Real Talk With Jordan Jones of Packed Party

We talked to Jordan Jones, founder of the MOST fun Packed Party gifts brand. Find out how she started her business in her apartment and read about her must-haves for your holiday parties this season. Check out our fave Packed Party items at our Spring Street Pop-Up and at Aerie.com now!

 

How did you come up with the idea for Packed Party?

The idea for Packed Party came to me in a dream in 2013. I had moved to San Francisco not knowing anyone, was sort of feeling sorry for myself one evening in my apartment and called my mom who told me I was having a Pity Party for myself and to go to bed. Thank goodness I listened to her because I went to bed and woke up from a dream about sending a physical Pity Party to myself. I scoured the internet for anything like it and there was nothing that existed so I wrote a business plan for Packed Party right there and sent it to my dad the very next day.

 

What advice do you have for girls who want to start their own companies?

If it’s an idea you’re truly passionate about, dive in head-first fearlessly. No one can stop a woman with passion. I loved Packed Party from the night it came to me in my dream, I knew no one could do it better than me at 23 and today at 27 I still believe that. I have a passion for making people’s days and giving great gifts so I’m truly doing what I love. There will always be nay sayers or people who will try and get in the way, but when you know in your heart of hearts you’re the person to do the job and you love it, there’s no stopping you.

 

We love the Packed Party Pom Pom Magnets! What do you love most about the pom trend?

Thank you! Me too!! I am a pom pom fanatic. I have been since I was little weirdly so it makes a lot of sense so many of our fall + holiday items have poms on them! I think details are incredibly important so adding a pom to anything makes it a little bit better and pops it!

Real Talk With Jordan Jones of Packed Party

Packed Party is our go-to for unique gifts! What are your must-haves for the ultimate holiday party?

I love a good holiday party! I love creating a great tablescape story and always look to my friend Darcy Miller for inspiration in this department. As far as the actual place setting I love putting a staple in place people can keep with them like a Disco Drink or some sort of fun gift with someone’s name attached to it. Can never go wrong with a disco ball on the table, right?

 

What makes you #AerieREAL?

I pride myself on keeping it very real with people. Everyone who knows me knows where they stand with me, I have a lot of trouble hiding my emotions, ha. My mom raised me to be really confident in who I am and never sort of “pretend” to be anyone else so I don’t wear much make-up and that’s sort of set the tone in our office – we’re all about keeping it easy, natural, and functional. No one here is trying to be anyone they’re not which I love. Being a Party Girl means being confident in the skin you’re in and owning whatever it is you’re dealing with like a Pity Party, celebrating yourself for that big raise at work with a Yay, You, you-name-it.

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Real Talk with YUNI

What do you get when you combine beauty experts and yoga? The natural beauty brand, YUNI, founded by husband and wife duo, Emmanuel Rey and Suzanne Dawson. The power couple’s shared passion for active living and mindful products created one of our favorite beauty brands. Read on to learn more! 
Real Talk with YUNI

Can you tell us a little about your brand and the inspiration behind your products?

Emmanuel Rey: My wife Suzanne and I have been in the beauty industry for over 20 years in various corporations (Mostly l’Oreal and Estee Lauder). Suzanne was a the head of Global marketing for Aveda and I was General Manager for Aveda, Bumble & Bumble, Darphin for North America.  

In 2012, we decided to leave the corporate environment to travel around the world for a full year. At that stage, we had been practicing Yoga for over 10 years and we took advantage of our trip to pass our teacher certification for Ashtanga Yoga in Greece. While talking to our fellow students, we found out that there was no beauty brand that had been specifically designed for “active people”. 

At the same time, we were impressed by the success of all the “athleisure” brands (LuluLemon, Sweaty Betty, Lorna Jane etc). It became clear that there was a white space in the beauty market to serve the needs of “active people”. We worked with a large group of experts in Yoga and Fitness, we came down to 3 key insights: Saving time, Enhancing performance, Relieving stress. 

While we developed the range with Yoga and fitness in mind, as it is our background, it became clear that other people could benefit from our products (who does not want to save time, perform better or manage stress).That being said, Yoga is a very personal ritual, a moment you take away from the rest of the world. Beauty is also very much a personal ritual and that is why through the products YUNI helps to reinforce these rituals.

YUNI prepares the body and the mind, delivers treatment benefits while you work out, aids express clean-up and post recovery, and helps to recall the powerful benefits of your practice, at will. We launched our first products in September 2015.

Real Talk with YUNI

Shop now: 12 Pack Shower Sheets | Pocket Savasana | Travel Size Flash Bath | Sweat, Refresh, Go Travel Essentials 

YUNI’s products embody a responsible beauty philosophy. What is it and why is it so important?

ER: Our tagline is actually “Mindful Beauty for an Active Life”. Mindful beauty means products that are non toxic and healthy for you, not tested on animals, that use natural ingredients organic and fair trade as much as possible. YUNI’s goal is to accompany you in your journey to health and fitness to make it more effective and more pleasurable.  

We are defining ourselves as “seekers of Good” as we are looking for goodness in ourselves, in all we do, in people around us and the world as a whole. We believe in stepping lightly on our planet and do good in the process. For example, all our products are made in solar powered factories in the USA.

What is your one must-have YUNI item for back-to-school?

ER: Back to school is a busy time for everyone and we all want to have a fresh start, new healthy habits, go to the gym, perform at work, be there for your family etc  the Shower Sheets (large biodegradable body wipes) help you to save time by cleansing and refreshing your skin on-the-go in a matter of seconds and without water!

Real Talk with YUNI

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs looking to break into the natural beauty biz?

ER: We all have different skills and background so it is not easy to give such advice but in general i would say that you have to be passionate and compassionate with a genuine interest to make differentiated products that truly brings something that does not exist yet. 

I would add that it is important to challenge the status quo and continuously push to find creative solutions for products that should be at the same time effective, pleasurable, sustainable and with a minimum impact on the environment.

What makes YUNI #AerieREAL?

ER: YUNI is about going beyond the superficial level of (plastic) beauty but go deeper in a self discovery journey in which you are present in every moEment.

 I think we share the same philosophy in the sense that YUNI’s goal is to make people comfortable and happy with themselves, to make them feel confident, empowered and naturally beautiful. Real Talk with YUNI

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Real Talk with Julie Nolan

It’s no secret Aerie loves contemporary jewelry maker and girl boss, Julie Nolan. Her pieces are handmade from the heart. Read on to learn more about Julie and what makes her #AerieREAL.

Real Talk with Julie Nolan

Can you tell us a little about your brand and what inspired you to start making jewelry?

JN: I started making jewelry when I was a kid, probably about 8 years old, because it’s fun!  I  liked making beaded jewelry and friendship bracelets.  I’d make necklaces and have my mom take them to her work to sell to her coworkers.   I guess I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit! 

I started my brand, Julie Nolan Jewelry, around 2009 shortly after completing jewelry school in Manhattan.  It’s probably not the right way to do things, but I didn’t start out with a business plan or anything like that.   I just sort of hit the ground running, making pieces that I thought looked cool. If I were to try to stand on the outside and describe my work, I’d say that I make clean, subtle, pieces that you can wear everyday.  You could wear my jewelry to the beach or to a fancy dinner.  I get a lot of customers that say they never take my pieces off.  To me that’s the greatest testament of love for my creations.     

Real Talk with Julie Nolan

How does astrology inspire your designs?

JN: This is probably not the answer that you’re looking for, but I’m not really that into astrology.  My knowledge of personality traits as they relate to star signs has grown considerably as a result of my Zodiac Constellation designs but I wasn’t some kind of yodeling astrologer going into it.  

When I was a kid growing up in San Jose, CA I used to love to go to the Rosicrucian Museum.  It’s a really beautiful spot near the Rose Garden area.  The museum is filled with a strange and mysterious mix of Egyptian relics and alchemical texts and art from the middle ages.   I was always fascinated by this place and it’s beguiling aesthetic.  

Fast forward to the mid 2000’s in Brooklyn.  My boyfriend (now husband) Pete brought home a book he bought from a street vendor in Williamsburg called The Lore and Lure of Outer Space.  It was kind of an overview of ancient astronomy going back to the dawn of recorded history.  Again, it had a lot of really cool illustrations from the Alchemical texts of Hermes Trismegistus and the ancient origins of astrology.  In the book there was a series of plates taken from a turn-of-the-century Swiss Calendar.  I looked at the book a lot for a few years before it dawned on me that the simple zodiac constellation designs would render really well as jewelry.  I started selling them at the Holiday Market at Colombus Circle back in 2009 and they continue to be one of my most popular designs. 

So to answer your question I’m more interested in the aesthetics of ancient astronomy than I am in Astrology, although I’m getting more and more sucked in as the years go by.     

Real Talk with Julie Nolan

What is your astrological sign? What does that mean to you?

JN: I’m a Scorpio, and this means you either love me or are afraid of me.   I will admit that I do relish being a Scorpio.  Who wouldn’t want to be a fierce, powerful and creative force of nature?  I certainly wouldn’t let astrology be a guiding force in my life but in this instance I’m proud to fit the textbook description of a Scorpio and I have been known to peruse AstologyZone.com from time to time (for fun).   

What is your favorite piece of jewelry?

JN: It’s hard to have just one favorite piece,  but if push came to shove I’d say my wedding band is my favorite piece of jewelry.  It was the first ring I made all by myself from start to finish back when I was just starting out at Studio Jewelers in Manhattan.  

My husband and I each found twigs at McCaren Park in Brooklyn and I cast them into Gold rings using the lost wax technique.  I think it’s a really nice analogy for our relationship.  We found something natural and beautiful in this great big dirty city and forged it into something permanent and valuable.  

Real Talk with Julie Nolan

What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs?

JN: The best advice that I can give other female entrepreneurs is to take classes.  Not only do you have the opportunity to improve your skill set, but you also have the opportunity to meet other women who have the same interests as you.  It’s really a win/win situation.  

Also, I always tell my 8 year old daughter Violet to be nice to everybody.  I think it’s important to treat other people nicely and with respect.  

Real Talk with Julie Nolan

What makes you #AerieREAL?

JN: Well gee I don’t know.. I’m not perfect?  And like a lot of women (and people in general) I’ve certainly felt shame about not having a body that  meets up with what advertisers and common public opinion holds up to be “beautiful” or even normal for that matter.  So hats off to you guys for using girls in your ads that are a little chubby, have subtle imperfections, or are just different looking than what’s been considered the “ideal” woman for the past 20 years or whatever.   Not to mention that this “ideal” standard is so boring!  Thanks for bringing some variety and interestingness into your advertising.  Hopefully my daughter’s generation won’t have to think about this junk at all and can just be humans.    I’m a woman with a singular aesthetic who likes making things.  Thank you for considering me to be #AerieREAL.    

Real Talk with Julie Nolan

Julie Nolan, Jewelry Designer

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REAL Talk: Holiday Edition!

Iskra Lawrence, our #AerieREAL Role Model, sat down with the #AerieREAL girls at our Holiday ’16 photoshoot and asked what REAL means to them. Watch them all now and share your story below.

“It’s priceless to feel how you are.” – Katty

“Everyone should feel beautiful because the are!” – Lily Jean

“You have to embrace your story. You can never forget where you come from.” – Iesha

“I always try to tell people not to compare themselves. Just embrace your own beauty.” – Diana

“I’m really comfortable in my skin, and I know what matters is what’s in your heart.” – Allison

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Real Talk with Dormify

Aerie is breaking the rules of dorm décor with Dormify! This like-minded brand takes a fashion-forward approach to stylin’ small spaces & ONLY offers products they’re obsessed with.

We sat down with Dormify Co-Founder, Amanda Zuckerman, to ask a few questions about one of the newest brands we’re crushing on!

It’s no secret we love Dormify, can you tell our girls a little bit about the brand and how it got started?

When my mom and I were shopping for my freshman dorm room we realized first-hand that creating a space of your own, your first home-away-from-home, was a big deal. The problem, though, was that it was not easy to do so. We had a ton of questions – what exactly do I need for my dorm room? Where can I find it? What is the best way to maximize a small space? Can I decorate my dorm room in a way that is comfortable and affordable? How can I represent my personal style in my dorm decor?

It was during my dorm room shopping experience that the idea for Dormify.com was born: A brand and one-stop shopping destination carrying everything students need to easily and effectively style their small space. It was so important to me to be able to create a space that reflected ME, so we wanted to make sure that we could provide our customers with real ways to create a space that is uniquely theirs as well.

Real Talk with Dormify

How does your style advisor community work?

Our Style Advisor community consists of high school and college-aged tastemakers that act as style consultants and contributors to our content site, a destination for decorating tips, DIYs, and college advice. We love having real girls contribute real world ideas, whether through the content and images they create around their own small spaces or through consulting on product designs and initiatives we’re rolling out. It is so important to us to hear from those using our products and sharing their ideas with our customers too. We also work with our Style Advisors to help them build up their skills in design, social media, writing, and more—so that they take away some awesome experience to put on their resume!

What kind of trends are you seeing this season in dorm must-haves?

This season, muted tones are making a loud statement. The Misty Rose Bandana Print duvet paired with warm grey colors is the epitome of this trend. Another favorite of ours is incorporating texture into your look. For example, with a faux mongolian fur accessory—like a pillow or a rug—you can achieve a look that’s boho, girly, or luxurious, depending on how you style it! And last but not least, multifunctional pieces are SO important in a small space. Right now old school trunks are my favorite. You can create a chic nightstand or coffee table look, while still using the inside for extra storage.

Real Talk with Dormify

We’re so excited to offer Dormify on Aerie.com! Do you have a favorite item from the collection?

So hard to choose just one, but I’m obsessed with the ombre knit throws! And I definitely would’ve had the Reversible Mosaic Duvet Cover in my dorm.

Real Talk with Dormify

What advice would you give to those young entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?

Establish your personal brand. Start a blog, an Instagram account, a Twitter page—establish your online presence and talk about things that interest you.

Network. Stay in touch with people you have worked with in order to meet new people, you never know who could be of help to you in the future!

Be prepared. Whether you are at an event, networking, approaching someone in your industry, or finally getting that coffee meeting with someone you admire—do your homework so you are asking smart questions that can push the conversation forward.

Find a mentor. Learning from someone who has more experience than you can help you navigate your way as a young entrepreneur, and help you meet important people.

Stay humble. It is ok to not know everything! Listen to others, learn from them, get advice and opinions. Use what works for you, but do take the opportunity to listen to others.

Thank you, Amanda! Shop Dormify bedding, pillows & more now on Aerie.com. xo

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Real Talk with Catherine Gignac

Get REAL with Catherine Gignac, AEO’s Manager of Digital Creative! Read on to learn more about how she uses yoga to help balance the stress of everyday life, her favorite pose and what #AerieREAL means to her.

Real Talk with Catherine Gignac

You’re amazing at yoga! How did you begin?
Haha, thanks! It’s fun to be able to go upside down and stand on my head. Those poses constantly push me to try new, scarier things. But really, that’s not why I do yoga. Work and life are stressful (so gross, right?) and yoga balances all that out. I can have a rough day, go to yoga and then feel completely decoupled from what was dragging me down prior to class. I get far fewer headaches because my back and neck muscles are stronger. I take myself less seriously because I’ve learned to goof around and take risks on my mat. I’ve felt my highest highs and my lowest lows emotionally while practicing, but it’s always healing and empowering to just be alone with my breath and my thoughts. Plus, no one can tell whether you’re dripping tears or sweat! Most importantly, like-attracts-like and the community of yogis at my studio has sourced most of my closest friendships in life. We support each other and often say, “Detox before you retox,” and go out together after my Friday night class.

Real Talk with Catherine Gignac

What’s your favorite yoga pose? 
I have a love-hate relationship with double pigeon. It’s a crazy deep hip-opener that feels so good sometimes and so tense others. Yogis often say that we hold our emotional baggage in our hips. We run on them, sit on them, drive on them and they’re the biggest joints in our bodies. When we slowly open them up, we also peel away at layers of built up emotion that we haven’t let go of — kind of like peeling layers off an onion. Sounds crazy, but it’s true!

Real Talk with Catherine GignacGet Catherine’s Look: Pushup Seamless Sports Bra | Seamless Hi-Rise Legging

For somebody who is interested but hasn’t given yoga a chance, what would you say to them?
Just go and try it! Ironically, I hated my first class, but I found myself going to teacher training just a few years later. As a teacher, I always hear things like “I’ve thought about it but I don’t like the heat,” “I’m not flexible enough,” “Oh, I couldn’t do what you do!” but it’s not about that. I have students in my class from 11 to 72 years old (seriously!) of all different weights, health issues, and injuries. We encourage everyone to go at their own pace and do what they can. This week, a student of mine told me she’d been in a car accident and needs yoga to help rehabilitate her back. Another told me yoga helped her remain calm and get through the nightmare of having her newborn in the NICU for many months. Everyone comes to yoga for a physical experience, but if they stick with it, they end up having a total mind, body, spirit experience that few other forms of exercise can mirror.

Real Talk with Catherine Gignac

Real Talk with Catherine Gignac

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
My favorite quote is “You may think I’m small, but I have a universe inside my mind.” — Yoko Ono. I’ve loved this one for awhile because I’m pretty small in stature but I’m big in personality. Anytime I feel like I’m being underestimated or unheard, I think about this quote and remember we’re all pretty freakin’ powerful and expansive in what we can dream and accomplish. Another really great reading I love to share with my yoga class was introduced to me by my yoga mentor and it’s called the Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Check it out, it’ll move you!

Real Talk with Catherine Gignac

What does #AerieREAL mean to you?
Ah, so much! I’ve loved watching the #AerieREAL campaign grow from a wee idea into a huge movement over the last few years. It’s the best feeling to have friends of mine, all in their late twenties and early thirties, tell me they’ve discovered Aerie and love, not just our undies and bralettes, but what we stand for. I’m proud of be part of the organization who decided to take a risk and start talking to girls in a way that we all relate to and deserve. #AerieREAL has inspired me to be less curated…on Instagram, in relationships, with what I say in my yoga classes. I’m unapologetically me, even if it’s means I don’t please everyone or say and do all the right things.

Real Talk with Catherine Gignac

Be sure to follow Catherine on Instagram @catherinegignac and Snapchat at Cathgig!

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