Getting ready to leave college, I now know one thing for sure…I am sure of my vision. Being 23 with a degree and a passion for what I want in life, I’m feeling incredible. I went by JJ forever because my first name was so common, eventually I dropped a “j” and now here we are.
Growing up I was obsessed with bridal and cooking shows, I think that is where my passion for events and food started. Combine that with my house being the house for family gatherings, I was surrounded by food honestly. A cousin of mine shares my attention to detail and has turned my home in Chicago into a banquet hall for a Mother’s Day brunch. My vision is to help others bring their visions for their events and dining experiences to life. I want to (and will) own J. Suites with a former HU classmate of mine. J. Suites is a trio of buildings that will include an event space, restaurant, and salon/spa. Although each building is connected, they will all have separate entrances for specific enjoyment.
Working in the food industry to help put myself through college opened my mind to a lot of different foods and I was able to see how several different restaurants worked. I’ve served in literally every type of restaurant and have been involved in some form of customer service since I was 16. It was at my last job that I realized I was tired of working in that industry and not being my own boss. I knew at this point it was something I could do.
Right now, I am launching my website http://www.thejuiceandthesqueeze.co, a lifestyle blog. The site features “The Juice” which is the blog based portion of the site with a wide variety of topics including Netflix bingeing, media news, DIYs, and more. “The Squeeze” is the recipe section including dishes from breakfast to dessert and even things in between. For the past year, I had been trying to find a show everyone everything that I could do and my site was it. Since I was a freshman at Howard I have been an on campus hairstylist and I have provided countless beauty suggestions to my peers thanks to my mom who taught me a lot growing up (sewing, cooking, natural remedies). My site also allows me to write, another hobby of mine. My site is how I want the world to view me, I’m giving all that I have.
In September, building off of my site hype, I will be launching my cookbook featuring some site recipes and some exclusive recipes for those that purchase the book! I’m also currently taking real estate classes (thanks dad) and I am looking to make a move to the west coast. I’m hoping that my attention to detail will pay off in my house flipping and interior designing venture. Unlike graduates who go straight into 9-5 jobs and work their way up, I want to gain experience in fields that will allow me to perfect my craft of event planning. Also by flipping houses and by interior design I am still doing what I want to do, helping bring people’s visions to life. That’s my idea of working my way up, doing what I love and building capital towards my ultimate goal, owning my space.
My business partner and I have the same first name, hence “J. Suites” she is currently the assistant director at a beachfront hotel in New Jersey which is allowing her insight into the hospitality industry and large scale events. It took us a few years to realize that we both wanted to do the same thing and it’s really crazy. We both know the hard work it is going to take for us to have a space of our own.
I am not afraid of the challenges that I will face in the next few years, I am excited.