.” Which sounds impressive, until you find out that I was the only student with a business, and therefore the only nominee. Ahem.

After graduation in August of 2007, I moved to Chicago and started Jess LC full-time. Setting up shop in a small studio apartment as a one-woman show was challenging (read: really hard). But I had faith and persisted. By the end of 2008 Jess LC was sold in over 100 stores nationwide. At that point I also had a lovely team of interns, part-time help, and awesome sales reps.

I write… 
I write about designing a life with intention. It is my purpose in life to help people reflect on what they are meant to do with their lives and then help, encourage, and inspire them to then "design their life" around those intentions. The blog topics I cover which relate to this effort include lifestyle, home decor, thinking with intention, and designing a business with intention. 

My bread-butter-n-jam… 
My life is designed around doing what I love- as I've pursued my purpose through the blog the jewelry business has blossomed into a fun, exciting, and challenging endeavor. I am constantly getting inspired to design jewelry based on inspiration from my passion: interior design. I love translating the trends I see in home design into jewelry. It's also amazing to reach out and interact with customers via Jess LC and readers via MML (the blog). More and more often, those customers are now readers and vice versa. Being able to be known for not only jewelry design, but also as someone who helps people pursue their purpose is fantastically rewarding.

What inspires and invigorates me… 
Reading blogs and books about business, life purpose, and interior design get me fired up to do what I do everyday. 

I enjoy… 
I enjoy iced tea, beautiful throw pillows, Westie puppies, traveling, watching HGTV, journal writing, and graphic design.

Instant perk-me-ups… 
Prayer, running, coffee with friends, phone calls while running errands, walking along the beach, doing my nails. 

What counts…
Learning to separate my ego from my spirit, family and friends, and fearlessly pursuing my purpose. 

The important lessons of my life… 
I've learned that the more you actually go after what you are meant to do, the more opportunities arise to help you get there. It's really about taking those baby steps to make it happen and to stick with the path you've chosen. I've also learned that there are two voices inside my mind: my ego and my spirit. My ego wants to control the future, fears the unknown, and generally gets me caught up in unnecessary worry and pride. My spirit on the other hand is a calm, cool well of knowledge that is always at ease and trusts in the future being bright regardless of whether I know where the path is heading at this point in time. The more I've been able to recognize these two perspectives in my life, the better I've been able to let go of a lot of unnecessary drama, pain, and fear.

Let me share… 
I have two mantras which have helped me change my life: The first is, "You get in life what you have the courage to work towards." The second is a quote by Michelangelo who said that he could carve such beautiful statues from pieces of stone because he saw the potential within the rock and simply removed the layers that were hiding that potential. I believe our lives are like those pieces of stone: the more we remove, the more we uncover our purpose and potential. 

I'd also say that the most transformational book which has helped guide the course of my life is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

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