Jillian Bremer is ambitious, creative, and savvy, and we are loving hearing about her endeavors (that involve lots of sparkly, pretty things!) on our business blog today! With Sweet & Spark, vintage jewelry has never been more easily accessible or affordable! Jillian does an incredible job – along with her pops! – at finding unique and stunning vintage pieces that she knows we’ll all drool over! We took a peak inside her office and her brain and came out inspired and in need of some arm candy .. ahem.. those bracelets!
Name: Jillian Bremer
Company: Sweet & Spark, Curated Vintage Jewelry
City: San Francisco
Tell us a little about Sweet & Spark and how it got started!
Sweet & Spark started as a lifestyle blog in 2011 as a break from life on the road as an apparel buyer. When the new brand I was working on for American Eagle Outfitters closed, I decided to take some time off. I found myself back at yard sales & flea markets with my dad, like I did as a kid, for the first time again in twenty years. I was amazed at the quality and style of vintage costume jewelry and was puzzled as to why there wasn’t a brand dedicated to bridging the gap between vintage and modern. Since my dad has been antiquing for 30+ years, when I re-launched Sweet & Spark as a curated vintage jewelry brand, he was able to help me get started. To be honest, I didn’t know a thing about vintage!
Your Jewelry is beautiful! What’s the process behind finding such perfect vintage pieces?
Together my dad and I are traveling around the country scouting the best one-of-a-kind finds from estate sales, private buyers, antique fairs and yard sales. You can follow our hunt (#sparkhuntin’) on Instagram @sweetnspark and get first dibs on some of our favorite finds!
At the core we’re about gold plated classics and rhinestone bridal jewelry, but seasonally we curate collections mimicking modern trends. Right now we’re featuring a collection called, Master Minimalism based around everyday layering necklaces and bracelets. Since we span so many decades, from the 1950’s- 90’s, there’s always something for everyone. And the best part is that most is under $100! Stay tuned, well be launching an Out West collection later this month with lots of turquoise and copper.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
There is no average day! As a business owner, you have to become a master of all trades. My work week is spent on a variety of different tasks, from Sparkhuntin’ to curating new collections, coordinating/directing photoshoots, answering customer emails, shipping orders and long story short, you have to embrace that your to-do list will never be complete. The early mornings are when I get the most done. I try to focus on the hard tasks first because I know the days are always filled with a lot of multi-tasking.
The fact that you never know exactly what the day will bring never gets old! The most challenging part is keeping it a priority to not overbook yourself so that you have the space to continue to come up with new ideas instead of being reactive.
What has been your favorite/best experience with Sweet & Spark?
It’s been so meaningful reconnecting with old friends and making so many new. This journey has certainly been filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows and its those highs that are truly exhilarating. The only thing that gets me through the lows is a constant believe that the journey will bring another high. I don’t believe there is one single tipping point that has propelled me forward, it’s all the little things together that make S&S what it is today and that have led me to this place of comfort, sharing my Spark with others. I’m just as passionate about paying it forward as I am about building a brand.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
The biggest game changer for me was reading Seth Godin’s book, The Linchpin back in 2011. To this day, I still read his blog daily and The Linchpin yearly. His belief is that throughout our lives we’re taught how to follow the rules and now that we’re living in an information revolution it’s our opportunity to contribute to the movement by breaking out of the norm. There’s more noise on the Internet than ever. I’m a believer that content is king and building a small, involved tribe is more valuable in the long run than a massive, passive one. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Realizing that you can’t do it alone has enabled me to build a vast and diverse network. I’m especially thankful for my top 5 go-tos that I know I can call anytime to bounce ideas off of, without them I would be lost.
What business advice would YOU give to young entrepreneurs like yourself attempting to start their own company?
Leaving corporate America was definitely the scariest thing I’ve ever done but I knew there was never going to be a better time. The hardest part is making the decision and starting, the rest evolves from there. Anything we want to know is now at our fingertips. So once you stop consuming information and start taking action, you realize the incredible power of momentum & serendipity. I can’t tell you how many youtube videos I watched at the beginning trying to figure out photoshop and the basics of coding! I still find myself asking for help via twitter, emailing old colleagues or “googling it”. Focus on what’s working and don’t over complicate things.
Do it. You only live one time. One single time.
What I wanted to be when I grew up: Teacher
Beauty secret: Bold Lipstick, always.
If I could work for anyone, it would be: My younger sister (who owns Good Clean Food Hawaii).
What gets me going on Monday Mornings: Bodyrok & Coffee