We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenni Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenni, how do you think about risk?
I was just thinking the other day about the concept of risk and safety and all the fear factors involved that would prevent a person from pursuing their dreams. Be it physical, emotional, or financial; if you’re curious about at least one of these things, you might be inclined to take big leaps. For me, making the decision to move across the country, where I met stellar people who provoked my mind and satiated my interests, led me on a journey that was just a seed of an idea. Risk taking does require research and a grasp of reality, but if I hadn’t been naive a few times, I might not have been so bold. And maybe it’s not naivety, but a trust in … yourself, your work ethic, your God? A blind devotion to your craft and well-being. Whatever it is, I think if you jump, the “universe” will throw out a safety net.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I went to business school in Virginia and it was after a study abroad that I really became motivated to leave my hometown. California wasn’t first on the list, but it’s where I ended up. I love geography, art and history. Fashion, yes. But, I dropped a minor in merchandising with the thinking I would fall into it if it were meant to be. I did fantasize about owning a collective store of worldly found objects but never thought about being a vintage dealer. 5-10 years ago, second hand clothing stores in LA flourished with the most unique things that I began to collect for my own satisfaction. I started Etsy in 2011 with a slow start because it was hard to sell the pieces I loved so much! Eventually it became less casual when I quit my full-time job and pursued it more intently.
It’s easy to get lost when there’s no structure in the beginning of any endeavor unknown. Sure, you can model yourself around your peers in the field but where you stand out is your presentation, your product and your person-ability.
Taking a nuanced approach and building from experience is how you grow pro.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since I live in West LA and can easily jump on the PCH, I’d probably drive North and hit Matador Beach for a daytime sunbathe, but go at low-tide so you can explore the sea caves and tide pools. On the way back, I’d suggest dining at Reel Inn, my favorite seafood spot on the coast, it’s super casual, order at the counter type deal with a great patio. Another option would be to cruise inland through the canyons and end up on Mullholand Drive at The Old Place for good wine and comfort food set in this primitive wood cabin style eatery. On Wednesday nights, there’s an amateur comedy night at the Speakeasy underneath The Townhouse in Venice. Some of it’s cringe worthy, but one night Bryan Callen came out and gave a surprise set, which scored me points with a date… There’s always amazing bands playing live on East Side, a ton of Gallery openings, I’ve heard iconic artist give profound lectures for FREE at Museums. Not to mention unlimited access to natures wonderland in the landscape of Southern California.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As much as we push through life on our own, it’s really the company we keep who define our trajectory. I can draw back to several people in my life who gave me a chance, the first being my friend Faye and her husband Keith who let me crash at their place in LA, without really knowing me when I initially moved to LA without a clue. And to the guy I dated who lived in California, not sure where he is now, but I wouldn’t here today without that connection. To Liz, who would say “where would you be now if you had done it already?!” I’ve been endlessly inspired by my friend Jessalyn Brooks who has become an incredible painter, forever talented, genuine and raw.
And of course My Family (100%), past employers, The Internet, even the transient man who gave me the most insightful advice a stranger ever could.