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Meet Jacki Geary of JAX Atelier in North Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacki Geary.

Jacki, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been an artist my entire life. I’ve loved to draw portraits ever since I was a little kid. Although I was a shy kid, I was drawn to theater and began acting and singing in productions at the age of 13. After being in the performing arts field for 10 years, I turned my focus back to art and decided to go back to school for graphic design. During that program, I took a photography class and fell in love with the art of photography. I quickly changed my focus and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in photography. I opened a photography business and began shooting weddings and portraits for about ten years.

During these years I began drawing and painting again and created dual careers as a photographer and painter. While shifting mainly to painting in recent years, I then started to get the itch to do something a bit different with my artistic abilities. I have always made artsy things and given them away as gifts, such as jewelry, greeting cards or any kind of handmade item. I decided to create a new business so that I can make and sell all of the things that I create under one umbrella. After months of building inventory, photographing product, designing a website and all of the other business necessities, I officially launched JAX Atelier in November of 2018.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being a one-woman show can be challenging. There are so many moving parts to keep a business rolling along smoothly and doing everything by myself has been difficult at times. I’ve been very lucky that my products have been so well received, so things have moved along much faster than I expected. Keeping up with building inventory for my online shop and the stores that carry my work, as well as handling all of the marketing and accounting, has been a round-the-clock ordeal, but it’s a good problem to have! As the business grows I’m sure I’ll have to bring on one or two people to help me with production because making all of the things myself is a bit physically taxing on my hands and I need these babies to work for a long time to come!

We’d love to hear more about your art.
I want to bring joy to people through JAX Atelier products, so making things that bring a smile to people’s faces makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Although I also do fine art and block printing, as this business grew over the last year, I realized that jewelry has become a larger focus. I really enjoy the art of making jewelry and it allows me to be expressive through sculpture and design in creating wearable art.

Giving back is something that is important to me. Homelessness is a huge problem, especially here in San Diego, and it breaks my heart every day. In an effort to help others through my creativity, a percentage of each sale at JAX Atelier is donated to local and national homeless charities.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Utter commitment to making this business thrive is most important to its success. Having the drive and passion to push through obstacles and turn no’s into positive redirection has been extremely helpful in my process. I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to learning new things and I tend to make them work for me rather quickly. I read a quote that says, “This time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience”. Having the background that I do allowed me to have a running start and I’m very grateful for that.

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