Jen Giese: CEO, Photojojo

Spotted in: The Mission, SF

Occupation: CEO, Photojojo

What are you up to today?

I'm going to the doctor. Dermatologist appointment. Not very exciting.

How did you start doing what you do?

I started working at a magazine called JPG that used to be in the Finanical District. It was a community-generated photography magazine; people would upload photos then we had an editioral staff go through and craft stories based on the community's photos. The magazine went under during the financial crisis of 2009, and Photojojo's founder Amit was hiring to build out the store. It started out as a newsletter and he was trying to expand into e-commerce. So I met Amit, and then came onto the scene to help him grow the shop. Now it's huge—there are over 200 items in store, and we're doing well!

Who is your inspiration at the moment?

I just saw Lena Dunham speak at City Arts & Lectures last week and that was really cool. I don't know if I would call her an inspiration, but it definitely is cool to see women my age doing big things. I think that aspect is inspiring—and the fact that she gets a lot of flak for what she does and, despite the flak, forges on and comes out stronger in the end. Plus she's hilarious. To be funny through all of that must be tough.

Is there been anything on your mind lately?

We're looking for new office space so that's been huge on my mind. We've been in the Mission for a really long time, we're trying to find spaces in the same area but it's hard. We've been in that space for so long that our rent's really affordable and that's not so much the case in this neighborhood anymore. I guess that's been on my mind a lot—just looking for spaces, and running a small business in San Francisco in this day and age. It's challenging! We've been lucky so far and our space is great. I'm sure we'll find something just as good but it's a little scary not knowing where it's going to be or when we're going to find it.

Since you're on your way somewhere, just wanted to ask you quickly about what you're wearing. I like how your lipstick matches your sweater!

Oh thanks! I just kind of threw everything together this morning because I was really tired and wanted to be comfortable. It looked like it might be cold out for once, but it's actually kind of warm. Now I'm burning up in this sweater, but I don't want to take it off because I like it and it's comfy! So it's a little inspired by fall weather. Also, I got a little Giants orange and black thing going on. That was kind of an unconscious effort. I just want to be comfortable—especially when I'm at work and going to meetings or sitting in a chair all day, I don't like wearing really tight things. Our office is really casual, so I end up going to work wearing lots of comfy, oversized half-pajama looks.

I love your glasses too!

They're from Reliquary in Hayes Valley. Raen optics.

The earrings are nice and subtle.

They're from Gravel and Gold—a lot of the clothes that I get are just from local shops in San Francisco. I don't really shop in the mall so much, so I'm always just sort of piecing things together from some of my favorite stores. There's good shopping here.

Your backpack is stylish. Where did it come from?

This is good because it fits a laptop and water bottle. These are great. I've had three versions of this backpack over the last, I don't know, 10 years probably. They're really durable and good for travel, so it's kind of a staple. It's a Norwegian brand but they sell them all over.

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