When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer knows a thing or two about the power of hard work. Her passion for jewelry-making began at the young age of six, when her grandmother began teaching her how to make enamel rings and medallions. After studying child and family psychology at Syracuse University, she returned to Los Angeles in 1999 and began making jewelry pieces in her bedroom while working at Ralph Lauren. Her big break came when Jennifer Aniston donned her gold leaf pendant in the 2006 film “The Break-Up,” and Meyer’s pieces have been coveted by celebs and fashionistas since.
In her Thrive Questionnaire, Meyer shares why she never makes assumptions, the most challenging parts of running her business, and how she sets her team up for success.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Jennifer Meyer: First, I grab my phone (terrible habit). Then I quickly get out of bed and check on my kids!
TG: What gives you energy?
JM: My kids, sunshine and strong coffee.
TG: What daily habit or practice helps you thrive?
JM: I know it sounds crazy, but I love living in Los Angeles and having solo time driving in my car. I turn on my favorite music, and immediately this puts a smile on my face.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
JM: The Clarity Cleanse by Dr. Habib Sadeghi
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
JM: I put my phone on “do not disturb” around bedtime, but it’s rare that I don’t text or look at Instagram from bed. My phone is a huge part of my life – it keeps me connected with my kids and all of the people I love. I’m a big fan of FaceTime and social media is the most incredible tool for business.
TG: How do you deal with email?
JM: I reserve a couple of blocks of time each day and tackle them all. I’m still a big fan of a phone call and often find that a lot more can be accomplished by just hopping on the phone and talking it out. Honestly, call me, I love it.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
JM: I remind myself to breathe…then I hand-write a list and find so much satisfaction in crossing items off.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
JM: I’ll let you know when that happens! Kidding…I call Sara Foster.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
JM: Listen, there are lots of times when juggling kids, a business, personal life, etc., make me feel overwhelmed, but I try to stop and put it all into perspective. My kids are healthy, I’m healthy, the people I love are happy. I love my work, I love my life… so I open a bottle of wine and try to be grateful.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
JM: I have those moments every single day. Give yourself a hug. Tell yourself you did your best and keep going.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
JM: “Assumption is the mother of all F ups”, this is a quote my dad always says and it really resonates with me. I also love “Do or do not, there is no try”. This quote was very powerful to me when I first considered the idea of starting my own company. It was said to me at times when I needed to be pushed and I put fear aside and took a leap of faith.
TG: Can you share a time you went from surviving to thriving?
JM: In the early stages of my company, the business was surviving order to order. I was a one-woman show. Then Jennifer Aniston wore my designs in The Break-Up and it changed the business overnight. I was able to hire an employee, and had the freedom to focus on designing and creating more samples. It was such an exciting time!
TG: What is the most challenging thing about starting your own company? What is your management style and how do you set your team up for success?
JM: The most challenging part for me was overcoming my fears, doubts and insecurities. My management style is very collaborative – I love to hear everyone’s ideas and opinions. I like to give a lot of autonomy to my team members, but they know they can always come to me with anything. I know that I couldn’t do this without their talents and support.
TG: How do you lead with compassion?
JM: I take the time to really get to know my team. We are a family and because we genuinely love each other the compassion just comes naturally.
TG: What brings you optimism?
JM: My two children are the lights of my life. They naturally look on the bright side and it’s contagious. Also, a night of margaritas with my girls… there’s nothing better.
TG: How do you maintain positive relationships?
JM: Communication is key. It’s so important to share your honest feelings as they arise and be an active and generous listener.
TG: What advice would you give your younger self?
JM: Try to be more present in each moment. And wear sunscreen!