24 Hours With Jackie Wachter of FOUNT
Nearly five years after launching the artisan leather goods company FOUNT with her husband, Phillip, Jackie Wachter shows no signs of slowing down. With stores in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and a devoted (and growing) following for their locally crafted handbags, wallets, and accessories, the busy Cleveland-based co-founder is constantly focused on the details, from finalizing lookbooks to approving packaging designs to preparing talking points for team meetings. Here, the entrepreneur and mother of two shares what a typical 24 hours in her life entails.
5:40 a.m.: I wake up and stumble out of bed in the dark and walk to my 6 a.m. yoga class. Yoga is my preferred workout—it makes me feel energized and gives me some headspace before I get into my day—and I try to go three days a week.
7:00 a.m.: I grab a coffee at On the Rise, a bakery that’s on my walk home, with my friend Kristen, who also teaches my yoga class. Sometimes I get my two boys and my husband chocolate croissants, but not all the time since it’s a treat and usually I make them eat oatmeal instead.
7:15 a.m.: When I get home, our three-year-old is stirring in his bed and is ready to come downstairs for his morning ritual of holding his gecko while we read a story by one of the heaters on the kitchen floor. Right now, the boys can’t get enough of The Jungle Book—such a classic! Now, onto breakfast. Our 1-year-old eats naked because he always needs a bath after every meal, as he insists on feeding himself. It’s more work for now, but I sincerely appreciate his efforts at independence! We get dressed and bundled up, and then my husband, Phillip, takes the boys to school.
“I love vintage clothing and thrifting—I’m celebrating five years of being fast fashion-free.”
8:00 a.m.: My husband and I have a speaking engagement tonight, so today when I’m getting dressed I have to pick out both work clothes that I can run around in and a swanky costume change for the evening. The obvious choice for me is a vintage coat with a fur collar and cuffs that I’m going to pretend is a dress. I love vintage clothing and thrifting—I’m celebrating five years of being fast fashion-free!
8:30 a.m.: I drive to work and listen to Rachel Hollis’s podcast, RISE, and get all pumped up for the day. Meanwhile, at every red light I do my makeup, slowly but surely, one side street at a time.
9:00 a.m.: Today I’m reviewing our annual lookbook before it goes to print. It’s been a six-month process, and today is the big day: 20,000 are going to print, our biggest batch yet! No matter how much we try to plan things, not everything works out perfectly, so we’re rolling it out in two different launches because of a delay with a new bag design. We’re also working out the kinks with the type of paper on the cover and have requested that our Graphic Designer switch back to what’s called “soft touch” so the binding doesn’t crack. Deep breaths, a prayer, and onto the next thing!
10:00 a.m.: I skim emails and work on writing birthday cards for this month’s employee birthdays. Then it’s time to jump into a meeting regarding our donation requests. We get inundated with requests for donating bags, and we are striving to make the biggest impact possible without stretching our team too thin, so we came up with a plan to source an exclusive color for all of the donation bags for 2019. This way the donation bags are truly exclusive, and we hope that it will help generate maximum funds for the charities we support!
10:45 a.m.: I jump on a quick phone call to coordinate arrival times with our Cleveland Store Manager for a local news feature on our store and the Gordon Square neighborhood tomorrow.
10:50 a.m.: I call our Columbus Store Manager to review the details of our giveaway specific to Columbus before we launch on Instagram and Facebook. It will include some bang-a-rang Columbus businesses that we’re excited to partner with.
11:00 a.m.: I have a preliminary meeting at FOUNT to brainstorm talking points for the upcoming graphic design meeting regarding packaging. We want to incorporate fresh design cohesion across our packaging, website, and social media that will rotate every 6 months. This will include tissue paper, box design, social icons, and certain aspects of the website.
“Team bonding is really important to us here.”
11:45 a.m.: Next I meet with the HR Manager to plan annual stay interview questionnaires as well as solidify upcoming team events. Team bonding is really important to us here, and we know that our team thrives off of opportunities to spend quality time with each other. We are always looking for new and fresh ways to bond.
12:30 p.m.: I have a lunch meeting with our Graphic Designer to finalize decisions on our new packaging for online orders. I’m thrilled with what they came up with and I’m looking forward to surprising and delighting our customers with a way better shipping experience!
1:30 p.m.: Due to some complications that have arisen for the new storefront sign at our Cleveland location, we have to present the renderings of the lighting that goes with the sign to the city in order to get it all approved. I delegate some tasks to the Cleveland Store Manager to keep the ball rolling. I’m always shocked by the red tape, but I know these little details make all the difference!
2:00 p.m.: Time to revisit emails. I always jump on the high-priority ones first and get to the fluffer-nutters last. I once heard if you tackle what seems the most exhausting and tedious to you first, then everything else is a cake-walk.
3:30 p.m.: The panel that Phillip and I are speaking on is about couples who have started businesses together and how that comes with pros and cons. We meet to go over the questions and crack up as we reflect on the past four and a half crazy years! Starting a company with your partner is one of the most amazing things in the world, but it’s definitely a challenge when it comes to work and home life balance.
5:00 p.m.: It’s showtime! I get my bougie dress (jacket) and olive green heels complete with gold chains on. I curl my hair and refresh my makeup. Voilà! Phillip and I drive to the Kimpton and review talking points.
6:00 p.m.: Panel time, but first I’ll take one of those complimentary Martinis. The host is an absolute trip and keeps the conversation raw and real. It’s inspiring and comforting to hear how parallel the other couples’ stories, struggles, and victories are to our own!
“You have to start somewhere and trust that your first work is never going to be your masterpiece, but you will learn and grow so much from that point forward.”
8:30-10:00 p.m.: During post-panel drinks and networking we get to meet with and encourage a bunch of couples that are eager to start their own ventures, including gyms, all-natural beauty lines, restaurants, and so much more. Cleveland is really on the rise! The experience makes us reflect on the beginning of our journey, and how it was the most exhilarating part when we took that first leap of faith. One thing that we used to tell ourselves is that you have to start somewhere and trust that your first work is never going to be your masterpiece, but you will learn and grow so much from that point forward. When we look back now, we’re amazed at what we were able to accomplish and what sometimes ridiculous methods we used to get here!
10:30 p.m.: We finally head home, but realize ten minutes into the drive that we forgot to pick up our dog, D’wayne, at studio—sorry, buddy! We run back and get him.
10:50 p.m.: Phillip and I relieve my parents of babysitting duty and listen to all their silly stories from the evening. Tonight they did a puppet show and played cheetahs and gazelles. Clearly Papa has to sacrifice for the game as the ill-fated gazelle time and time again. Now that’s love!
11:00 p.m.: I eat a late-night salad with Phillip and watch That 70’s Show on his iPhone to decompress.
11:30 p.m.: I hit the shower, put on my sleepy-time essential oils, and steam my outfit for the news segment tomorrow morning. Then I melt into my flannel sheets.
Photograph of Jackie Wachter by Peter Larson. FOUNT is featured in The Scout Guide Columbus.