Hello Friends! As you may have noticed, this blog has changed significantly over the course of these past few months. I still love creating recipes and taking beautiful food pictures, but my life no longer revolves around what my next meal looks like. I want this blog to be more than my dinner plate. I want to spread inspiration and love and most of all the tiny moments that make life meaningful.
Lately I have been overwhelmingly inspired by several female entrepreneurs. Creating a unique brand and being your own boss is not easy, and I don’t think these ladies get the credit they deserve for all of their daily endeavors. After listening to Georgie’s Podcast and reading Alexis’s recent blog posts, I have decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and initiate a new segment here on the blog all about these Girls Who Run the World of blogging and business and overall wellness.
Without further ado, let me introduce you to Jillian Schimmel, the artist and entrepreneur behind Lafayette Avenue Ceramics.
How did you get your start in ceramics? Did you receive formal training or are you self-taught?
My first ceramics experience was an after school art class in elementary school. My friend and I went to a neighborhood artist’s studio once a week to play with clay and I was instantly hooked. Art school was the natural choice after high school and in 2012. I earned my BFA in Ceramics from Arizona State University. During my college studies, I learned about the chemistry of clay and glaze, kiln firing procedures, wheel throwing technique as well as artistic training and critique.
Where do you get your inspiration for new collections? (Everyone please check out the Dock and Tide Collection; it’s my absolute favorite!)
From literally all over! I love looking at fashion trends, especially nail polish colors, and translating them into functional ceramics. I also love looking through interior design magazines and dreaming about the beach house I will one day own. The simplicity of the desert landscapes has been on my mind lately and I’ve been incorporating a lot of that into my work as well.
What has been the most rewarding experience you have had since you started your own business?
When people come up to me and say “I saw your work at a store in town!” or “I got one of your mugs as a gift!” it makes my heart sing! The fact that people are starting to recognize and acknowledge my work makes it all worth it.
I adore your brand’s look, cohesion, and overall philosophy. Do you have any advice for the future entrepreneurs of the world in establishing their own branding style?
Thank you! It means a lot when people comment positively on my branding because it’s been a huge struggle for me.
My most sincere advice is to hire help. My background is in ceramics. Not marketing, not branding and certainly not photography. The best choice I ever made was to hire a photographer/graphic designer and a marketing specialist. Of course, the philosophy and mission needs to come from your heart- but it’s important to have great visuals and cohesive branding in today’s Instagram-obsessed society. Pick a color palette and imaging that you love, but get help where you need it.
After looking through your website and blog, I immediately resonated with your passion for living a local and sustainable lifestyle. I also connected with your outlook on holistic nutrition. Now here’s the question of the century: how would you describe your version of healthy eating and living?
Wow that really is the question of the century! Like so many other people, I struggle daily with what to eat and what not to eat. My motto for the past few years has been “eat as close to the ground as possible”. Food should be whole, and minimally processed. Tons of plants!
That being said, balance is important. If you want to eat a chocolatey, fudgey brownie, then do it. Just make sure not to over-indulge and make to eat these types of food infrequently.
As far as healthy living- I think it’s important to know where our food and our “stuff” comes from. Buying food, home goods, clothing, locally is the best way to be sustainable and waste as little as possible. Only buy what you truly need and think of ways to recycle and reuse. This also helps to declutter and simplify the home.
My favorite tip: try eliminating plastic wrap and zip-lock baggies in the kitchen and opt for reusable lidded containers.
Just for fun questions:
What does a perfect day look like for you?
Wake up late, go for a run outside or yoga class, brunch!, do some experimenting in the studio- new colors or new products, spend the evening relaxing with friends and family either at home, a local restaurant or outside by the pool.
If I could live on baked macaroni and cheese, I would. But when I’m being healthy…
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Lately, I’ve been having a scramble with eggs, spinach, tomato, mushrooms and lots of spices!
Favorite spot on planet Earth?
I’m so grateful to have been able to travel all over the world. Paris had the most stunning architecture and Kenya’s desert landscape cannot be beat.
But there really is no place like home, and I have to say that my favorite place on Earth is the Atlantic City beach. That is the place my family is from and I’ve been obsessed with the waves and the ocean for as long as I can remember.
Favorite form of self care?
Taking time to relax outside is my favorite way to unwind and decompress. If I feel the world getting the best of me, I turn off my computer, leave my phone at home, forget about working out or burning calories, and just take the time to walk through the park, read a book under a tree or layout by the pool and enjoy the view.
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Jillian is such an incredible woman, as I am sure you will agree, and I am so blessed to have gotten the chance to connect with her. For more information about her brand and her ceramics, head on over to her website.
I would also love to hear your feedback on what you thought of this kind of post. If you feel so inclined, leave a comment below and tell me about the inspirational ladies in your life.