9 to 5: Elizabeth Jacob- Jewelry Designer, Vintage Shop and Restaurant Owner

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My name is Elizabeth Jacob and I’m the face behind Yellow Finch Designs and The Vintage Letter. I’m an artsy crafty, jewelry loving, coffee drinking, book reading, yoga running stay at home mom. In addition to my two etsy shops I also have a blog, Yellow Finch Designs Blog, where I post weekly about my life and family. When I’m not working on these adventures you can usually find me helping my husband in the restaurant the he runs and owns. I don’t get down there as often as I used to, but I still believe I play an important role. I help with marketing, decorating, special events and customer service. I pretty much handle the odd and end jobs that it takes to help make a restaurant function.

Our restaurant, Bender’s Tavern, has a very unique story. My husband is the fourth generation to take over this small business and next year we celebrate our 110th anniversary. We have been satisfying customers since 1902 with our traditional and unique recipes. While our menu is extensive, we specialize in seafood that comes in fresh from Boston and are also know for our distinguished wine cellar. We have been awarded the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for five years in a row. It is truly an honor to be involved with such a historical establishment in our town.

Describe a typical day at work.

I must say, I don’t have a typical day at work, which really makes my life interesting. Each day depends on what needs to get done and what is high on the priority list. Most importantly, I never forget that my number one job is a stay at home mom.

My typical day starts when I wake around 7:30 with Jessica. We rise and head downstairs to make that much needed cup of coffee and she eats her breakfast. As my two other children mosey on down I get them settled in with breakfast too. My husband is usually the last to rise, but he doesn’t get home until late so we don’t mind at all. After breakfast, the boys play and I play with Jess. She takes her nap around 10:00 and this is when I check my email for the day. This is also the time when I catch up on any marketing that may need done for the restaurant. If I’m lucky, I get in a quick run before the baby wakes!

Jon heads into the restaurant and the rest of my day is spent with the children playing and tackling any other projects or errands that we have. In the late afternoon the boys are allowed to watch a show and Jess naps. This is when I can quickly (and I mean quickly) catch up on emails, post to my blog, work on etsy or use facebook to market for the restaurant or myself. Once my fifteen or twenty minutes are up I head into the kitchen. On most days my husband is down at the restaurant running the floor through dinner and then staying to close the restaurant and coming home anytime between 10:00pm and midnight. I make dinner for the boys, Jessica and myself. Once dinner is done it’s playtime outside while I clean the kitchen. After I join in for a little play time we head upstairs for baths. Then after bath time for all three kids we have bedtime snacks, brush teeth, go potty and books for everyone. Since Jess is the youngest, she is first to go down, and this gives me some extra reading time with the boys. After lots of cuddles, stories and kisses I head downstairs.

Now, this is when my work day REALLY begins. I first start by making a pot of coffee. Yes, it is usually 9:00pm at this point! I jump on the computer and get any work done here first. Marketing for the restaurant, editing pictures, writing blog posts, uploading new items to etsy. I usually get sucked into the computer for about two hours. Once I’m done with this I head to my studio, which is in our basement, and work on any orders that need packaged up and mailed out. I also try to make a couple new pieces for each night I work. Sometimes I get on a roll and will stay up late working on new jewelry. My typical work days, or nights rather, are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Jon is home Monday nights, Thursdays, and Sundays.

While this is my typical day there are also the days where I do need to be at the restaurant. On these days we have a sitter (and we have a wonderful one) come over and I head down to help with large events, which include our wine and beer tastings. I help set up and decorate the rooms, pour wine, package up wine sales and take photos throughout the evening. In the restaurant business socializing also plays an important role. Whenever I’m down there I try my hardest to make rounds and say hello to the customers I know.

If I have a jewelry event, which happens about once a month, I pack up all my displays and jewelry and head out to the location. It usually takes me about an hour and a half to set up my table displays. Most events (art shows, festivals, ect) last about four hours. Once the event is done I pack back up and head home to do a little inventory. While art shows are A LOT of work, it’s nice to get out of the house and display my jewelry.

Did you always want to do this? How did you get into this field? What kind of schooling or background did it entail?

I graduated from Ohio University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing. After graduation I knew that I didn’t want to stay in Ohio and tried my hardest to find a job…anywhere…especially a big city. Luck didn’t seem to be on my side. And then, everything changed. I met my husband. Jon had just moved back to Ohio to become involved in the family business. I knew the night I met him that I better start looking for a job in Ohio. I finally found a good job with Kaplan Test Prep, a subsidiary of the Washington Post. It was a great position for a young woman who wanted to travel, work out in the field with students, and publicly speak to large groups of counselors, parents and students. However, once I had my first child I knew that this wasn’t the position for me. However, I did take with me my marketing experience and people skills that I had developed over the five years with the company.

At this point I was making jewelry at home for myself and friends. It was my husband who encouraged me to take it to the next level. Once I had my etsy shop up and running it was easy to open my vintage shop. No, I just need to find the time to thrift, make jewelry, maintain my shops AND help at the restaurant.

Is this what you hope to do for the rest of your life? If so, how do you see yourself growing in this career? If not, what else do you dream of doing? Where do you see yourself in 10 years, career-wise?

I love what I do and I hope I am still doing these five, ten, fifteen years down the road. I have so much room to grow with my jewelry and vintage business. My ideas are constantly overflowing in my mind and usually make their way to paper in hopes for future adventures. With three small children I don’t have the time to be fully dedicated to these businesses. However, I know once they are in school I will have that time. I have even toyed with the idea of eventually opening up my own shop. I would love to have a modern meets vintage boutique with Yellow Finch Designs jewelry, fabulous vintage finds for the home, vintage and vintage inspired clothing and accessories. Perhaps one day…..

As the years pass, I also know I will take on more and more responsibilities with the restaurant. I’m sure my current roles will continue, but I also know I will become a regular face around our restaurant. I know that I will put my time in on the weekends with hosting, socializing with guests and selling wine. I actually look forward to these new leadership positions. I also look forward to working with my husband on a regular basis! We complement each other and I hope that our guests can sense this unique quality.

If you could tell your 17-year old self anything about your life today, what would you tell her?  Is there anything you wish you would have known back then? Was there anything you would have done differently as far as your career, setting yourself up for success, etc?

Expect the unexpected. Right out of college I thought I would land a great job in a big city and that I would be living the life I always dreamed. What I didn’t realize is that sometimes there are bumps in the road that take you in a different direction. While I never landed that great job in a big city, I found my dreams in a small town.

I would also give myself a little advice. Get involved! I was in a sorority in college and held a position which helped prepare me for the working environment. But I think I could have taken that even further. Volunteer in your community. Not only does it make you a better person but it gives you experience. Take on an internship or externship. Although my internship was very short (6 weeks) the end result was worth it, some of my writing was published in Ohio Magazine.

I encourage high school and college students to take classes that not only challenge you educationally but also socially. Public speaking skills are so important and that’s something that I always underestimated. When I first got my job with Kaplan Test Prep, I never thought I would have to stand in front of 200 people and speak about pre-college testing. And when I first started working at Benders, I never realized that I would actually be nervous approaching tables of strangers and talking to them.