Much like Sklarek, Justina Blakeney isn’t sure whether some of her professional obstacles have been a result of her being female or a woman of color. Also like Sklarek, Blakeney has not let those obstacles keep her from success, not only as a designer, but also an artist, entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author.
“It’s hard for me to separate being a female in this industry from being a female of color who came up in this industry in a very unconventional way,” said Blakeney in a CA Home + Design interview. “I do find that at times I don’t feel I’m taken seriously. I also have experienced being offered less money than men for the same job, and I also have experienced unusual behavior, such as people asking to feel my hair. All of these things provide me with unique challenges, but they certainly have motivated me to push myself even more so that I may rise to the top.”
Blakeney’s blog, Jungalow, launched her career in 2009 and established her as the authority on Bohemian, feel-good style. Camille Styles gives Blakeney credit for helping us unearth our love for indoor plants … anywhere and everywhere. She has been lauded as a must-know trendsetter by magazines ranging from HGTV and Entrepreneur to Disfunkshion and Parents.
Her prowess in the digital space ultimately brought her to brick-and-mortar stores. Collaborations with Anthropologie, Pottery Barn Kids and Target, to name a few, put her designs in our homes. Jungalow rugs, prints, pillows and even luggage now help us capture the same vibrant style that has inspired her for years.
Blakeney has described herself as a “’follow your own heart’ kind of person.” Considering her path – as a kid, she dreamed of writing for magazines but discovered that a blog gave her an outlet for her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit – she is more than just talking the talk. By using every available resource, even those on the “outside” can break through obstacles and open possibilities. “(Social) media,” she said in Dallas Market Center in 2018, “is giving a voice to designers and artists who come from communities that are not normally seen as much in the design world, and therefore anyone—not just big stores or television personalities—can start trends.”
Inspiring words from a woman whose blooming career took root with blog and Instagram followers.
You can find more notable moments in history and help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of Schlage at schlage.com/100.
1Lewis, Anna M. Women of Steel and Stone: 22 Inspirational Architects, Engineers, and Landscape Designers. Chicago Press Review, 2014.