Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis
05/05 Design

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

Get inspired by multidisciplinary creator Jackie Kai Ellis

Jackie Kai Ellis believes that the most creative solutions are born from the words “that can’t be done.” 

Designer, entrepreneur, pastry chef, author, advice columnist, and head of product design at Flax Home, Jackie has a knack for bringing beautiful ideas to fruition. She is known as the founder of Beaucoup Bakery, for her bestselling memoir The Measure of My Powers, and for her design of APT La Fayette. As a multidisciplinary creator, Jackie inspires many, and we were lucky to have the chance to catch up with her to learn more about her career thus far and a few things she is inspired by as of late. 

Scroll through to read more about how Jackie got to where she is today and shop some of her favorite things!

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis
Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

Via @aptlafayetteparis
Photography by Joann Pai

What was your very first job — ever? 

Growing up in an immigrant family, I was expected to help in the family construction business. I’d clean the occasional job site and roll a lot of pennies. Though when I was about 15, after interviewing twice and hounding the manager, I finally got my dream job at the time – a greeter at The Gap. 

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

From Jackie’s Vancouver Project | Photo: Joann Pai

Tell us about your journey into the creative industry, when did you realize that you could turn your passion into a career? 

Since I was never really great at academic subjects in school when I was young, I dove into creativity as one of my only career options. I went to art school, then design school, and worked as a designer and creative director for many years. Though it wasn’t until I left my design firm behind and went to Paris to study pastries that I realized the power of crafting a life I was not only living but engaged with and in love with.   

After that, my career has been a constant evolution and exploration of my passions and creativity in many different realms I am lucky enough to have opportunities in.  

From the Gram
@jackiekaiellis
Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

A beautiful shot from Jackie and her husband in their Vancouver Project  | Photo: Joann Pai

If you could go back in time and give your young creator self one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Don’t worry about what others expect from you. Do what you love – the thing that makes you feel like you’ve lost track of time, that makes you feel energized and connected to something bigger, the thing that is still fun even when it’s hard. Nothing is more contagious and satisfying than being and watching someone simply have fun 

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis
Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

Via @aptlafayetteparis
Photography by Joann Pai

Jackie's McGee & Co. Picks

Explore a few of Jackie's favorite things
Explore our new arrivals
Roth Ottoman
Emma Large Side Table
Vintage Black Glazed Jar
Neville Stool
Parasol Lamp

Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?   

I find a lot of inspiration in nature: textures, shapes, and colors. I also love seeing others create from their own unique perspectives, even if it’s not current or everyone’s taste. I love seeing someone enjoy their own creations when they have a voice; it opens my mind to hear what they are saying. 

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

An inspirational setting from Jackie’s APT La Fayette Paris | Photo: Joann Pai

What does your creative process look like?  

It depends if I’m designing a space, a product, writing a book or an article, sharing a meal, or sharing my life through photography. Though I must say, before any large project, I spend a lot of time researching, envisioning, and understanding the pragmatic limitations because often, the most creative solutions are born from the words, “that can’t be done.” 

What was the most significant business or creative challenge that you have encountered and grown from?  

When I owned Beaucoup Bakery, responsible for a team of 25-30, we hit a point where morale was lower than I had ever imagined from an unexpected incident spawned from oversight on my part. It was really hard to accept my failings as an owner, to feel I should have been more aware of and more attentive to my team. Though, when my failings were brought to my attention, I learned just how capable I was. I jumped immediately into action, learned to grow the culture again from ground zero, and built it back to a successful point where I could sell the business to two of my original team members. I learned a little about how to fail, in inevitable failure. 

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

Jackie and her best seller memoir “The Measure of My Powers” via @beaucoupbakery

What has been your biggest achievement? When was the last time you thought “wow, I can’t believe I just accomplished that!”  

I think my greatest achievements have not been career-based. Instead, when I look back, I honestly feel that they are when I challenge myself to be more vulnerable, put myself out there for rejection, put down my defenses, and love more openly and unconditionally. It’s the scariest thing for me, and so it’s much more of an accomplishment when I put one foot in front of the other and challenge myself to be braver than I feel. 

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

A stunning kitchen setting via @aptlafayetteparis | Photo: Joann Pai

Which upcoming project or endeavor are you most excited for? 

I am days away from giving birth to my first child at 43. This is going to be the biggest project I’ve ever embarked on. Though scared, I am excited to see what I will learn and who I will become with this new life on the horizon. 

Make Life Beautiful with Jackie Kai Ellis

One of our favorite moments from Jackie and her husband in their Vancouver Project | Photo: Joann Pai

Keep up with Jackie and her work through her Instagram @jackiekaiellis, as well as @shopflaxhome, @aptlafayetteparis & @themeasureofmypowers
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