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Conversations with the Inspiring Jessica Rose

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Rose.

Jessica, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve always had a special interest in design, and how we use spaces to live and to work. I grew up on the Central Coast, where there is typically a good amount of wide open space – then moved to the Bay Area for my undergraduate degree, and it’s quite a bit different there. I loved seeing how small shops and restaurants maximized tiny amounts of square footage through design. The more I saw, the more incredible it was to see how bare bones could be transformed into these amazing places people actually wanted to be in.

After college, I worked for an after school program in San Francisco and tutored kids in an offsite portable classroom. It was ugly, poorly lit and barely functional, everyone hated it. I started taking beginning architecture classes at city college, and that’s when I found out this was an actual career – that you could make a living improving spaces for people who really needed them.

A few years later, I moved to Southern California and earned my BFA in Interior Design, during which I had a chance to try everything from high end residential to contract furniture specification to design positions with smaller boutique architecture and design firms.  In 2016, I decided to launch my own company in an effort to have more direct relationships with clients and work on my favorite types of projects – startups and small businesses. I now specialize in working with small to medium-sized clients in creative spaces of all types.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Um, no – it has definitely not been a smooth road. I took what I like to a call the ‘blind confidence’ approach when it came to running a business. I have a lot of experience in the commercial design industry but did not necessarily have the natural businesses savvy it takes to run a company. I’d say my biggest struggle was getting my name out there. There are plenty more but I’m trying to keep this succinct…

My best advice for other young women just starting out is to find your tribe(s). I took every opportunity in school to join groups, attend meetings or volunteer for things related to what I wanted to do. Even if it didn’t end up being the right fit, at least I met some new people or learned a new skill with every new experience. I still apply that attitude to the professional industry, and I’ve met some incredible people who I am grateful to have in my corner.

My general support group is about 70% women of all ages, each with a different set of skills and strengths I admire. There is a lot of power in having someone you can call with a specific issue or hurdle in your business, it definitely adds value to my own company that I have made and maintain all these worthwhile connections.

It’s also important to note that support is a two-way street, no matter how busy I get – making myself available to those who support me is always going to be a priority. When I was considering going out on my own, I reached out to friends and strangers with offers of bringing coffee or lunch by their office in exchange for advice, or if I could – just offering to work for free.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Rose Studio Interiors story. Tell us more about it.
My company specializes in commercial and hospitality interior design services. I work primarily with businesses of all types (offices, retail, hospitality, etc.) to maximize the potential of their space through design. At this time, I’m known primarily for office design though I’m moving more into retail, wellness and community spaces as well as more hospitality projects.

What I’m most proud of is also the hardest part of my business, currently. I am a little different from other designers because my company focuses on showcasing a client’s personal style and company culture over all else. Which means always doing something different and unique for every client, and finding new ways to tell their story each time. I’m not a designer who is going to paint all the walls white and slap your logo on the wall, we dive deep into how you want to work as well as how you want people to feel in your space.

I’m also committed to working with local artisans and partnering with other local businesses, so that means often challenging people to try those new things right along with us.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
It seems to me that the door is open, now’s the time to walk right on through it. When I first started, I was 27, and it felt like some of those first clients I had were just waiting for me to make a mistake, like that would prove a young woman couldn’t do it. My constant fear of that led me to document every single thing, research each step of my business and know every detail of a project. After proving not only that you can do do it again and again, but that you have a record of doing so – it’s becomes really hard for people to question or doubt you – which means you can just get on with your work and keep moving forward.

Proving yourself and working twice as hard to earn someone’s trust is no news to anyone who has ever felt marginalized. If the company you work for isn’t going to let you do it and you know you can, then you have to make your own opportunities or find someone that will give you a shot – because they are definitely out there.

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Image Credit:

Hale Production Studios & Nufolk

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