Hey friends, I want to introduce you to a new gal today, Jillian Bremer! She’s the founder of Sweet & Spark, a new online shop carrying a tightly curated and affordable selection of vintage jewelry! You may have seen her on the Rachel Zoe’s blog or read up on her 10 tips on finding the best vintage jewelry on LuckyMag.com.
Jillian is one big sweetheart! When she reached out and introduced me to her shop, she was so sincere and personal (how can you turn down someone like that?!) It also happens that I have a soft spot for vintage jewelry. Not that I’m a huge collector, but I do adore the unique characteristics it has over some of today’s mass market or “vintage-inspired” jewelry. I tend to gravitate to the more chain-y and costum-y ones, I like how it makes more of a statement. Jillian also invited me over to her SF home/work studio to pick some of my faves to feature on her site. I love seeing the collection and trying them on in person!
What I love most about Jillian’s business is that she partners with her dad. He’s the one who’s doing all the buying at flea markets and yard sales and she’s the one curating and running the business. Talk about a father-daughter duo! It’s almost unheard of these days. I found Jillian to be quite an inspiration to me so I decided to run a little Q&A to learn more about this young entrepreneur!
(Jillian did my DIY Polka Dot Jewelry Dish and uses it at trade shows! So neat!)
SST: What inspired you to start Sweet & Spark? JB: Sweet & Spark started as a lifestyle blog in April 2011 as a creative outlet from living life on the road as a former buyer for all American Brands, most recently helping launch a new brand for American Eagle Outfitters. After the brand I was working on closed, I decided to leave and pursue my dream of building a brand by combining my dad’s antiquing hobby with my merchandising background. I’d grown up going to yard sales and flea markets with him and was always amazed at how much cool stuff is out there! I re-launched in November 2012 as a curated, vintage jewelry brand.
SST: What is the most challenging thing to starting your own business? JB: 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 if now at our fingertips. So once you stop consuming information and start taking action, you realize the incredible power of momentum. 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”.
SST: What is the most rewarding? JB: Ah, this journey has certainly been filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows and it’s 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.
SST: Where are you finding your vintage pieces? JB: My dad is responsible for what I like to call, “the dirty work” scouring yard/estate sales, flea markets & antique shops along the East coast. We’re focusing on affordable costume jewelry from the 40s-90s from the likes of Monet, Trifari, Coro, etc. At the core we’re about gold-plated classics and seasonally, we are building collections mimicking current trends. Right now we have a black & white and bold gold collection. We also recently launched a wedding collection! As everything is one of a kind, make sure to sign up for emails to be the first to hear about weekly new arrivals.
SST: Why did you choose SF to start your business? JB: I’m originally from Buffalo, NY but lived in San Francisco for a few years after college and was always inspired by the entrepreneurial community out here. From fellow-entreprenuers to bloggers to customers, I’ve met so many cool new people along this journey. Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive. And you can never beat catching coffee with a fellow entrepreneur or like minded friend, it always helps re-energize the soul!
Any motto you live by? “You only live one time. One single time.”
Thank you so much to Jillian for the inspiration and being here with me. Thank you to Dustin Soriano for the lovely photos! I hope you found yourself a new shop to browse if you ever needed a jewelry fix! Don’t forget to stay friends with Sweet & Spark on facebook, instagram, pinterest & twitter and use hashtag #sharethespark