Jackie Chemelli is the owner and head designer of Lace Brick Design. She, like many of us, lived another life while dreaming of taking the dive into starting her own business. We think she’s got the kind of story that may help inspire you to follow your dreams and start a business with Impact. We sure felt inspired after the interview was over, so want to share all the details with you.
Tell us a little bit more about Lace Brick Design. What is it that you do?
We are a lifestyle brand for the adventure-seeking female. We develop and create apparel, jewelry, and camp supply items for the nine-to-five girl who’s sitting at her desk job and dreams of backpacking, summiting a mountain, or exploring a new town. We’re based out of Calgary. We have an e-commerce platform on our website and we are also available in 45 plus stores across Canada.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started.
I used to be a kindergarten teacher. I taught for 10 years. When I made my first pair of earrings, I was on a solo trip to a Vancouver Island. I was gonna be camping on the coast there. I was killing some time in Kitsilano and happened to walk by a bead supply store. I walked in and thought, “Hey, I’m gonna be on the beach for a while, I don’t really have anything going on, I think I’ll buy some…”
I’ve never made earrings before in my entire life. But I thought, “I’ll just buy some tools and start to make some earrings,” so random!
I ended up coming back from that trip with a ton of earrings and jewelry, but I also had some stuff sort of sitting inside my house that I had created. I thought, “What am I gonna do with this stuff? I’d love to share it with the world,” and so I created a Facebook page.
It was just family and friends at first that were buying my stuff when I would post pictures. And then I started to do local markets, all while I was teaching. Then, I transitioned from teaching into doing Lace Brick Design full-time. I launched the website last year, and it’s just been snowballing ever since.
What would you say was your biggest “a-ha!” moment?
I feel like every day is a learning curve for me. I try to read as many articles as I can. As far as an “a-ha!” moment—I think they happen daily.
I do remember right at the beginning, I was watching a video. Steve Harvey was speaking about following your gift in life, taking the jump, and being fearless. He said that the universe will make room for your gift. You will not fail if you’re following what you’re meant to be. It just stuck with me. I thought about it every day for months. And that was a huge a-ha for me, and that’s what led me to take the leap.
If there was one thing that you would say has held you back over the years, what do you think that might be?
The idea of society thinking that you’re supposed to go and do one thing and follow that thing and you’re not supposed to sort of veer and take risks—doing what you’re supposed to do that provides financial security. Have a nine-to-five salary-based job. You can live in that bubble, but that’s not where growth happens.
What would you say is the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome since you started Lace Brick?
Keeping up with demand means constantly changing, and adjusting, and evolving, and growing so that we can meet the demand for online orders, store orders, and keep things fresh. I’m grateful for the success, so I don’t know if ‘obstacle’ is the right word, but it’s definitely been something that’s constantly been on my mind and I’ve been putting energy towards it.
What about your proudest moment?
The first one was getting the email from Hallmark saying they wanted to carry Lace Brick Design. I still don’t think I’ve got my mind around that one!
I’ve also been working on building my personal brand alongside Lace Brick Design. I’m out and somebody recognizes that I am the person behind Lace Brick, it’s really affirming.
What would be a big piece of advice for somebody who’s looking to start in your industry?
Get your product out there and be recognized. Invest from the get-go in product photography.
Networking, getting out there and meeting people.
Then, really having a clear idea of what it is you’re creating and selling, and the brand that you want to build, and being open to evolution around that.
Where do you see the company going?
We’re working hard on all aspects of the business right now—keeping things fresh, coming out with new collections. We’re working on the Fall Collection now, and we’re looking for a studio space so we can really streamline our processes.
I want Lace Brick Design to be a household name. I want women across Canada, across the world, to know Lace Brick Design.