This week my inspirational interview is with New York based designer, Jimeale Jorgensen. She is a Melbourne born entrepreneur, philanthropist, mother of 2, wife and CEO of Jimeale New York – a leading lifestyle & travel accessory brand.
Jimeale has captured a niche in the market of functional, fashionable and affordable accessories whilst living in New York City. Her story begins sketching designs while lounging poolside on a girls’ weekend in Miami and quickly extends to carting bags of samples around mainland China, sourcing product and factory outlets, to learning pigeon mandarin and today includes selling at major department stores around the globe. Most recently she has launched her junior collection “Jack + Jimeale” and “Jim” her men’s range.
Jimeale also worked tirelessly organising and hosting charity events, raising significant amounts of money for breast cancer. She partnered with celebrities such as Jessica Szhor & Kelly Rutherford from Gossip Girl to Australia’s very own Sarah Wynter. If you ask her about the charity work, she says “you always have to give something back”.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your family and your business, Jimeale
I’m married to an Aussie boy and we have two children, 14 months apart – Makes for a circus of a household with 2 dogs, 2 cats and 1 horse! I started a business that has grown into something much bigger than I ever anticipated, I love what I do and the chaos my children, work and animals bring into our life… My husband would be shaking his ehad thinking he could use less chaos! My work means everything to me, it essentially shaped who I am now in my thirties VS when I started at 28.
I make family a priority over everything, even when I have something urgent to do for work, if the children need me or my husband wants to have lunch with me, that is my priority and amazingly things just seem to run fine – most of the time!
What was the inspiration behind creating your business?
My business was created purely from a need. I couldn’t find what I wanted so I just went out and created it. I guess at the start I was ignorant about how much work was actually involved and too stubborn to give up!
You’ve recently launched a new range for kids, what was your vision for this range?
Again I think there was a need in the market and now as a travelling mother, I see more and more things I need to create for my own reasons and to make life more simple… I am constantly saying “I can’t believe someone hasn’t made this ____ easier!” Or “Why hasn’t this been created?” And thanks to my amazing husband who says “Well go do ti! Chop, chop!” How did you get into the fashion industry? Is it something you’ve always known you would do/wanted to do?
Did you always want to work in the fashion industry?
Oh gosh no! I failed finger painitng in kinder! I wanted to be a horse vet – still do! Now thatI am in the fashion sector, I can’t go anywhere without admiring beautiful designs from linen to the skirt someone is wearing!
You’ve had your own business for a number of years now, what do you love about ‘being your own boss’?
I am quite stubborn, so its probably best I am my own boss! That way the end decision stays with me, otherwise I would forever be justifying why I want a different answer.
How do you find the time to manage your business & be there for your family?
It is a juggle.
I see these mums who say it is all a breeze and I think I am either doing something wrong or you are all telling porky pies!
I think I am pretty organised and competent but at the end of the day there is only a certain amount of hours in a day and I feel like I run from 5.30am – 11pm at night! I don’t have a nanny and I work from home as much as I can. I find I am breastfeeding walking around and doing something else at the same time. It is a juggle with a 16 month old obsessed with eating dog food but I just get up every day and give as much as I can and do the best I can.
Do you make time for yourself as well, & if so what is your favourite thing to do?
I make sure that I have time for a glass of wine with my husbane each day to go over what has been happening with his work, my work, kids, animals, and OMG did you see Katy Perry broke up with John Mayer! – to which he replies, Wow, I really needed to know that – NOT!
As a business owner and a mum what do you find the most challenging about running your business? And how do you overcome this?
The biggest challenge I find currently is managing employees, especially ones that need my guidance each day, as my children do, especially my toddler … I try and be ahead of the game and set their day out before the birds are chirping! Then when naps are happening in the house or when he’s colouring in a wall that I have given up on, I quickly respond to work stuff and then scrub the wall!
What do you love the most about having your own business?
I love having the ability to change the direction at any time point in time.. the creative aspect of change.
You’re involved with charity work as well, can you tell us some more about the charities you support and why they’re important to you?
I have always been a huge supporter of breast cancer and this is mainly because it can happen to any of us; your sister, your best friend, mother, or a stranger in the street. I believe in awareness so in fundraising and working with charities I think we can help more women be aware of the signs then early detection is the best prevention.
What are your top 5 tips for someone starting out in their own business in the fashion industry?
Have a thick skin: Don’t give up – tomorrow is a new fresh day
Have integrity: Ignore what other people are doing and always do the right thing
Give time time: Let things evolve what you start out doing today, might morph into something different tomorrow. Adapt to new things
Align yourself with positive and supportive people: Ignore the negative ones, you don’t need their advice
Become an expert in all fields: If it is a trademark issue, read up and know what you need to do. If it is a manufacturing issue, follow it from start to finish. Understand your accounting and numbers and costs. You must have a hands on approach in every part of your business to succeed.
You can find Jimeale New York travel accessories in Target Australia wide