Jennifer Fisher on Family, Food & Fashion
Jennifer Fisher has created an extraordinary world; one full of family, healing food, and phenomenal fashion. She knows what she wants she’s not going to stop until she gets there. Albeit, humbly. The passion and love that this woman emanates is comforting in such a harsh industry. Inspired by the birth of her son, Jennifer started Jennifer Fisher Jewelry out of her bedroom, and the world of JF Jewels has grown to extraordinary scale — she frequently DM’s Rhianna on Instagram (need we say more?) We adore this woman, and so will you…
THE JOURNEY TO JEWELRY
This wasn't my first career. I feel like as you grow and you age, you evolve and you change and your interests change. I fell into this business as a complete accident. I started this company out of my bedroom after I had my son. I was a stylist before and I never expected it to turn into what it has. I think it's one of those happy accidents in life that I just never expected to happen. I think that that's really what makes life so interesting — it’s always changing and evolving.
I think the most important thing is to do what you're passionate about. Not what you are told to do or what people expect of you. That's key. My dad wanted me to study business in school, because both my brothers didn't do it, so I did. I think that's what gave me the tools to really start this business. I wanted to be in fashion, because that was my passion my entire life. I was the kid that had Vogue magazine covers cut out and pasted on my wall, because my mom was cool enough to get me the subscription when I was in high school.
I realized early on that the business side of fashion wasn't really for me, at least from an editorial perspective. When I was interning during college, I thought I wanted to be a fashion editor, or to be in ad sales and work in advertising. But when I would be on that side of the magazine watching all the clothing racks go by, I was like, ‘I am on the wrong side. This is not for me.’
"We aren't perfect, and it's just a matter of trying to make sure once you've realized you've done something wrong, not to do it again."
Then I started working for some stylists. Jeanne Yang was one of my first bosses when I was an intern. She now styles Robert Downey Jr., Brad Pitt, Christian Bale…all those guys. It's funny to still be in touch with her, and we are both doing totally different things then we were back then.
I think the key is also just being yourself, because people can see through that — just be true to who you are. I'm a big karma person. I think it's really important to treat people the way that you want to be treated, no matter who they are. My father always said to me, ‘You never know who's going to be what.’ I think relationships are really important, too. Personal and business, having good solid relationships in both, and knowing the difference between them.
ON REAL LIFE
You have to realize that all this stuff that we do during the day here is not real life. My real life is my kids and my husband and my house, when no one is around, and making sure that I don't ever lose sight of that, because you see people that do. Also, it’s funny for me to not be the youngest in this business. I see other younger designers not knowing the difference — you see how they treat certain people and I think in the back of my mind, ‘One day you'll figure it out.’
Another thing that I think is really important (even though my entire day is filled with work) is that the back of my mind is always filled with what’s going on at home and what my kids are doing. I have to make sure that they have what they need for tomorrow at the house — to make sure they're fed right and that they have what they need. To make sure that I'm home in time. I left early yesterday, and I'm starting to realize even if it's just an hour before dinner, I need to be there when they get home from certain things. My kids are getting older, so they're noticing it more. I have to go home before I go out.
I’m trying to listen to my inner voice: when I feel shitty about something, it's probably because I did the wrong thing. Like, ‘I should have been home for that, or I should have made time for that.’ But, you learn. We aren't perfect. We all fuck up. It's just a matter of realizing that you’re human. Kids are resilient, we’re resilient, and it's just a matter of trying to make sure once you've realized you've done something wrong, not to do it again.
And, I have to make sure that my kids are fed properly — that’s really important to me. I’m trying to make them eat as healthy as possible. It’s funny, because now they’ll come home hungry from friends’s houses and I’ll say, ‘Why are you so hungry?’ and they’ll be like, ‘Because I didn’t want that Dunkin Donuts.’
My son will say things like, ‘I got a headache the last time I ate donut holes before my game…’ because he’s an athlete. Between games, he'll want a piece of fruit, instead of the Gatorade or the piece of shit bars that other kids eat. I'll pack stuff for him, or I'll make sure that I make him a sandwich.
When we eat like shit, we automatically feel terrible, you know? The cleaner you are, when you eat that bad stuff, you instantly feel it. I really try to eat home as much as I can.
"My ritual every morning is that I have to cook for my kids. I'm like a short order cook."
I don’t go to therapy…I cook. I'm in the kitchen all the time. It's the one thing that keeps me totally sane and chill. I’ll go and just cook random stuff, not from recipes. My mom sent me to cooking school when I was a kid after school, which is where all this came from.
I try to drink a lot of water, and coconut water too. I try to eat everything that doesn't come out of a processed package. But alcohol really throws me off. If I've had drinks the night before, when I come in to work, I'm definitely not as focused as I should be. I take those Party Smart vitamins when I go out now, which actually help.
It’s not that hard to get my kids to eat healthy, because they always have. My husband actually eats better than I do. My husband is really, really clean. I always say he's the girl. He just considers food more like fuel. I'm the girl that's always thinking about what I'm eating for the rest of the day. I've just always had this thing with food, because my dad loves food and it's always about cooking and eating together, and really big family meals. Food is a huge part of my life.
I once read this article where Martha Stewart had talked about how she gathers her salt off of the rails of the boats in the Hamptons. I was like, ‘I'm going to try that!’ My dad always over-salts stuff when he barbecues. He's a big salt guy. He’ll go to Costco and buy those things with MSG and all that crap. So for Christmas I was like, ‘Okay, I'm going to make everyone a seasoned salt.’ And I actually I made it. I got this natural Australian sea salt online and added herbs. It doesn't seem to bloat you like other salts.
I love herbs — I try to flavor things with more herbs and spices instead of salts. I put a lot of jalapeño and fresh chiles in things. I love Indian food too, because it's seasoned with spices and no weird stuff. It's one of my favorites. That's also something I want to get into -- I want to take an Indian cooking class.
JF MORNING RITUALS
For me, if I don't have protein in the morning, I feel more scattered. I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, so I've got a weird thyroid thing, and that’s why I make so many eggs. Everyone's always like, ‘Why do you make eggs every morning?’ Its because I have to have protein in the morning, or else I feel completely off.
I drink a ton of coffee. I tried to give it up once, and I was a crabby bitch. But that's all a balance, you know? I drink these greens from Elle Macpherson, and I swear to God, when I don’t drink them, I feel weird. I’ll drink that in water before I have coffee.
My ritual every morning is that I have to cook for my kids. I'm like a short order cook. It's like, ‘What is it today guys? Is it waffles? Is it pancakes?’ I also make their lunches. That’s sort of my morning ritual, because I don't get to pick them up from school. The mornings are my thing. That’s mom time.
I also think rituals have to be flexible. Whatever you have time for that night, you just have to get in what you can. My best friends are into meditating, but I tried that, and I get bored — I start thinking about work. I'm just not that girl.
"I'm such a geek. Cooking dinner is really exciting for me. I’m always experimenting with new stuff."
My new thing is doing an hour of cardio a day. I feel like over the last year, when I stopped doing cardio, I got really lazy. I want to get my cardio back. I'm really into the VersaClimber. There's only one at the gym, and no one uses it. It's the only piece of equipment that actually gives you a real workout, because it's hard. I'm trying to alternate between that and the treadmill, because I can't really run. I had 4 foot surgeries on my left foot, so I'm totally tweaked. I try to walk uphill really, really fast, and then run a little bit. Then I'll stop, and I'll go do the VersaClimber.
I’ve also been really into Tracy Anderson's streaming videos lately, because I can do it at home. I also do yoga and sit-ups at home, but just for a little bit. I used to go to SoulCycle and all these group classes, but it's not for me anymore. I don't want to socialize at the gym, I just want to go. I want to get it out of the way and do it, and feel good, and feel like I got a good sweat in. I'm definitely not one of those regimented workout, perfect girls.
THE NIGHT RITUAL
Drink (laughs). You think I'm lying…but I’m Irish, I can't help it. Of course, I don't drink when I go home with my kids and I'm not going out. I only drink on nights that I have a work thing, or I'm actually going somewhere. And if it's an important work thing, I don't drink at all. I only drink if I'm in comfortable situations, with editors that are friends.
I think it's so important to know, in this business, that everything is so focused on that. People are always going for drinks. If one of my pregnant friends is like, ‘Let's go out.’ I'm like, ‘Oh yes, great!’
I always stretch at night, which is sort of random, but it’s a thing I do for 5 minutes. I studied Iyengar yoga when I was pregnant with both kids. I love doing these forward stretches, where you stick your hands under your toes and stretch out. It feels so good at the end of the day, so I always do that before bed.
I also love to cook at night. I'm such a geek. Cooking dinner is really exciting for me. I’m always experimenting with new stuff. A chef friend of mine — Sam Talbot — gave me his cool Israeli couscous recipe that I tried the other night. My husband was like, 'This is really good. You should choose something different every night.’ So now we’re going to start doing that. I’m also trying to make my own things that don't have as much sodium, and don't have gluten in them. I made the Gwyneth Paltrow’s hoisin sauce, which is so good.
I don't have a lot of night rituals. If I'm being really, really good, I'll drink a giant thing of hot water with lemon before bed. That's really it.
PARTNERS IN JEWELS
My husband is my new president. He's here every day, all day. It's weird but it's cool. He's on a different floor. We don't really commute in together, which is sort of key. The days that we do, it's really annoying, because we're talking about work the entire time. When I’m alone I want to be returning emails or calling someone that I haven't had a chance to talk to.
Thank God he's here, because he used to work in finance and now we're growing together. I think the key is having someone here that really knows how to grow the business. I've done the best that I can so far — it gets to a certain point that you need a little extra help. And who am I going to trust more than my husband?
"I know where I want to be, and I’m not there yet. That's what drives me."
My husband is always like, ‘Okay, how are we going to move the needle today?’ I think my end goal for each day is to make sure that I've done something that I feel I kind of didn't want to do. It's like, let's get through something today that I don't want to deal with, that's the last thing that I want to do, because once it's done, I move that much closer to whatever else is next. Half the time it's something to do with business that I don't really want to deal with. Once I get that done, it's always the best feeling.
People say to me, ‘Do you want to be a lifestyle brand? We're seeing all the food and all this stuff on Instagram. Where are you going?’ And I see it moving in that direction — staying in jewelry entirely, but also adding extra categories to the business. We're working on it now. Obviously, having to do with food in some way. I'm not the jewelry designer that wants to go make a handbag. I'm just not. I have no desire to do that, or to make shoes.
I was having this conversation with someone the other day. They said, ‘You know, it's so funny. You can make up whatever you want now.’ The world of social media has changed business exponentially. That old business model of what worked for other people isn't going to work for me. What I want to do is entirely different. I don't want to do what anybody else has done.
WHAT’S THE DRIVE?
I'm just not there yet. Why would I quit now? I know where I want to be, and I’m not there yet. That's what drives me. I know where I want to go, and I know what I want this to become. I have to keep going.
I wasn't born into this industry. I have no major connections, and a lot of people have a lot of great things going for them that I don't have. I don't have that option of getting lazy and knowing that it's going to still be there for me if I decide to lay back one day. I have to work that much harder, because no one is going to do it for me.
My daughter already tells me she wants to come work for my company and take over the business. I guess there's my legacy right there. I think I gave birth to myself times ten. I've already been told what my legacy is going to be, and that's going to be her.
I was recently talking to my husband and said, ‘The one thing that I feel like I haven't really done yet is anything in charities.’ The thing that's really important to me —and it breaks my heart every day — is that there's kids in the United States that are waking up hungry going to school. That's something that I want to get involved in this year. It kills me. When I'm feeding my kids breakfast in the morning, I think about it. They're going to school on an empty stomach. How are you supposed to go to school and learn if you haven't been fed? That's so sad to me, and it's here in the United States. That's a goal for me — to work towards something like that.