#WCW — Leah Jachimowicz
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? For long time I thought I was going to be a lawyer, just like my dad, although I think he always knew I would be an artist.
What made you decide to start Coffee n Cream Press? After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Academy of Art University, I was sort of lost and unmotivated to do art. Some of my friends from high school and college were getting married and they would ask if I could print their wedding invitations. I wasn’t doing much print work at the time, and was mostly just working at restaurants and bars, but I did have a connection to a letterpress machine in Oakland. My former teacher, Macy Chadwick has her own letterpress studio, InCahoots Press, so I started working for her in the studio in exchange for hours on her press. After a few custom jobs, my sister and mom suggested I print cards. At the time I was against the idea of creating a product like greeting cards, in my mind I was a fine artist and having a product would make me a sell-out! However, I made a few designs, packaged them the night before an event and sold them at a artisan designer fair in Fort Mason. I did so well, got so much positive feedback and actually sold out of all the cards that I realized there was something happening with handmade products that was really special. I then continued to print in Macy’s studio and created my first line of cards over the summer of 2010. I would love to say after that “the rest is history”, but that would be far from the truth. Lots of hard work, temper tantrums, purchasing my own letterpress and four printmaking studios later, I finally found my groove in what I call “the garoffice” of my family’s home in the Sunset District.
Who has motivated you along the way? My friends and family are the biggest motivators for me. I have a great support system in my siblings and their significant others. My parents and I are very close, and they are close with each other, despite the fact that they’ve been divorced for over 20 years. My friends have not only been supportive in listening to my struggles and encouraging me to succeed, but they have also played a huge role in giving constant work; wedding invitations, baby showers, logo design, custom prints, etc.
What’s your favorite part about Coffee n Cream? I like that I can be funny and creative at the same time. Humor is my favorite means of communication and I consider myself to be pretty good at it.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting Coffee n Cream? For me, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) is to stay on top of things. Whenever I fall behind I feel bad about myself and my capabilities. My dad always told me to be prepared. I don’t really know exactly what he meant by that, but Ive always been a procrastinator so I think he meant that I should stop waiting until the last minute to do things. Sometimes I can be more creative under the pressure of a deadline, but I have come to realize the more time I spend working on Coffee n Cream, the more possible it is to be creative everyday.
How do you stay involved in your community? I participate in local artisan design fairs throughout the year to stay involved. My favorite and most successful San Francisco event is Urban Air Market. I participate twice a year in this amazing outdoor event in Hayes Valley, filled with many talented and successful local designers.
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why? At first I was like, Beyonce! But then I thought, she probably doesn’t sleep, or eat much and she’s currently pregnant with twins and that sounds sort of awful. So, instead I’ll pick Kristen Bell, I think she’s the best- she’s cute and talented and uses her celebrity status toward positive activism supporting and advocating for organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Invisible Children, Declare Yourself, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet and many more. Also, she’s married to Dax Shepard and he’s super cute.
Where do you go for inspiration? I can just walk outside and be inspired, I love the housing structures in Sunset District and long, open blocks littered with telephone poles and lines crossing the sky. On clear day I have an amazing view of the ocean from my living room. But if I’m feeling like I need more than just what’s right in front of me, I like to go into the stores that carry Coffee n Cream Press cards to see what the latest trends are, and how people are responding to my card designs.
What do you do in your free time? I love to spend time with my friends and family. I enjoy going to restaurants and bars, having a tasty cocktail and laughing about nothing, watching sports, attending concerts or festivals, comedy shows, and experiencing what living in San Francisco has to offer. However, sometimes after a super long week, which could be 10 straight days of work, I love curling up on the couch with a glass of wine and watching scary movies on weekend night.
What advice do you have for women who want to start their own business? I would say for starters, never give up. Just keep printing, or designing, or drawing or painting or making jewelry or doing whatever it is that you love, because it will happen if you keep working at it. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be rewarding.