We had the good fortune of connecting with Jillian Oliver and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jillian, what is the most important factor behind your success?
A lot of things contribute to the success of Gert & Co, but the most important factor has been my drive to learn and teach myself new skills. You can learn anything you want to online and most of it is totally free, you just have to want to dig-in and learn. I don’t have a degree or any formal training in graphic design, but I use Photoshop every day to create my artwork. I’ve taught myself how to use graphic design software, new painting techniques, how to do bookkeeping, etc. If you want to learn something, you can. You just have to do it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I spent nearly a decade curating home furnishings brands and developing product for major retailers across the US. I worked for a large e-commerce retailer managing several categories of home goods and then I worked for an area rug company developing product and managing manufacturing.
Those experiences were integral to my journey to entrepreneurship and launching my brand, Gert & Co. They taught me the basics about running a business, managing a P&L, and how the manufacturing process works. They taught me how to curate goods and develop product based on trend and consumer demand. They also taught me that I ultimately wanted to work for myself and take that risk. I often felt stifled by creating and curating for other people and brands, which is why Gert & Co was born.
I wanted to design things that I love. Gert & Co represents my personal approach to decorating my home and life. I work with pops of color and uplifting design to make every day feel like a reason to celebrate. I can take all of the things that inspire me (happy hours, my home state of Maine, sunny days, and traveling, to name a few) and use them to influence my design. I develop things that I want to, without the strict parameters that I had when I was working for someone else.
Although my experience in corporate settings wasn’t always as creative or fun as I would have liked, it is the backbone of my success today. I’m creative, but love Excel. I design rainbow wall art, but also have an understanding of how to run a P&L. Running my own business definitely has lots of it’s own challenges and I’m forced to learn something new every day, but I’m proud of my corporate experience and everything it taught me.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my husband, Chase, who never doubts that I can do anything, even when I second-guess myself.