In this Salute to American Success, we’re taking a look at Jennifer Adams Worldwide and CEO Jennifer Adams. Coming from humble beginnings, Adams found a natural passion for home design at an early age. Today, she says that passion, combined with a strong work ethic, has helped her company blossom into a multi-million dollar business with diverse product lines, serving the U.S. and international countries. Adams, her designs and ideas have reached mass audiences after being featured as a lead designer on HGTV’s “My First Place”, and as a design expert on “The Better Show.”
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Jennifer Adams was born and raised in Oregon, in a small town near Portland. She, her parents and three siblings lived in a “1,000 square-foot” home, which is where her love of home design and decorating began.
“My passion for decorating came naturally,” said Adams. “I always wanted to change things up in my room. We didn’t have a lot of money, so I always worked on do-it-yourself projects.”
Growing up, Adams, along with one of her sisters, would pick strawberries and clean houses to make ends meet. When she was 23-years-old, Adams enrolled in trade school, which she says was “the best decision I ever made.” After finishing her education, it wasn’t long before she landed the first of many jobs of her design career.
In 1999, Adams officially started her first company, Interiors by Jennifer.
“The business started off very small,” said Adams. “It didn’t cost much to start and didn’t take a lot to get going in the beginning. It was just me… I did every single thing with the business and invested on an as-need basis.”
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About a year later, Adams was able to hire her first employee. She began with part-time help and eventually grew into hiring full-time workers and freelancers as well. Adams then decided to expand the business to two offices -- one in Portland and one in the San Diego area -- and changed the name to Jennifer Adams Design Group.
After finding success with her interior decorating business, Adams decided to delve into the bedding industry, creating Jennifer Adams Home in 2009.
“The [bedding] business started very slowly,” said Adams. “I found a unique fabric and started it as a web-order business. There really wasn’t a need for a warehouse.”
Two years later, the product line was picked up by Costco (COST). In 2012, Adams expanded the company further with a home-furniture line.
Today, Adams still has a partnership with Costco, and her bedding products continue to sell at the retailer’s locations across the U.S. and in worldwide locations. However, she is looking to tweak the business strategy for 2015.
“We are strategically pulling back in some areas,” said Adams. “Instead of growing revenue, we want to focus on perfecting these different areas.”
ADVICE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS
“You need to use the power of your mind,” said Adams. “I knew what I wanted to turn the company into. I didn’t know the steps to get there at first, but I made sure my decisions were in line with the end result I was looking for.”
She also stresses the impact real-life experience has on the success of an entrepreneur and their business.
“Find out how to get on-the-job experience with a company that does something similar to what you want to do,” said Adams.
She also added some tips for those looking to do some of their own re-decorating and interior design.
“Less is more… make sure everything has a purpose. Keep things light, mix in vintage pieces and don’t change it up too much. There’s a lot of power to reoccurring themes.”