in good company // issue no. 12 // jill hatch
Jill and I met serendipitously about 7 years ago. I was visiting my guncles in Hawaii, and they invited me out one evening to their friend Jill and Rogers house for a wine/cheese party.
(You had me at wine and cheese. That's all I need to hear in order to go anywhere and look half presentable).
My uncle knows me well because the first thing he said to me is "you have to meet Jill and Roger. You guys have so much in common and will get along like a house on fire." He was right. It's like she was my sister reincarnate or something like that. We had similar styles, tastes in decor, clothing and food. All I needed to do now was find a way to move to Hawaii and get an adorable house exactly like her's:)
Ever since then, we have stayed in touch and it wasn't until I recently went back to Hawaii with my hubby and new son in tow, that our friendship went to another level.
I would be putting it mildly to say I adore this lady. She is not only the mother to 4 lovely and amazing children (let it be known that I am only 1 year older than Jill as she embarked on motherhood a lot earlier than me and has a 22 year old!). She has successfully purchased and run a retail business for the past 7 years, has time to travel the world, visit local beaches on the regular and be a fully present mom and wife. Some would say she has it all. Read all about her journey below!
You're originally from Utah, where your father was a State Senator, amongst other family members who are still active in politics. Did you ever have an interest in entering this field?
I very much admire anyone who can be involved in politics and all that comes with it. My skin isn't tough enough unfortunately....or maybe that's a good thing? Besides that, most of my family and I differ on (al)most all political views, so me becoming a politician might not go over well with them. And I love them too much to stir anything up:)
You grew up spending a lot of time at your family's ranch in Utah, what was that like? What was your favourite thing about it, aside from the peacefulness it offers?
It was absolutely amazing! It truly is heaven on earth. Some of my best and oldest memories started after driving down that old dirt road. When I was a kid, it was a place where we would gather with our relatives to catch water snakes, float down the creek in inner tubes and eat the most amazing Dutch oven food you've ever tasted. I didn't realize that it really was a working ranch as a kid. To me it was just a magical place to go with my cousins. My parents have a beautiful cabin there which we still try to gather at whenever possible. My dad is still running cattle and goes fly fishing on the creek every chance he gets. It's a place that I try not to think about if I'm even the slightest bit homesick because if I do, the tears come hard and fast.
Now that we know you grew up in an absolute tranquil environment, how did you end up in interior design in LA?
I still remember about 1/2 way through my second year of college, I had a night job as a telemarketer (yes, really). This girl came to work with her homework and often worked on it during our break. Her homework consisted of this gorgeous design board - complete with fabric swatches, ceramic tiles and beautiful photographs of homes. I asked her what class she was taking and what her major was. When she told me it was design I switched majors the very next day. I was in love from day one. I couldn't believe that people would pay other people to design spaces for them. Why on earth would they do that? It's so much fun and I've loved it ever since!
Did you always have a love of interior design? What was your first inspiration into this field?
Although I really didn't know that you could turn it into a career, I definitely have had an eye for design since I was a child. I was constantly redecorating my bedroom. My mom was awesome, because she would go along with all of my plans and would whip up new curtains or bedspreads pretty much every time I asked.
I would say that my first inspiration was the home of some friends of ours in Salt Lake City. I still remember being 10 or 12 years of age and being at their home after they had renovated it. I'm pretty they hired a designer, because it was gorgeous. Every inch of it. I took photos with my little camera of their shelves and focused on the way things were placed on them so that I could remember it forever. Of course, I have no idea where those pictures are today.
You're a young mom of 4 amazing, well-rounded children. As a first time mom myself, I don't know how you did it. What has the experience been like for you?
I always knew that I wanted to be a mom and I honestly would have had 10 more if I could afford it. I'm extremely lucky to have the 4 kids that I do and I'm at my happiest when we are all together as a family. They really are just the coolest kids.
All I can say about how it's been is that it's just plain awesome....beyond awesome! Sure I've seen hard times, and we've had our ups and downs, but being their mom is definitely the best part about my life. I've been really lucky to have kids that all get along with each other and are genuinely best friends. People ask me often what is my secret to these kids and I have NO idea! All I know is that it wasn't me alone. I have a terrific husband and ex-husband, as well as a whole slew of friends and family that have helped shaped them into who they are. It really does take a village.
Let's be honest, your little Hawaiian pad is adorable. What was it about the house that made you and your hubby fall in love with this place?
We really just loved this neighborhood. We would have lived in a tent to be in this area, that's how desperately we wanted to be here! We chose Kaimuki (a neighborhood in Honolulu) based on the schools, the proximity to the beach and the food! This area is bursting with amazing restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars. I can't see us living anywhere else in Hawai'i. Our house (which really isn't ours because we rent) is a very small 1923 plantation bungalow. It's still got most of the original fixtures, cabinets and hardware, and it's taken me some time to get used to some of the quirky things, but after 8 years in this house we are madly in love. It suits us perfectly.
You and your husband met in Paris. DO tell us about that! (I bet it was romantic)!
We did meet in Paris and if it can get any more romantic than that, it was actually on Valentine's Day! Roger was living in Switzerland at the time and I was living in Utah so it was no coincidence that we met in a completely different country. I hate the word "destiny" but it really was. Roger had lived in Paris years before and spoke French so that was pretty much his ticket. He showed me around Paris for just one day and that was all it took. We have completely different backgrounds and upbringings, yet I knew right away that he was someone special. I had never met anyone like him before.....and still haven't. He's still the coolest, smartest, sweetest, most selfless person I know.
What brought you and Roger to Hawaii?
We were living in LA before Hawaii and weren't happy with life there. We both had long commutes to work and were tired of missing important family stuf because of traffic. A job offer landed in Roger's lap for Honolulu and we jumped at it. We had spent a lot of time in Hawaii on vacation and knew it was a special place. We kept our home in CA (just in case) and made the move. It was the best decision we've ever made hands down. It's been almost 10 years and we've never looked back once.
What's the one thing you love about island living?
I have to say two things. The first is obviously the ocean. Being able jump in the ocean anytime is a definite perk. It's a place for fun get togethers, solitude, exercise - you name it. It's very therapeutic.
Second, is the spirit of Aloha which is unique to the Hawaiian Islands. We've all heard about it but unfortunately not everyone has felt it or seen it. It's very real and alive in Hawaii and so much bigger than I ever imagined before moving here. It's a hard thing to describe. It's not just being friendly, it's a way of life. It's the way you are inside....in your heart. And it's something that you cannot fake.
Where do you like to eat in Honolulu? Tell us about a favourite spot you love to hit up regularly.
Well I guess the third thing I love about Hawaii is the food! We've witnessed a huge boom in this industry in the past 10 years with amazing restaurants popping up left and right. But I fell in love with a spot right here in our neighborhood from the very beginning and it's still my favorite place. It's called Town and it is located in the heart of the Kaimuki neighborhood. Local chef Ed Kenney does great things here. It's mostly organic, and he uses only local ingredients and the menu can change daily based on what is available and in season. I can guarantee you, it will never disappoint. And you'll definitely feel Aloha when eating here!
You clearly love to travel the globe and I'm eternally jealous of the places you've been to (and let's note too that your kids get to go!) Tell us some of the places you've been to.
Yes, oh boy do I love to travel! I'm still trying to figure out how to do it for a living....stay tuned. that could be a different feature! Traveling is one of the things that Roger brought into my life. He has traveled extensively and has lived in at least 5 different countries before we met, so, lucky for me, it's always a top priority for him and we would rather take a trip than buy anything else in the world. (Hence the fact that we're still driving our car that we bought in 2004.)
My favorite trips and places that I've visited are Panama, Switzerland, South Africa and the South of France. I also have a deep love for Santa Barbara, CA and of course Utah, but that's home so I'm not sure that counts. We definitely try to take the entire family on as many trips as possible but I also think it's important to do trips with just my hubby or just my girls/boys. Mixing it up is fun and it can totally change a trip. You see different things and have different experiences depending on who's along for the ride. (Jill is now currently in Italy with just her daughters and will be heading to Thailand over the holidays with the entire family). I also highly suggest trips with friends! I have a few friends from childhood that I try to take a trip with every few years and those have been some of the best of my life. Trips with girlfriends - an absolute MUST in my book.
You have the most adorable shop in Hawaii, full of locally crafted and curated items from jewelry to home décor to artwork. What inspired you to go into retail?
This endeavour was definitely a happy accident. I was actually in Vancouver BC on a trip when a strange number kept popping up on my phone. It was a HI number but not one that I recognized. It ended up being the original owner of Sugarcane and she was calling to see if I was interested in buying it from her. (She says she just had a hunch I would be interested). Within 20 minutes of the call I knew it was something that I should do. My husband jumped on board and supported me 100%.
Within a month, this sweet little shop was mine! There are definitely days when I wonder what in the hell I am doing but most days are awesome; and I meet the coolest people in my shop every single day. Some have become my best friends and some touch my heart and I never see them again. It's not something that I dreamt of or imagined yet it feels like it's perfect for me. One of the best things about my shop is that I work so closely with my oldest daughter, Kennedy. She gets me and she understands the shop like no one else. I could leave for a year and come back and everything would be just fine in her hands. It's brought us closer together and it has made being a small business owner easier for me. I definitely consider her my partner.
My younger daughter Isa (13) is really starting to take interest as well. She loves coming in to help out and brings a whole new set of eyes to what we do. Sugarcane is a family business for sure. Shamelessly, I would love for everyone to follow along on our adventure (@sugarcanehawaii) We hope to launch a new website soon and will be announcing it there when its ready for its debut.
I love to cook as you know. What's the one go-to meal you love to cook?
I love to cook as well when I have time. We have lots of guests and visitors and love to have friends over so entertaining is a very big part of our life. I used to make homemade flatbread and top it with whatever ingredients I had in my fridge. It was different every time but always delicious. Some of our favorite toppings are artichokes, toasted pine nuts, ricotta, arugula and of course bacon! Sometimes I use pesto, sometimes just olive oil. It is literally something you can't mess up.
When I say "used to make" it's because 4 years ago my husband had a heart attack and since then we have drastically changed our diet and eating habits. Flatbread is now a treat instead of a "go to" but it's still a favorite.
I'm a big believer in 'ah-ha' moments, that timing is everything and things happen for a reason. What has been your biggest ah-ha moment in life and how has it lead you to where you are now?
I have most certainly had a few AH HA moments in my life. And several that have changed my life in immeasurable ways. The most recent ah ha moment came to me just this past year. I think as we get older we realize things that should have been SO obvious when we were younger but they just weren't (why is that?). I realized that I was spreading myself way too thin. Trying to keep tabs on everyone, make it to every event and every get together, making daily phone calls to friends or family members just to "keep up" and I realized I was exhausted, nor was I taking care of myself. The truth was that I was missing out on catching up with my own family because I was so busy with all of the other people in my life. I made a list (in order) of the people that I really wanted to make time for. The people that I was willing to spend my time, energy and money on. I was shocked when I saw how little I was spending with the people that mattered most. I now have a pretty small circle of people that I focus on. I still care for and love my extended family and friends, but I catch up with them when I can and don't worry about making that weekly phone call or daily text.
What are three qualities you look for in the tribe of men/women you surround yourself with and what's the one thing men/women can do better to support each other?
The three qualities that I look for in my tribe are easy - loyalty, honesty and fun! Obviously some friends are there because they are so incredibly loyal and others because they are just SO MUCH FUN. But ultimately they have to have all of these characteristics at different levels or it's not going to work for me. My best friends are the ones that are equal parts of all three traits. I would say the way we best support each other is by applauding each others accomplishments and doing little happy dances when awesome things happen for each other. It's also important to keep it real with each other and be able to tell each other things that we might not want to hear.
What's the one word of advice you would give your younger self?
Identity. I would tell myself to take more time for the things that I'm passionate about, spend more time with the people that I want to be with in places that I want to be. Figure out what makes me tick and motivates me. What makes me happy and why. I'd tell myself not to feel bad about a messy house, not having a structured schedule for my kids or unfinished work. Also, don't apologize for things that really aren't your fault. My husband stops me constantly reminding me to "stop apologizing!". Take that trip, buy that expensive swimsuit and eat that almond croissant. In fact, eat two! Figure out who you are and what you want and just be ok with it. Life is too short for anything less.
What inspires you and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
I am motivated by my family, my shop and whatever might be on my agenda for the day. I'm a planner and like to schedule lunches with friends or my kids (when I'm not working) or a few hours on the beach by myself with a good book to recharge. Plus, my husband makes a pretty amazing cappuccino which he brings into the bedroom every morning when its time for me to wake up. If that's not motivating I don't know what is!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I honestly have no idea where I'll be living (always keeping my options open) but I do know that wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, I've got this healthy tribe around me. I'll be happy...very very happy.