We worked with the folks at Squarespace to find the most exciting and innovative local entrepreneurs in the LA area and their team introduced us to Christina Topacio of Jig + Saw. Christina has built an incredible community empowering female creatives and entrepreneurs. Her work has paid off for countless women who found in Jig + Saw not just a place to work from but a community to learn from, lean on and collaborate with. We’re incredibly excited about the impact Jig + Saw is already having on our community and we’re honored to be sharing their story through our interview with Christina.
Christina – we’re incredibly impressed with how well you embody the women who hustle tagline. Can you share your story with our readers – from the early days in SF to how you got to where you are today?
My story is fairly simple. It’s born out of the fact that I have always been passionate about connecting with people who share my interests, and telling stories that we all find compelling. I kicked off my career by starting a fashion blog in 2008 in San Francisco, which was rare for that market at the time. There were only about ten of us in the bay area who were out there talking about how much we loved shopping, vintage clothes, and the whole fashion scene.
Once I realized how the power of blogging was helping to elevate this discussion, I started working at startups to understand other ways the digital world was evolving (Twitter, Myspace, etc), and how this could help build a platform for passion projects like mine. I started making my blogger friends money by building digital campaigns that fit them in.
From there, I worked my way up in the marketing field and landed at the top of the top. Because I was always looking for a way to connect and improve in my own career, I was mindful of the experiences where making space for collaboration bolstered my success – and the success of my teams. From this simple observation, JIG+SAW was born officially in 2015, and focuses on supporting women and their entrepreneurial journeys.
Can you tell us more about Jig + Saw; what should we know, what are you most proud of, what are community members most excited about?
JIG+SAW is just beginning. We have so much to offer the incredible women who make up our customer base, both in Los Angeles and nationwide.
For now, we’re proud of the women that come into JIG+SAW, and are making their dreams come true. We’ve seen members who, after a couple of weeks with us, are launching projects they’ve sat on for years, getting high-paying clients they most likely wouldn’t have been able to attract, and achieving press in their first weeks of launching. It’s an honor to be trusted with their journey, and we are so grateful to be a part of their success.
It’s also impossible to discount what we get in return. Our members are excited for our growth just as much as we are. This is a self-funded dream-come-reality, and we’ve got some diehard supporters on our side who are helping us see our vision through.
Great – so we know Squarespace has played a big role in your story. We’d love to hear more about that – in particular, we’d love to hear about how you use squarespace, for what functions, how it’s changed the way you run the business and what you like most about it.
Squarespace allowed me to be more creative with our brand expression by providing a platform that puts sophisticated design and technology at my fingertips. It helped our brand to feel legitimate from the outset.
We’re also a quickly growing business, and with Squarespace, I’m able to pivot or make a change on the website without needing to hire costly professional help. We use the commerce platform to facilitate the purchase of our memberships, and the accessibility of all these tools together makes being on Squarespace an incredible experience.
My favorite part about our site is that Squarespace templates let Jig Plus Saw speak for itself. You can tell Squarespace thinks of the customer first so that you can use their tools to let your own brand shine through. And as we grow, it’s important that our aesthetic stay consistent across all platforms. Our Squarespace website serves as an online home for our brand – which we’re proud to showcase to the world.
Hearing from the community
We also reached out to some of the incredible women that make up the Jig + Saw community. We’ve shared a bit of our conversation with each of the impressive women below.
Ella, can you please tell us about what you do and how Jig + Saw has played a role in your story?
I am a repeat Track alum and one of Jig+Saw’s first members. Being a part of this community has been a huge confidence booster. It showed me so much of what I had already accomplished, helped me understand the tools I have to leverage it and pushed me to do the work to really hustle and evolve. I finally had a space to bounce ideas, sound board client challenges, practice negotiation techniques, listen to experts talk about how they really overcame challenges, and I had a space to talk through how to land my dream clients.
I came on the first morning they opened their downtown LA pop-up at The Row ready to hustle with a packed lunch, lap top stand and full set up. And, when I walked in there was Christina with open arms and a beaming smile. I’d worked at WeWork many times before this, and I’ve done the freelance lifestyle of cafe hopping and co-working with friends at home. While in production I’ve set up mobile offices on beaches, on mountain tops, in deserts, in 15-seat pass vans, on sound stages, and in studio backlots but none of that felt as warm and focused as Jig+Saw did. Jig+Saw came at the perfect time for me.
The entire outlook of Jig+Saw and the program of Track is designed to challenge women entrepreneurs to show up and step into the fullness of who they are. Track covers every single thing a woman entrepreneurs need to know, and creates a safe space to keep learning more. For instance, I found myself doing the coursework two times and revisiting it when I ran into a challenge in business. I found myself confronted with rapidly learning concepts I’d never had to explore before like SEO vs. SEM.
The biggest role that Jig+Saw has played in my story is the role of a community that is interested in lifting one another up, holding one another accountable, and forcing one another to step into big business consistently. They have been a key support system for growing and focusing my business. This showed up for me when I had to wrap a particular production while taking Track. With the support of the Jig+Saw team I did a 180 on how I wrap a client and in doing so grew my business and myself. being a part of Jig+Saw showed me how brilliant women can rapidly evolve with their audience and their clientele. I’d read about that concept, I’d listened to talks about that concept, but I hadn’t seen so many experts (brought in by the Jig+Saw Team) talk about doing it so often. It made the elusive very tangible for me.
“I’m Asia, the Founder and CCO of Die Free Studios. We are a creative studio rooted in branding, art direction, digital & graphic design. I started Die Free Studios the Summer of 2014 and kept getting stuck with putting my brand out there aka launching my website. After years of working with clients, not having a website was starting to hinder the growth of my business. That’s where Jig+Saw came in. I realized that the things holding me back were a lot more than launching a website, it was in defining who my company was, who we served and what we did. I finally defined my pitch with the help of the Jig+Saw community and was held accountable for launching my website on the date I had given myself. The community that Jig+Saw provided helped in every possible way from reviewing my website before I launched, helping me code certain areas on the spot and cheering me on when I felt discouraged. They helped me get over all the small humps that felt large before I joined Jig+Saw. Besides launching the website, the guest speakers gave me so much clarity on different aspects of my business and being able to ask the questions in the moment and listening to the questions of others was a huge boost in the progression of my business. I don’t know where I’d be without the help of Jig+Saw.” – Asia David
“Jig+Saw was a lifeline during a particularly rocky period of my life. Walking into Jig+Saw was like coming into a space I didn’t even know I needed and was missing. Just the 2 months I did Track were transformative, because I had set out one day per week to work on my business, slow down, and see my true priorities. I love that Jig+Saw is about inspiring action, too. That was huge for me. I implemented some business strategies immediately and it helped my business in a big way. I am so grateful for Jig+Saw. The community couldn’t be more supportive” – Jaime Varon
Getting in touch with Jig + Saw: