Stepping into Motherhood and Building a Business That Lasts with Simply Jessica Marie
The snow is thick outside, and I'm here drinking hot cocoa in my favorite Ginger Jar with Peonies mug from Simply Jessica Marie, thinking, "There's power and beauty in learning from each other." That's why we love talking to women founders and leaders we admire.
One of them is Jessica Marie Peddicord, the woman and creative entrepreneur behind art and lifestyle shop Simply Jessica Marie.
Filled with watercolor artworks with pops of crisp pastels, romantic bows and sweet floral elements, her brand gives off the vibe we love. Fun and feminine, classic with a fresh and modern twist—the Grandmillenial aesthetic.
With a 49,000-strong and engaged Instagram following, successful collaborations with well-loved lifestyle brands like Stylin Brunette, Namesake, and LO Home, and features in SouthernLiving, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Vogue, Jessica has created a name for herself among the Grandmillenial aesthetic fans.
Alongside growing a successful brand, she’s about to step into a new and exciting journey —motherhood! So, we reached out to her to talk about building a business, finding her place in the Grandmillenial aesthetic niche, keeping the balance, and stepping into motherhood for our blog.
Getting to know the woman behind Simply Jessica Marie
With her success, it’s easy to imagine that Jessica had it all figured out right from the start. In this interview, she tells us about her humble beginnings as a side-hustling creative entrepreneur and artist, and shares wisdom that one can only learn from actually pursuing their dreams for a solid nine years and counting.
So without further ado, here’s our interview with Jessica.
1. We love your shop’s watercolor art and Grandmillennial style. It’s classic and refreshing at the same time. Could you tell us the story of how Simply Jessica Marie started?
Our soon-to-be mom is glowing, especially in this midi Muay Dress in Blue Aman fabric!
Thank you so much! Classic and refreshing is the balance I always strive to achieve, so I’m glad you described my shop in that way!
Two things kick-started my career — beginning a blog the summer of my junior year of college and painting monogrammed canvases for my sorority sisters. I created the blog to build a portfolio, and I painted the canvases to stay connected with my love for art and share my talent with my sweet friends! Without even knowing it, both were the first stepping stones to building my own business.
After graduating in 2013, I landed my dream job as an assistant wedding planner with Amber Housely in Nashville, Tennessee. It was only part-time, so I began selling my art on Etsy to support myself and pay rent in Nashville! My Etsy shop started with letterpress art prints (which completely flopped!) and hand-painted canvases inspired by the monogram canvases I designed for my sorority sisters in college.
My first successful product collection on Etsy was a line of Fall greeting cards! After about a year and a half, I made as much money with my business as I was working as an assistant wedding planner. So I took the leap to take Simply Jessica Marie full-time once my now-husband proposed and we moved from Nashville to Knoxville.
2. Is there a product that that opened unexpected and exciting doors for you and the brand?
My Ginger Jar with Peonies painting. I painted it as a part of a styled photoshoot when I was living in Dallas (the city where my love of collecting ginger jars originated), and had a lot of requests to turn it into an art print! It is still my best-selling art print to date.
The painting that opened exciting doors for Simply Jessica Marie—the Ginger Jar with Peonies. Art print version available here.
That one painting sparked an entire Ginger Jar Calendar for 2020, which connected my shop with others who share my Grandmillennial style. It helped me narrow my focus on what I wanted to paint and how I wanted my shop to look for years to come!
Everything in this photo is beautiful! From the Simply Jessica Marie French Blue Bows Watercolor Latte Mug our muse is holding to the blue dress she's wearing.
3. It’s been nine years since you launched your brand, and it continues to flourish. Wow! What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from all those years?
Building relationships is such a key component of a lasting business! I love getting to know the customers I serve and the brands and influencers I work with. Not only does it make designing for them and creating products feel more intentional and special, but it goes both ways.
If you take the time to share the heart behind your business and connect with your customers, they’ll want to support you! Because they know you’re keeping them in mind with all you do.
This year, 28% of our customers are repeat customers. While I love serving new customers, I am so grateful for my repeat customers - many of whom have shopped with me for years! It’s always my goal to provide a special customer experience, as that is a solid way to keep a business flourishing.
4. You’re an inspiration to so many women, us included, for artfully intertwining creativity and business. What advice do you wish creatives heard and followed more while starting?
Don’t be afraid to dig into the data! I love looking at my analytics and letting that guide me for inventory planning and future product designs.
I’m also constantly surveying my customers to see what products and designs they want. Whether through a simple Instagram story asking them to vote between two different mug designs, or a longer annual survey I send each year - their feedback is crucial and shapes what I offer in the shop!
I think that finding a balance between remaining in creative control and letting your artistic ideas flow while strategically listening to your customer feedback is the mark of a smart business owner.
5. As a creative entrepreneur, drawing the line between business and personal life can be challenging. So how do you keep the balance? Do you have any advice for the rest of us?
Oh, it’s a constant struggle! There were years when I would work late into the evenings and on weekends and felt guilty I wasn’t being present for my family, friends, and honestly, even myself.
One mantra that has helped is “what’s the rush?” If we’re striving to build businesses that last, why do we need to pile SO much work on our plate?
Can we simply the new collection? Surely some of those ideas can be saved for an upcoming one! How much time do we need to spend on Instagram? What’s that fine balance of sharing to help growth without feeling like we’re constantly plugged in and overextending ourselves?
Transparently, hiring my two team members (one in-studio shop assistant and my sister who handles our client communication, crest design, and PR) has helped me focus on the tasks that only I can do, allowing me to stop work at a normal hour most days!
I know that hiring help isn’t always doable at first for most. I was a one-woman show for the first 6 years! But I hope asking yourself, “what’s the rush” and making a game plan for what you can realistically accomplish in a day or week’s time will help you feel more balanced!
6. Baby Peddicord is on the way, we are excited for you! What are you looking forward to the most about motherhood?
Oh, thank you so much, we’re just thrilled! I’m still pinching myself that we’ll have a little girl soon. My mom is my best friend, and I hope to have a close relationship with our daughter, too. I just think it will be the sweetest bond.
I cannot wait to watch my husband, Zack, become a dad. He is the most selfless person I know, and I am positive he will care for our daughter deeply. He’s also had a dad-joke sense of humor his entire life, so I know he'll constantly find ways to make her laugh (or roll her eyes like me, ha!).
We love seeing her growing baby bump! Motherhood definitely looks good on her.
From a business standpoint, I’m looking forward to the new creativity motherhood fosters! I’ve always wanted to wait to design any products for littles and mamas until stepping into motherhood myself, so I could really understand the wants and needs of this stage of life, and I’m already overflowing with ideas!
I’ve also heard you find magical superpowers to get your work done in half the time when you have kids…so I’m excited to join the nap time hustle club and see how it helps my creative focus, haha! I think motherhood will also teach me so many lessons about grace in life and business, continuing to repeat the “what’s the rush” mantra I’ve been repeating to myself this year.
7. We were over the moon when you followed us on Instagram because we’re great fans of your shop and style. So, we hope you can indulge us. What led you to follow Mome?
Oh gosh, you know, I think y’all popped up on my Discover Feed one day, and I was instantly drawn to your classic silhouettes and pretty patterns that I had to follow!
I’m quickly realizing that my wardrobe will need to expand into nursing-friendly options soon, and honestly, a lot of the tops and dresses on the market that are nursing friendly are so boring! I was thrilled to find beautiful dresses that look like ones I’d buy pre-pregnancy but have the functionality of being nursing friendly.
Y’all are truly helping to fill such a need in the market, and I’m so excited to wear my Mome dresses both during pregnancy and when our girl is here!
8. Last question: What’s your favorite Mome dress? :)
I love so many of your dresses, but my two favorites are the Muay midi dress in the Blue Aman fabric and then the same Muay dress knee-length in the Colorful Aman fabric. Since we’re having a March baby, I love that you offer dress options with pretty sleeves for cooler winter months. The square neckline is so flattering! And the fact that you can pick your dress length and pattern makes shopping feel so bespoke and fun. I can’t wait to wear these dresses!
We surprised Jessica with a matching baby bib in Colorful Aman for her little girl. It looks like she's loving it!
Our Favorite Takeaways
We were so inspired by her story and advice that we couldn’t end this blog post without sharing our favorite lessons.
Don't be afraid to try and fail. Imagine if Jessica gave up after her first Etsy venture flopped! I wouldn’t be drinking from her Ginger Jar with Peonies mug, and we wouldn’t be swooning over her Grandmillenial-inspired watercolor prints and custom art.
It’s going to take time. It took over five years before Jessica created her all-time bestselling Ginger Jar painting, which connected her to her dream clients. While the Ginger Jar painting was the one that paved the way for bigger opportunities, every piece of art she made before that led her to that beautiful moment.
So if it’s going to take time, the best time to start working on your dream business is sooner rather than later, isn’t it?
Build genuine connections. When you take time to connect with your audience, listen to their feedback, and share your heart with them, it creates a bond that lasts.
Don’t be afraid to dig into the data! As creatives, dealing with data and numbers may not always be our strong suit. But by befriending it, understanding it, and using it to strategically guide our next steps, we can create products that resonate with our audience and be more efficient with our energy and resources.
- Our favorite lesson is asking, “what’s the rush?” We love this mantra so much. In just three words, it reminds us to slow down, respect our own pace, trust the process, and enjoy the journey, instead of rushing and burning out. We have a feeling this mantra is going to guide our actions in the years to come.
We hope that like us, you’re brimming with takeaways that’ll inspire you to do the next right thing to pursue your passion and build a business that lasts.
We appreciate Jessica for sharing her invaluable insights in this precious interview and hope that one day, we could collaborate on projects supporting women’s motherhood journey.
See more of her work and art on her