Digital Marketing

Jewelry, Fashion and Intuition with Senior Editorial Specialist Jessica Barker

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We all love Jess’ content, her editing skills and of course her personality. But what led her to Brafton is what we could call an intuitive journey filled with theatrical excitement.

From Broadway to the streets of Chicago, Jessica has been showing everyone what you can really do with your free time when you follow your instincts…

And not making any of us feel lame or lazy because of it.

It’s Gotta Be Hard Being So Cool

As with many of us on the editorial team, writing always had a consistent presence in Jessica’s life, but it took her some time to discover that this was her professional calling. In the years leading up to her current rock-star status at Brafton, she explored the world of theater.

Cut scene to Young Jessica finding her way in the world through the streets of Chicago. Bright-eyed and hopeful, she studied theatrical costume design at DePaul University.

Although costume design was exciting, after three years in the major, she was plagued by inner turmoil realizing that her heart no longer lied among pincushions and fabric swatches. Instead, she made a bold move and quickly switched her major to communications and media during senior year and — like the queen bee she is — took on a marketing internship right away while tutoring at the writing center on campus.

Her passion for costumes and clothing never left her, however. After a string of marketing jobs, she went back to school to earn her master’s in fashion history at New York University. Her thesis and subsequent research can be found on her website and are definitely worth the read.

In New York, Jess pondered a career in museums or higher ed but later returned to Chicago to teach children’s art classes. Eventually, though, she noticed her passion and skills lived more in the art of writing.

As we know by now, Jessica always follows her instinct.

So, she started pursuing a content writing career through contracting gigs. Soon after, Jess finally landed her full-time role here at Brafton in October 2019. Since then, she has quickly moved up from Content Writer to Senior Writer to her current position of a Senior Editorial Specialist.

What does she love most about her life here at Brafton?

“Being part of a creative agency means every week is different from the last — we’re always taking on new clients across a wide range of industries, and they all have interesting messages to share,” Jess says. “I love getting to learn about what they do and immerse myself in their worlds for a while.”

In addition to the creative and intellectual stimulation she gets from working here, she also appreciates the structure Brafton carries across all departments.

“I really love the workflows we have in place — our system is so organized and logical, it makes it easy to keep track of the month’s assignments. Plus, I get to collaborate with a lot of smart and talented people,” she adds.

A Day in the Life

First thing in the morning, our Anglo-American writer pours herself a cup of PG Tips — a UK tea company dedicated to sustainability, building communities, and su-per cute videos — and starts small by reviewing emails, SPBs and edits. Because she has a more senior role, Jessica will usually have client meetings and internal check-ins throughout the day.

However, she’s an afternoon go-getter: “I’m usually the most focused in the afternoon, so that’s when I like to tackle bigger writing assignments,” she says. “Give me a few solid hours to write and I’ll be happily lost in flow state” — until her twin cats remind her it’s time for dinner, that is!

Does this seem a little mundane for our theatrical main character? You’re absolutely right.

Remember when I mentioned she’ll show you what it really means to use your time wisely? On the side, Jessica runs Nine Golden Swans, a small business that she developed during the pandemic (obviously).

While the rest of us were knee-deep in the Tiger King Netflix special, Jess was diving back into her college design talents by researching gems and jewelry. She started a blog that introduced her to a jewelry community that encouraged her to begin selling the vintage pieces she’d find and refurbish.

As the proverbial ball kept rolling, Jess started designing jewelry of her own. And her once modest blog transformed into a jewelry line of 14-karat gold pieces, ethically sourced gemstones and eco-friendly packaging.

“I just launched the collection this summer, and it’s been a lot of fun to work on all sides of content creation while building the brand,” she says.

When Jess isn’t creating incredible content for Brafton, designing dazzling jewelry or secretly saving the world, she has a load of creative hobbies she loves to do in whatever free time she has left (does she sleep?). As she puts it, “There’s always a work-in-progress tucked away somewhere.”

Overall, all you really need to know about Jess is that she’s easy to talk to, is a stellar person and shares really great advice. Whether you’re new to the company or just looking for someone to bounce an idea off of, she’s always there to share some sunshine.