Today I am pleased to introduce to you: J. Paris Designs
Hello! My name is Jessica. I’m originally from the Cortland area, but currently reside in Cuyahoga Falls with my husband Dan, shepherd mix puppy Harlow, and fluffy cat Gravy. My last name (maiden) really is Paris, which always seems to surprise people when they put two and two together with the store name. I got my bachelor’s degree in Interior Design & Merchandising and did that for awhile. But I really preferred more hands on jobs – getting dirty and painting or creating. My hobbies are, and always have been, anything creative. I love anything that has to do with the home, whether it be functional or purely decorative. My mind is usually overflowing with ideas that, in a perfect world, would always be carried out. However, I have more ideas than hours in the day. I currently man my store by myself, meaning that my days are spent talking with customers and working in the back of my store in the workshop area I created.
How did you learn your crafting skills?
Trial and error. I like to experiment with different furniture painting techniques. Trying a little bit of this with a little bit of that and seeing what I get. Sometimes it’s awesome, other times not so much. My first roadside find was an antique dresser that I stripped and refinished while I was in college. I still have it – mostly for sentimental purposes. It was my first refinishing project and when I look back at those early days, it’s amazing how far my abilities have come!
Why did you decide to open your handmade shop/website/blog?
I was in a job I was no longer happy with. My husband and I were at a point where we said “If we don’t do this now, when will we?” That’s really all it took. I always had a pipe dream of opening a shop where I sold all of the things I created, I just never thought it would actually happen! I consider myself very fortunate to be able to do what I love every day.
What is your favorite item in your shop, and why?
I’ve worked on so many pieces of furniture that have come and gone and I’ve had an attachment to all of them! But currently, I would have to say my favorite is a dresser I painted to look like a Craftsman rolling tool chest. It’s the second one I’ve done like that (the first was a gift for Dan) and it’s just really cool because people always have to look twice at it before realizing it’s wood, not metal!
What are your inspirations?
I really enjoy reading other blogs and following Facebook pages of businesses that are similar to mine. I only peruse Pinterest while I’m eating lunch – as a sort of mind-numbing moment to just zone out. I find it waaay too saturated with ideas to actually concentrate on any one thing. Even in this day and age, I still find it much more enjoyable to open a new design/DIY magazine instead. I also just really enjoy talking one-on-one with other like-minded people. It’s a great way to bounce ideas off of one another.
What piece of advice do you wish you could’ve given yourself when you started your shop?
Have confidence! It’s something I admittedly still struggle with from time to time. I think, in the creative world especially, that it is SO hard to take criticism some times. I put so much thought and time and heart into the pieces I work on – it’s like a piece of me is in everything I create. I really had to learn to be confident in myself and my abilities so that I could move forward with this dream and not be hindered my my own apprehensions.
Next month (November) marks our one year anniversary and the start of our whole new store! We will be moving to a larger location close-by that will feature other artists and designers who create awesome redesigned and repurposed furniture and accessories for the home. My goal is to move as little of my current inventory as possible (less work, less stress!) so if you mention Linden Hill in the shop before November 1st, you can take 15% off any item not already on sale!
Thank you to Jessica for sharing her story with us!