We had the good fortune of connecting with Jean Branan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jean, what principle do you value most?
As I created Pack for Paris and continue to follow and develop my vision for the company, the most important value that matters to me is authenticity. Being my authentic self has allowed certain aspects of my business to naturally fall into place while allowing others to understand who I am and my point of view. Hopefully, this helps me stand out in the very competitive jewelry space! My brand may not be for everyone and I know that’s perfectly normal, but those who are interested in my designs seem to appreciate what I’ve created. Allowing myself to be authentic has helped me uncover new perspectives that open my mind to other possibilities in keeping with my vision.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As you scroll through all the social media sites out there, it’s easy to see that there are a staggering number of jewelry options available to consumers. It’s apparent that newer companies like mine often get lost among veterans in the jewelry space. The inspiration for everything about my brand, Pack for Paris is my love for travel, trips to museums, vintage flea markets, people watching, and the sites and colors of each city. My jewelry can best be described as modern, minimalist and geometric with vintage vibes. I’ve lived, worked, and trekked throughout Europe, and always look forward to the next opportunity to pack up and visit one of my favorite destinations: Paris. I create designs based on my brand’s vision and my personal perspective and hopefully this will set myself apart from other jewelry out there. I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible in my day-to-day production practices and in the delivery of the pieces I design. This is important to me and I know it’s also important to many others, so it’s always been a focus of mine. I’ve created three main collections that can be mixed and matched with each other or with other brands in your wardrobe. These collections are designed with a cohesive aesthetic true to my brand: 1.) “Pack for Paris Essentials” are modern, minimalist wardrobe essentials and go-to pieces for everyday wear made up of sterling silver, gold-filled or brass metals; 2.) “She’s a Gem” is all about earth-friendly gemstones. These are all ethically sourced and obtained in a responsible and sustainable way where no workers were treated unfairly and care was taken to the environment during the harvesting process; and finally 3.) “The Czech List”, made up of vintage “new old stock” Czech glass buttons from my personal collection of nearly 3,000 unique and colorful buttons that range from the early 1900s-1940s. I make these unique by using metalsmithing techniques to set them in bezels, and prongs. I haven’t always been a jewelry designer. It’s been a hobby of mine for many years but I never thought it could be my full-time job. I recently transitioned from a career in academic administration/career counseling. It took a lot of self reflection and reviewing my long-term goals to decide to pursue this career path. The decision wasn’t an easy one because my previous career was stable and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Reflecting on what’s most important in life helped me come to realize that being close to my family and starting my own business where I could be creative would make my life even more complete. I highly encourage everyone to assess their interests, skills and values from time to time when making big decisions.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Whenever friends visit San Diego, I like to start the morning off by taking them either on a hike to Torrey Pines State Park for the gorgeous ocean views (my favorite’s the Beach Trail), or going on a bike ride, starting from the Coronado Ferry Landing, cycling around the island and onto the Strand. Sometimes I take my visitors to the Hotel Del Coronado for a massage and relaxing day at the spa. We could spend the whole day there, but for lunch, I always take my guests to Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma for their famous fish tacos or fisherman’s stew while eating on the dock. It’s close enough to jet up to the Point Loma Lighthouse to check out the panoramic views of San Diego. Heading back to East County where I live, we’ll check out some locally-owned antique stores and boutiques like Small Batch in the historic La Mesa Village. For dinner, we’ll make our way over to Steamy Piggy or Dumpling Inn for some of the tastiest dumplings on Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. If it’s baseball season, I’d make it a point to visit Petco Park and hang out at a Padres game. Even if baseball’s not their thing, the stadium experience and food alone are reasons to go! Finally, ending the evening with live music is a must. San Diego has some fun music venues…my favorite places to see shows are at The Observatory in North Park, Casbah (downtown) or The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. Concerts are one of the things I’ve missed the most during the pandemic, so I’m really looking forward to going there with friends again!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s an excellent book that I’d like to give a shoutout to called, “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty. He writes about applying a “monk mindset” and discusses ways to clear roadblocks to your potential by overcoming negative thoughts. I love how the book encourages you to pursue higher values that lead to a meaningful life with purpose. Shetty’s book is filled with practical tips like the importance of having a morning routine and how living your life with intention is essential to happiness. This is a must read for anyone who’s starting their own business or for those looking for ways to live a happier life, starting from within. I’d also like to give a shoutout to my husband, Sean who has offered so much encouragement and support. He’s really been instrumental in helping me realize my dreams of starting my own business.
Models: @chanelauren @tammymizrachi