July 21, 2021



This episode is part one of our 'Life After Anthropologie' multi-episode series. Today’s episode is a trip down memory lane for Michelle and Jess who worked together at Anthropologie. Jessica is the co-host of The Rants & Raves Podcast. Fasten your seatbelt for lots of laughs and great stories from their time working together.

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ep-3 -Jessica Young-Life-After-Anthro

Michelle : Hey there. I'm Michelle Sherrier, and this is The Retail Whore Podcast, the stories and Lessons from the Life and Retail. Hello. Good morning. And guess what? It's spring. Magically, we've come upon that date where we turn our clocks forward. The sun is getting warmer and our days are longer. Thank God it has been a long haul since last spring. We have officially crossed over the one year line from when we were in a complete pandemic shutdown and a year later it's starting to feel normal again. So I'm pleased to be telling you this now. By the time you hear this, it's going to be summer. But for right now, at this moment in time, it is feeling pretty good. I with spring I start to think about for my stores, we start turning everything over. It's when I start to bring out real plants and fruits and elements to make the store feel spring like and more fresh from coming out of fall and winter where it's a little colder, things are a little bit darker. Spring also feels like it has like this extra light on it, and it always feels like you're looking through rose colored glasses coming out of the darker months. For those of you that know and those of you that don't, I was with Anthropologie for about seven years and I will still say till my deathbed, literally. It's probably one of the best experiences I've had as far as lessons learned and take away I utilize in my day to day business. Now I have a brand that we go in and do merchandising for retailers as well as wholesale gift showrooms.

Michelle : And 90% of what I do on a day to day basis all stems from Anthro. And I started thinking about like all my amazing lessons and all of my standards, and they all come from my time there. I started thinking about the crew that I worked with in the past, as well as people that I follow on Instagram that are with Anthro or with throws, sister stores, Urban Outfitters, Terrain Beholden. And I can't help but think about those of us who have left and started our own brand or gone to big brands and taken what we've all learned and done during our time. And Anthro and I kept thinking about like all these amazing people that I've worked with and and I thought about all the years of experience that we've had collectively and all of the lessons and all of the best practices and all the tricks of the trade. And I thought, what better time than now to bring everybody together to talk about our experiences? So we will have some of my favorite people that I spent time with personally in anthropology. We will have people like Matt Beer that hails out of the East Coast Anthro family and ended his time at Terrain. And we will have a few other people possibly from Urban Outfitters, but I am super excited to work on this entire series. Each week I will bring you a different interview with a different person from a different part of the country and a different retailer from the Anthropologie family.

Michelle : And hopefully you will have a lot to take away from it and hear a whole lot of great storytelling and give you some inspiration. So without further ado, here is life after anthropology. Today's guest is Jessica Young. Jess and I spent several years working together at the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade location for anthropology. Jess is now a freelance designer. She's the co host of the Rants & Raves Podcast, and she's a standup comedian. And I can tell you right now, she's honest to God, the funniest person I know. So it brings me great pleasure to bring the first life after anthropology interview with Jessica Young. Hi. Hi. Thank you so much. Welcome to the retail podcast. I am truly grateful that you were here. I'm so lucky that I can pull on my friends and family to do this little bit because I know when I thought about the idea of doing the life path anthropology, it's like, I don't know what it was. It was like a lot of us, you know, just starting thinking about what everybody's come out of Anthro and have, like whether it was just your standards or your ethics or your management or whatever you got from it. It just feels like everybody came out of it with with something and went somewhere and has done something. But there's very few people that I feel like I've left there and like are doing like nothing. Like, I don't know if you feel like that, but I also don't. I mean.

Jessica Young : I totally agree.

Michelle : And there's so many. People that want to know about Anthropology and like it seems like this big facade and this big machine and whatnot. And it is I mean, all right, it's completely a machine. But I just figured it's kind of a nice way to kind of peel the curtain back for people to kind of hear and see and listen to all the stories of, like, all the stupid shit that we've all done and went through. But I have two questions, but I'm going to start with because I realize everybody that I've talked to so far and I'll be really surprised if your answer is different, is how old were you when you first started working?

Jessica Young : I was 13 years old.

Michelle : Oh, my God. Okay. You beat everybody so far. And what what was your first job?

Jessica Young : My first job was at Dunkin' Donuts.

Michelle : Oh, my God. I love it.

Jessica Young : And I was the morning with my best friend who you actually met on one of our trips, one of our merchandising trips to Atlanta. She asks about you to this day all the time.

Michelle : How funny.

Jessica Young : My friend Mary Ann and I worked there. Her next door neighbor, the dad, owned a franchise of Dunkin' Donuts. And we were the morning coffee bar girls. We worked from 6 a.m. until 12 p.m. at 13.

Michelle : I mean, crazy.

Jessica Young : It's nuts. I'm sorry. Do you want to.

Michelle : Know what 13 year old gets up at five in the morning to go to work?

Jessica Young : Thank you. And we were like, what? And we'd put on our janky uniforms. One of our parents would drop us off there. It was insane. We made $2.13 an hour. Oh, that was the minimum wage in Georgia at the time. That might have been the national minimum wage for anyone who is a server. Right. Wow. So they're like, oh, well, you're getting tips. Well, just to put it in perspective, when we pooled together our tips after our 6 hours of refilling everyone from the mail carriers to the church goers coffee ten times and wiping their crumbs from their French cruller. We had enough money at the end of the shift to buy a $1 pack of stale cigarettes out of the machine and Dunkin' Donuts. That was still when they had a cigarette machine.

Michelle : Amazing.

Jessica Young : And then we'd go hog wild on the 99 cent menu next door at Taco Bell. So together, collectively, I think we made $5 in tips in a six hour shift between two people.

Michelle : Yeah.

Jessica Young : But you know what? I'm serious. That started my work ethic. Like, I am someone who has always. I mean, sometimes it can be to a default. I have definitely in a lot of periods of my life become a workaholic. I can say that with love. I think you have been to at times in your life, but we love what we do and when you're passionate about something and you get thrown in, then it's like, Ah, the wheels keep turning.

Michelle : Yeah, that's, that's reason why I ask, because I've realized like I started at 14, Sam, Sammy started at 14 or 15. You definitely beat us all at 13. I mean and it's such, I mean, it's like she said to me and it's true. She said, You don't even know how many people I talk to like kids now that their first job they didn't even get till she they were 20 and she was like, What are you doing right? What do you do all day? I mean, it's such a totally different work ethic now and it's like I'm super grateful that I'm part of this generation. That sure did. I mean, either we're fucking idiots or or we're really smart, but I've realized that everybody that started a super young age is super hustler.

Jessica Young : Absolutely. The problem is to just as a quick aside, this doesn't mean I'm not somebody who thinks all young people don't know what they're doing.

Michelle : No.

Jessica Young : But in my experience in retail management throughout the years, the more time goes on, the more irritated I would get because I'd give them, you know, a big stack of stuff to do. And then I'd walk back there and be like, I'm sorry, are you reading? And their feet would be propped up and they're just reading a book. And I'm like, Are you kidding me?

Michelle : Wow. No shame.

Jessica Young : Yeah. No, I think it's when you start working young, it really got it gives you so many life skills, right?

Michelle : Yeah, I totally agree. So it's I'm glad to clear that up because I just, you know, like I just threw this question at the end and I'm like, I just realized that that's kind of the thing. Okay, so what Anthropology did you work in? Where did you start? What was your job? And at the end of the day, what was your title?

Jessica Young : Okay. So it was kind of an interesting journey and it moved very quick at the beginning for me. So I was when I moved to LA, I already had started working in retail and college. I was at the Gap for many years, was a big props to The Gap was like my first major. A retail job and some of the people from Anthropologie came in to the Gap on a regular basis. Anthropologie was six doors down from us on Beverly Drive. Neither of those stores exist there anymore. If you didn't know that, which is bittersweet to me, it makes me sad. But I moved here knowing, Oh my God, it was a huge leap. I was moving from the South. I grew up in Atlanta and was moving out to Los Angeles, only knowing a handful of friends from college. And I had a job. My old coworker is like, Girl, I just transferred to the Beverly Hills Gap. Come out here, you have a job. And I, the people who would come in regularly, I don't remember who what the woman's name was. She had short blonde hair. She would always come in with our friend Gio, who I'm still in regular touch. And finally, one day, because I would always help them. And they were like, Girl, you're really good. Do you want to come work at Anthropologie? And I was like, What? Because I was so mesmerized by the way that was. And you were an early day gal at Anthropologie. That was when there was only ten stores in the whole company.

Michelle : Wow.

Jessica Young : So you remember the magic and mystique of every single detail.

Michelle : Of.

Jessica Young : From how the visual merchandising used to be, to the visual displays, to the found objects who were legit being hunted by a team in Europe. It was magical. When I walked into that store, I'm like, What is this magic? Right? The smell, the feel, the.

Michelle : It was like sound and 100%.

Jessica Young : So I started there. I think I started as a sales, just obviously like a sales associate. I was young. I think I was 24 at the time.

Michelle : You started sales as well. Were you always in sales?

Jessica Young : No, no. I went into management. So literally three weeks into being there. And I will say it's like probably my number one tip. And I think it's why I was offered a promotion. I tell people this all the time, especially that are young to take initiative. So I never wanted to step on anyone's toes, but I also didn't want to sit around and chit chat with people all day. And I'd be like, Hey, Mr. Right. I'd be like, Man, that Jean Mall is looking pretty janky. Do you mind if I kind of move some of the shelves and. So I started taking initiative and I was drawn to the merchandising. So I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember who the starting merchandiser was at Beverly Hills at the time. I remember you because you were at Santa monica, and they brought you in to do like a huge overhaul with the merchandising team at our store. And that was when I first met you. I can even picture because I was so obsessed with you, your style, how you worked. You were doing a table with those gigantic apothecary jars and those incredibly beautiful wrapped soaps. Buy Fresh when they had the little wire wrap and the little ruler stone. And that was I'm going to I mean, you say this all the time. Still, that was the pilot. Hi. Watch it fly. That was the first time I ever heard that. Saw it in action. I had never seen people turn things on their side like everything was always especially coming from somewhere like The Gap. It was all very methodical. You copied a display from corporate. It was very clean lined when you were like turning jars over with the soap spilling out. I was like, What is this?

Michelle : It was.

Jessica Young : Magical. I'm serious. It really that started my brain being able to think outside of the box for merchandising.

Michelle : Yeah.

Jessica Young : So I got promoted to assistant housewares manager. I was at State of Beverly Hills for a while. All in all, I was with the company about four and a half years. I don't remember when I got transferred, but I then got moved to the Santa monica store and had the extreme pleasure of becoming the assistant housewares manager. Santa Monica Promenade under one Miss Amy Kozlowski is absolutely just incredible.

Michelle : Yeah.

Jessica Young : So that was a really magical experience, too. This young girl now I'm in Santa Monica Promenade. That was a three floor store, as you remember. Yeah, with a full basement. And I was there for probably a year. And then I got transferred back to Beverly Hills. And then eventually in the latter part of me being there, I got promoted to the housewares manager towards the end.

Michelle : Yeah, it's like, you know, it's funny because in talking to Elaine and her management style.

Jessica Young : I. Okay, wait, I don't mean to interrupt. Elaine was the merchandiser. I remember working.

Michelle : For.

Jessica Young : Beverly Hills. I don't know who was before her. Elaine also magic witchy woman who I learned so much from and was so cool about letting me have freedom. Yeah. And she'd be like, Girl, go to town, do that.

Michelle : Her management skill is just so as far as uplifting employees and giving bringing them under your wing and giving them enough room to be themselves and figure out things and work in a team. I mean, she's amazing like that. It's everybody learn. Yeah. And it's it's funny because Sammy had said that I guess her manager she originally had in Pasadena, it wasn't great. And then when she got to, I guess, what was the next location she was at? I forget. But she said that manager really took her under her wing. And she said and it was a completely different experience than the other way. And all sudden I was just wanting to give more and give more. And because I was getting so much back in, in enrichment and, and, and just like the whole overall experience changed for her. And it's it's true. I mean, it's definitely like who managed you and the way they manage you. And it's like I keep telling people as far as their employees that the more you give and give, give attaboys and you know you're there to correct, but at the same sense, like promote them and give them pats on the back because that's what everybody works for. And people don't understand that. When you don't get that, employees start to get super resentful and not feel important and not feel like they're part of the team. And it just like and then you don't say anything and it just fucking snowballs into something super ugly. And it's like those managers are just, you know, and it's nice to know that Anthro really kicked out. That's the majority of the management style. Yes.

Jessica Young : That brand look, I mean, I think someone would be lying if they said they loved with everyone they worked with there or anywhere else. But I really do feel very fortunate for the people I got to work under. There were some real zingers in there. Unfortunately, with the GM's at Beverly Hills, there was a real wonky, weird period of turnover there with, you know, that was the head position. I did work with Kent Snyder, who I loved. Do you work?

Michelle : Oh, my God. Still I still have that now. I hated it when we were together, when we'd be doing merchandising and he'd be right behind you. Like cleaning up, like ladies. You're making messes. And now I fucking do that. Now I'm like, I'm not even done. I'm already cleaning up around me.

Jessica Young : I used to. Like I would have to turn around and, like, bite my knuckles because, by the way, only Kent could get away with that, but he would be flitting through the store and there would be, you know, tourists in there trying on shoes and they're taking the stuffing out of the high heels or whatever and putting it on the floor. And he would swoop by mid chant, singing one of his Dionne Warwick favorites and grab the paper and go, My, my, aren't you ladies messy? And then he was off. Now he's in the fitting room doing the same thing in there.

Michelle : And that's such a fucking brilliant management style. So, like, I just.

Jessica Young : I started smiling.

Michelle : I adore Kent. Like, man, what a great. I totally forgot about him.

Jessica Young : I'll never forget about him. I'm also in touch with him. And I was there the day that. I am sorry. This is freaking hilarious. Since he's okay. We had inventory which I know we all remember was such a nightmare because all those found objects, as they're called, all the antiquities, like all the concrete planters that no price tag would stay on. We would be frantic knowing that the district manager was coming and Jill Bogan or Jay Beau, as I referred to her, our loss prevention manager.

Michelle : Was.

Jessica Young : Like Leah DeLaria back 20 years ago. We'd be flipping through a book and we're like, Oh my God, what does this look like? A fleur de lead planner? I'd better be and can't was standing on a 15 or 20 foot ladder and he was having us hand him stuff and he was tossing it up on top of the bathroom. And I was like, Dude, be careful. You are like one tippy toe on that ladder and you're going to fall. And he's like, I'm fine. And the next thing you know, in slow motion, I'm going down, I'm yelling 'timber'. He fell with that ladder and hit his back on the corner of a massive antique armoire.

Michelle : Aw, shit. I don't remember that.

Jessica Young : I saw it happen in slow motion, and I swear to God, I thought he's either dead or he just broke his back and he might be paralyzed.

Michelle : Holy shit.

Jessica Young : Being bent, being kicked. He didn't jump up with the same gusto he normally did, but he got up. He's like, I'm fine, I'm fine. And he hobbled away and we didn't see him for the rest of the day. The poor guy. Oh, my God. It's like, burned into my mind. I think Elaine was probably there at that time and remembers it.

Michelle : Hilarious. So what? How did you end your stint at Anthro? Where which store were you at and what was your final?

Jessica Young : I ended and Beverly Hills and then I was going from there to a new job. Here's how again. The whole family connection with all of our friends there, Sue Olivia, who I think worked with you at both stores. Sue also went between the stores. Dear friend of ours. She and I used to always go to the Brighton Diner and share a meatloaf sandwich on our lunch. I loved it. Sue reached out to me and she's like, Girl, you are perfect for my job. And I'm like, What do you mean your job? She's like, We've decided we're going to move back east. You need to meet my boss. And I was like, I'm not really ready for that right yet. I don't know. And I was kind of like, man. So when I left Anthropologie, I had a friend that was working through Conde Nast and said, Do you have interest in doing some visuals for Conde Nast? And I'm like, I'm sorry, what?

Michelle : Oh, I totally forgot about that dream job.

Jessica Young : So I will tell you again, thanks to being given wings by the people I worked with. Yeah. At Anthropologie and like getting to really start to learn incredible outside of the box and really hate saying crafty but what else do I call it? Crafty ways of coming up with things and creating. I walked in and they said, We heard you're really good at gift wrapping. I'm like, Yeah. They're like, Can you wrap these gifts? And they just left me in a room. I was like, Okay, with all these random supplies, well, I'm not tooting my own horn, but, you know, that's still my dream. One day I'm going to probably live in a tiny town and have a house on a bluff. And I'm going to have a store that does nothing but gift wrap, like the most outrageous wrapping. It gives me life. I love it. I'm obsessed with paper. I don't mean to digress. That's my dream job.

Michelle : No, I mean I love paper. But I had no idea that the gift wrapping like dream job. If I could do it all day.

Jessica Young : I would do it. So I went on to Conde Nast and after my day of gift wrapping, the woman who was the advertising exec getting Domino magazine off the ground came in with three digital images, and she goes, Can you make this? And with because I wanted to work there so bad, I was so hungry, I could smell it, right. I go, Yep. And she handed them to me. She goes, Great, you start tomorrow at 10 a.m.. And I'm like, okay. And I showed it to my friend, my dear, dear friend. And he said, Jessica. I don't know what you were thinking, girl. You're talented. But these were digitally. These were CGI images. These were computer generated. So I don't know how you're going to make a house that looks like it's made out of the magazines. And I'm telling you, this is truly like a pivotal, pivotal moment in my life, but also like on a career level, I instead of freaking out, which normally I would have been scared and doubting and all this, I went, Well said I could do it. I guess I better figure it out. I immediately drove to Michael's. I'd never used any of these materials before. I bought Foam Core. I bought those skinny X-Acto knifes that you can hold like a pen, and I bought mod podge and like spray adhesive. I bought those four things, walked in the next day, all trial and error. They had a copy room like the one Jane Fonda's in in 9 to 5. I had like ten machines I could blow up and do whatever with. I started messing around and playing with the scale. And by God, that first day there I walked out and I remember like walking through the floor. I was so nervous and people came out of their office. They're like, What the. And they freaked. And they're like, You have to make these for every single client.

Michelle : Oh, my God.

Jessica Young : So I spent months there making my houses that looked like they were. I'm telling you, I even took the magazine and kind of like pulled the pages and pressed that down on the copier so that even the edging of the house was the pages of the magazine. I don't know if that's going to.

Michelle : Look.

Jessica Young : Amazing this, but went all out also just to really kick it up a notch. I went and bought Matchbox cars and I had a found a Porsche that was one of their clients, a Toyota. And so I made some and I got these amazing Lucite and acrylic trays and like really fun bright colors from Cb2. And it was put on the tray and it would have the car going into the garage, which, yes, I made a rolling god.

Michelle : Amazing. And that's I think that that's as far as like I was telling Sammy, like the sink or swim method is what I think so many of us that come out of it because it's I, I know at Anthro and now in other jobs like have you done this before? And it's like, yeah, I can do that. Sure. Like, and you truly just jump in. And I think that if you overthink it and if you, you even have any doubt that I think those are always the people that are like, that's what holds people back. Yes, but damn anthro. It's like it is like everybody that's come out of there has that full leap of faith like, yeah, I've done it. Sure, I can do it. Like, no idea what the fuck I'm doing, but yeah, right.

Jessica Young : Do you remember? Like even you're we're coming from a place where we made icicle displays out of straws.

Michelle : Yeah, that's the one that still blows my mind. It also where I lost my mind, I was telling Elaine just the. The difference between for those who don't know in the world of Anthropology, there's district or there's display coordinators, and then there's the visual merchandisers. And the display coordinators are the ones that do all the really small and tiny and intricate and and things that take weeks to have the ultimate the ultimate example where merchandisers, like, all got to be wrapped up, done. It's like I'm still instant gratification. I still am. I have to see at the end of the day what it looks like. I cannot I do not have the patience and the wherewithal to go through those. Those kind of like you can do like I don't know how you did, but that I forgot all about. And Domino Magazine, man, that's just like.

Jessica Young : It was so good.

Michelle : Shit. It was. Were you there for.

Jessica Young : I was there for almost a year and it was an incredible experience. I also got to kind of bounce around. Like once you're kind of like, you know, the buzz gets around that building real fast and then the next thing I know, they're like, You want to come see what you think? Give us your opinion in our test kitchen for Bon Appetit. Or I got to do amazing display boards and stuff for Architectural Digest. I mean, I'm telling you, it was another going from anthropology then to that.

Michelle : Wow.

Jessica Young : So as a young 20 something year old and being like, I mean, that was like being in a shark tank working in advertising because I didn't have anything to do with the ad, but I was doing visual stuff for the advertisers and for their clients and things like that. It was nuts. So I was offered a full time position there. However, I had zero in. Tourist and going into advertising. The position that was offered to me was in advertising. And I'm like, I'm sorry, that's not where my heart is. I was hoping and praying it would be for a visual position. Right. And it wasn't. So that brings me to at that point, Sue had just left. She had like touched base with me again. I think she had just left or was about to leave L.A. She's like, Girl, are you sure? She's like, You would be perfect for my job. And literally on my last day from Conde Nast on the way home, I stopped at the person who I ended up working for for an extremely long time, Deborah Ryan of Dell. Ryan I stopped at her house and again, here we come tenfold with Anthropologie. It didn't click with me because we hadn't spoken. It was all over email. She walks out to meet me when I pulled up and I went. What? And she goes, Oh my God. She had been a regular customer of mine at the Beverly Hills Anthropology now.

Michelle : And I you know, to be honest, I thought, I mean, like, this means nothing to the viewers. But I completely forgotten that Sue worked for Deb.

Jessica Young : Yes. She's the one who introduced me to her. She's like, you got to go. She goes, I just thought of you. You'd be perfect for it. I think you guys would jive and whatever. And I'm like, Oh, wow. So he's coming. She already knew me because I literally worked with her every time she came into anthropology and I her kids were there and I loved her kids. Like I'm always, you know, playing with people's kids. So she remembered me immediately and the same. And I came in and it's like here I was coming off of a year at Conde Nast. So my body of work that I could show also, I was actually looking at these recently. I have pictures from years of stuff of displays that I did at Anthropologie. Also, I used to do this and this is something else I did with Elaine for several years, the Virginia Robinsons garden, you know, they have two houses.

Michelle : That that was the most amazing, amazing experience.

Jessica Young : The best. So that was when like designer like Ralph Lauren always did a room, Anthropologie did a room, all that kind of stuff. So I had that plus my year of all of my things that I made. I even brought physical samples of it and I had my design boards and whatnot from Conde Nast and she offered me a job on the spot and I worked there for 14 years. I became the general merchandiser, the head buyer, the window designer, the store merchandiser, the blog writer. I mean, when I tell you I did every single facet that you could possibly do for a business. And you know this because we also you and I have worked together so many times over the years in different capacities. We had a licensing with Peking handicraft. Deborah's name was on the pillows. She was a designer that worked for them. So then I also got to start designing different things with her for that and naming the pillow lines and all of this amazing stuff. And you were the one who merchandised this in the showroom.

Michelle : That's it. I mean, that experience. I mean, the cool thing about that experience is like you literally got to try and do everything and learn everything. And I'm talking to Matt Behr who is was Trains builder and I'm obsessed with Train and so he's we're having him on as well. And he was saying that when it came like they would come up with like we want to do this and he hadn't done it before me. It was like it was it was a brilliant place to learn things. Yes. And, you know, you get the time, not always the time, but you get the chance to try a different tool and what it does and the learning curve of that. And then you take all of that to your next job. And what I mean.

Jessica Young : Absolutely.

Michelle : What an amazing thing to be able to have your hands in on all that. So now that now that I know where you are and now it's going to lead into where are you now? What are you doing now?

Jessica Young : Now I am a freelancer, so I do design work for different designers in L.A. on a freelance basis based on availability. There's an mine also that kind of took a tank. I still do it, but it obviously took a severe dip last year, as it did for most people in retail. Right. It was just crazy. I knew after all the years in retail, I didn't want to be dealing with the day in and day out of the customers of the stores. So like, I just I did it for so long and it literally was I always treat it as though it's my own again, without overstepping. I care about wherever I'm working as though I own it, you know? And that is something that my boss said to me. She was like, You always did treat this place as though it was your own and with the utmost care. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that because I do care. My friends would always be like, Oh, why do you care? I'm like, Because I do.

Michelle : Yeah, and I can't. I mean it. And that's like the greatest quality. And sometimes it's the worst quality and it's the worst quality for the person that cares so much. Because you and I find this a lot, it's like, I wish I could just sometimes just turn it off, like, all right. So I don't, you know, it's very chunky, but it's, it's like the most amazing thing when you care that much because your output is, like, so much different than somebody that shows up. Punches in and punches out?

Jessica Young : 100%. So I started doing that, and I do social media for a couple of different clients. I do their social media, I do photoshoots. Again, I was doing that a lot literally through really till the end of February of last year. We had done like four photo shoots for one of the designers I work for and it was amazing and that is absolutely 100% one of my favorite.

Michelle : You were doing the styling.

Jessica Young : The styling, yes, exactly. And honestly and you know this, too, a lot of it is taking a lot of stuff away. I mean, it's ironic because as a merchandiser, it's like we got to pack this in and make the most of this real estate. Right. But this is, you know, the good, bad and the ugly. And the reality of our world through a filter and through social media is nobody's house. Looks like the pictures that we all dream and ogle over 24 hours a day. Not the fanciest, richest clients I know nobody's house looks like that. Most people do not have an eight foot olive branch hanging over their basket of fresh picked lemons from their orchard. Right.

Michelle : But it's all because.

Jessica Young : It's all this mystique and a mirage, right? So a lot of it was like taking stuff away. That's a big thing. I am like the Queen of Clutter, and I'm a packrat and I am sentimental and I'm nostalgic about everything. I'm incredible about removing all that nonsense, if you will, from someone else's space, from their office, from their home. I can go in and whip that out in no time. I cannot do it for myself. I don't think I ever will be able to.

Michelle : Hilarious.

Jessica Young : It's crazy. People are like, But you do this for a living or your place must look great. I'm like.

Michelle : Yeah, yeah, it's the shoe.

Jessica Young : Man. I have my college furniture still.

Michelle : I mean, that has holes in their shoes.

Jessica Young : Yes. So I do that. And then also I am an actor. I have been from the day I moved to LA. So I do always say like I felt like I've lived double life, not a secret double life, but I've always like put equal effort into my job. I was not willing to just and I'm I wish I could have been willing to just wait tables or just do temp work or do odd jobs. That wasn't fulfilling to me, and it also scared me. I'm like, I've got to have something viable in case this acting thing doesn't work out right. So I've always that was another thing that was very hard. And when you're younger, you can juggle that stuff. You can work.

Michelle : As an actor.

Jessica Young : The balance Yeah, I mean, you remember those days when I was doing that and I would be like, Please come to my show. You're like, Girl, I'm going to be in bed before you get on stage. I'm the worst I know. But like I would work all day and I mean, the minimum I worked was 8 hours. My days were usually more like ten or 11 hours. I was always working and then I was going to a club or to my main theater or my home theater or the clubs when I was also doing standup in addition to improv and doing that and getting home at two in the morning and maybe.

Michelle : Insane to me like I did it again. It's another it's another tout for hustle because it's yes, you know, 90% of the country people will not do something like that because. Exactly. Oh, I mean, everybody I've talked to, it's like has had this crazy side hustle where.

Jessica Young : Yes.

Michelle : You've been so driven that it didn't matter. No sleep. I can still do it and just keep marching through. And it's like, at what point did you have like, did you ever, like, hit the wall? Like, you mean?

Jessica Young : I mean, I think like two years ago I hit the wall when I left my job that I was up for 14 years. Again, I.

Michelle : Think it was 14.

Jessica Young : Years. Neither can I. And I don't think the average person is at a job that long unless they are like either a tenured professor or you are in at a company and you have moved up and yes, and that's it. And you're getting an amazing pension or something like that. So I just had like my kind of oh my God, what am I doing? Where am I going? I was not happy. I felt like I was spinning plates in every single direction possible. And I was like, I got to I got to stop and guess what? For the first time in my life, I didn't have a plan or a backup. I have never, ever in my life left a job without already having another job lined up. Ever.

Michelle : That's what you got to do. I mean, it's.

Jessica Young : And I called you. I even said to you, I was crying. I was like, I'm going to do this. I'm just. I'm going to jump and just I have to.

Michelle : Sort of just.

Jessica Young : Have faith that I'm going to land. And you were the one who told I mean, I remember talking to you on the phone and I was crying and you said you will you said you will land. And you're like, you just have to follow your heart and it will work out. Just know it's going to work out. Yeah. And by God again, was I planning on it? No. One of my dear friends was like, and this is again before I got into my freelancing, which also happened less than a month of me leaving my job. I just said, I need a month to just not think or do anything think about or do anything. My friend took me out to breakfast and he goes, Listen, I don't want to insult you. You're way overqualified for this, but we have an opening at my work. Do you want to do it? It was a complete detour from anything I've done. It's within the arts, by the way. It's like it was. I went into management for a company that sells and fundraises tickets and fundraising for the arts in Southern California from LA down to San Diego, all the major places. And he said, But it just would be something. And I thought, I'll do it. I'll do it. Like I had reached that point where I just knew I have to do something new. I don't know what it is yet. I don't care. Okay, here I go. The door just opened. I'm sliding in here. And within a week of me accepting that, I had my first client reach out and say, Hey, I heard that you just left your last job. Would you be interested in coming to meet with me? And I was like, What? And so it's just kind of gone from there. I haven't pursued it. I just thought, like I've.

Michelle : Always done and I, I still say it with this is one door closes and another opens and there's something about the universe how it and I've had this every single person I've talked to, it's like the universe puts obstacles in your way to make it just uncomfortable enough or so uncomfortable that it forces you to change. And I agree, you either keep going and shut everything down and don't follow your own dreams or you just leave. And it's like, I'm so stoked because same thing. I mean, it's like when I left Anthro, it was like I, I did not have a plan. I was like, for the people listening, I apologize.

Jessica Young : I cried when you left there. That was like I was remember I was like, I'm never going to see her again.

Michelle : Here we are 20 years later.

Jessica Young : That's crazy.

Michelle : You know, I mean, for me, it was my turning point was I was checked out. I mean, it's like I had done it for so long. I was burning out and having that dream and I still can't remember her name who was such an asshole. But she called me on my shit and it made it literally so uncomfortable because it was either I was going to have to step up and step fucking up or step out. And I was just like, so like, I don't want to do this for corporate anymore. Like, I want to do this something from my own. And I literally, I still remember my ex husband like you. What? You quit your job, like your insurance and your 401k and like you. What am I? I'm. I have to follow what I want to do. I have to follow my dream. It's like it's not an easy choice to make. And it's certainly there's struggles that I've had along the way, but the universe makes things just uncomfortable for you to.

Jessica Young : 100%.

Michelle : Get out of your own way.

Jessica Young : And but burnout is a very real thing. Like that's also. I mean, I knew for sure I was beyond past the point of being burnt out, but.

Michelle : Also an employee to do so when, you know, it's like that saying is that you can't do multiple things.

Jessica Young : Correct.

Michelle : To the best of your abilities. They're all good and you've certainly done a good enough job with all. But there is no way you can keep adding on to someone's plate. Something's going to give and it's usually the employee, right? And it's and because you're a people pleaser like I am, and you don't say no and you keep saying yes because you don't want to upset anybody by saying no, I mean, that could be a whole other show. But yeah, but it's, it's like that definitely. That is what leads to burnout and for sure resentment. And it's I've got that going on in a situation right now and it's like it's very hard to admit that. It's like I'm a people pleaser. I have no one to blame but myself. And I became super resentful and it's like it's I totally 100% own it, but now it's like kind of nice to see. Like as far as lessons, it's like, okay, I can recognize this and I need to recognize to learn from it. And it's, it's not an easy thing but.

Jessica Young : Hey, totally. Well also you've always been a consummate professional and I'm not blowing any smoke up your arse right now, but I was on many a job with you over the years, freelance work that we did at showrooms all over LA and in Atlanta. We had amazing trips to Atlanta. No, I remember that moment. And I think even though I was young, I was the oldest of the people that we're working on a specific project with you. You had like amazing interns. We had our one of our favorites who became one of your employees, Krystal and we were working on a showroom and it was so flawless. And as usual, you always were organized. You mapped out what we were doing, you mapped it out with the client and got their approval. First you had a plan for all of us, and I remember that we were done and we were all like, yes, like ecstatic. And then I guess maybe you had text the owner or somebody had walked by and saw it and the owner said that they hated it. And it's and it's not.

Michelle : Very.

Jessica Young : It's not what we pictured. No, it was a clothing showroom. Oh. And I remember literally my stomach being in my throat and I was like, no. And you were I knew, like fighting back, wanting to cry. And you were like, girls, you're dismissed. You're like, you can go home. And we said, No, we're going to help you. And you paid us that day. You sent us all away. And I remember you stayed there and had to strike the whole showroom and I think start from scratch. I don't know how the hell you did it. And I remember.

Michelle : I wish I could remember what job this was.

Jessica Young : Oh, my God. I remember I was being scared because I'm like, she's my friend, but she's also my employer and my supervisor. And I don't want to say too much, but know they're wrong because it was incredible and it was exactly what you promised you would deliver is what they got. And then they didn't like it.

Michelle : You know, display subjective. I mean, it's that's the one of the things I always say and it's really that's always the biggest challenge of display and merchandising because, you know, like, I have my ten display tips that I've given and it's like the riser, the plastic risers, the one thing that's got everybody so upset, like, but I love my plastic risers and it's subjective. I think they're hideous. Unfortunately, that's the thing from Anthropologie that it's like you never use them and now I see them and that's all I can see on a display. So I don't use them and I, I fight terribly hard to not ever use them, but it's that subjective. Other people, like some people are like, I love these. They're the most beautiful thing on earth. They make the display and it's like, No, it doesn't. But it's exactly so. And that's the hardest thing as a creative is to step out of that and recognize like, yes, okay, this is what I thought. I think it looks and that's still the hardest when you in your soul and your gut, you still think it looks amazing. And the person still standing there going, I don't get it, I don't like it, I don't get it. And it's like, okay.

Jessica Young : I totally agree. It's nuts. And then I guess to wrap up the long winded question, because you know how good I am at being succinct, the next incarnation from when I left. So again, like a huge change. I started doing the freelancing, I started working in theater, so at least I was like, Hey, this is something I can get behind because I'm a huge supporter and lover of the arts and hello, I'm a performer myself. I started a podcast with one of my dear friends of many, many years, Dana Powell. She is someone that you all have surely seen on television or in movies over the years. Most notably my favorite role. She was Cam's sister on Modern Family.

Michelle : And you said, I love.

Jessica Young : Yes, the best. And she asked me, hey, do you want to do this? She had just finished a podcast that she had been working on and doing for years, and she said, I want to do something with you. Can we meet? And I was like, Yeah, sure. And just not having many expectations or knowing what to expect. We met at a coffee shop and we literally did not come up for air and 4 hours later we had already bought the domain name, the podcast, had our outline, knew our ideas, had things for the first several shows, and it was just like, whoa, again, it was having that mindset of just. Go for it. Do not be scared. Quit questioning. Is it going to work? Are people going to like it? Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. Yeah, I got that. And it's hard. I tell you, I feel you because you always try to push me to do stuff. And I said that to you too. We're both the same way. It's like the self doubt can really kill you. It can stunt your mental and spiritual growth. Right?

Michelle : So it's such a mind. So, oh yeah. What's the name of the podcast? And tell me what it's tell me what it's all about.

Jessica Young : Oh, yes. So it is called the Rants & Raves podcast and that is a case sensitive name. And I say that because if you were to Google rants and raves A a million things will come up for that. There's also multiple podcasts that have one or both of those words in it, and a lot of them are sports related. Why? I don't know. Had we known as much as we love the name and it was perfect for what we do, maybe wouldn't have picked it. I don't know. But hindsight is 2020 and I don't care. It's our name and we're sticking to it. But it is the Rants & Raves podcast that is the full name. It's not just rants and raves as we sometimes say it on our show. Like in short form.

Michelle : We'll have links to this in the notes. Show notes, so you follow along.

Jessica Young : So yes, we're on Instagram and Facebook at the Rants & Raves podcast. We're also on Twitter at Raves_the. But admittedly, our listeners are far more and so are we. Instagram's probably our number one platform that we enjoy using. That also seems to be where our listeners message us the most, which is great. It's not hard to get into it, even on Facebook. And now things have changed with the pages and admins, and I manage multiple pages because I have them for my clients and I have multiple pages for my, you know, my personal page, my podcast page, my improv teams pages, blah, blah, blah. It's a lot. Instagram is just like, boom, you open your account. It's amazing and easy to read your analytics. You can see the messages. There's no searching and going crazy, so we really love that platform.

Michelle : Who is your audience?

Jessica Young : Our audience. You know, we I guess we're just assuming it would be women, which definitely, I think were heavier on the if you're breaking down women to men as far as listeners probably have more female listeners, but we don't just have like one or two male listeners. We have a lot of male listeners. And it's not that we try to be female centric or shy away from it either, but we just talk about what we want to talk about and humor. That's. Yes. Yes. I mean, listen, one of our number one fans, I love this man so much, is a retired African American fireman in North Carolina.

Michelle : I love it.

Jessica Young : Okay. So who would have thought that this man would be interested in these two crazy Southern girls moved to L.A. doing a podcast he writes into us every week. We absolutely adore him. He couldn't be a better person. And we literally said one day, we hope we meet him in person.

Michelle : Oh, yeah, I'm sure. Because you guys so like talk to me about what the podcast is about, because you guys do a lot of engagement and you guys do a lot of showcasing of non-profits, and so tell of what the podcast is about.

Jessica Young : So the whole idea came about from actually backstage before one of my shows one night, and my teammate was just laughing and shaking his head. He's like, Jess, man, you are just killing me. He goes, When are you just going to have a show called Rants and Raves with Jessica Young? And I was like, What? And he goes, Seriously? He goes, You are equally as passionate about stuff that you love. And he goes, I've never seen someone go into such rapture about trying to convince me that I have to get a grilled cheese from this random place in Torrance or something like that. He goes, And you're equally as passionate about stuff that make you angry. And sometimes it's such dumb stuff and it's so nominal it doesn't even make. He goes, It's insanity. But it, it gives me great joy. I look forward to it every week. So that kind of stood in my mind for a while. And then when Dana and I were talking about it, we both she goes, I really want to do something that's uplifting, but also I want it to be fun, funny. And I'm like, Hey, what if it's kind of this is a thing? I've been kind of stewing on rants and raves, so we rant out all the bad stuff. And some of that comes from our listeners, which we love reading listeners letters. It's one of our favorite parts of the show. I mean, yesterday we recorded Episode 102. I'm very happy.

Michelle : Congratulations.

Jessica Young : Thank you. My rant was about socks and about how they keep getting lost in my buildings machine and why my husband, even though I've bought him probably a hundred pair of socks over the 15 years we've been together. Keeps finding my little tennis socks, which are the only kind of socks I will wear and stretching them out to oblivion. That makes my head explode because I can't wear them anymore. He has giant feet. They don't fit my feet anymore. So that would be like some stupid thing that we ran. We've also had people write in very serious things, so it doesn't just have to be jokey, but we rant out the bad and then we're like, okay, everyone has to do that. We all need to get stuff out, but you can't just stew on that. That will obviously eat away at you. It makes you decay inside. What can we do to fill up? So the rave portion is to then fill up with goodness. We love highlighting anything in particular, small things that maybe don't have a huge following yet, or trying to get their legs or their footing for funding. They don't have to be a nonprofit, but a lot of the things we do happen to be non-profit things or organizations that work on a donation and volunteer basis. It's also to help encourage people to realize, Hey, you can start something in your town if this doesn't already exist. What's stopping you from having a you know, we had a kid or one of our earlier episodes, this little boy who noticed homeless people in his area, they live in New Jersey and with his parents. And they got a speed rack somewhere. They started a thing. I'm so embarrassed. I don't remember his name. Now I want to say I was like Caleb's closet. They started a thing where people could come and and choose a coat. They could shop without having to pay, if you will.

Michelle : That's amazing. 

Jessica Young : Yes. Or I'll tell you another one. Excuse me. Hope through soap. That's from a guy that I happened to grow up with in Atlanta. He was a dear friend of my brother's. He started a mobile shower unit in Atlanta called Hope Threw Soap. That's where I had this custom trailer. It's took time and a lot of saving and all this stuff. And then he started getting some donors and some backing. He had a custom converted trailer to bring for people to be able to shower. He has block parties, come, set up the mobile showers. They have hairdressers that come and donate their services and give these people haircuts and shaves. It's amazing. He now has a warehouse. He had to get a warehouse to house all of the clothing donations he gets now and people can come in. And so that's just such a small but like. It's really makes you feel good to help spread the word of things and realize, man, there's so much bad stuff in this world. There always has been.

Michelle : So much.

Jessica Young : Good. There's so much good. There are people in every corner of this world, even in areas you least expect it. There's at least one person who's a good person that wants to help people and is doing good. So that was kind of like the whole premise of the show and it's been a really amazing journey.

Michelle : Has any of the takeaways from your life at Anthro have does it play in any of your facets that you do now?

Jessica Young : I mean, man, even. Yeah. Even in my own home, when I get bored with stuff, I'm like, sometimes Alan's like, Are you merchandising the bookshelf? I'm like, Oh, my God. I guess I am like in my own house sometimes. Like, I'll realize the way I'm setting things up. I'll even do. Also, I don't dare just do this without people's permission. But if I have friends who are like, Oh, will you come take a look? I'm like, May I? And then I start like moving stuff around. I mean, I love doing that. I've been helping a lot of friends recently, especially during COVID, who are like, Can I send you some pictures on my house? And you can give me some ideas what to do. I'm like, Of course.

Michelle : Which brings me that's one of my. See how I was saying, like, this conversation just kind of goes on its own. Yeah. So 2020 was a fucked up year. I mean, I say that it wasn't as I personally like. I it's probably the first time I've ever taken time off like that time off. I, it, I fought it for, for, I mean, I was still pushing for, like, Rob Paradise. We were supposed to redo their gallery. Yes. And we were supposed to blow all out and do all this construction and pain. And I was still pushing to do it. Like, this is the perfect time. Like, we're close, let's just do it. And then finally everyone was like, just back off. Like, just like you're not we're not doing anything now. Just we're. So after I finally just kind of settled into it. It was amazing. I hate saying that, but I'm not going to lie like it was. It was. We don't we don't go out as it is. So it's not like I miss like, oh, live music and going to shows and restaurants, but things normal people like, sure, I'm a homebody anyway. So honestly, it was just like it was a beautiful chance to.

Jessica Young : Yes.

Michelle : Be present and be there. What? During 2020. What changes it did bring you or what gifts did it give you?

Jessica Young : Oh, man. I mean, honestly, it is good to think about that because again, everyone had hardships, right? Everyone did. No matter what everyone likes to think, certain people didn't. They did some more than others, obviously. But everyone was affected, if by nothing else, by the lack of socialization. I'm a total social busybody. So were you like. Were people. People. That doesn't even make sense what I just said. But I'm not I mean, I'm certainly not an introvert in any way. So that was very hard. And I remember being so mad and so frustrated and I'm like, what am I going to do? And I was stewing and I was going crazy. It didn't take long. I mean, I was like three weeks and I was going crazy. And just one day I was like, I just got to get out of here. And I felt like Forrest Gump. But I went on a walk and I walked and I walked and I walked. And which brings me to hashtag Rage Walk, my favorite pastime, which will continue for the rest of my life.

Michelle : You did this rage. You've continued this rage walk. And it's for people again, like all these will be in the show notes. So in your now your personal Instagram, you have shots of your rage watch anything from people's horrible lawn decor in the miniature fairy houses and gnome statues to shit that people leave on their sidewalk for. Yes. Dumpster diving. Yep. So and in this, if I recall, you have lost quite a bit of weight as well.

Jessica Young : Yes. So it wasn't even I mean, first of all, yes, of course, you want to lose weight and whatever when you need to. But it wasn't even with that intention. It was out of me being so like amped up. And I was filled with rage. Filled with rage.

Michelle : Now, were you mad because of the shutdown? What what had you?

Jessica Young : I was mad because of everything I now I don't want to I always hoped, like, okay, I hope people don't misconstrue. I was never mad thinking we shouldn't be shut down. I was mad at the whole situation. I was mad thinking at first it was just, oh my God, I can't believe we're here. Which I think was probably most people's initial reaction then. My rage really did come from people not taking it seriously because I thought, Hey, if everyone can just shut up and do what they should do for a couple of months, we won't be here in a few months.

Michelle : Thank you. I guess so over the year.

Jessica Young : So that really came out of pure frustration in one day. Just as a joke, I took a picture and I just wrote, Have you taken your daily rage walk today? Not thinking anything of it. And the amount of people that wrote to me and texted me and were like, that is the funniest fucking thing I have ever read.

Michelle : Lisa fucking loves your rage walks.

Jessica Young : They're like, I don't understand. You better keep doing this. And I was like, Keep doing this, okay? I love a challenge. And then I'm telling you, I didn't even have to, like, search for it because people were losing their minds throughout COVID. There was such a plethora. You would think that I live in like Revere, Massachusetts, with the amount of land I live in, Studio City. I live in a really beautiful, lovely part of Los Angeles. But, man, some of my neighbors, they.

Michelle : Are they do the whole Christmas decorating thing like.

Jessica Young : Oh, yeah, oh, yeah.

Michelle : And by the way.

Jessica Young : One guy who is like he has like 12 antique cars that are always covered except for like five times a year. He takes them out. I don't know how the hell they even still run. He drives them up on his lawn, puts all these blow up things in them when COVID hit. Bless that man's heart, he did Christmas in April and he fully pulled out all of his blow up Santa on a jet ski in the lakes and set up an entire Christmas diorama in his yard in mid-April.

Michelle : I heard people are doing that and I was like, I did not see any of it. And I thought, Well, this is a chance for me to do it. I might as well do it now, but I couldn't even bring myself to do it.

Jessica Young : Larry. Yes. Oh, my God. I'll tell you one other thing really quick that I did not just walking, even though again, I was like forest and I have not stopped. I have never in my entire life enjoyed cooking and forget about not enjoying it. I hate it. In fact, I really get annoyed when my mom wanted to stop at the grocery store. Like what a bride am I? That I'd be annoyed that she'd want to stop, to get food, to carry a fresh meal. Right? I'd be like, God. And I'd always just sit in the car, huffing and puffing rage totally, because truly out of necessity, like when COVID first hit, especially in L.A.. Right. This is different for other parts of the country. I know this for a fact. Because of the people I know all across this country, things have been done very different. They were in California. Yeah, but it was a madhouse. I couldn't find toilet paper anywhere. And I'm not someone that buys a few rolls at a time. I buy a giant pack at Target or wherever. There was no toilet paper.

Jessica Young : There was no paper towels. There was no basic foods that I was used to getting. And also, it's like people are like stock up on frozen goods and things. And I'm like, okay, my freezer is just a normal size. I don't have a deep freeze for the deer that I processed from my hunting trip last month. Like, what are you talking about? Get a lot of frozen foods. So there was nothing. So I will remember this for the rest of my life. I went to a a Latin grocery store called Vallarta for the first time in my life I'd never been in. One of my friends is like, Dude, go to Baiada. They're pretty well stocked. And I'm like, What? Yeah, I went in. Well, let me tell you something. This Canadian born, Southern raised girl had her head blown open. And my first purchase, there was a package that was probably two feet wide of faux crab meat, which is a very popular main ingredient in a Mexican dish known as Jaiba, which is kind of like a cooked version of ceviche I mentioned.

Michelle : I never heard of this.

Jessica Young : Oh, my God. So I used to work with a lot of ladies from Mexico and Guatemala. And one of them, Marcella, used to make jaiba and bring it to work. It served on tostadas and it's like chop to mate. You would love it, by the way. Chopped tomato, cilantro, chopped red onion, jaiba. By the way, the fake crab. I know that sounds nasty. It's just fish. It's like whitefish usually Pollock in particular. And it's very low in fat and calorie. And so I made this giant batch of jaiba and oh, and a ton of fresh lime. And my husband was like, Oh my God, this is really good. I'm like, Really? Now, that didn't require a lot of effort that was raw, but I bought all kinds of different ingredients and I started cooking. Now you would think that I went to the Sorbonne and I'm a gourmet chef because I easily own 75 cookbooks. I'm a little obsessed with them. I love reading them.

Michelle : I never cook at home.

Jessica Young : Never cook. I guess it's like porn for me. I'm like, Oh my God, a whole braised branzino. But I started cooking and I mean, like, really cooking, not just, you know.

Michelle : Allen cooks. Allen's The Cook in the family, right?

Jessica Young : Oh, my God.

Michelle : My husband's.

Jessica Young : Italian. And he literally he could open a restaurant and I'm like.

Michelle : Oh, now, do you guys cook side by side now or do you never go in?

Jessica Young : If he is cooking, he's like, Get out, get out of my way, please get out. But also he's like a mad scientist and he will have eight pots bubbling and boiling and salting and things happening. He takes over the whole kitchen. He does not want me anywhere near him, but he is like a pro. I mean, I'm still I've gotten so much better over there. Also, I became a big fan of sheet pan chicken dinners and the likes. Yeah, seriously, there's some amazing recipes where you just. It's a bunch of vegetables and maybe if you want chicken or fish, you throw it all on and bake it. My God, it's.

Michelle : So where are you? Where are you finding? Where are you cooking out of the most? Are you finding since you have all those books, you don't, I mean, honestly, off the Internet or are you?

Jessica Young : I'll tell you. I mean, there's God, there's several amazing ones. I'm going to say my number one from last year was Alison Roman's nothing fancy. She is one of the food contributors for The New York Times. Oh, incredible. The chicken with garbanzo beans, sheet pan is one of the best things I've ever made. And it was also the first thing I made were Al and my husband goes, Holy shit, this is really good. Will you please make this again? So that one has so many good. Like she has a celery salad and I'm sure, me included, I'm like, okay, grandma, that sounds disgusting.

Michelle : No, it's really disgusting. But like shattering a charcuterie board. There's Arizona. There's a cook that I follow. She's I think she's paleo and Whole Foods defined and her defined dishes like same thing super easy like but I always like I like people that haven't cooked a lot. I always love hearing like, where are you getting all these? Like, what are your favorites? What are your.

Jessica Young : Totally I'm trying to think of what the lady's name is. I'm going to look this up right now as we're talking. Also, life and lemons. Have you heard of that book? Yep. That one's incredible. It's not vegan, but it's vegetarian.

Michelle : And that Cafe Gratitude book, I think that's the food from Cafe Gratitude.

Jessica Young : No, it's definitely not. Of course, now I can't even see this gal's name. Okay, well, everybody, love and lemons. Love and lemons. Not life and.

Michelle : Lemons. Yeah, love and lemons. We. I bought that. I've yet to open it up. I love the cover, I love the color.

Jessica Young : It's such a good book. And I bought it for several friends. But yeah, that's another one I really recommend and they're not terribly hard. And it's a beautiful, beautiful book to look at. Love and Lemons is by Janine D'Onofrio.

Michelle : If you're like me, where you find like cookbooks are are total porn so. Oh, thank you. Oh, my God. Yum.

Jessica Young : Look at.

Michelle : That. Look at the watermelon.

Jessica Young : So up your alley.

Michelle : Totally.

Jessica Young : Also, you're quite the cook you always are every night.

Michelle : I mean, I cook every night. That's like my I love and that that I think comes from when I was little my mom and dad being divorced that that was the time that my mom that's the time that we shared as a family. We sat down, whether it's a table or sitting down in the living room, what is like you? That's to me has always been love and showing for people and feeding people. And as Dave says, that's how we fatten up our dogs. But it's it's it's I, I love doing it, but I also because of my schedule, I, I can't cook. I don't well, going back to the display corner, I think I don't have the attention that you need to prepare some of these really insanely intricate. Like there's a couple recipes that we did the other day and they were supposed to be easy. And Dave's like, Is this another one of these Gwyneth Paltrow easy meals? So because I forget what meal it was, it was insane. Her goop or her her cookbook, the one the second one she did. There's so much good stuff in it. But a couple of the recipes like Holy Mother of God like, yeah, it is not a 40 minute recipe, including try. It's more like an hour and a half. And that's just like if you're lucky.

Jessica Young : Yes.

Michelle : So I tend to go for like the easier but it it's it's I love that that that's one of the things that gets you like excited because it's visual and.

Jessica Young : Totally.

Michelle : And in that same thing is like because we're all creative like I love to hear like what, where do you find inspiration? And for me, one of them is cookbooks. But where do you find inspiration now that you're not like in you're not in anthropology, you don't have to go out and get inspired anymore. But like, you know, as a creative, you still need that that visual eye. Candy.

Jessica Young : Honestly, for me, a lot of it has just been going outside. I have really like I was the queen. I mean, I'm still a magazine ho. I love them. I'm like you. I have tears for days. I finally started tossing some of those out last year. I'm like, Well, I literally have bins of all the things I've pulled out of Martha Stewart living from 20 years ago.

Michelle : Oh, my.

Jessica Young : Gosh. So now like, I mean, bins of that stuff so.

Michelle : You throw away.

Jessica Young : I hate I always love and I still love a good magazine, both a virtual and a flip through. I mean, I do like to feel a book in my hands. I am one of those people. Yeah, but I have found a lot of my inspiration and a lot of my inspiration for Pallet, and it really resonated with me from a recent project you did from one of my favorite local stores that you happen to merchandise for that the Sonoran Desert palette that you did. So I love a lot of this walking around and I went to Joshua Tree with one of my friends quite a few times during COVID to hike, and I took pictures just being like this exact shade of blue. The way the sky is right now, this color of the Joshua trees and the color of the sand is, like so insane, so inspiring to me. And so, I mean, I'm not joking. People make fun of me. All the time for this. I currently have over 22,000 pictures just on my cellphone.

Michelle : So I take pictures everywhere.

Jessica Young : Everywhere.

Michelle : And do you? So how do you apply them? I mean, this is a total sideline question, but like right now, this is how you pull. So how do you apply all these photos in your phone to what you're doing?

Jessica Young : So I will use them sometimes as a springboard when I'm creating like design boards, if you will, for a client. Right. And I'm like, hey, I'm really and I've always kind of been like that. I always try to pick one color as my launching point and one like a shade of a color and then just go from there like, wow, I'm really resonated to this particular dusty pink or this emerald green, and then let's see what else can build off that. But I always for me, the starting point was always color and it kind of always has been. From my early days till now, I picked a particular color. And by the way, a lot of times that color came in the form of an object. It might be one of those oxidized bottles that's turned like the weirdest pale shade of blue because it was buried underground for the last 200 years. Yeah, interesting. And I'm like, here we go. That's even how I used to build all of my window displays.

Michelle : Because your your window displays were just I mean, for for one of the rules of display is always when in doubt, color it out and yeah, single piloted or a double piloted window are always to me a the most cohesive and so beautiful. And you don't have to follow a concept. I am I merchandising concept. I can do the coloring out and but I can recognize like when people that really color things out well and your windows were always just like I still remember you did like an hm. And like an agate green themed window. Yeah. And it just, I mean, it was so good and, and, and the products in there, not all of them went together, but the commonality was the color. Right. And that's what made it so beautiful.

Jessica Young : Thank you.

Michelle : You're welcome.

Jessica Young : I'm not kidding. I also remember, like, the first time I think that you came by and saw one of the windows and I could see you from outside. So I was seeing, like, your genuine expression and reaction. So I knew like, oh, wow, even when you told me, Oh my God, I love it. I'm like, She's not lying to me. I saw her and I could see her smiling when she walked up. No, because again, that's self doubt. And I'm like, here is somebody who taught me and mentored me for four years, literally not just an anthropology, but I got to work with you so many times on different projects.

Michelle : Prestbury.

Jessica Young : Oh God, the best. Actually, I think that's the only time ever in our 20 some years of friendship where I really thought, Oh shit, she's pissed. And it was because I wouldn't stop playing with a baby. Santa was a baby Santa, which a shouldn't be a thing. We don't need a baby with a beard. It was a baby Santa who wrote a rocking horse. And when you pushed it, it rocked like furiously back and forth and played the most annoying, ridiculous song. No Crystal and I would be pissing ourselves laughing. And you had just had it one day, and rightfully so. You had said, Knock it off, it's enough already. And I couldn't stop that job.

Michelle : God damn, that was awesome and horrendous at the same time.

Jessica Young : Well, also think about those days. I mean, we were given quite a hefty budget and you and I rented a cargo van and God bless you had mapped out as you should, you had planned. And you're like, We're going to hit this antique market and then we're going to go to this place and then we're going to go to this. And I took that thing and I literally crumpled it up and I said, No, we're not. We're not going to any of them. You're just going to get in the car, get on 400 north, and we're going to drive north Georgia.

Michelle : That was the best. That was still like, yeah, I mean, it's creatively like when you get to prop and you.

Jessica Young : Yes, god, that was.

Michelle : Fun. You get to control and it's not even props for sale. But when you get control, the overall visual by props and material, it's like, sure budget like that. Like that was still incredible. Such a fun.

Jessica Young : I will never forget we found a antique. Like something? Yes. Like not an, I guess, an arcade, but, like something that you'd see at, like a fair or in a bowling alley that had it was stocked. It was like, did no one ever use this? It was a chicken that turned around and laid eggs. And then you got a prize. And that was the focal point for the massive Easter product display for Russ Berry. That was.

Michelle : Fine. It's like I, I think, you know, it's weird. Like, I have no idea where half these pictures are. Like, you talk about you have 22,000 pictures on your phone and all the pictures that you had. Like, I don't have any pictures from Anthro. I don't have. It's so weird. It's like, god, I wonder where all those are. Like, I literally. Right. Yeah. But it's, it's. It's always like with you, with everybody that's visual. It's like it's something that you should have. But it's weird that I am like, man. I guess I follow that change as good things.

Jessica Young : I say it is good because also there's some stuff where you look and you're like, That was so dated or you can't believe it. But I always say, But you know what? For the time that was very innovative or that was beautiful. And also that was an era because all of my pick, I actually when I find them one of these days, because I also have boxes of pictures. Big shocker. I have physical printed pictures from when we did that showroom in Atlanta. Oh, yes, very. So that was back in the day. It was kind of I mean, we had cell phones, but there was no cameras in your cell phone when you and I were doing that. Yeah. And that was when I would take my camera and the minute I filled up a roll of film and I mean, the minute I was out of one hour photo getting those printed.

Michelle : I realized, like, we are dating ourselves because.

Jessica Young : I haven't printed pictures in 15, 16 years.

Michelle : It's like back in the day when we merchandised, it's like, Oh my God, it's hilarious. My last question for you is going to be where do you see yourself in ten years? Business and personal.

Jessica Young : Oh. Where do I see myself in ten years? Och, well, honestly, I mean, I said this earlier, but I do mean it unless I. There's something else that changes. Like, of course, I hope I'm a series regular on a TV show at that point.

Michelle : Or you, you still are. I mean, improv is just as equally as important to your life. Still, to this.

Jessica Young : Day, 100%, unfortunately, did not happen last year. It still isn't because everything was shut down whether you wanted to or not. There was no live performance. Right? So that is something also that really fills my soul creatively. And I will probably be doing it until the day I die, both for paid work and for unpaid. I do it for the love of it. Nobody gets into improv and and comedy because they think they're going to be a millionaire. And, like, that's your intentions, right? You do it for the love of it. And the community from that that I was lucky enough to be a part of all these years and still do. I mean, I've met. Some of my dearest, dearest friends who are like family to me to this day through improv. So I'm extremely grateful for that. So I hope that I am doing that. But honestly, I mean, I wasn't joking when I said that. The older I get, even though I love the city and the city life, every time my husband and I go to like our favorite town within the vicinity of a two hour drive of here is Los Alamos. It's above Los Olivos. It's in the Silicon Valley.

Jessica Young : We were just there recently, like a month and a half ago. It's a two street town. I'm not joking, but I love that there's a giant antique mall, just a giant old barn that has like probably 100 different vendors in it. And there is probably eight restaurants, which seems obscene for a town with two streets. They're all incredible. The food is so next level, and a lot of them are people that left LA. They're like, I got to get out of here and brought their talents to Los Alamos. I kind of see myself moving to a smaller town like that. A It seems a lot less stressful, I think. I mean, every time we're there, I'm like, Can we live here seriously? But I'm like, Unless you're a vintner or you own a tasting room or one of the few stores here, what are you going to do? Truly? Or unless you're a contractor for real contractors, you can live anywhere. There's always work for home and construction and whatever. But I see myself living somewhere, maybe smaller. And if I don't have that paper store, I mean, my husband and I both really still kind of have dreams of opening a microbrewery.

Michelle : Hmm.

Jessica Young : So will that happen? That remains to be seen. He is fermenting foods. That's something he got into, and he's really good at it. And I'm at a point now where I'm like, Hey, if we can figure out a way to make this work, I'm happy to do the legwork. Like, if you make the stuff, then I'll start going to peddle this at farmer's markets and whatnot and see, that's amazing. Yeah.

Michelle : See something like that you could take in. I mean, I like you the best. You could do the podcast from wherever. I mean, if it's being monetized now or in the future. But you could do that anywhere. I mean, that's that's my dream is to move away as well. Yeah, but it's a little hard to do when your clients are all dependent on you coming in and doing your thing.

Jessica Young : No, totally.

Michelle : Thank you so much for being on.

Jessica Young : Oh, my God. Thank you.

Michelle : So great to catch up with you. I love you.

Jessica Young : I love you, too. Have fun. Bye.

Michelle : And that is a wrap. Thank you all so much for joining me on today's episode. I really appreciate it. And be sure to tune in every Wednesday for more stories and lessons from a life in retail. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram at the retail whore podcast and you can find us online at the retailwhorepodcast.com