Courtesy of Jennifer Adams
Jen of all trades: Scottsdale designer puts heart into homes
In order to understand how Scottsdale designer Jennifer Adams transformed her life of cleaning houses, teaching aerobics and being a receptionist to becoming a successful entrepreneur, you would need to trace her journey all the way back to home.
“I realized at an early age the power of home and what you do to your house, how that affects your everyday life, because I believe strongly that everything begins at home. That’s the basis for the rest of every single family member’s life, how the morning starts off and how the evening ends because it makes such a difference,” Adams said.
The tiny room that she shared with her three siblings and parents is the exact place where Adams, CEO and chief creative officer of Jennifer Adams Worldwide, Inc., TV personality, author and columnist, found her passion for design.
“When I was growing up, we were pretty poor. We didn’t have a lot of anything at all and my mom made everything that we had in our house. So she made our sofa, she made our shelves, she made the mattress box for our bed and she made our bedding,” Adams said. “I didn’t understand necessarily growing up what that meant but I also was always around the design aspect.”
Adams was DIY-ing before there was ever Pinterest to provide inspiration, and that in turn led her to grow fond of the space called home, even if it wasn’t much at the time.
Adams may not have had the easiest of childhoods by having to work since the age of 14 to help her family survive, but she learned a valuable lesson.
“I always pretty much have been working since the day I was able to work and I think that established a work ethic in myself in knowing things just don’t necessarily get handed to you,” Adams said.
After finishing high school, Adams attended a trade school for interior design where she met the owner who was a main inspiration in her decision to make a career in interior design.
“She interviewed me and I talked with her and she really inspired me and that’s what got me excited because she was so enthusiastic. She said she thought that I could do it and I really hadn’t had anyone believe in me up until that point,” Adams said.
Even though Adams thought she was going to have to work at a furniture store after completing trade school, with knowing only the basics of the industry, she happened to be in the right place at the right time when the owner referred her to do a project designing an airport hanger.
“So that referral led to so many other referrals. You know one client refers to the next client and that’s really how I built my business up, so I didn’t end up having to go work for somebody,” Adams said.
Adams started off designing small and humble, much like her childhood roots, and learned along the way from her share of mistakes, eventually working her way up the ladder to building a lifestyle brand, Jennifer Adams Home.
“When I very first started I could only do very basic decorating. That’s why as I grew my firm. I brought in people that had architectural degrees, design degrees that were able to do the things I wasn’t able to do. I would just envision the entire project and have a team together to help with it,” Adams said.
After a period of time doing design projects in the U.S. as well as in Canada, Korea, the U.K. and Mexico, Adams brought the firm’s focus back to the basics of home by creating products and content to help people with little time and a small budget to be somewhere in between a Martha Stewart and a Rachel Ray.
“We’ve really evolved our company now to where we focus on product design, products that can go into everybody’s home and then also content to help people be their own designer as opposed to having to hire us. I get more gratification out of giving tips for people to use in their own home as opposed to me having to do it for them,” Adams said.
Jennifer Adams Home covers all aspects of home life with products like bedding, furniture, candles, drapery, designer fabric, cleaning products and even apparel. Adams also has a blog, a book, “Bedrooms That Inspire: Rest, Relaxation & Romance”, and a weekly column, and has made appearances on channels like HGTV, which all serve as various mediums for Adams to connect, inspire and give advice to avid readers.
While reflecting her journey, Adams points out that she had a few great advisors who gave her the confidence to create a brand that empowers everyone to feel great about their own home.
“It’s easy to forget the journey or realize how much has changed,” Adams said.