Venice Beach, CA
“The world did not owe her the perfect life. She owed it to herself.”– Miri Grunhaus
Right on the heels Forever Fierce Day Celebration and an entire month dedicated to women at Midlife & Beyond, let’s spotlight three brands with three Fierce sisters at the helm: Jaclyn Jones – The Founder of Jaclyn Jones USA, Will Leather Goods – with my dear friend, Shannon Gunderson, the new General Manager and Miriam Grunhaus – the Founder and creative behind the inspirational, Mikah Fashion.
Women supporting women. Isn’t that what life is all about? A Fierce life, that is!
The essence of Forever Fierce is a collaborative, supportive community for women at Midlife & Beyond, along with a bond through kindness and compassion. My friend and Fierce sister, Jacqueline DePaul, the Queen of the Runway and the visionary behind Yellow Brick Runway is always on the same page…lifting others…ready and waiting to lend a helping hand.
Jacqueline and I are like two peas in a pod. Well almost. She’s the pea I aspire to be. The pea on steroids! She’s the epitome of Fierce reinvention having launched a formidable modeling career in her 40’s. At 49, she walked the Paris Fashion Week Runway and just landed in Paris to try and do it again! She’s a force, a Fierce force, inspiring women of all ages that Midlife isn’t an end, but a powerful beginning. We’ve had the pleasure of partnering with the lovely and exceptionally talented, Jaclyn Jones over the past year. Being the Founder and creative of a global luxury shoe line is an achievement in and of itself. But Jaclyn didn’t stop there. She was on a unique mission, one that centered upon the woman wearing the shoes and her personal experience of sheer comfort. She knew that women not only wanted to look beautiful, they wanted to feel beautiful. You can’t feel beautiful when your high heels are killing you and you’re walking like an “injured animal,” in Jaclyn’s words. When Jaclyn launched Jaclyn Jones USA, she wasn’t just starting another designer shoe company but revolutionizing the entire industry by combining impeccable and exquisite design with sheer comfort, a feat that had never been done before. That made her the perfect fit (literally and metaphorically) for us…you know I’ve said it once or twice before…we’re kind of partial to a revolution! She’s beautiful, refreshing with a life philosophy of “everything is possible” and a never say never mindset. Her target demographic is that of women at Midlife & Beyond, or 35 plus or the essence of the Forever Fierce Revolution.
It was a reunion of sorts for Jacqueline DePaul and I to hit the streets of Venice. Last year, we had a ball sharing our love for Jaclyn Jones and her out of this world shoes and decided why not enjoy Venice’s quirks once again. Last year, I modeled Jaclyn Jone’s “Magnolia Bootie” in the most beautiful floral pattern. I fell in love with both the design and the experience and couldn’t resist selecting another pair of the same bootie. This time, I couldn’t take my eyes off the Creamy Magnolia Bootie with the coolest golden studs. It was a match made in heaven which describes the experience of the shoe, a little slice of heaven! What I love about Jaclyn Jones is that she’s always thinking outside the box. She’s constantly finding ways to personally connect with her customers. One of those ways is through her unique “trunk show” offerings which you can read more on her website. If you’re as in love with Jaclyn Jones USA gorgeous designs as we are, you can host a Jaclyn Jones trunk show in your own home. Invite your closest friends, Jaclyn and her team will provide the shoes, a discount to purchase them for your friends and you can earn a free pair for hosting. Even better, Jaclyn herself with come and join the party! Now, who else provides customer service like that?
What was really cool about this shoot is how it came together very organically. Jacqueline and I had been planning several shoots together over the past couple of months. Our crazy schedules make it a challenge to find time to actually get together! Jacqueline is an Engineer by day and a Supermodel by night with running her own blog tossed into the mix. She’s not just a supermodel but a true Midlife Superwoman! We finally cleared our calendars to make magic happen once again. Shooting with Jacqueline is an experience. She’s a true professional who’s a whole lot of fun! We came up with the vision of supporting 3 brands together on the same day. Now, the challenge was how to execute it? Both Jaclyn Jones USA and Will Leather Goods were generous sponsors of FierceCon LA last October. Jaclyn was there for the entire Gala event last year and donated the grand prize of a pair of Jaclyn Jones shoes to one lucky winner. Shannon Gunderson, the General Manager of Will Leather Goods in Venice, was also there to support FierceCon with a custom made Wills Leather Tote in the most sumptuous leather. Shannon’s been a supporter of Forever Fierce and a friend since the very beginning. I have to admit that I didn’t know of Will Leather Goods until Shannon excitedly shared it with me. There’s nothing like a family owned business with a penchant for heartfelt customer service to capture my heart and my attention. Shannon’s passion and enthusiasm definitely piqued my curiosity.
Will Leather Goods is a charming store brimming with color and the most unusual hand-crafted leather goods. The burgundy “Counsel Bag,” had already captivated Jacqueline’s attention. The most unusual “briefcase” I’ve ever seen that seamlessly combined old fashioned craftsmanship with new world details. It’s also made with sumptuous Italian leather and solid brass hardware with a space for a laptop built in! The Venice location of Will Leather Goods is a destination in and of itself. It’s like it’s own treasure shop with one thing more beautiful than the next. It has many one of a kind items and EVERYTHING in the store is for sale, from the furniture to the antique chairs and postal bags. Even better, if you mention this blog post, Shannon and Will, the owner, will take 20 percent off your purchase! Will Adler and his family run the company. They are a company that believes in giving back with 2% of all purchases going to buy backpacks for children in need. You can’t miss the shop with a giant colorful cow right out front coaxing you to come on in. Jacqueline and I didn’t hesitate making friends! I have to say that I could barely part with the items we tried on. I was coveting the “Counsel Bag” and the hat in the perfect shade of blue won my heart.
Last year, Jacqueline chose the “Poppy” shoe, an elegant burgundy heel with the most intricate detailing. The designs are very classic yet incorporate a twist, Jaclyn’s unique touch, which makes them both contemporary and classic. This year, Jacqueline selected a shoe in the most beautiful shade of mustard yellow, “The Lily of the Nile.” The shoes are a magnet for attention as Jacqueline hit the streets of Abbot Kinney with her statuesque runway jaunt and killer heels that seemed to captivate every man or woman that strolled by. As we shared in last year’s post, the beauty of Jaclyn’s designs lies not only on the surface with the most exquisite looking shoe, but on the ingenious 4 millimeter insole that provides an experience of sheer comfort. Only a female shoe designer who’s spent years walking in high heels understands the need for a beautiful shoe that’s also a joy to walk in. Make sure to visit the Jaclyn Jones USA website with a gorgeous and wide range of styles and selections. Unlike any other shoe designer, Jaclyn Jones will custom make a pair for you if there happens to be a shoe you love but want it in another color or fabric, reach out to the team to create your unique design. They’ve won us over and I’m sure they’ll capture your heart as well.
Just before our adventures to Venice, I had been connecting with a friend of Jacqueline’s who’s now a passionate member of Forever Fierce, Miri Grunhaus, the Founder of Mikah Fashion. I happened to see her posting images of a brand new “Phoenix Rising” T shirt which is the symbol of Forever Fierce. I let her know that Jacqueline and I were planning to shoot together and we would love to share her new designs. What I love about Miri and Mikah Fashion is that every single piece brings with it great meaning and inspiration. Make sure to check out her blog and Jacqueline’s last post on Miri and her collection. Jacqueline recently did a photo shoot with Miri in LA that was one of the most creative and magnificent ones I’ve ever seen. Mikah Fashion was launched with the intention of empowering women to embrace their imperfections or their “brokenness.” I believe all women can relate to feeling broken down by life’s challenges. Yet, the strength is in the broken places. Miri’s designs celebrate our imperfections. the “Wabi Sabi” Japanese philosophy that is the essence of #WeAreKintsugi, Miri’s personal message, is literally and metaphorically woven into every single design. Jacqueline and I were fortunate to test drive these t’s before they hit the shelves. These special Phoenix Design tee’s highlight a beautiful tree design. The tree concept evolved from the fact that a large part of our story is hidden and usually intricate and complex in nature and that’s what makes it special. You can’t help but notice the Phoenix is rising out of the ashes. What Midlife woman can’t relate to that? The addition of the shimmering gold in the designs is a wink to the beautiful light inside of a woman. They’re available now for pre-order at Mikah Fashion. Miri’s generously added a 10 percent discount with the code “fierce10” which includes free Priority shipping.
Whew! What a beautiful day it was. A day of celebration. A day of weaving three disparate brands together, united in a common Forever Fierce theme of sisterhood. Three amazing and inspirational companies with 3 Fierce & Fabulous sisters at the helm. Beautiful design and uncommon visions combined with the heart and soul of the Forever Fierce woman! At the end of the day, Jacqueline and I spent a lot of time hanging out at the Will store. It’s just one of those kinds of shops. You want to hang out. No doubt, Jacqueline and I will make our way back and hopefully hang out with you too. Thanks to Jaclyn Jones USA, Will Leather Goods and Mikah Fashion for a Fierce Venice reunion and an afternoon delight to remember. And, a huge hug to my Forever #GirlCrush, Jacqueline DePaul. Make sure to follow her on social media and her unconventional blog, Yellow Brick Runway. It’s hard to believe, but she’s even more beautiful on the inside. If you join us at FierceCon 2019 in October, you’ll have the opportunity to work with Jacqueline in an exclusive and life-changing workshop. Make sure to join the Forever Fierce Revolution Community on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter to get on the list. We expect a sell-out crowd this year, and you don’t want to miss THE MIDLIFE EXPERIENCE of 2019! Cheers Beauties. Stay Fierce and Fabulous with Jaclyn Jones, Wills Leather Goods and Mikah Fashion.