There's Jack & Lola...
And Gabriela Mier
Since Jack & Lola's opening in March, Gabriela (aka Gaby) Mier has been hard at work behind the scenes making sure the shop runs smoothly. So as the shop continues to grow we thought it'd be a good idea to formally introduce Gaby. We discussed everything from the beginning of Jack & Lola to the future of Jack & Lola. Meet Gaby the founder, curator, designer, manager, and the visionary who brought Jack & Lola to life.
1. Has having your own shop been something that you've wanted to do for a while? What was it that made you jump the gun and open up Jack & Lola?
Owning a business has been something I've dreamed of doing my whole life. My mom is a successful business owner and was always at every volleyball game, every theater production, and there to pick me up every day after school. I always hoped to be able to provide that for my family while generating steady income. Why now? Well, the Texas stars aligned perfectly and I was able to bunk up, so to speak, with an existing company and share space in South Austin. Through architecture school and beyond I longed for a boutique specializing in home goods and accessories, somewhere I could put my design education to practice, but I never thought that finding a locale would be so difficult - and expensive! Cue Fortress of Inca, my big brother/roommate in this endeavor. They were looking for a new office space and I was toying with the idea of jumping headfirst into entrepreneurship. Together we now have a space on one of the best corners of South Austin, with parking, steady foot traffic, and affordable enough to somewhat alleviate the shock of the risk.
2. As a new Austinite and first time entrepreneur were you hesitant to open up Jack & Lola? What advice would you give to first time entrepreneurs thinking about starting their own business?
When I find that the shop is quiet and it's just me and the music (when the Bluetooth is working right) I think back on the last 5 months and how far everything, and I, have come. The quintessential, "is this real?" runs through my mind and I wonder what would have happened if I had said no just once. Shonda Rhimes just released a book called The Year of Yes - which I admit to not having had time to read yet - but I feel like that's exactly what I'm living. Had I not said yes in January to taking this crazy risk and bootstrapping it all - because I certainly didn't have tens of thousands of dollars to spare on a dream - I'd probably be sitting at home wondering what if. I also want to point out that I've done this all while keeping my full-time job. I work 8-5(ish) Monday-Friday in the corporate world and run the store nights and weekends. I took my first day off for Memorial Day in who knows how long and I have major FOMO every weekend. But this little adventure is mine, I wrote it, I built it and I have to keep it alive.
My advice to first time entrepreneurs is to take a chapter out of Nike's book and just do it. Bootstrap it. Get a loan. Ask your friends to help. Get your hands dirty and Do It. It's going to suck sometimes - okay lots of times. But if you don't do it now then when? Sure your POS system isn't going to be perfect and you might miss a legal document at first but those are things you can fix. Seriously, my Bluetooth is the worst but that doesn't make or break my business. Me being there and cultivating it and making connections with my customers is what makes or breaks it. And frankly I'm too invested to watch it break.
3. The interior of the shop is beautiful, did you take a hands on approach designing the shop?
Aw thank you! It's certainly a labor of love and one that I took on personally. I designed, scrubbed, and painted every corner of Jack & Lola using a very neutral pallet of whites, blacks and neutral wood finishes which allow my products and makers to be the #1 focus within. Since Jack & Lola is named after my grandparents I wanted them to be proud of what I built and how I built it.
4. What are your must have items from the collection?
I have a serious problem - I want to take everything home with me! If only I could order samples in every size and styles for myself. My most recent must haves are on my summer list:
- Deck of cards
because you always need them when you don't have them
-Finally a good leather mini clutch
to hold everything. You want to be able to grab your most important things and go on a whim. Summer is long and there's lots to do!
5. What should we look forward to seeing in future collections of Jack & Lola
I wish you could hear my squeeks of joy via written text because this is the super exciting part. Having Jack & Lola has already introduced me to so many wonderful makers that are incredibly talented and so humble. Coming soon you will see a new natural skincare line by hand and previously tested by me. It'll change your life. Plus one of the products is a delicious body moisturizer doubling as bug repellent for those nasty summer mosquitoes. I'm also working with an organization that provides fair wage, sustainable jobs to women in Venezuela from who I will be sourcing leather goods. Stay tuned!
Now for a quick short round of fun questions:
6. Boston or Austin?
Boston summers, Austin winters. Boston sports, Austin happy hours. Boston's downtown, Austin's great big sky. Did I mention Boston sports?
7. Who's that dog?
Chico! The moodiest, weirdest looking, cuddliest, cutest little nugget. He's our rescue dog who came from a horrible place in Puerto Rico called Dead Dog Beach. He was rescued by the amazing people at Sato Project and is my ultimate marketing guru. I mean, who can resist that face?
To find out more about The Sato Project click here.
8. If you were an item, what item would you be from the collection at Jack & Lola?
Ooo another tough choice! My first instinct is to stay the ceramic gold-rimmed wine cups by Settle Ceramics. They're delicate, fun, unique and adventurous - all things I strive to be!
Come see for yourself all of Gaby's curated goods at 503 W. Mary St. Austin, Tx.
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See you next Friday!