In Deirdra's words:
My name is Deirdra Jones, and I live in work in NYC. I am the co-owner of Jones of Boerum Hill, an apron and workwear company that I own with my husband. I am also currently the Technical Design Manager at NYC based fashion company Steven Alan. I've been working in NYC's fashion industry for about 11 years now, in a variety of jobs and companies.
When I graduated from Savannah College of Art & Design with a bachelor's in Fashion Design, I had big dreams of being a fashion designer in New York City, sketching all day, working in some sort of beautiful industrial loft office. The reality of the fashion industry is much, much different, especially for entry level workers. I started off working at a very depressing, very emotionally taxing company that made cheap knock-offs for Walmart. Mostly, we just bought things from other brands, and brought them back to measure them, photograph them, and send them off to China to be copied and reproduced on a mass scale.
It had nothing to do with design.
The next step
After about a year, I quit, and told my boss that I would rather work in a restaurant than for a company like that...and so I did (work in a restaurant, briefly).
From there, I decided to get myself a fashion agent and start taking freelance jobs, which was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I learned all of the different aspects of the fashion industry, from trend research, to domestic and overseas production, mens, womens, and kids fashion design, and finally, technical design. I ended up getting flown out for a three month job at Abercrombie in Ohio, and I was there when I got a life-changing call. On the phone was my mentor, Mark Montano, asking me if I would like to take over his dress shop in the East Village. I was 24...and I jumped on the next flight back to NYC.
I produced womens knit dress and wool coats, and ran the shop successfully for about two years. I eventually closed the shop, right before the recession was about to hit, and went full time, accepting the position as Technical Designer at Steven Alan (another freelance client that I had).
By this point, my now husband had moved here from England to start our life together, and was starting to work his way into the real estate industry. As it turned out, he hated it! Being a real estate agent in England is completely different to being one in the USA, and especially Manhattan. He won lots of awards, but just couldn't stand what he was doing.
The big idea
That's when we had the "big idea". We decided to go into business together. I could bring the production and design know-how and connections, and my husband could do sales and marketing. We finally settled on high-end aprons & workwear for the hospitality industry, after noticing that it was a largely unserviced market.
We started with one restaurant, and have now grown to dozens of clients, in addition to our retail sector. We were featured in the Wall Street Journal last year, sparking a wave of retail sales to home chefs across the globe. We've also been lucky enough to work with some celebrity chefs, and are about to launch our apron line in Japan this fall. We are now working on developing a line of shirts, jumpsuits, and work jackets.
It's a TON of work, a lot of risk, and loads of stress, but the response we have gotten from our customers has been overwhelming and wonderful. It makes it all so worth it. It's important to put things into perspective, and realize you have a limited time on this earth. You should take risks, and try and go for what you want.
We live in an incredible age now, where social media has allowed anybody to show the world what they can do. It's the best time ever to go for your goals, and reach for the stars.
We are looking forward to our future with Jones of Boerum Hill, and cannot wait to see how the company grows!
Unbuttoned with Deirdra Jones
Style icon: no one in particular, but I take loads of inspiration from women on the street in NYC, and my co-workers at Steven Alan
Favorite heroine: Katniss Everdeen is pretty badass
Dream lunch date: well, it would be a boozy lunch date, but definitely Keith Richards
Idea that changed your life: that when I believe in myself, everyone else does, too
Always trying to improve: my diet
Most envious of: people on Instagram who always seem to be on vacation!
Most inspired by: people without fear
Fashion item you would ban: clogs
Favorite piece in your wardrobe: my limited release Kill Bill Asics sneakers from Kith
Biggest extravagance: Sneakers, see above!
Irrational fear of: boredom
Brains or beauty: brains, always
Audrey or Katharine Hepburn: Katharine
Jennifer Lopez or Lawrence: Lawrence
Diamonds or pearls: diamonds