Jessica Power is the role model for waking from your dreams and successfully making them a reality. Beginning her crafty business venture as a hobby, while on maternity leave, Jessica has established Jessica Loves, the multi-award-winning gift store and craft studio, workshop venue and craft, interiors and lifestyle blog. Everything she touches turns to something beautiful, whether it be a new business venture, a furniture piece to be reloved for a customer or a hand painted, crafted gift for someone you love.
What attracted you to the crafting and upcycling industry?
I’ve always loved arts and crafts ever since my early school days. I am also obsessed with interiors and upcycling furniture, so to be able to combine all of my passions and turn it into my job has been amazing. I get to create and design hand painted, personalised, crafted gifts, upcycle and relove old furniture and pass on my knowledge through our creative workshops.
How did you get to where you are today?
It literally started with becoming a mother! After double-jobbing for years as a barmaid and a bank official, I finally had some time on my hands during maternity leave. My creative side came back out as I started making headbands for my new baby daughter. I also hand painted some jute tote bags for my bridesmaids and after some people started to enquire about possible orders, I decided to set up a Business Facebook Page, as a sideline hobby, called jesterdesign.
I then had my son 15 months after my daughter and realised I actually wanted to be at home more with my babies. So, I ramped up my business during this second maternity leave and worked all the hours I could, while they slept. I set up a website and starting taking on lots of new orders for new products, including hand painted wooden gifts and box frames. As my little business began to grow, I made the tough and frightening decision to give up my permanent, secure job and take a chance on my own business full time!
I worked long and hard for three years at home and, as my babies were now going to creche and preschool, I felt I wanted to push my business even further. So, at the end of 2016, I upgraded my website to a proper e-commerce online shop and set up a craft, interior and lifestyle blog, sharing my love of crafting together with some images from around my home. I love shopping for home decor accessories and shared some mini hauls on Snapchat. As people became interested in my purchases and where I bought certain items, I decided to source and add a range of carefully selected homewares to my online shop.
I then had the idea to do a pop-up shop to showcase the new homeware items, so people could see and hold them in person but ended up taking on a 12-month lease instead for my very own retail shop and we are now celebrating one year in business!
I am so proud to say that Jessica Loves was nominated for various awards in 2017, including the Cork Business Awards and the Amara Interior Blog Awards in London, was listed as one of the Top 100 Interior Design Bloggers by Novus Homes, won the Silver Award in the V by Very Blog Awards in Dublin for Best Corporate Arts & Crafts Blog and also won the Gloria Vanderbilt Hi Style Award. I appeared on TV3’s Saturday:AM Live in 2017 and 2018 as a Craft Contributor and have been nominated again in the Cork Business Awards and Hi Style Awards for 2018!
What do you love most about what you do?
The fact that I get to do what I love for a living. I really enjoy my job and it never feels like work.
What’s the most difficult part of what you do?
Trying to juggle it all… I am a wife, mother, crafter, designer, blogger, writer, workshop facilitator and sole administrator for emails, sales orders, purchase orders, sourcing of stock, researcher, accounts, etc. I need more hours in the day!
What’s the best piece of style advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t wear that!
What’s the best piece of style advice you can pass on?
Wear whatever makes you happy and comfortable in no matter what size it is; go up a size if you have to. Don’t dwell on the number because if it is more flattering on then it’s worth it.
Who is your style icon and why?
It has to be Pippa O’Connor as she never gets it wrong in my opinion, but more than that her style is very similar to my own taste in clothing.
Who is your business icon and why?
That’s a hard one as I take inspiration from anyone who is successful in business, as I know how hard it is! Business women and mothers in particular inspire me greatly, from the sole trader up to the large multinational corporation. I especially admire the hardworking, multi-tasking grafters with a strong work ethic and those who show gratitude to their loyal customers. I love a good success story and hope to be one someday!
What plans do you have for Jessica Loves over the next 12 months?
To keep growing, learning and expanding. I want to keep my customers interested and inspired. I want to work more on my blog, especially craft and DIY posts and also run more craft and creative workshops.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would love for my business to still be up and running and successful enough to employ more people. The absolute dream would be to have my own range of craft paint brushes, as it’s the tool I use every single day and I know what I like and what works best! I would also love to have a craft book published with simple step-by-step projects that you can do alone or with the kids. So, if there are any paint brush manufacturers or publishers reading this, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
How do you stay motivated?
It is hard at times I have to admit, but I have that ambition and drive to succeed. I really do not want to fail and have to go back to a 9 to 5! I like being flexible and having family time, which being my own boss allows me to have.
What advice would you give young people who want to break into such a creative industry?
Whatever industry you are interested in, work hard and don’t give up. Even if you are currently in a job that you don’t particularly like – make a plan, write down your goals, upskill, do a night course or whatever it takes to make you feel like you are working towards your dream job. I completed courses in Multimedia Computing, Business, Image Processing, Graphic Design and Interior Design, all while working full-time, which made me feel somewhat in control of my future.
Even if your current job doesn’t motivate you, try to realise that no job is a waste of time.
Take your lessons from each job along the way. I worked in admin for years, from accountants to loss adjustors to engineers, banking to recruitment and I learned all the skills I now need to be running my own business, including the thick skin from working as a barmaid for five years!
Photos: Viv/R&R Photography
105 North Main Street, Youghal, Cork