We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Gardner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always been doing different businesses on the side, even as a little girl. But I had never had a partner. I had the dream, but needed the extra push. When friend, and now co-founder of Dreamer & Co, presented her business plan for marketing artisan-made jewelry to a U.S. audience, I knew this was it. I was already committed to living in the country where the artisans worked and wanted to find a way to help them succeed in business. Knowing that I wouldn’t be doing it alone and having a passion and greater sense of purposes for our business made it seem like an easy choice!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Dreamer & Co is a for-profit jewelry company that works with artisans who have been trained to create handmade paper bead jewelry. All of these women we work with have told us that before they had the opportunity to work making jewelry they were just sitting at home, waiting to be married off by their families or forced to work around the house all day without pay. Now, they tell us they are happy and feel empowered knowing they get to make money doing something they love! We have had many hard days. Our first priority is making sure the women do not just get paid, but that they thrive. That means we have to work extra hard to make sure our inventory is selling and we have enough money to buy more. We also pay up front for the product and do not make them work on commission. This has allowed them to earn more than 3 times what they were making before we entered into a partnership.
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?
I recently moved back to Dallas after living in Africa, so I feel like someone may need to take me around! But some of my favorite places are probably some of the ones that hold the best memories. If it’s a beautiful day I’d say we start downtown and check out Klyde Warren Park. Since my life now involves toddlers, my of my activities tend to be kid related. Klyde Warren provides a little bit of fun for us both. We’d grab coffee at the nearest spot (because I always need coffee in my hand) and you better believe we are having tacos for lunch, probably Torchy’s. Then we’d nap. Because the best days have naps. Afterward we’d get dressed up go to my favorite restaurant for an early dinner, Rise No 1. Once we finish our souffles we would head to the Belmont Hotel and get a look of the city. It’s the perfect place to take in some beauty. Then if there’s time, we would head to Bishop Arts and shop some of the local places. If not, there’s always tomorrow…
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
100% the shoutout goes to my co-founder, Baylee Eby. Without her dedication and friendship we would be nowhere. Not a day has gone by where we haven’t talked since starting Dreamer & Co over 3 years ago. We also credit so many amazing organizations and business out there who have been willing to jump on a call with us, disclose information, and give us tips for running a business.
Instagram: @jessicaleegardner or @dreamerandco_
Other: Personal website: thegardnerhome.com
all images by Jessica Gardner