Sure, we all know that a beautiful and inspiring office space has the power to boost productivity, but Jaclyn Johnson—the founder of Create & Cultivate—has taken things to an entirely new level. We invite you to feast your eyes on the sprawling brass-accented, floral-print-filled, coolest-office-chairs-you’ve-ever-seen-packed office of Create & Cultivate.
The space—which was designed with the help of Veronica Valencia—is almost too good to be true, and it’s easy to see how this office ups the inspiration tenfold. We virtually sat down with Jaclyn to get the scoop on her office’s one-of-a-kind look, plus the details on how she’s managed to grow her creative businesses (did we mention that she also runs her own digital marketing agency?) from the ground up.
Oh, and to those of you who are already dying to get the look in your own home and/or office based on that photo above, don’t worry—there’s a whole slew of clickable resources at the end of the post. Take it away, Jaclyn!
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you build your dream career in digital?
I would have to say through a lot of trial and tribulation. I always thought I wanted to be an editor at a magazine but after interning at a bunch of glossies, I realized it wasn’t for me! I landed in a digital marketing job right on the cusp of the social media boom and found myself at the forefront of a whole new wave of marketing. I was lucky to be one of the first people to really explore social media as a channel for marketing—the rest is history! There is this great drawing that shows the road to success as a massive squiggly mess and I couldn’t agree more. Life has plans for you and sometimes you are just along for the ride.
What drove you to start Create & Cultivate? How did your idea come to life?
It was simple: I went looking for a resource and I couldn’t find it. There wasn’t a place for someone like me—young business owner, female entrepreneur—to feel connected and empowered by other women, especially those who had life-business experience under their belts. I felt a little like a headless chicken in the beginning, calling up friends and mentors who had paved the way, but you can only make so many phone calls and ask so many questions before you think, “Wait. If this doesn’t exist, why don’t I create it?” Create & Cultivate came from that. The need for a hub for women who want real actionable advice from successful people they could trust.
In addition to Create & Cultivate, you are the CEO and founder of the digital marketing agency, No Subject. How do manage to balance it all?
The reality is that it’s hard work. That’s all there is to it. Stay focused and don’t lose sight of your initial goals. Have a killer to-do list and make sure your team is supporting you. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. I don’t have kids, but I imagine it’s kind of like having a newborn. Your sleep is sporadic. Your brain is bursting. Some days you want to shut the door and scream. But, when your head hits the pillow at night, there is an unparalleled satisfaction in knowing that you made it all work that day. And then you do it all again the next.
How did you assemble the right people during the early stages of building your business?
You make mistakes and you learn from them. No one teaches you how to hire, and it’s very hard in the beginning. There are people you think you want on your team—you’ve watched them from a distance, or you’ve seen their work up close and you think they will be a good fit—but it’s so much more complicated than that. I am a big fan of trial periods to see if it’s a good fit for them and us.
There is this great drawing that shows the road to success as a massive squiggly mess and I couldn’t agree more. Life has plans for you and sometimes you are just along for the ride.
What kind of boss do you aim to be?
The kind that my employees respect. I am very hands-off and hands-on at the same time. I give all of my employees a ton of responsibility to see how they can handle things, and I give them the guidance and insight along the way to ensure they succeed. Their success is my success and I want them to feel like they are a part of something bigger.
How do you stay inspired and passionate in the digital age?
Never stop talking to people offline. Digital is our bag, obviously. We’re a conference that focuses on female entrepreneurs in the digital space. But, there’s a reason it’s an online platform and an offline conference. You can’t be one or the other if you want to stay inspired and engaged, or keep your audience. You have to be both. The best learning is always out in the world.
What were your main sources of inspiration when designing the Create & Cultivate office space?
I wanted it to be an office that felt like home. We’re a startup, and all of the myths about startup hours are true. So, if you’re going to be spending more time at work than you do at home, you want it to be warm, inviting, comfortable—a space where people are happy to be and can be inspired. Your environment affects your mood.
What was the biggest design challenge you faced?
Our office is three floors plus a rooftop. So, how do you keep connectivity among your employees within a separated space? There’s the open floor plan—that helps. And most of the staff work on the second floor. They toss ideas back and forth to each other all day, but I wanted everyone to be able to move about the space. No one has a set desk. So how do you make it personal and free-flowing? How do you make people feel at home, while also giving them the freedom to ‘move about the cabin’? I think we accomplished that.
What’s your typical work uniform?
I love a good linen dress, sandals, chunky necklace—like a hipper version of Chico’s (no offense, Chico’s!).
What is your favorite part of the office?
Depends on the day. That’s the benefit of having an open environment. Most days, I’d say my office. Other days, it’s the kitchen. Nothing beats joining your staff for a glass of rosé or a giant cheese plate after a long day.
Your office is chock-full of colorful art prints and beautiful textiles. What are your go-to stores for furnishings and décor pieces?
We worked with Veronica Valencia, an interior designer, and she really went far and wide on sources! Tammy Price, of Fragments Identity, is amazing. She has been in the design industry for many years and her pieces are so beautiful. I love our custom Create & Cultivate neon sign. A lot of the prints are from Artfully Walls, framed by Framebridge. But, don’t underestimate the power of HomeGoods (where we sourced all of our trash cans) and Target.
What’s next for your company?
So many exciting things! We are continuing to do our three conferences per year, but adding in more pop-ups across the U.S. We have some exciting international plans in our future!
What’s the secret to taking the perfect Instagram photo?
Lighting, a steady hand and Snapseed to brighten up those selective areas!
What advice would you give to millennials that are nervous about taking the giant leap into entrepreneurship?
There is no “right time!” You just have to take the leap and be prepared for failure. Once you accept that things might not work out, the whole idea becomes far less scary. Just embrace the fact that you are “going for it,” and the rest is a wild ride!
Some days you want to shut the door and scream. But, when your head hits the pillow at night there is an unparalleled satisfaction in knowing that you made it all work that day. And then you do it all again the next.
- Outdoor area rug
- Dining room area rug
- Guest room bed
- Hanging wall art
- Office rug
- Office rug
- Twinkle lights
- Patio table
- Floral wallpaper
- Foyer chandelier
- Outdoor dining chairs
- Office table
- Leather chair
- Cane side chair
- Media console
- Marble table
- Dining chairs
- Cacti artworks