Small Business Profile: Jackie Sun, Owner of FUGGIAMO
Hi Jackie! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Jackie, and I own FUGGIAMO, an online boutique based in Los Angeles.
What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
I studied history at UC Berkeley, then after a few years dabbling in marketing and design, I decided to study gemology and jewelry design at GIA. I’d planned to pursue jewelry design but lucked upon an assistant buyer position in the fine jewelry department of Saks. I spent a few years there before returning home to LA and doing buying for an ecom retailer.
What led you to begin FUGGIAMO? Did you always anticipate having a shop?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial household, so having my own business and being my own boss was an encouraged and natural assumption. It wasn’t until I fell into fashion buying that things started to align. I liked the mix of creativity and business planning. However, I felt increasingly detached from the product I was buying and the corporate lifestyle. Spending time traveling in places like Asia and discovering these rich traditions of craft further solidified that gut feeling. FUGGIAMO came from a desire to contribute something more authentic and meaningful. The shop was an organic extension of my skill set, passions, and values.
How do you source the items you have in your shop? Is there a certain criteria you look for?
I source from designers and artisans around the world through research (especially when traveling), trade shows, markets, and social media. I’m pretty deliberate in selecting items for the shop, partly due to our belief in conscious consumption and partly due to a limited budget. Beyond an obvious emotional reaction to aesthetics, elements like price point, authenticity, production, and the story are important to us and our customers.
Travel seems to be an integral part of FUGGIAMO and your style. What are some of your most memorable travels?
This is a tough question...I have too many favorites! Regardless of where I go, I will always have a soft spot for Nepal and Southeast Asia. Both are magical places and have a great deal of personal meaning for me.
Another one is the summer I road tripped through the West Coast, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest. We spent most of our time just exploring what’s some of the most beautiful landscape in the world. Hiking the narrows in Zion will forever be a cherished memory.
What are some brands/makers that you are excited about that we should know of?
I truly adore each of our talented and passionate designers and artisans. We’ve been lucky enough to be one of the first retailers for many including Paloma Wool, Apres Ski, Electric Sun Creatives, and coming in spring, Los Objetos Decorativos, a line of amazing ceramics from Barcelona. Also coming soon are exclusive versions of a new bucket bag from the sweet duo behind Brooklyn-based Catzorange.
How do you connect with your customers and community?
Developing more points of contact for customer interaction is actually one of my goals this year. I’m hoping to host more events and find a new studio space. For now, being online only, we connect primarily through attentive customer service and social media. Many beautiful conversations and connections have started through Instagram in particular.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Everywhere. But if I'm looking for inspiration specifically, I like browsing the art and design books at the library. Obviously, travel and spending time outside (preferably at the beach!) always leave me feeling recharged and inspired.
Why do you think it’s important to shop small and support local?
As the saying goes, “the personal is political”. We have so much at our fingertips now that shopping has become so easy and accessible. But we sacrifice and take a lot for granted in exchange for that convenience. Supporting small and local (and consuming more mindfully in general) fosters engagement, encourages diversity and inclusiveness, preserves craft and tradition, builds community and economy, and minimizes carbon footprint. The seemingly small decisions in how, what, and where we choose to shop, eat, etc have power.
What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
The people and the product. It fills me with pride and gratitude knowing that the beautiful pieces in the shop add to someone’s closet/home, that designers trust and believe in my vision enough to work together, and that I’m able to cultivate a space to do what I love.
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face with running your shop?
Being a small business owner is a dream come true but very hard work. There’s always so much to do and so little time. But more challenging for me than that imbalance is the emotional component of navigating the ups and downs inherent in owning a business. There’s no google search, outsourcing, or money to solve that truth. It requires a certain discipline and tenacity.
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other?
We're stronger together. Women are intuitively fierce, compassionate, and nurturing, and tapping into that energy as a group results in so much power. It's so simple to just be open, listen to, and advocate for one another. Personally, I know how enriching this kind of kindred support has been and continues to be in my life. I'm better because of it. FUGGIAMO is better because of it.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
Georgia O’Keeffe, Solange, and most recently, Emma Gonzalez.
What tools or resources have been most helpful for you in creating/running your business?
Honestly, I'm pretty old school -- I’m a fan of to-do lists and writing out my thoughts on paper. I do that every morning and night. Similarly, networking is super helpful. I'm lucky to have a circle of badass entrepreneurs that have become close friends. they're women that I can be vulnerable with, collaborate with, and turn to for advice.
How do you manage your time?
I work on a few projects outside of FUGGIAMO, so balancing the professional and personal is a continual struggle. I try to establish routine and consistency, carving time to answer emails, shoot product, or work out. One of my resolutions though is to create firmer boundaries and be better at working less at night and on the weekends.
How do you deal with moments of self doubt?
I pause and step away to help put things into perspective. As a small business owner, it's easy to get caught up in insecurities and self chatter, so I'm conscious of countering those moments with mindful strategies like meditation, yoga, or going on a walk.
What are some of your favorite places in LA?
Generally speaking, my favorites are the beaches and farmers markets of LA. We’re blessed with such easy weather and an abundance of fresh produce to enjoy year round. Other favorites include gjusta, destroyer, botanica, sqirl, the old place, guisados, and ma dang gook soo for dining, bar stella and oriel for drinks, hauser and wirth and david kordansky gallery for art, and arcana and the chic shops at melrose place for visual inspiration.