New Jersey is home to many ambitious and talented women who juggle family, career, and home. A select few of these women are also extremely busy building their own companies to help better manage the balance of work and family. At NJMOM, we want to highlight these extraordinary women who build businesses in New Jersey, and learn the secret to their success.
Founder of This Season’s Gold & NJMOMpreneur:
This Season’s Gold is more than a successful fashion, travel, and lifestyle blog; it is the product of a promise made by Founder and Editor, Jessica Lisboa. In the face of tragedy after losing her daughter, Jessica pledged to provide inspiration for other women to create positivity after experiencing troubling times. Her love of fashion, passed down from her own mother, together with her vast travel experience while working as Marc Anthony’s personal assistant, are the passions that Jessica’s readers connect to while vising her website and social media channels. Today, with a successful brand and busy North Jersey lifestyle, she continues to travel abroad and explore New Jersey with her son, while demonstrating that it is possible, and okay, to grow from tragedy.
NJMOM had the pleasure of speaking with Jessica about her love of fashion and travel, why she decided to co-found a charter school in Jersey City, lessons learned from her own mother, and her favorite things to do with her son in New Jersey.
Jessica: First, and most importantly, I am a theatre educator, and have been for over 12 years. But I also run a fashion, travel, and lifestyle blog called This Season’s Gold. I started the blog to document my personal journey through getting myself back on my feet after losing my daughter, who was born still at 34 weeks. I wanted to inspire women and be a testament that it’s okay to get back on your feet and continue to live life again after tragedy and heartbreak and how to do it in all aspects of life. I also wanted to find an outlet to inspire my son so that he knew it is possible to turn personal pain into something positive that could help others
Jessica: Fashion and exploring style and travel is something I’ve always enjoyed. I grew up seeing my mom wear beautiful dresses and shoes and always having her hair and makeup so well done. But in the end, it was really my daughter and not having the opportunity to raise a girl that made me want to write and share my personal interest of style and fashion with others. It was my way of sharing with others through my site and social media channels, what I would have shared with my daughter.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Jessica: What I enjoy most about sharing my work on This Season’s Gold is being able to connect with other woman. I have received messages from women who have gone through personal challenges in their lives that tell me I encouraged them to look forward to better days with a new perspective.
If one woman who has been through a difficult time connects with my story and feels that she, too, can persevere – that is my greatest joy.
Jessica: From fashion on the runway, to red carpets to the daily style, I have always studied what looks great on a woman and what I was personally drawn to. I also have traveled quite a bit – quite often when I worked for Marc Anthony as his personal assistant, and since then as an educator. With little time from place to place, and access to fashion houses (for men and women), I learned a great deal of what comes natural to me when I create content for This Season’s Gold.
Jessica: I am proud that in just under three years I have been able to grow This Season’s Gold in a way that makes me proud to do it. It is my way of taking time for myself to think about my daughter, inspire others, and in the end, show my son that when life becomes challenging, you need to turn it into good somehow, someway. I also am proud that it is the stepping stone to begin my foundation to provide support to woman who experience stillbirth and raise money to provide college scholarships for students who demonstrate perseverance after a personal challenge.
Jessica: Few people know that I attended Rutgers at Mason Gross Conservatory for Acting and then NYU for my Master’s degree, yet my first job out of college was working on the trading floor in emerging markets in New York City. I think that is the perfect way to describe how I think and operate would be: creative, yet extremely business-oriented. It’s probably why I also co-founded a charter school in Jersey City to give back to my community.
Jessica: While I will continue to teach and direct theatre, my goals for This Season’s Gold are to continue to create content that can grow in all areas of fashion, travel, beauty, and lifestyle. I plan to continue to connect with brands that I genuinely love, especially boutique hotels and small businesses in and around New Jersey. Last year our goal was to start our YouTube channel, and we are happy to have met that goal with two vlogs currently up on the channel. I also hope to get the ground running on my foundation, Raise a Heart. I didn’t realize all the intricacies of what it meant to start a foundation. I have always been someone who likes to create on a grand scale, so with extra time, hard work and some help (hopefully!), I can get that started soon.
Jessica: I appreciate supporting charities that support babies and mothers who experience birthing challenges. The one that stands out for me is First Candle. The information and material available to me after losing my daughter helped me get through those early days, like how to deal with breast milk when I couldn’t nurse, or what it would feel like leaving the hospital without my baby. For the last few years on Giving Tuesday in November, I tell my son that he has $25 to split up among 5 charities of his choice to help give back to others. Last year, he chose to give to charities for water conversation, animal rescue, stillbirth awareness and support (“to help mommies who are sad about their babies”), elephant care, and education.
NJMOM: Who is your role model?
Jessica: I don’t know if I have one role model so much as I have pieces of several different people that have been inspired me to be the best I can be.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom ever gave to you?
Jessica: My mom’s advice came in the form of what she did, not what she said. She had some of the strongest work ethic I have ever seen in a woman growing up. She gave so much of herself to be the best at work and at home, and I appreciate that it doesn’t come easy to do that as a mom.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by?
Jessica: “Follow your passion!” Simple, but nothing short of the most brilliant life directive. It is the only way I have taken the risks I have in my life and the concept that has give me the strength on the harder days when I wasn’t sure if what I was doing what right. Luckily, it continues to work for me.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Jessica: I absolutely love living near the Hudson River! Going to Hoboken, or anywhere along the water is such a great time with New York City as the backdrop.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Jessica: Watching my son grow up is the best and worst part. I remember when he was born and all I wanted to do was hear him speak and would imagine what he would sound like when he started talking. Now seven years old, we talk all the time and his vocabulary is out of this world, quite literally. I love that we can be completely honest with each other about what is important to him at this stage of his life, and how he embraces his emotions with confidence. The worst part is seeing him grow up so fast…too fast!
Motherhood is the most complicated joy I have ever felt. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Jessica: We live in Northern New Jersey, but we enjoy going to Sussex County often in the fall. Honestly, there is something in every part of New Jersey that we can enjoy and even though I have lived here my whole life, I continue to find something new and amazing about New Jersey that I will learn to love next.