By: Lisa Ng
I had first heard of Jennifer Flores from my friend Jessica Blaine Smith – who raved about her awesome design blog. I raced to Google and fell in love with all the home makeover posts, DIY projects and authenticity that Jen brings to her site, Rambling Renovators. Not only is Jen a brilliant blogger, she is also a smart entrepreneur who works as a consultant, author and co-founder of Canada’s top conference for lifestyle and design bloggers. I caught up with Jen recently to learn all of her secrets!
What inspired you to start your wildly successful home decor and design blog, Rambling Renovators?
It was 2007 and I was newly engaged and house-hunting with my soon to be husband. I had just discovered design blogs and thought I would start my own. We were planning on buying a fixer-upper so I knew there would be lots of renovations to talk about!
Were you always creative growing up?
I’ve always loved “making and doing”. Whether it was moving the furniture around my bedroom, painting my walls purple and sponge painting clouds on the ceiling, or putting on plays with my sister, complete with costumes, I loved creating and building things. I was the kid who had to be kicked outside to play because I was spending too much time at the craft table!
What did you study in university? Is there anything you would have done differently?
I have a degree in Finance and Economics, and an MBA in Strategic Management. Having a business background might not seem relevant to design blogging but it has really given me the skills and confidence to transform blogging into a host of other opportunities. I’ve found a career that feeds my logical left brain (I do strategic consulting for creative firms) and the creative right brain. I wouldn’t change anything but I would love to go back to school and study graphic design. Its so fundamental to life as a blogger and creating any sort of online endeavour.
You are also the founder of Blog Podium – a conference for lifestyle and design bloggers. How did this idea come about?
I had attended a few blogger media events and while it was great to socialize with my peers for a few hours, I always felt there needed to be something more – a place where we could network, share our experiences, meet those brands who wanted to work with bloggers AND have fun. There were great blogger conferences in the US like Alt Summit and Haven, but there was nothing in Canada which was geared to design and lifestyle bloggers. So why not create one? We started with a one-hour panel at the Interior Design Show and since have grown into a full-day conference!
Tell us about the coolest thing you got to experience as a result of blogging?
Without a doubt, it was getting to appear on The Nate Berkus Show. I had done small interviews on TV and radio before, but this was my first major segment. And it was on a US network, doing a DIY, all the while trying not to be all fan-girl over Nate (he is as dreamy in person as you think he is!). To this day, I still don’t know how they found my blog amongst all the millions that are out there.
You’re also written a few design books! What was that experience like?
I worked on Wine By Design (a book about the architecture of wineries) with my husband while we were dating. Doing any sort of project with your partner can be stressful so it really proved to me that we would be a good team. A month after that book was released, our publisher asked if we wanted to do another book, Design City Toronto. Toronto at the time was going through an architectural renaissance, with construction on the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Four Seasons Centre all ongoing so it was a very exciting time in the life of our city. Writing a book is a long process and seldom very financially rewarding so you need to enjoy the journey. I can’t say I’d like to do it again, but I do get a kick out of seeing our books at Indigo!
What is the single most important non-negotiable thing for you when designing your lifestyle and career?
I think its important to always be growing and trying new things. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I can’t imagine doing the same job for decades or even living in the same place for years. I feel like I’m on a constant journey to be the best version of myself, to use my talents and really develop them in ways that benefit my family, make me happy, and contribute to the goodness in the world in some small way. There needs to be a forward momentum. Taking risks and constantly learning is what makes me feel alive.
What do you do to de-stress?
I play with my five year old daughter, Chloe. She is great at getting me to forget my adult responsibilities for a moment and revel in laughing, playing make-believe and being active.
Best piece of life advice to share?
If you want to change your life, start with changing your mind. We are our own worst enemies sometimes, convincing ourselves that something is impossible and immobilizing ourselves with doubt. I try and start with a positive outcome in mind and things usually turn out that way!
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