Image courtesy of Jhoanna Marissa
Lily + Jasper is more than an online shopping destination for busy, sophisticated, contemporary women. It is a platform for women to get inspired, energized, and plugged in to the personal value that comes from practicing social good. As founder of Lily + Jasper Jhoanna Marissa believes looking good, feeling great, and giving back all go hand-in-hand in building healthy, positive self-esteem and self-worth. Jhoanna has helped to realize this vision by incorporating the initiative Elevate into Lily + Jasper. Set to launch in 2014 and inspired (we’re proud to say) by the work of I AM THAT GIRL, Elevate will focus on developing healthy media for women, supporting networks and communities that empower women and help give them bigger voices in vital cultural conversations, and nurture emerging online communities that share the goals and vision of Elevate. With such a full plate and many more aims to work towards, Jhoanna takes time to recharge and refuel by socializing with good friends and honing in on her own happiness.
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Hard working, Loyal, Stubborn
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
My momma. She had me and my brother young and experienced so much change when we grew up and moved out. She then struggled with identity issues and alcoholism and is now one year sober and happier then I have ever seen her. She told me today that she felt she wasn't a good mom, and I had to remind her how amazing she was and how she did the best she could under her circumstances and I couldn't be more grateful for everything she did to provide for me and my brother. She gave me my life I have today. She is loving, always smiling, and stronger then she knows.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
My current goals and dreams (more come to me each year) are to continue to be able to do what I love, to be creative and to experience the world and the people in it. I want to fall in love and have a family one day and provide a safe, enriching, cultured life for my kids.
What are you most proud of?
My leap from my last company, where I was for four years and not fully happy, to spending this year on my passion projects and travel.
What piece of advice changed your life?
It was probably my Dad telling me in different ways each time all growing up that I CAN hang with the boys. (He meant in sports, school, workplace..). At the end of the day the way you respect yourself is how others will learn to respect you.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living on a beach and out of the city, working from home while my businesses are still running successfully. Maybe sold off a few of the media companies I am currently developing, have kids and a studly husband. Hosting dinners with friends, being active, donating time to charities I love, and focusing on family.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
Spend a month in Spain, learn Spanish and trace some history of my family.
Who has been the biggest female influence in your life and why?
I would have to give this to my Mom and best friend. My mom taught me how to be a woman. In some ways without her knowing, she really did show me certain ways that I didn't want to be. Not in a harsh way, but I remember taking care of my mom and telling myself I never wanted to be dependent on a guy, didn't want to have kids young, and that I wanted to get an education and be in control of my life. My best friend Brittany was the first person to show me what it meant to be a best friend.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
It was leaving my company/security blanket to take a year following through with my passion project and knowing that I will be ok. I learned that it isn't easy, but the reward makes up for struggle. I have learned so much about myself and life by taking on my own business.
Why are you THAT GIRL?
I am THAT GIRL because I work hard and keep nice to people. I am a badass. I love women empowerment, I believe that women are so powerful and we have come such a long way. I know my faults, I accept them and I work every day to be the best me possible. I love I AM THAT GIRL!!
*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor