I’m excited to debut a series for 3 Chairs all about WOMEN! I’ll be interviewing a range of ladies in their twenties to discuss all things under the sun; from relationships and career, to beauty hacks, body image, tv shows, and lots of quarter life crises :). I’m so excited to kick this off with Jerrica, my dearest friend from college, who lives in Milwaukee with her husband, Eli, and their cat, Clementine. Let’s dive in!
First of all: give us your autobiography in 5 sentences:
I grew up in small town Illinois where there are a lot of fields, cows and tanning salons. In 2008 I went off to college in yet another small town where I studied Studio Art and Economics (and met Joy!). I now live in Milwaukee and run an interior design business. What else? I never pass up an opportunity to go get ice cream.
You started your own business almost three years ago. What did it feel like to launch it off the ground?
I was working in advertising and really disliking it. I wasn’t in a creative role, and I kept thinking about diving into interior design or art school, but it was terrifying to think about. At the same time, I knew I didn’t want to wake up ten years down the road and still be at my job. So I spent six months learning industry standards; I studied books, learned the Wisconsin codes, got all my documentation, worked on my website, and finally when I felt super ready, put in my two weeks notice.
That’s pretty fearless. How did it go in the beginning?
When I started my business I still had braces. I had them for six months and it felt so awkward. I work with contractors and reps every day, and all of my clients have been older than me. I had to come off with this air of expertise that didn’t match my age, because I was twenty-four!
How did you change that?
I try to set the precedent right away, and always have a good balance of enthusiasm for the project while still talking with authority. That means that when I’m pitching new business I don’t laugh a lot, or giggle. I don’t end my sentences in a question mark. Especially with contractors, I have to lay down the law right away. When there are issues, I need to make sure to call them and have a really serious talk, which is scary because I’m still only twenty six! I don’t want to do that — I dread those calls. I want my mom to call them for me. Instead, I turn on my alter ego. She’s this super business woman from New York City, and she’s wearing power heels and killing it.
Ha, that’s awesome. Describe a day in the life of Jerrica.
Right now, my life really revolves around my work. I like to sleep in, so I get up around 8 and lay in bed checking emails before getting coffee and tending to Clementine. My work days are always so different. I could be meeting contractors on a job site, going to furniture/kitchen/bath showrooms, meeting a new client to bid out a job or getting ready for a design presentation. I do a lot of driving! I try to be home around 6 pm when Eli gets back. We eat dinner and then turn on some TV for background noise while I get back online to finish up whatever I didn’t get done during the day. I make sure to log off around 9 so we can get in some Netflix and have time to read before bed…
Any T.V. shows you’re hooked on these days?
We just finished the Sopranos (lol), and we’re currently binge watching True Detective.
Doesn’t it feel like making friends was so much easier in school? How did you make friends now?
It’s super difficult! We’ve actually made friends meeting people on chair lifts (during skiing trips). Eli’s more outgoing towards strangers, and comfortable initiating conversation. One of our New Year’s resolutions was to make more friends in this city. We try to socialize separately, too – I’ll go to my pottery classes and socialize, or go out to lunch. I need to become cooler. We should go out partying tonight, haha.
What does it feel like to be married?
Surprisingly, it feels really normal, if that’s the word for it. When you’re dating, especially in the beginning, you feel like you have to be the best version of yourself. You dress up, you tell interesting stories. Over time you settle into real life and true personalities and weird habits come out. With Eli, I can be 100% myself. Also, we have always planned our futures together, but we talk more openly about the sensitive subjects of kids and finances.
How have thoughts about your body changed?
When I was a teenager I thought I was so fat. Looking back I’m like, “what was I thinking?!” I was even self conscious about the hair on my arms! I’ve accepted it more but I still have issues. I feel like I should be five pounds lighter, but that doesn’t stop me from prancing around in my undies. And I’m trying not too focus too much on the outward appearance and more on being healthy and living an active lifestyle. It’s helpful to remember that my body isn’t for anyone else, it’s really just for me and as long as it functions the way I need it to then I shouldn’t worry about how big my thigh gap is.
What do your weeknight meals look like?
I always plan my week’s menu on Sunday morning so I can grocery shop and don’t have to think about it during the week. I plan a lot of really easy dinners for days that I know I’m not going to have a lot of time to cook and we eat a lot of leftovers. I’ll crockpot a stew and eat it for a couple of nights or thaw out salmon fillets for an easy, healthy meal. Also, I’ve finally perfect lasagna, but I can’t give away my recipe, it’s top secret
What’s the most courageous thing you’ve done in your 20’s?
Starting the business. Sometimes I still feel nervous about it, about the decisions I make. But I think nerves are good. Whenever I go into big pitches for big projects I know there’s a lot at stake and I’m really nervous, I give myself a little pep talk, something along the lines of, “good, I’m glad you’re nervous, transfer that energy into doing a good job.” There is nothing worse than feeling stagnant in what you’re doing.
What’s one beauty product you can’t live without?
Cocoa butter! I put it all over my body, sometimes in my hair. The stick helps with stretch marks, and its so cheap.
Love that stuff. I put it on my lips every night.
You can put it on your lips?! I’m going to do that now.
Thank you so much, Jerrica!!
Know someone you’d like to nominate for this series? I’d love to hear from you! Joybela@gmail.com