reset your life: miss miranda jones.
as many of you may know, i’ve had a lot of careers, and the most frequent question i get is, “how did you go about starting a new life?” i know what’s worked for me, but i thought it would be helpful to find out from others how they successfully abandoned their 9 to 5 jobs in favor of careers that are more creatively challenging. smartwater has enlisted me to round up some of the very successful women i know and admire to share a little bit about how they got from here to there (and how their paths might inspire yours).
first up is the invincible, effervescent and charming miss miranda jones. you might recognize her from behind the scenes at many a Sunset magazine photo shoot. miranda was the style editor at sunset for years, which is how i came to meet her. now, in partnership with her brother, she’s running her own successful company galanter & jones. galanter & jones debuted their gorgeous and very hip line of heated outdoor seating, the first of its kind, in 2012. their products are designed by miranda’s brother Aaron and made in conjunction with talented California tradespeople. miranda manages sales, public relations and marketing.
her new path was motivated by a particular creative need and a personal goal she hoped to fulfill. i thought it would be inspiring to hear miranda’s story and see their beautiful benches in their ‘natural habitat’ – flora grubb gardens, one of the locations that carry the galanter & jones benches, which heat up — quite handy here in san francisco, and for cool nights lounging poolside.
What were you professionally pursuing before leaving to start Galanter & Jones?
It’s been a long and winding road, but most recently I was the home editor at PopSugar/ Before that I was the style editor at Sunset magazine for five years.
Were there specific challenges about your former life that didn’t work for you anymore?
I loved my jobs in editorial, but how often do you have the opportunity to build a company with your sibling? Aaron and I had always talked about working together, we just hadn’t really talked about the how! I still love to style and pitch stories, and I’m lucky enough to freelance for many of my favorite publications.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
My brother originally started the business with someone else, but it was short lived. When he renamed it, he told me that the ‘Jones’ in Galanter & Jones was for me. In other words, he basically appealed to my vanity. Galanter is our great-grandfather’s last name and my brother’s middle name. (We share Jones as a last name.) Aaron and I have always wanted to work together, but we didn’t really know what we would be doing. After he started the business, it just made sense that we would do it together. It’s funny looking back on it, but I feel like every job I’ve had in my life has somehow conspired to prepare me to do this one.
Did you receive any particular advice that stood out?
We’ve been lucky enough to get advice from really thoughtful and smart people. A few things that stand out are:
• Make reversible decisions quickly and move on.
• Never make an unprofitable transaction, no matter how tempting.
• Keep your overhead as low as possible.
• Practice top down planning. A new business/start up environment is especially challenging. Every month feels like razor’s edge, but it’s important to think big from the beginning, even if you aren’t able to act that way just yet.
What advice would you give to a person wanting to change career paths?
Just do it! It’s so difficult to leave something that is known, but really the biggest risk is in not trying something new. Change is exciting, and even if the change doesn’t bring what you expected, chances are you’ll have learned something very valuable about yourself.
What are the top three things that someone should consider before changing careers or starting their own business?
You are going to work very hard. Having your own business means that there is always something you could be probably should be doing. Paid vacations are a thing of the past! You also have to be okay with a level of uncertainty. Some questions you won’t be able to answer, and that’s not always easy. But it’s ok. At least I keep telling myself that. Lastly, there are lots of great resources – people you know, government web sites – out there to answer questions that come up. Use them!
What’s the most rewarding thing you’ve found about your new career?
I have a different type of pride in my work than I ever had before. I’ve always been proud of my brother, but every time someone compliments his great design or ideas, I’m proud all over again. I’m proud that we’re building something cool together. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch something grow and gain momentum and realize that you made that happen!
this story is brought to you by vapor-distilled smartwater, who found unique inspiration for their water by looking up to the sky. we hope the change in perspective this piece offers will help inspire you.