Jessica Bass is the owner of Stay Cozy Creative Co., small business based outside of Cedar Rapids that specializes in handcrafted blankets, baby goods, home decor and more, as well as workshops to teach others how to get creative. Plus, Stay Cozy donates a portion of all sales to a local organization that supports Iowa’s immigrant and refugee population. Learn about Jessica Bass…
First job: I always wanted to be a waitress, so finally in college I worked part-time at Carlos O’Kelly’s in Iowa City. I loved the people and the chips and salsa, but I learned I wasn’t a very good waitress!
Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: I love to be outside. My family and I like to walk and ride bikes on the trails, go to state parks, and get ice cream at several local spots. My husband and I enjoy trying new local restaurants, inviting friends over for dinner, and relaxing at home as a family. Current favorite pastimes with our kids include Legos and hot tubbing. I also love to read or listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I work.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Doing this business is probably my biggest accomplishment. It has been such a learning experience for me, professionally and personally. I’m not just learning to be a business owner, but also a business owner who is a wife and a mother, a friend, a sister, and an individual as well.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Sourcing my own yarn and materials was probably the biggest obstacle I’ve overcome. I’ve always been willing to try new things, but there’s a difference between buying a few skeins of yarn at the craft store and sourcing 500 pounds of chunky yarn from a supplier! I have the vision, and my husband has been such a huge supporter from the beginning. He’s helped me find resources and encouraged me to think bigger.
Someone who inspires you and why: So many people inspire me. As a mother, my own mom has been a huge inspiration to me. She is an amazing human being and has always been creative. My husband is an entrepreneur, and he inspires me to pursue my dreams and to try things I want to try, even if it feels scary. I have also met so many women business owners over the last few years, and their creativity, work ethic, and love for their family and their craft is incredibly inspiring.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: If you want to be a creative entrepreneur, I say go for it! Turning your hobby into a business can be incredibly fun and rewarding. It’s a lot of work and can feel isolating at times. Make sure to get connected with other creative business owners online and in your community. You’ll appreciate the support, brainstorming and encouragement.
Favorite quote: “Not all of us can do great things. But we do small things with great love.” –Mother Teresa
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I can’t read knitting patterns. Even though I do a form of knitting and crocheting with my creations, I always learn by watching someone else or experimenting.
What makes someone fabulous: Being exactly who you are makes you fabulous. I love when I meet people who are authentically themselves. Also, generosity. When people are genuinely generous with their time, skills or resources, they are incredibly fabulous.