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fgi rising star nomination & other press

July 31st, 2010   |   Life

Hot off the press! I have been nominated for a FGI (Fashion Group International) Rising Star Award. I am super excited about this because the last award I won for my business was Entrepreneur of the Year in my graduation class at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. And that might sound cool… until you realize I was the only person with a business to be nominated – and therefor won by default. Ahem.

Anyways, I’m in good company with this nomination! Some of the nominees are my friends, like Kate Boggiano and Jules. And then there is Summer Thornton in the interior design category who has also participated in the DESIGN YOUR LIFE series this spring as well. The event will be held on September 16th. To buy a (pretty expensive) ticket, go here.

#10 Stiletto Woman of the Year

In other news, I was featured in Stiletto Woman’s Top 25 Women of the Year. I clocked in the top ten by a hair (at #10 exactly, in fact). So honored to be included!

Utterly Engaged Big Talent Big Heart Feature

And last but not least, this stunning feature in Utterly Engaged debuted in their most recent issue. Um, forget what they say about Jess LC and just check out how gorgeously they’ve designed the article! That graphic designer knows what she’s doing. As part of their Big Talent Big Hearts series, they interviewed me about Jess LC and our Soc Chic necklace helping social causes.

Whoa. In putting these pieces all in one place, I realize how incredibly thankful and lucky I am to have this amazing support from so many people. Back when I was a freaked out Pilgrim, I never would have imagined that I would be in this position three months later. And what I think this goes to show is that we are all Pilgrims, building our lives one brick at time. And this is just proof that we all can do it- we just need to have patience and faith.

piper’s dream report: week twelve

July 30th, 2010   |   Life

Hi everyone!  Phew, three months I’ve been reporting – where did the time go??  I hope you’ve been enjoying it as much as I’ve enjoyed getting to know you guys and hearing from you.  The past few weeks have been tough ones for me.  I’ve hit my point.  You know the one?  The breaking point.  Where you’re just swimming to keep your head above water?  (and right now, I feel like I’ve forgotten how to swim!). You can add a bit of worry to that too since I haven’t sealed the deal on a web designer yet – and I know that even once I get past this hurdle of web design, there’ll be lots more hurdles to cross!

I’m just taking it day by day at this point so it was interesting when Emma asked in her comment last week about my dreams and expectations for the store.  I thought “what a wonderful question”!  Which was then followed by…I don’t know if I have the answer for that!  Partly, I think it’s due to not having the website in the process of being built.  I can tell that once I get that going, I’ll have time to work on other things (much more fun things!).  Also, right now I’ve been so focused on doing all the things that need to be done to open a store and trying to keep up with my to-do list:  financial sheets & budget, inventory planning, contacting artists, what will I use for packaging, setting up an accounting system, sales tax, lions & tigers & bears, oh my!! – that I haven’t even thought much to the future.  The day my store opens for instance.  Or what will my first year be like?  And can I just tell you what a difference that is for me…I usually ONLY think about the future!

I can answer one question off the bat – life has changed a lot so far!!  I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur yet – I think I feel that until I actually “open the doors” on my online store, that I’m not an entrepreneur yet.  Although that brings up an interesting thought – when does someone become an entrepreneur?  When you decide that you want to be your own boss?  Or when you actually are your own boss?  The one thing I have noticed as I’m getting more into the entrepreneur mindset is that I’m more focused on action rather than dreaming.  Which is why I think I haven’t spent time visualizing what the store opening will be like that first year.  Now I’m making that transition where I’m taking those steps that will actually one day allow me to be my own boss!  Before I would have spent months and months pondering the idea of web design.  Now, I’ve actually printed off pages of other sites I like and made lists of why I like them, sketched out what I would like mine to feel & look like, and blanketed the web design world with emails.

So funny enough, actually staying in the present moment (not in dream world!) and not looking too far ahead has helped me.  By taking things day by day and not thinking about all the what ifs, I’m making more progress than I ever have before. This is a good thing for me because I have to admit that sometimes I’m a “glass half empty” kinda gal.  One of those personality traits that I keep hoping I can trade in someday!  It’s bizarre too…because I’m a very cheery, fun loving person in life…let’s just say I have this other side that’s “realistic”!  On the good side, it does allow me to plan for things that can go wrong (and trust me, planning and working out all the “what ifs” is something I excel at!!)  But the bad side is that my “glass half empty” mentality doesn’t let me off the hook and just say “hey, this store is going to be successful”.  Lucky for me, my hubby is about as optimistic as you can get. So, thank god for him, because he reminds me that things are always possible – something I deep down, truly believe and sometimes just need that nudge in the right direction.

So Emma’s thought got me thinking…What WILL it be like when I open the store?  What are MY DREAMS and HOPES for it?

Then I remembered the book “The Boss of You”.  One of the first things they have you do is make a couple of lists.

One was “why do I want to start my own business?”  Hmm, very interesting.   Especially since nowhere on the list I created was the statement “make tons of money”.  My number one reason?  So that my husband and I can work together (i.e., we can spend more time together) and have more freedom/flexibility in our lives.  Number 2?  The ability to spend my day doing something I’m passionate about.  Talk about an eye opener.  It’s as simple as that…that’s what I want and dream about.  (not to mention, it would be cool to work from home and hang out with our dogs!)  Yet a lot of time is spent fretting over the money side.  Which completely makes sense (you need to make money to stay in business)…but honestly I’m not looking to make millions.  It would be nice, don’t get me wrong J  But, I just want enough so that I can work for myself and do something I’m passionate about.

Which brings me to the Ladies Who Launch workshop I took a year ago.  One of the things they talk about is how it can be hard sometimes for women to think BIG.  As in really, really BIG.  And you can count me in as one of those people!  So what they have you do in class is have all the other students write a vision for you.  Because amazingly it’s so much easier to write a vision for someone else.  And when we got our visions back from the other students, it was such an eye opener.  Things I never dared to think about (or at the very least tell anyone about) were in these visions.  Things like “your store will be featured in a magazine” all the way to “you’ll end up writing a New York Times bestseller and have your own show on HGTV”.  If I would have written my vision, it would have been much, much smaller.  So it was such an eye opener to remember to think BIG – you have to think it for it to happen right?  So thanks for reminding me that I need to still dream and think BIG.

So here goes  (boy, this is not easy to put out there!!) My dreams for that first year once the store opens:

  • I make enough the first year to enable me to work full time on the store.
  • My store gets featured on 2-4 of my favorite blogs. (that would be amazing!)
  • I get to spend time working with indie artists and designers and helping to get their products seen.
  • I write a bestseller (okay, I’m kidding about that one!  I’m so not a writer!)

Here’s my challenge to you – create your own vision statement and make it BIG!!!  Fingers crossed that, hopefully, next week I’ll be talking about my web designer!

new york press tour!

July 29th, 2010   |   Business AdviceLife

At long last! I am proud to say that we are all caught up with work from the past few weeks and I finally have a chance to sit down and tell you all about the press tour in New York.

I will start by saying there was incredible amount of clarity and purpose throughout this trip. As you know, I’ve had a lot of uncertainty in my life over the past year. And now that I’m heading out in a totally new direction, this trip helped clarify what my future might hold. It was also fascinating to reflect on my last trip to NYC two years ago. At that time, Jess LC was a 90% wholesale business and I was checking out trade shows like ENK and Moda tricking myself into thinking that I might actually want to be in a booth at one of these large huge scale events. But the reality was that I disliked the whole trade show process from participating in Magic in Las Vegas and StyleMax in Chicago. And I was just trying to do what other people told me would be best for my business. (Note: Trade shows are a great way to grow a business (and I might do some in the future), I recommend them for those looking to increase their wholesale business. However, it’s not my cup of tea nor part of my intentions at this point in time.)

Since that trip, I have decided that what was really important to me was working with retailers and customers one-on-one via my website and by spending time doing what I am meant to do: help people design a life with intention.

I decided upon this press tour and desk side trip in order to broaden the Jess LC audience and customer base to include those who are not already plugged into social media and blogging – magazines and traditional media still play a huge role in raising brand awareness.

So I had the amazing team at Red Light PR, my PR firm, connect with magazine editors at Lucky, Real Simple, People StyleWatch, and Brides Magazine. They scheduled appointments for me to meet with these accessory editors one on one in their offices. Here’s some snap shots in between meetings (apparently I’m not very good at remembering the camera when around actual people, just buildings).

Day One

Hello, Conde Nast. One thing to note about the building and lobby was that it was full of beautiful people. Some of the best fashion from the whole trip was seen while waiting for my press pass to enter the offices.

My first appointment was with the editor at Brides Magazine. She was super nice and low key, I felt immediately at ease and ready to chat about anything and everything. I instantly realized I wanted to do desk sides like this All The Time.

I had a bit of time between the Brides appointment and the Lucky meeting, so I hung around the block and tried to stay dry during the random showers that hit the area. Trying to look cute with 13 bug bites welts on my legs, frizzy hair, wet wedges, and 90*+ weather was Not Easy.

Here’s a quick shot of the Lucky office (cue the harp). I have imagined Jess LC in the pages of Lucky Magazine since I was in high school. When entering this space I’m not gonna lie, I had A Moment.

As expected, the assistant editor at Lucky was laid back, friendly, and inexpressibly chic. She looked like she walked out of one of the pages in the magazine. Not to mention that she was my age and totally living a life I would love to have in an alternate universe.

After the first day of desk sides, I headed out to Brooklyn for the first time to meet up with Jessica of WhatIWore. We’ve been online friends for about a year now, and it was great to chat with her in person. Of course, I again forgot to whip out the camera at Dizzy’s the adorable coffee shop we went to. But you can see how cute she looked here.

By the way, how much does this area look like San Fransisco? I was mesmerized by the homes and totally imagined walking my future kids to school on this block.

Day Two

On the second day of desk sides I walked up to Time & Life to see the editors at People StyleWatch and Real Simple. They happen to be right across from this iconic building.

(I will also mention that I was much smarter on the second day and packed my heels in my bag and wore sandals up to the appointments. Though the wedges may be comfortable, there is only so much walking one can do in 4″ heels.)

When I met the editor at People StyleWatch I immediately felt like I was talking to someone I had known for years. She was engaging, witty, and obviously was great at her job. She mentioned she was working on a big boot article for the October issue and had dozens of pairs in the back room (she recommended I get suede wedge boots for fall). The entire office, I might add, was covered in magazine tear-outs. It was like the office was wallpapered in inspiration. Such a creative and exciting space.

Then I headed over to Real Simple. What I realized immediately was that if I was ever to really actually work at a magazine personally, Real Simple is where I belong. It had a fresh, fun, clean look which was totally the intersection between Jess LC and MML. The women there were all equally intelligent and adorable. Plus, the editor was down to earth and also happened to grow up near my parent’s new house in Pennsylvania.

When she nonchalantly mentioned they did a segment that morning on the Today Show it took me a minute and a half to realize that she personally had been on the Today Show that morning. The segment was about transitioning your summer wardrobe to fall. So Cool.

What Desk Sides Are Like

As you can see from the descriptions above, I totally loved every minute of the desk sides. Though I went into them with no idea what to do, I quickly learned that they are meant to be an informal introduction to your brand, line, and story. I shared how I started, what I was doing now, and showed them my samples. They in turn told me about themselves, the stories they were working on, and what they liked in my collection.

The goal is essentially to develop a relationship with the editors so that when they have a new story about “Jewel Tone Jewelry Under $50,” they think about the adorable paisley post earrings that I have coming up in Fall 2010 and request a sample for the shoot. It’s about being on the top of their mind when they are considering features. The appointments themselves can take place at their desk, in the lobby, or in a conference room. In general they can be a quick half hour, or a relaxed sixty minute conversation.

What’s Next for Jess LC and PR

Now that I’m one week out from the trip, I’ve already had a new sample request from People StyleWatch. Though I can’t say that this is strictly due to the meeting, I can say that it didn’t hurt. And my fingers are crossed that Jess LC jewelry makes appearances in the holiday/winter 2011 issues of all four magazines. But there is definitely a waiting game in PR. You don’t know whether your styles make it in the magazine until the PR firm gets a credit request (which basically means they shot it in a photoshoot and intend to put it on a page in the magazine and need to know where to say the product is available). And even after the credit request there is the chance that it might get deleted from the pages as layout and content changes are made closer to publication.

Going forward, I’m pumped to revisit New York again this October to debut new samples from Fall 2010 and Spring 2011. My PR firm is having an event at their showroom in Soho which will bring a lot of editors into the space at one time. So I’ll be there to introduce myself and the samples. And of course, I’ll be sure to recap that event as well, hopefully with more photos of people this time around!

shabby apple dress giveaway winner

July 28th, 2010   |   Life

Phew. Thank you all for your awesome comments yesterday on my “freak out” post. I rarely do that here on MML, but I think it was nice to let you all into a less than graceful moment of my life that wasn’t full of self-reflection. Though I do my best to keep the bigger picture in mind, that isn’t always how I feel. Not to mention, it was incredible to hear your words of encouragement and understanding. Thank you.

I’m also excited to say that I have gotten back to a sustainable daily pace with work. We have caught up on all our orders and can now look forward into fall preparing for the holiday season, our fall photo shoot, and sharing a lot of new things here on MML.

I have to admit, with all of the growth in Jess LC and with my move in 4.5 weeks, I have a lot of things I’d like to get and it’s a bit dizzying determining what I should pay for first. But I’m trying to be patient and realize that at this moment, I don’t need anything. And I have faith that what will be needed will be very clear when the time comes. Until then, I’m just trusting that it will all work out.

sometimes you crack…

July 27th, 2010   |   Life

Hey guys. I just wanted to jump in and let you all know that I have intended to write this awesome post all about the PR and desk sides from last week. It was going to be awesome. I was also going to announce (and randomly select) the giveaway winner from the dress contest last week.

But the reality is that though I took two glorious days off from work this weekend, I am still up to my chin in work (had to work until 10p last night which is incredibly rare). And I’m feeling like it’s almost impossible to ever catch up. Which is a good thing, I want things to grow… but there is only so much I can handle on my own (with the incredible Susie by my side). And let’s just say, that I’ve finally hit the breaking point. There is so much to do and so much change coming as I navigate the move, my relationship changing, and the company growing at an unprecedented pace. And oh, there is MML and all the wonderful things I’d like to do and say here but don’t have time to even though it’s my purpose and most important contribution.

So anyways, I guess I’m breaking my code of “learn then share” and saying, “though I know I’ll be fine, right now I’m feeling over my head, overwhelmed, and just plain frustrated.”

You know what? Everyone feels that way sometimes. This just happens to be my time.

And with as much work as I have to do, I think the most productive thing I can do is to take a break from everything for a bit and come back with a cooler head.

Thanks for understanding.

6:01: Update

Phew! Okay, took a break and went in the other room (aka: cried for five minutes and let the storm pass). I felt a lot better right away. Came back and finished the day out and decided to make a few changes to keep my life sane:

  1. I am definitely getting an intern to help us this fall.
  2. Looking into getting an inexpensive (used?) laptop for Susie and the intern to use to help process orders and email customers.
  3. Responding in individual comments will become an ideal, but not required part of my day.
  4. I am going to do my best to post five days a week on MML, but understand when that is not possible.
  5. Enter sales into Quickbooks at the end of each most days.

With these actions I hope to free up more time to connect with store buyers, magazine editors, my PR team, MML readers, blogging, and designing. These are my essential actions which I need to put more time into for long term growth in the business and in my sanity.

makeunder my week: july 26th, 2010

July 26th, 2010   |   Life

(working from my parents’ deck last week)

Hi Guys,

I hope your weekends were great! Chicago has had quite the heatwave lately but yesterday the humidity and stickiness broke and gave way to a gorgeous and breezy afternoon. I spent it walking along the lakefront with a friend and catching up on chores like cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, and grocery shopping. I feel like the whirlwind of the Philly/NYC trip is finally settling and I’m excited to get caught up with work this week and move forward.

To be sure, there are a lot of online orders still left to fill from last week which Susie and I have worked hard to fill, by tomorrow my goal is to have everyone’s orders out the door and on their way. This Franklin discount has been incredible in terms of sheer volume and we are so excited to be toting so many packages to our UPS store each day. I’ve also been getting photos of our fall pendant designs and they look incredible. I cannot wait to wear a winter white and gold paisley necklace! But the samples being finished means that we are that much closer to doing a photo-shoot, lookbook, and collection launch. So I just need to take a deep breath, pace myself, and do the best I can to keep the momentum high.

This week I’m also excited to finally have time to really nail out some awesome posts here on MML. Since PR is a whole new animal for me, I will do my best to explain what my experience has been like. I won’t have lots of advice for others at this point, but I can speak first-hand from what I’ve seen with Jess LC.

Other than that, I am starting to reflect even more, if that’s possible, on what I want my new apartment to look like this September. I’ve signed a lease for a one bedroom in my current building which overlooks the roof deck and faces east, bringing lots of light into the space. One big purchase I will be making is a bed, and I’m still deciding between a West Elm bed and an Overstock.com bed. What do you think? Any suggestions? Until I make the choice, I’m on a “savings spree” through August.

Have a great week,


franklin inventory update

July 23rd, 2010   |   Life

I just want to pop in and let you all know that I temporarily pulled the Franklin collection off the site while I was in NYC so that I could come back and do a proper inventory. Once I mentioned the mistake in the braille and marked them 50% off, there was a flurry of orders.

Now that I’m back in the studio, I’ve had time to count the pendants remaining and re-posted the collection online. Here’s what’s left:

(UPDATED 7/26) Updated 7/28

Be Present13 8 left 5 left

Be Brave – 3 Sold Out

Breathe17 15 left 14 left

Be Thankful19 18 left 13 left

Dream Bigger14 8 left 5 left

Get them now at the discounted rate or wait for the corrected pendants at full price closer to September.

piper’s dream report: week eleven

July 23rd, 2010   |   Life

What a week I’m having!  Have I mentioned how much I dislike techie things?  Because hold on, I’m about to!

I should clarify – I love technology and what it can do.  I just don’t like the back-end part of it.  Like when your computer won’t work or you have to add a buttons & badges to your blog or have to figure out why your search feature doesn’t work anymore (this is one I’m currently dealing with!)  This is the part that makes me want to pull all my hair out.

It’s not that I can’t learn – I was able to do my blog on my own (such as it is!).  It’s just that it’s not something I’m interested in learning.  It involves a level of detail on technical things that I don’t want to spend my time on. (not to mention html code is like learning a new language!!)  My time would be much better spent on things I enjoy and I’m good at – especially when it comes to opening my store.  I’ve read so many books and interviews by entrepreneurs and one of the commonalities seems to be to play to your strengths and delegate your weaknesses.  Sounds great to me!  So that was the plan.  I knew that web design would not be my forte – especially when doing something as complicated as an ecommerce site – so I was more than prepared to delegate this work.

I even did my due diligence.  About 6-9 months ago, I sent emails to web designers whose work I liked so I could get an idea of how much it would cost to design a site, as well as, the time frame needed.  And I got lots of responses with ranges that seemed like they would fit my budget.  Well, note to self…when they give you a range, ask questions & assume that it’ll be the higher end because that’s exactly what has happened.  Once I was ready to commit to having a site built (and assumed my only problem would be deciding which designer to go with – oh, how naive!), I quickly learned that building an ecommerce site takes you pretty much to the high end of the range.  And well outside of my budget.

image credit

So I went from thinking my biggest problem would be deciding which designer to go with…to basically having to start my research on web design from square one.  And to top it all off…the more I talked to people and really thought about my first year as a store, I realized I was no longer comfortable with spending a good chunk of my budget on just building a website.  My original thinking had been that since I wasn’t opening a retail store front, I could spend the money to build a website.  But with a limited budget to work with and the fact that I’m just starting out and don’t know what kind of sales I can expect for the first year, I really started to question whether that would be a good decision anymore.  I realized that I would feel more comfortable spending less so that I could have money for other things such as marketing and growing the store.  Plus, as a brand new store, I’m still learning who my customer is… so shouldn’t I start somewhat small at first to gauge the market and see what it’s like…and more importantly, what my customer is like!  What if my sales are slow at first, and because I’ve spent a good chunk of change building the website, then I may not have money for inventory or marketing or even my own salary!

So, I’m back to square one and it feels a bit disheartening.  Actually it feels like square negative 10 because instead of being able to delegate web design to someone, so that I could have a well designed site along with the comfort of having an expert take care of all this tech stuff that I find confusing, I’m now spending my time researching how to build an ecommerce site that’s affordable.  (can we cue a good old-fashioned melt-down?!)

However, it’s times like these where I’m amazed at how helpful and kind people can be.  Like you guys – thanks for sending me links or advice or offering help…it’s so nice to know that I don’t have to go at this alone.  And the same I’ve found with friends and people I’ve met through blogging.  Once I put the word out that I was struggling, I couldn’t believe how many people were willing to lend a hand even if it was just to help me understand the whole ecommerce process!!  It’s another “note to self” – remember to ask for help when I’m struggling!!

So I think the unknown, the questions that I have right now are whether a fancy website matters when I’m just starting out.  I know, for me personally, if I like what a store is selling the website doesn’t matter – as long as the checkout process is easy, I’m a happy camper.  But I’m also an online shopper.  I have noticed though that some of my favorite store sites have simple websites.  And they seem to be doing well.  I think it can be done as long as you have good products, good style and a whole lot of passion!

I was really hoping I’d be able to tell you guys this week that I had hired my logo & web designer and that my store was getting closer to being a reality.  Looks like I may need more time…keep your fingers crossed for next week!!

And let me know if you guys have any questions about my posts – not sure if there’s something that you would like to see more of!

Hi everyone! Though I can’t upload any images at the moment, I want to check in and let you all in on a sweet post I just discovered while reviewing the backlog in my blog reader. Chris over at The Art of Non-Conformity recently posted about:

I like this quote from a David Sedaris article. Sort of an adapted ‘carpenter’s triangle’:

“One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.”

The gist is that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

- The Art of Non-Conformity

There is an amazing comment section devoted to this concept and whether it is true or not and I think it ties in perfectly to my goal here on MML about designing a life with intention. Definitely worth checking out if you have a chance. I have no idea whether I think this is true or not, but it’s fascinating to see all the different perspectives.

Franklin Inventory Update

In other news, I got back from NYC last night and have been working with Susie to get out all the orders from the past week. We got about half of them out the door today and we have the other half to complete tomorrow. Since we had an unprecedented number of Franklin orders, I took the Franklin necklaces off the site until we know the exact quantities we have left of each of the misspelled braille necklaces. I have a feeling we might be able to post more Breathe and Be Thankful necklaces online Friday afternoon at the same 50% off discount. Any phrases that are completely sold out will return once we get the corrected pendants closer to September.

If your heart is set on a misspelled Breathe or Be Thankful necklace, feel free to email me tonight or tomorrow morning and let me know. I can give you a heads up tomorrow when I post the quantities so you get first pick from what remains.

Though I am mostly excited for the weekend to finally come after all of this hustling over the past two weeks, I also look forward to sharing all about NYC and the desk sides next week. So stay tuned!

sidewalk sale today and tomorrow

July 20th, 2010   |   Life

Good morning! I am on my way to the second day of desk sides: People Style Watch and Real Simple are on the agenda today. Then I visit my PR showroom and meet the girls at Red Light PR for the first time in person. And after that I go to American Express to talk to the awesome marketing department about their Open for Business campaign.

In the meantime, Susie, my incredible assistant is in Daley Plaza in Chicago manning the Jess LC booth today and tomorrow. Everything at the booth is 20% off for the show only and if you mention “I Heart Susie,” you can get 30% off for supporting her and for reading MML!


July 19th, 2010   |   Business AdviceLife

Hi Guys,

As you know, I am now in NYC and will be doing a press tour of sorts for Jess LC. I’m going to do my best to photograph and document the whole process so I can share it with you here on MML next week.

In the meantime, I want to share this awesome online magazine I’ve finally gotten around to reading (it’s been on my desktop for months now). It’s called fear.less and is dedicated to helping you get motivated and pursue your purpose past fear. Though I’m still going through the first issue personally, I thought you might like to browse their newest e-mag and check out their archive.

Have a great day,


piper’s dream report: week ten

July 17th, 2010   |   Life

I’m finally coming out of vacation mode and getting back into the real world.  It was a struggle…my mind has wanted to stay back on the beach, sipping drinks and reading!  But once I started getting back into the groove, I realized how much I missed blogging and working on my store.  And the more I work on my store, the more annoyed I get that my day job takes time away from it.  I can’t wait for the day that I can devote 100% of my time and energy to my store.  It’s hard to split my focus right now when my heart and head are with my dream of opening my store.  Okay, enough venting…on to what I’ve been up to!

First of all, I have to go back to before vacation.  It was a couple of days before I left that I had my last phone conversation with the biz consultant.  She suggested, as a way to clarify my idea and concept, coming up with statements about One Sydney Road that will help me define what this place is (especially since the store name denotes an address!) and who would shop here.  She suggested just starting with things I enjoy doing since I would consider myself a customer!  I didn’t end up working on it though until after vacation when a friend of mine (who is like my pseudo life coach!), upon hearing that I hadn’t done this yet, forced me to write down a list of things I like right then and there.  Sheesh, talk about much needed tough love!  And of course once I wrote these statements down, the picture became much clearer of what my store would be like.  Very exciting!!  The statements are nothing fancy…that can come later.  Right now it’s just a list.  (see pic for some of the things I listed…what do you think?)

(Image credit)

And then it was on to one of the biggie’s on the giant to-do list….picking a logo & web designer.

I’ve had “pick logo & web designer” on my to-do list for months and months now.  At first, it was understandable that I hadn’t done it yet.  I needed to understand what my store was going to be, what it was going to sell and who it would sell to before I could think about a logo being created for it.  Well, over the past month or two, I’ve really started to hone in on what the store will be like and now that I have my list of statements, it’s even further defined.  But everyday I get to the item on my to-do list that says “pick logo & web designer”, I just move it to the next day, and then the next day, and then the…well, I’m starting to run out of days to move it to!

So obviously something has been holding me back from doing this.  And I think it’s a combination of things.  First of all, I’m a planner and a researcher (I’m sure you’ve already noticed this!)  So I’ve spent time looking into designers that I like and/or emailing them for information on their services.  (let’s just say that I have a spreadsheet titled “web/logo designers” that has over 35 people listed…I’m thinking that’s got to be enough to pick from, right?!)  There’s a good side to this in that I don’t rush into things and I like to make an informed decision.  But the down side is that once I do my research…I feel like I need to keep doing more instead of stopping and making a decision.  So why am I not making a decision from this list of designers?  Hmm…

First of all, they’re all really great.  It’s hard to pick from one great graphic designer to the next.  Secondly, I’m a bit confused on how the logo/identity/branding process works and who really comes up with the idea…me?  the logo designer?   the web designer?  I hate not knowing things like this…so it makes me avoid them like the plague.  I get that the logo designer will help me create my identity and logo…but how does this then transfer to the web design since that would be a different person?  Not to mention that logo and web design can be very pricey.  Since I’m going to only be online, I feel that it’s a worthwhile investment but it’s still a bit nerve-wracking to plunk down that kind of money before having any sort of sales!

And lastly, let’s not forget the perfectionist part of me that wants to make sure I get this absolutely right…because of course the logo could never be changed, right?  See even I can see how silly that sounds!

I received some gentle encouragement from friends and family and then Jess who really summed it up perfectly.  She said:

“Decide to make a decision about the web/graphic designers soon, it is a hard call, so go with your gut.  Waiting too long is just delaying something that will happen now or in two weeks – either way, the result will probably be the same.  So sitting on it too long is just wasting time before October.”

(reference jess’s getting off our butt’s post!!!!)

So, so true!!  And exactly the push that I needed to get me moving…it put it in perspective for me that this decision has to be made if I want to move forward with the store.  Putting this decision off just delays my dream further.  And really it’s just a matter of getting a few more questions answered and then going with my gut at this point (something I have a hard time doing).  I can only imagine too how nice it’ll be to not have this decision looming over me.  Once the logo and web design is in the works, I can finally focus on other things!!  Finally, lightning struck…why not reach out for some help on narrowing down my list?  I shot a quick email to the biz consultant to see if she had any ideas/advice on the people I had picked out.  And would you believe that she actually did?  Ha ha. (Seriously, why can’t I remember to reach out for help more!)  So, I was able to narrow down my choices…and hopefully by next week I’ll be able to say that my logo and/or web design is in process!!  Sigh…decision time!

Btw…thanks for following my journey and for taking the time to send me links to articles you come across that you think I might enjoy.  They’ve been very helpful!!  I can’t tell you what your support means to me!

franklin pendant update

July 15th, 2010   |   Life

I’d like to check in and let you all know about something which came to my attention yesterday right before I left for the airport. It turns out that the program I used to create the Franklin braille necklaces produced the letter preceding each intended letter in the alphabet. For example “BREATHE” came out “AQDASMD.” I have no idea why the program made this error with the alphabet and since it was consistent across all phrases, I was not aware that it was incorrect. You can see the difference in each of the phrases below:

Now that I am aware of the mistake, I am in the process of designing and ordering identical pendants with the correct braille. Everything else about the necklaces will remain the same. Due to production time, I hope to have these pendants completed in five weeks.

As you can imagine, I’m frustrated, upset, and heart broken about the situation. I designed Franklin as a collection which would both help people and be beautiful. And though that purpose is still served, it is upsetting to have to reach out to everyone who has purchased and inform them of the error. I have already emailed those who have previously purchased the necklaces and offered them two choices: either to trade in their current necklace for the updated one when they arrive, or to keep their current necklaces and receive 50% off their entire next order. So far everyone has been overwhelmingly supportive and I sit here with tears in my eyes as I read this email from a customer which arrived a minute ago:

… Honestly, I’m just so excited to wear it and have it as a reminder that I would be happy to wear it as is. I’m too impatient to wait!!  It looks like it will be just as beautiful as the “right” one, and it’s almost like it’s a little secret and will be different than most of the others! I kind of like that. So, I think I’ll just keep the one that is on it’s way, as the message will still be there for me!!
I think it’s great that you’re so attentive and caring toward your customers and informed us of the mix-up. Nothing is perfect, and sometimes strange things happen in life, and I’m learning that it’s how you deal with all of that that really matters. You are a perfect example of this – you’re not letting it get you down, but instead reaching out and offering exceptional customer service and options to correct something that went wrong without you even knowing. I give you major props for that and can definitely learn a thing or two from you! It seems like you’ve really got running your business down pat, and even if you don’t, I would be none the wiser!!
Thank you so much again for contacting me about the necklace, and for once in my life, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to not see something as “ruined,” but think of how I can look at the bright side of the situation – an opportunity to have something just as beautiful, and a little bit different! I’ve been trying to be a more positive person lately, and I think this is a good start : ) …

Words cannot express how thankful I now feel for this error. Though informing customers about the situation was a bit scary and nerve-racking, getting genuine responses like that prove to me that I have the best customers, readers, and friends in the whole world. And the only way I could really realize and comprehend how unbelievable you all are is in a situation where you show such concern, empathy, and encouragement. I made a mistake, and you all are here telling me how I shouldn’t freak out. Thank you, thank you.

Yesterday when I realized what happened and what needed to be done (in the midst of a few tears), I decided that this situation was happening for a reason – a positive reason. And though I had absolutely no clue what positive thing would come out of this, that email just provided the answer. I get to rely on you all for support and I’ve never felt more accepted. It’s one thing for people to say nice things when you do something right. It’s another for people to say nice things when you make an error.

The other positive thing about this situation I cannot forget to mention is that the current (misspelled) pendants are still perfectly good and serve the same exact purpose, but are now 50% off their original price on Jess LC right now. Which means this mistake has now opened the door for anyone who couldn’t afford the full price to receive the misspelled but perfectly beautiful necklaces for $29, $30, and $31 until our misspelled inventory runs out. And once the new, corrected version arrives in mid to late August, I will post those back on Jess LC at their normal price.

I truly appreciate all that you have done to support me and my small business and I thank you all so very much.

shabby apple dress giveaway

July 14th, 2010   |   LifeWardrobe

Good morning! As you read this I am on my way to O’Hare to catch a flight to my parent’s house. Though I didn’t grow up outside Philly where they live now, I do enjoy the time that I spend in their new home. I also get to spend lots of time with my youngest brother, Mike, who is staying with them for the summer in between his sophomore and junior year of college. Besides relaxing, J.Crew outlet shopping, and a jewelry party for the neighborhood, I might also get a chance to visit the family boat which is currently on the Chesapeake Bay.

And as you know, on Sunday I will be headed to NYC for a “PR tour,” if you will. In honor of the desk sides I will be doing with editors at Lucky and Real Simple among others, I’ve got an awesome giveaway which would be perfect for a PR tour of your own…

Shabby Apple Giveaway

The Ingrid Dress over at Shabby Apple is pretty much perfection when I think about what I’d like to wear to a desk side. It’s classic with the black and white, but the ruffles add a nice twist. It’s also cool enough to wear while running in between offices in the middle of July. And coming in at $94, it is inexpensive enough for a splurge, but also an amazing item to win in a giveaway like this.

To enter to win the dress, please comment about your favorite dress on Shabby Apple before July 21st. A winner will be randomly selected and announced next week. US residents only, please.

(Please be patient with the comment uploading today, I will be traveling without internet for most of the day. So most new comments will appear this evening.)

letting myself off the hook

July 13th, 2010   |   LifeThink About It

A few years ago Erwin and I used to go running and share our weekly intentions for each of our roles (personal, career, family, significant other, friend…). If you have read Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, this exercise will sound familiar. It is a great way for us to reflect on the past and to “begin with the end in mind” for the week ahead.

On our runs, Erwin’s intentions sounded something like this:

  • Personal: I’d like to workout a bit more; maybe do some weight lifting and biking.
  • Career: I have a bunch of video tapes I need to up-rise to send to the History channel for viewing.
  • Friend: I think I’ll call Mike and see if he wants to go to a concert next month.

While mine sounded something like this:

  • Personal: I want to workout six times this week: two weight training sessions, and 25 miles of running overall. I also want to eat healthy foods, lots of salads, veggies, fruits, and enjoy exactly one dessert a week.
  • Career: I need to call all of my store buyers and let them know about the new collection. I also need to plan the fall jewelry line. And I need to answer every comment that comes in on the blog in email. And I want to post six times a week on the blog. And I want to comment on seven new blogs a day. And I… (the list goes on)
  • Friend: I want to hang out with friends three times this week. I think I’ll call Sarah, Amy, and Alison and see what they want to do.

Inevitably, there were weeks where Erwin’s intentions didn’t get fulfilled. Perhaps he was busier with work one week and the workouts weren’t as regular as he intended. Or he didn’t complete all the work he set out to do. But each week, he would be back on that Intention Run unperturbed about falling short of his intentions. While I on the other hand liked strict, tangible goals. I’m not “just” going to run this week, I’m going to run “25 miles.” I’m not “just” going to post on the blog, I’m going to “blog six times and answer every comment and comment on seven new blogs.” And granted, there were weeks where I really did accomplish all or most of what I set out to do. But if I fell short of the finish line, I felt remorse.

To tell the truth, I always felt a little sad for him. I thought he wasn’t getting as much out of life as he could if he just made more concrete goals, seeing steady improvement in doing more of everything. How he could not be bothered when he didn’t get to workout as much as he wanted? It baffled my mind.

Meanwhile, I on the other hand always felt a little pressure during the week. I had these lofty intentions (goals in disguise) that propelled me towards a constant state of busyness. And when I didn’t reach the goals, I felt a little flat, let down, disappointed.

It’s recently occurred to me that though I don’t set myself up for the same kinds of failures anymore (I don’t do the strict quantity driven intentions), I still finding myself thinking of all the things that I “should” do. It’s as if my ego found a new way to compel (aka: guilt) me to do more, it has just disguised itself better. But at the end of the day, when I look at Erwin’s approach to life and my own: he is inevitably satisfied and content – regardless of any outcomes in the world of intentions. While I on the other hand I feel short-term satisfaction from reaching goals, only to up the ante and start the process all over again. And when I’ve not met my goals, I feel frustrated or stressed.

So recently I’ve been meditating on the simple truth that all we have to do on this Earth is 1) be born and 2) die (and pay taxes as Ben Franklin would say). That’s it. The rest in the middle is up to us. We aren’t asked to get stressed out for 85 years. I personally would like to do good in the middle. But “how much good” is irrelevant.  So I’m learning to accept that I will not comment on as many blogs as I’d like, answer as many emails, or workout my ideal amount. I will inevitably eat dessert more than once a week. And that reality does not need to upset me; I need to let myself off this self-imposed hook and just be free to do what I can and forget the rest.

makeunder my week: july 12th

July 12th, 2010   |   Business AdviceLife

Hi Guys,

I hope you had a great weekend! I spent the last few days barbecuing, hanging out with friends outside, going to the Green City farmer’s market, and sleeping. Man, did I need to catch up on sleep!

I’m excited to say that I am leaving for my parent’s house outside of Philadelphia on Wednesday and then next week will be heading to NYC to meet with accessory editors at magazines to introduce them to Jess LC. My intention is to give you a behind the scenes look at the PR side of the business since that is something I’m sure many of you with businesses are thinking about doing now or in the future. So consider this your all access pass to what it could be like if you decide to take the plunge into public relations for your company. And if you really want to know, the most nerve-racking part of the “desk sides” for me is deciding what I should wear to the meetings…

In other news, since I will be gone until next Wednesday, July 21st, all orders placed on jesslc.com after 4pm on Tuesday the 13th (tomorrow) will ship on Thursday, July 22nd. And I’m sweetening the deal by giving you a secret MML code good to use on Jess LC today and tomorrow only for 20% off your order – type in the code NYCTRIP NYCTRIP2 before tomorrow at 4pm to get the discount and have your order shipped on Wednesday morning.

Susie, my assistant will be in the studio this week gearing up for the huge sidewalk sale in Daley Plaza on July 20th and 21st. If you are in Chicago either of those days, check out our booth and see the new Franklin collection in person among the rest of our styles.

I also can’t forget to mention the business cards and pencil cups in the photo above. The cutest package ever arrived from Karly at Sweet Beaker this weekend filled with these adorable supplies. I can’t wait to take the cards to NYC and hand them out in business meetings. Up until this point, I’ve had to tell people about MML at cocktail parties and then hand them a Jess LC business card saying “just click on the blog link to get to MML.” Which doesn’t have the same impact as these adorable chevron(!) cards.

Have a great day,


piper’s dream report: week nine

July 9th, 2010   |   Life

I’m back from vacation!  Although I think I’m still on “island time”.  I’m trying to cling to that good vibe you only get from vacation.  It was pure bliss getting to hang out by the ocean every day – I definitely got into that relaxed state.  It’s funny because I’m a typical type-A, stressed out, constantly thinking of the future person.  But on vacation…somehow that all changes and I’m completely able to live in the moment.  And yeah, I have to say it completely rocks to live in the present, where finding a place to eat for dinner is really the only thing to worry about!  My hubby and I call this “Vacation Piper”…sigh, I miss her already!

I’m desperately trying to hold on to that feeling, but boy does it go by quickly once you’re back in the real world!

It’s confession time…I took a complete and total vacation.  Physically, mentally…and electronically.  Which is not what I expected to do.  As I’ve written before, I tend to set grand plans and giant to-do lists for myself…and of course, vacation is no exception.  I brought a big folder with me of ideas for the store, people I need to contact, the products I’m looking at carrying…and I didn’t open it once.  I blame the ocean because once I felt the ocean breeze, I knew I just wanted to relax and enjoy my time.  Of course, in the way, way back of my mind I’d think to myself “tomorrow I’ll look at it.  I’ll just bring it to the beach with me”.  And then I’d pack my books and magazines instead.  But it was worth it.  I had such a wonderful time and came back feeling relaxed and rejuvenated and excited to get back to blogging and working on my store…oh and feeling completely behind and a bit worried that I lost the momentum I had going in to vacation.

How quickly that vacation glow can fade!

We had Monday off from work and my plan was to start working on blog posts for the week and business things.  Except I found I wasn’t quite ready to jump in, full steam ahead.  I was enjoying that feeling that really nothing is as important as spending time with your loved ones.  So I did just that and spent our last vacation day with my hubby, just relaxing, playing with the dogs and having fun.  Except there were a few, niggling little thoughts in the back of my head:  “what if I lost the momentum?”, “how will I ever manage to get caught up?” and more importantly “how do I carve out time for myself while I’m working full time, blogging and trying to start this store”.  Yep, there goes that nice, relaxed feeling!

So besides learning on vacation that alarm clocks should be illegal and that nothing beats a swim in a tropical ocean, I learned that I need to make peace with the fact that I can’t do it all.  I’m not necessarily happy about this…but it’s the truth.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do.  And vacation showed me that I need to find a little balance…even though I know I’ll still be working like a dog to start this store.  But for my health and sanity, I need to find the time to exercise (I missed being active!) and carve out quality time for myself and family (which means actually focusing on what my hubby is saying and not just thinking, in my head, all the things I need to do!).  I don’t want to feel burnt out…before I’ve even really started!  I think I’m spending so much time worrying and working, worrying and working…that I’m forgetting that this is something I love and enjoy.  I haven’t been looking at the big picture and visualizing the end result  – that I’m working towards my dream of owning my own store.

And, actually, I just realized as I was writing this that obviously working on the store is completely my passion…because I remembered that on our first day of vacation, my main mission was to go shopping and scout out cool stores and products.  And guess what?  Success!!  I came across a fantastic, cool & modern store in South Beach, ended up talking to the owner and finding out that they actually make their own products…and now have a connection with them for my own store!  So looks like I’m working on it, whether I realize it or not.

I’m just hoping I can get more things done because October is getting closer and closer.  And I have yet to decide on a logo or web designer!  (there are so many good ones out there – I’m having a hard time deciding!!)  So those are the next things on the good ole to-do list:

  • Clarify my concept for the store – what is One Sydney Road and what do I want it to feel like?  Who shops there?
  • Decide on a logo and web designer (this one is really going to be difficult – it requires making a decision and spending money!!)
  • Find time to exercise
  • And about 300 other items I need to do!!

Any advice (or commiseration!)…How do you retain that “vacation glow”?  Are there things you like to incorporate into your life after vacation

(the above are pictures from our vacation – the Keys have the most beautiful sunsets!)

Today I’d like to share how I’ve gotten many of my business projects off the ground over the past 11 years. There are three practical ways to accomplish big things without a big checking account. I should know: I started Jess LC back when I was 15 with a $5 bag of seed beads. Everything I’ve earned up to a month ago went straight back into the business with no outside investment: there was no venture capital, angel investors, or business loans for 10 years. But I never let that stop me from growing the business… one step at a time.

Below, I explain how I grow my business without running out of money. I’m sure other business owners out there will find themselves nodding in agreement with many of my examples. We all had to get scrappy – especially during the economic downturn of 2009.

This tactic is all about pulling up your Rolodex. Or in today’s terms, your Facebook, Twitter, and blogroll.

Go through your contacts and find out where you luck out. Do you just happen to have a friend that does photography and you need your pottery photographed for your website? Give your friend a call and offer to barter or babysit her kids for the weekend. Do you just happen to have a friend of a friend who knows a store owner who might be interested in your products? Give them a call. Don’t underestimate the power of the fortuitous connections you already have sitting right there in your Facebook account or cell phone.

Many times your friends and colleagues will offer to help you out at a fraction of the cost of a stranger. And when you think about it, the project is good for them too: they know you personally and can trust that you will pay on time, be honest and responsive, and super appreciative. And don’t underestimate the power of enthusiasm! Everyone wants to do something that’s meaningful. And if they can find meaning in your project, that might be worth cutting their prices for you.

In my case, one golden connection I have is the friend who photographs my jewelry. We met in college and have worked together on almost all of my photography projects. Though he lives in LA now, we still keep in touch and he totally understands what I’m looking for when I send him products to photograph.

The only major pothole* along this avenue to project success is that the enthusiasm of a lukewarm friend might wane over time, leaving your website unfinished for months. So be sure to establish a professional agreement, make sure the project payment is a win-win for both parties, and confirm that their skills match your expectations.

* The one place I have never seen successful friendships turn into successful business partnerships is in the line of sales representation. If your friend doesn’t already rep companies full-time or part-time, don’t waste your products or friendship over this trade. Stick with the professionals when it comes to reps and you will see real, sustainable results.

Getting crafty means recognizing where you need to put your dollars and where you can save your cents.

Time to think like a CEO: What is the secret sauce to your success? For a clothing designer the fabric, construction, and fit will determine whether the customer checks out or puts it back on the rack. On the other hand, the tags she puts on her garments are not the most important part of the sale; they are an accessory which add and aid to branding, but with a bit of creativity and careful planning – can be done by hand.

For example, the clothing designer might realize that she can order hang tags on business card size card-stock from Vistaprint.com for free, punch a hole at the top, and run some string through the hole and save herself hundreds of dollars on custom printed hang tags. And when her business has reached a level where the business card style tags aren’t reasonable, she will hopefully have the financial stability to order the more expensive custom tags.

I do want to warn that I’m not suggesting to throw out quality in all the less important items: but I am saying that you might not need expensive return address labels for a business that only sends mail to vendors. And there are many tricks to making something look more expensive than it is: like refinishing thrift store furniture for a clothing boutique. But remember, anything that will ruin a sale is subject to a share of the pocketbook.

I myself was fortunate enough to have a minor understanding of Photoshop and Dreamweaver and for five years built and maintained my own website. Sure it took tons of time, but I had time to give: money was the premium. On the other hand, I spent money on skilled help and gold-fill and sterling silver metal – things that my customers care about more than checking out on a site with lots of Flash programming.

This is where integrity is the name of the game. Don’t be shy about getting real with your freelancers. Tell it like it is.

Do you need to rehab a bakery but don’t have the funds to afford the contractor’s asking price? Say so. Be prepared for the contractor to walk away from the deal; but don’t be shy about sharing what your budget really is. They can’t fault you for the truth. Also think of alternative ways to bolster the bottom line through bartering, referrals, testimonials (hello, blogging!), portfolio projects, free products or whatever else could help improve their business.

It’s also a good idea to take stock and think about what you can bring to the table to make the project run smoother: could you do some of the grunt work yourself? That might cut their time commitment and thereby lower their rate.

My only word of warning is that you have to be honest: don’t low-ball someone just to save cash if you have a bigger budget. There is a balance in terms of price and quality. And in my opinion it’s just good karma to offer the best you can, responsibly.

So no more excuses! It’s time to get to business. Get lucky, get crafy, get real.

Just make it happen.

Whoa. This interview (3:50 min clip) was aired in January and I just realized that I mentioned the Franklin intention necklaces way back then!

I also talk about what I have learned about the intersection of blogging and business through MML and Jess LC. Could be helpful for any other entrepreneurs.

(You can see all of the interview clips and the full 30 minute piece on MML Videos.)

about the franklin collection

July 7th, 2010   |   LifeStyleWardrobe

Thank you for all of the sweet comments and support for the launch of the new Franklin Intentional Braille Necklaces and lookbook! I’m excited to explain a little bit more about the collection and show the necklaces in more detail.

I have been thinking about doing something with braille for a long time. Graphically, I thought it would look cool and unusual on a piece of jewelry. And once I realized I could turn intentions into braille… it was game on. For the first time I feel like I am able to marry my purpose (helping people design a life with intention) with my career (designing jewelry).

I first considered choosing the intentions myself. But then it dawned on me: I could make this collection a real reflection of myself and Jess LC by incorporating the input of bloggers and MML readers who are already a huge part of the company! Because it’s certainly no secret that I spend most of my day either here on MML or doing outreach for Jess LC online. So I then asked you all to tell me what intentions you wanted to wear on a piece of jewelry and then had you narrow down the hundreds of submissions to just five. And I have to say, I love the phrases you all selected! I think they represent what is important to so many of us.

After we finally got the braille pendants perfected, it was time to get a lookbook together. And in keeping with the online nature of the collection, I thought it was fitting to invite the amazing female bloggers in the Delightful Dozen to style their own Franklin necklaces and send me the photos. I trusted their exceptional style to create a one-of-a-kind lookbook that represents what this collection is all about: the collaboration of people worldwide via the internet. And with the help of Tieka, one of the nicest people on Earth, who also modeled the Division collection this spring, we were able to run one of the smoothest projects I’ve ever had at Jess LC.

As for the necklaces themselves, here are some detailed photos.

As you can see, each of the intentions is styled with a different stone combination. You can order the messages with whichever stone you like. Here are all of the options:

Each necklace is 17″ long, but if you prefer a custom length, feel free to email me at jess@jesslc.com and let me know what length you’d like your necklace to be. Since we cut each chain to size for each order, it’s no problem for us.

For the pendants, we decided to make them in 14k gold vermeil (gold dipped over sterling silver) and added a nickle-plating to ensure durability. For those that have nickle allergies, we recommend a coat of clear nail polish on the backside of the pendant to protect skin.

To see see the necklaces and options in more detail, head over to the shop.

franklin collection launch!!

July 7th, 2010   |   LifeStyleWardrobe

At long last! All of those intention submissions at the beginning of the year have finally paid off! You submitted, you voted, you picked the following intentions for the newest Jess LC collection:

All along you have been in the loop about the collection as it has developed except for one minor detail: I didn’t tell you what it would look like! But as you can see now, I decided to print each intention on the front of the 14k gold vermeil pendants in braille (the words are in printed in English on the reverse side). This way you can rub the braille to remind yourself of your intention throughout the day… without displaying the meaning to the whole world.

I’ll be back later today to explain more about the collection, but for now, I want to present the lovely new lookbook styled by the talented fashion bloggers at the Delightful Dozen.


(complete lookbook)

Shop the Franklin Collection

So… the Franklin Collection will be (hopefully) launching tomorrow. I just need to program the shop pages and do some finishing touches to the awesome lookbook.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share this video (21 minutes long) I found a few weeks ago from Elizabeth Gilbert at O Magazine’s 10th Anniversary. She does a beautiful job explaining how to manage the conflict between family and career, and how to do our best in this moment.


makeunder my week: july 5th

July 5th, 2010   |   Life

Hi Guys,

Good morning! I hope you had a great Fourth of July for all you living in the U.S. My weekend was chock full of barbecues, fireworks, shopping (did anyone else notice some awesome sales?), and friends.

This week I have a narrow but deep schedule largely filled with getting the newest Chicago Collection, Franklin, launched on jesslc.com. To be honest, I have been selling the necklaces to stores in Chicago over the past month or so, but haven’t leaked the new look here on MML or on Jess LC… yet. Since the response to the necklaces is so positive so far, I can’t wait to hear what you think about them once they go live. Ideally, I will have them available for sale on the site and will post about them tomorrow. But that all depends on how quickly I can compile the lookbook images from the Delightful Dozen and program the sales pages. So it may be safer to say by Thursday everything should be up and running.

Here’s a random trivia fact about the new collection, the intentional necklaces got their name from the street, Franklin, in downtown Chicago. Since I name all of my collections after streets in Chicago, this is not a huge surprise. But the reason I chose that street in particular is because I have had a “history crush” on Ben Franklin ever since I was a girl. And this is the perfect collection to name after him than one since it is focused on helping people become more intentional. If you’ve ever done any reading on Ben’s life, he spent several years trying to achieve moral perfection. Of course he was relatively unsuccessful, but the pursuit of “designing a life with intention” cannot be overlooked.

I also have some other fun plans for this week including a wine night with two of my great friends, Alaina and Crystal. You might know them by their blogs or by their new interior design magazine, Rue, which is launching in September. Crystal has been with Anne of The City Sage in NYC for over a week shooting some amazing interiors and I can’t wait to hear all the behind the scenes details tonight. And on Thursday I will be taking the day off to go on an annual trip to Six Flags with Erwin.

Other than that, I will start to make preparations for my trip to Philly/NYC in a few days. I leave next Wednesday for my parent’s house outside Philadelphia and will head to New York after a few days of relaxation.

I hope you have a great week,


flor and scared panda giveaway winners

July 1st, 2010   |   Life

Congratulations to Tiffany A. and Bridget W. for winning last week’s Scared Panda and Flor Rug giveaways!

june Jess LC ambassadors

July 1st, 2010   |   Life

Happy July! I am excited to debut the newest batch of Jess LC Ambassadors! If you’d like to learn more about the link swap and 15% Ambassador thank you discount, read on. And feel free to click around on the buttons below to discover some fantastic new blogs.

So far we have 60 Ambassadors, and once we reach 100 there is going to be a great celebration (in the form of an awesome, never before seen sale..) for everyone!

June Jess LC Ambassadors

Reach Out

Want to learn how to live from Values-based intentions?

I run an online course, Life With Intention Online, to share exactly how to do just that. Sign up for updates and special bonuses here. (The next class will most likely begin in late 2015.)

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If you would like to get sponsorship information for The Lively Show, please submit your information here.

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Guest post + blog advertising policy.

Due to the format of my work, I do not accept guest posts or blog advertising (sponsorship is only available for The Lively Show podcast and you can get more info by submitting here).

Have a question about your Intention Tattoo order?

Have a question about your intention tattoo order? Please email Ashley at jess(at)jesslc(dot)com directly.


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