Friday, November 30, 2012

Favorite Friend Friday: Jenn Blake of SCOUT

Jenn Blake fits the term Favorite Friend perfectly: a dear, sweet friend that we love to laugh and drink champagne cocktails with, plus one of the most talented people we know. The owner of Scout Vintage Rentals, as well as the author of the heavenly-designed, A Blog Called Scout, she's a hardworking stylist and entrepreneur who just happens to be down-to-earth and lovely. We have been lucky enough to work with her on a few projects, including a buttery, white monochromatic, quilted tablecloth for her styling shoot with Jasmine Star, an Apartment Therapy Design Night, and she helped a bit with Andie's wedding! Meet our sweet & beautiful friend, Jenn:

jenn blake of scout vintage rentals photo by sarah rhoads
Photo by Sarah Rhoads

Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I'm an event stylist/designer here in Seattle, own a boutique vintage rental company and also write a lifestyle blog called SCOUT. I spend most of my days engaging with clients, sending invoices for new rental orders, making deliveries around the city and coming up with ideas and visions for new styling projects and posts for my blog. I invest a lot of my creative energy in engaging in collaborations with other individuals in the wedding and creative industries. Collaborations are definitely where I get the most fulfillment from what I do...I think that's why I love wedding days & styled shoots so much. There are so many individuals that have to come together to make the day or event great. One of the most important things to me in life is creating beautiful imagery and I love doing this by assisting in capturing interactions between my clients and through prop and wardrobe styling.

jenn blake of scout vintage rentals in wedding photo shoot with jasmine star
Photo by Jasmine Star

Little known fact, you used to be a nurse! What was it like to make the decision to move into a creative field, and what do you miss/not miss about it?
Deciding to leave my nursing career was definitely not an easy one, but a bit of a decision that I was forced into. I was a public health nurse and was laid off from a job I really loved. BUT as much as I loved my work as a nurse, I always had this aching feeling like there was this whole other side to who I was that wasn't being lived out. Since as far back as I can remember I wanted to have a creative career and never felt like I could pursue it. I spent 8 years before nursing as a visual merchandiser for a retail brand and had been actively "moonlighting" on the side - coordinating friends wedding days, making paper goods for friends showers, parties etc., and spending way too much money on decor for my own events and celebrations. So when I left that nursing job I had this overwhelming desire to take a leap of faith into the creative world. I took a two month trip away on my own to do some soul searching, and came to the realization that if I was going to follow my dream of becoming a stylist it was now or never. Making the transition has created some of the most challenging years of my life, but I've never felt more like myself, which is worth its weight in gold. I do very much miss my days as a nurse - I loved knowing that I was making a difference in people's lives on a daily basis and making them feel better. I also miss the stability and routine of a medical career (the stable paycheck wasn't half bad either!) and my previous friends and colleagues at work. But I've learned that what I do now is also helping to make people feel good about themselves and am hopeful the work I do inspires others to find and follow their own dreams and passions.

You travel a LOT for your work, what are your favorite destinations and why?
I do travel a lot for styling opportunities, and as I mentioned above, a lot of these travel opportunities are because I want to invest the time in working with others across the country and around the world. I have learned so much about myself as a person and creative business owner through these travels, and the relationships I've built along the way mean so so much to me. I love being pushed and challenged by other people, places and cultures and hope to do much more traveling in 2013. My favorite destination would most certainly have to be Europe, in particular France and Italy. I really love how much the European culture values art and creativity, and how their society prioritizes things like family and self care time. They don't feel guilt in experiencing the simple pleasures in life in ways I think we sometimes do as Americans.

Do you have any projects coming up in the future that you're excited about?
I have a few travel opportunities that I am extremely pumped about, a few which are about exploring friendships and how those are built and maintained. I also have some amazing styling opportunities with a handful of photographers that I greatly admire that will be really exciting to share with my blog readers once they are complete. I'm hopeful the next year will be filled with endless collaborations and partnerships with others who also value this sort of creative engagement and environment.

What do you like to do in your off-time?
I feel like I work ALL.THE.TIME. but when I do take time to relax and reboot, I like to travel, travel, and travel more! I also love spending time with my husband and puppy dog and exploring our favorite areas of Seattle together. I also try to visit my family back home in Colorado as often as I can during downtime. Oh and sleep.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Paris. It's where I feel most alive and most like myself. Ummmm....the crepes are also pretty amazing too!

If you could eat at only one local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
There is this little family owned Thai place right up the street from us called Phad Thai. I love supporting small businesses and the family that owns the place is so kind and nice every time we go in or order out. I love that they know our order and our names. It reminds me of our favorite place back home in Colorado - they really make you feel like you are important and that your business means a lot to them. I'm also obsessed with spicy food (the hotter the better!) and Thai cuisine has quickly become my favorite of all.

What's your dream job, besides what you are doing now?
I would love to be a full-time travel blogger. I'd love to write & take pictures all day long of the cultures, people and new experiences that inspire me and are available when you immerse yourself in new places. I would travel non-stop if I could. Of course with my hubby and pup in tow!

jenn blake of scout vintage rentals in paris france la maison rose
Jenn in Paris. Photo by Mae Stier

You get to organize a dinner party, who is there?
I think I would have to say my Grammie. She passed away before I left my nursing career (she was a nurse herself) but I think she would be incredibly proud of how far I've come in the past two years. I feel like I got every ounce of my creativity from her and I would love for her to be a guest of honor at one of my dinner parties to see where her own creative spirit has led and inspired me. I'd also like my closest friends and family to be at the table. Those people who have been most supportive, understanding and loving during my transition to this new creative pursuit.

What one famous person would you love to collaborate with in some way?
I would love to collaborate with Annie Leibovitz or even just watch her creative process. I think she is so bloody talented at evoking emotions and translating people's stories through her images. I'd love to learn how to do more of that in my own styling and design work. It'd be a dream collaboration for sure.

Thanks, Jenn!

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