From fashion to fabric - for cushions, that is. It's not a huge jump, but starting your own business is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you walk away from a role that's as prestigious as managing director for Diesel in Australia. This Miss Jones has a lot of guts. And style, too, as you'll see on her online homewares shop Have You Met Miss Jones. So, have you met Jennifer Jones?
How and why did you start Have You Met Miss Jones? My parents have always had a homewares business in the Philippines where we used to live. After leaving Diesel to start my own fashion distribution company they convinced me to exhibit at a gift and homewares trade fair with some products they have been selling to the UK and Europe. It was a test to see if the Australian market wanted the collection. The response was fantastic and was the sign that we had a business here. I also still run the fashion company with a partner who I met in Diesel.
What has been the response? The response to our products has been overwhelming. From the first trade fair to the reaction I get when something is featured in a magazine. The translucence of the bone china is something everyone loves.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? Having your own business challenges you in every way – emotionally and physically when the containers come in and need to be unpacked. What has turned out to be unexpected is the support you get from other business owners. I’ve formed a tight group of “colleagues” who own their own businesses and we talk every day. This has been essential since you don’t have the usual network in the office to bounce ideas off. We have Friday night drinks and a Christmas party, too!
What has been a highlight? Going back to the Philippines and doing business with suppliers that have known me since I was a kid was a real highlight. Also showing the people working in the bone china factory their products featured in beautiful magazines. They get so excited and inspired.
Where do you look to for inspiration? I like to spot trends in overseas magazines and newspapers. I love department stores like Selfridges and pour over their website. Fashion has a heavy influence and so websites like Topshop show me a quick snapshot of what is going on in Europe. Plus, I have some great friends overseas and we swap ideas all the time.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Go with your gut instinct. In the last two years there have been times when I’ve ignored it and the situations always became problems. Also, pay for quality, if someone is willing to do something cheap for you then there is usually a reason.
What are you passionate about right now? Beauty in regular everyday objects. Simple objects being captured in pure white bone china and transformed. Our bone china milk bottle was the bestseller at the fair and was one of the simplest items with clean lines.
What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to my next production trip to the Philippines. We work really hard for a week then we take off to the island of Boracay and have massages every day on the beach. It’s the perfect work/play holiday. Plus, I bump into a relative at least every 5 minutes!
What are you reading? Jennifer Jones won’t leave me alone! It’s a kids' book I read to my goddaughter Charlie about a persistent little girl called Jennifer Jones who chases a boy at school. Sounds familiar...
Images courtesy of Have You Met Miss Jones.