Hi friends! Back with the latest installment of our Working Women We Adore series! I’m excited to introduce you to two talented Houston jewelry designers, mommas and working women. Meet Katie and Jennifer, founders of Espacio Pop-Up Shop!
We’ve said this before, but the Working Women We Adore series has become near and dear to our hearts here at ABA. If you missed our first few installments of the series, read them here, here, and here. We love providing an outlet for women to share their stories, advice and the hard work they’ve put in as female business owners and entrepreneurs. Plus, now more than ever, highlighting local businesses and how you can support them is of utmost importance!
Today we introduce you to Katie and Jennifer of Espacio Pop-Up Shop, a Houston-based handmade jewelry company. Founded by two friends who hope to share their love for global finds and travel along with the need for pieces that integrate well into every facet of life, Espacio has something for every woman.
Color is the name of the game when it comes to Espacio’s offerings! Layer up your usual white t-shirt and denim with a burst of color on your wrist or give an otherwise classic little black dress a playful pop with a fun pair of colorful earrings. The sky is the limit with the pieces from Espacio pop-up shop! Plus, Katie and Jennifer both have such incredible personal style, so it’s easy to just scroll through Espacio’s Instagram to gather some inspiration!
In their spare time, Katie and Jennifer are wives, mothers and good friends. Both have three darling kiddos and are truly inspiring when it comes to juggling being a mom and running a business from the ground up. Each love to travel with their families and give back to the community, along with hand-making a number of the Espacio Pop-Up Shop pieces. Read on to learn more about these Houston-based jewelry designers and small business owners, Katie and Jennifer of Espacio!
I find it so interesting to learn where inspiration pops up and reading that yours started during a retreat to San Miguel, Mexico has me curious. Can you share more about the retreat? Was there something specific about the visit that inspired you?
Espacio: The Creative Retreat to San Miguel, Mexico with Hibiscus Linens was a restful, culturally vibrant and inspiring getaway that was the impetus of our small business and brand. Our friend Mariana Barran Goodall with Hibiscus Linens arranged the trip and it was with her “nudge” that helped us to realize the potential that we may be able to create something out of our hobby of making jewelry and seeking global treasures.
You mention many of your pieces are inspired by your love of traveling. Aside from where this all started, San Miguel, can you share another destination that inspires your looks?
Espacio: We love to travel with our husbands and families. Even exploring a new part of our city or new restaurant can feel like a vacation. We feel like the visual identity of our brand draws from the natural and architectural beauty of Mexico and South America. We hope that our jewelry transports our customers to a relaxed destination or dream vacation even as they explore our website.
Business partnerships can be an inspiration in itself. How long have you known each other? How did you meet? Does working together come naturally or were there any hiccups or growing pains?
Espacio: We are truly so blessed! We were introduced by a mutual friend when we both had our first babies and stayed in the same circle of friends since then. We have different personalities and think that is why this business partnership has been so smooth and successful. We have a ton of fun together, our families travel together and our husbands hang out too… it sounds too good to be true, but we are so grateful. Our small business has been our baby these past two years and it’s the most fun when it’s a family affair! Our husbands and kiddos all have helped out with their unique skill sets – whether it be as a contract attorney, master handyman bead driller, or our kiddos art adorning our studio walls – they are our biggest cheerleaders.
What advice do you have for other business partners or is there a secret to balancing the relationship?
Espacio: Have fun, be flexible, healthy boundaries, accept criticism, encourage and support each other and define your goal from the start.
We are both busy moms juggling kiddos, carpool, t-ball, volunteering…. So showing each other grace is essential.
What has been the most rewarding aspect about being female business owners in today’s day and age?
Espacio: We think the connection and relationships have been the most rewarding part. We continue to be humbled by the amount of women that choose to support us, invest in our brand, gift their friends and families with our product and most of all desire to get to know the heart of our business, which is serving our customers.
From desk to date night. From gameday to galas. From carpools to cocktails. Dress codes 7 days a week really speaks to us all! Do each of you have a favorite piece that translates from your line to your lifestyle?
Espacio: We like to think all of our pieces are a reflection of our lifestyle. We are constantly asking ourselves “is this something we would wear?” as we design new pieces. If the answer is no, we don’t move forward. We both consider our styles to be mixture of natural and dramatic fashion. Katie likes a little bit sweeter pieces, always a ruffle or lace, and Jennifer likes things little more edgy. The new Mac collection really speaks to both of us right now. It is unique, a little modern, and so versatile.
Handmade in Houston is so refreshing! Can you share your thoughts why this is part of your operations?
Espacio: Espacio, which means space in Spanish, literally started at our dining room tables where we would sit and bead for HOURS any chance we had. We had beads spread all over our homes in our cars and bathtubs and if we weren’t changing diapers, we were typically beading. We love the therapeutic, calming craft of working with our hands, especially while having meaningful conversations with friends.
Can you share a little more about your pop up events? You mention anyone interested in hosting a pop up event can reach out with their ideas and you will come up with something “fab”! I think collaboration is fantastic and especially with your clients and customers. Can you share with us a couple of fun examples?
Espacio: Popping up around Houston has been a wonderful way to connect with customers in our city. We’ve had the honor of working with other businesses around Texas (and out of state!) that have graciously hosted us! We are hoping to reschedule many of the spring and summer events we had planned before the Covid-19 pandemic. Although our customers have overwhelmed us with support during this time, we are humbled by how many of our dear followers have ordered gifts for friends and family, too. Gifting during this season has shown us even more the power and love a small business can bring during a crisis. We hope to see our Houston customers around town very soon!
Where do you see Espacio Pop-Up Shop in the next five years?
Espacio: Ah, so many big dreams for our small business. We hope to still continue to be a locally made and designed jewelry business, but hopefully we will have outgrown our small studio and perhaps we are selling more than just jewelry. Or maybe we are able to employ more moms in Houston. Can’t wait to find out!
You mentioned that your jewelry is inspired by your love of traveling. Do you have fun vacations planned soon (even if it’s just a dream vacation after all this passes) or if no plans, what is your dream destination?
Espacio: It’s not even summer and we just booked another couples ski trip to Deer Valley. It will be our fourth trip in the past few years and we can’t get enough of the slopes and the Stein Erickson hamburger. We will see what the summer brings for vacations given uncertain season. Our Espacio dream vacation is a trip to Carpi, Italy! TBD on when we can pull this off, but until then, we will dream of sunshine, pasta, fancy hotels and shopping. Is that too much to ask?
A good work life balance is key to any successful entrepreneur. How do you each balance your career and your personal life?
Espacio: We have 6 kiddos under 7 between the two of us and life can get hectic at times! Our “grind” time is between the hours of preschool drop-off and pick-up, and we typically don’t come up for air during this time. We dedicate afternoons until bedtime to our families, then finish up any last minute things after the kids are asleep. Our husbands are beyond supportive and provide flexibility for our business when we need it. We also have added two local moms in 2020 that are able to help us when things get crazy and we are beyond grateful for Jess and Vicky.
We always have to ask, what is each of your favorite, go to, can’t live without, career gal look/outfit/piece?
Jennifer: I am shoe girl, and I love Valentino rock studs paired with monochromatic pant and top.
Katie: I am sucker for ALL the cream lace tops, usually with jeans, but sometimes with wide leg pants and mules.
What is your advice to any young entrepreneurs starting down the path of their own business?
Espacio: Stick with something you are passionate about. Set small attainable goals (as well as big long-term goals) but don’t be discouraged when you need to pivot again and again. Identify the heart of your business early on and hold yourself to high standards. Don’t forget to have fun!