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Conversations with the Inspiring Jessica Salceda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Salceda.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Inspired by my grandmother, who was passionate about gifts for all occasions big or small, I chose to start a gifting company in 2016. What started out as a way to share my passion for gifting, developed into something much bigger. J. Isabel Designs now encompasses a lifestyle blog and gift products and allows me to explore and share two of my favorite passions of photography and writing. Instagram has been a big part of sharing my creativity and gaining the exposure that I have so far with my small business. Instagram is the platform that I like to use to share behind the scenes content of small business life, but also allows me to share some of my favorite places and things to do in Los Angeles. Living in Los Angeles has many perks, and it is fun to take my followers along on my day trips around LA visiting my favorite coffee shops, fellow small businesses, and unique places to eat and treat yourself! On this journey, social media has allowed me to connect with fellow small business owners, bloggers, and friends from around the world and has inspired me and fueled the fire behind my passions. I’m just a small town girl chasing big dreams and hoping to make a difference one post at a time!

Has it been a smooth road?
I have been in business for almost three years, and it has definitely not been a smooth road. The first year was especially difficult because there is so much to learn. Chasing your dreams is not easy, but so worth all of the effort and tears! You must really be passionate about what you are doing because that is what gets you through the long days and the rejection that you will most certainly face. I faced a lot of criticism about the path I had chosen after obtaining three degrees, including my Master’s degree in Information Technology. I was expected to choose a desk job and run to the corporate world after graduation, but instead, I chose a more creative path. The best advice I could give to someone who is just starting out, or who are scared to start their own journey is this: do not do it for the money, do not do it for someone else, and do not do it because you desire to be like someone you see online. It is fine to be inspired by others and to want to reach a level of monetary success, but having that as your sole purpose will most likely not produce a positive outcome. This is mainly because on the days where things get tough and you are not making money and you are not inspired, you need your passion to fall back on. You need the things that you cannot touch or see. You need heart, and soul, and big dreams! Also, never give up! Things take time!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into J. Isabel Designs story. Tell us more about it.
I started J. Isabel Designs with the intention of creating gift boxes for all occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and baby showers. I have always been a creative person, but never knew how far I could take this business. I have always loved to write, take photographs, and create. I am a very hands-on type of person and I love to be able to share what I can do with others. Throughout my journey, I have ventured into web design, product design, blogging, and content creation, to name a few. I have had many incredible opportunities to work with amazing and well-known companies for gifting and brand promotion opportunities, but my favorite part is the people that I have connected with along the way. I never knew how much I inspired people with my words, with my blog posts, and with my openness and honesty about this process. Receiving messages from people all over the world telling me that they are inspired by what I do and have even chosen to finally chase their own dreams because of me is the greatest gift that I’ve ever received. More than anything I wish to keep motivating others to chase their dreams no matter how big or scary because even on the days when I want to quit, it’s worth every frustrating moment, failure, and challenge to do something that you love every single day.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
The most important piece of advice that I could give to other young women just starting out is to chase the things that you are really passionate about and never give up. That passion will keep you going no matter how tough things get, no matter how many times people tell you no, and no matter how many times you fail. You will fail, but you will learn. It can be intimidating to start, but taking that first step in the right direction is the hardest. Once you do that, everything else will be fueled by that passion. Sometimes, you might change directions along the way, but just because the goal is different, the dream remains the same. Doors will close, but new ones will open. You will face rejection and criticism and it might even come from people closest to you. Keep doing what you love no matter what. At the end of the day, it is your opinion that matters. Oh, and never compare your success or progress to that of someone else. We all have our own journey and our own timeline. Take a deep breath, believe in yourself, trust your gut always, and jump right in!

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