THE COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Jolene Delisle, founder and creative director of Working Assembly
I first heard about Jolene Delisle, while reading “24 Women Our Favorite Entrepreneurs Want You To Know”on Refinery29. When asked about who is her strong female entrepreneur role model, she has mentioned Diane Von Furstenberg citing this sentence ‘Accept the reality, embrace the challenge, and deal with it. Be in charge of your own life. Turn negatives into positives and be proud to be a woman.’ from Diane Von Furstenberg’s book The woman I wanted to be. I fell in love with her right than and there, because reading this made me reminisce about my own choices in life and how truly something as small as turning a negative into a positive can have such a big impact on how things play out in your future.
As I began to research her and her work, my obsession with this woman grew stronger by the second, especially when I read that one of agency’s first clients was TheSkimm. That was it, I needed no further convincing. I had to have her as Bastet Noir’s next cool face. I was hesitant at first, because I thought she would never reply to me, but said to myself if she doesn’t, she doesn’t, I had to at least try and see what happens. Few days later an email woke me up around 6:30am in the morning and there it was, a reply I thought I was never going to get and somehow I did. I literally jumped out of the bed (which for those who know me, it’s the strangest thing ever) and started doing my kickass morning dance moves (mirror included and everything).
Let me paint you a picture, so you can get a grasp of how big of a deal she is. Jolene Delisle is the co-founder and creative director of The Working Assembly, an NYC based branding agency, that works with emerging and evolving brands. Their clients range from startups like Zola and theSkimm to evolving ones like Nike, Sony, and MassMutual, which is a huge financial services company, listed in the top 100 of Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, Communication Arts, The Dieline, AIGA, Under Consideration, TechCrunch and she is a judge for The One Show and Clio Awards. But the most impressive thing about her is not this extensive portfolio of top notch clients, not even the fact that 80% of TWA’s clients are female-run businesses, but her humble nature and the fact that she’s willing to help out small companies grow into bonafide brands. Such a dedication to help out those who are just starting out is truly inspiring and extremely rare and also the reason why my obsession sort of developed into an enormous respect for her. So here she shares her advices for all future entrepreneurs, her favorite Bastet Noir pieces and what a day in her life looks like.
Who is Jolene Delisle?
I’m the founder and creative director of the NYC based branding agency, The Working Assembly. We like to say we are a modern branding studio because we believe brands today live well beyond just their name and logo, and we help with all touch points extending to creative campaigns, social and experiences.
What’s a working day like in Jolene Delisle’s life?
I’m really close to the park and most mornings I hope to try to get a quick run in there. I’m also a mom to a 1 year old girl, so most mornings don’t go completely as planned! I try to start work stuff around 8:30 am with a coffee or breakfast meeting either with a potential client, a mentee or someone who has reached out to me for a meeting to network. I get into our office in Union Square around 9:30 am and our team has a status. We have a rapidly growing team that's majority female and it’s a fun and tight knit atmosphere. I love seeing everyone everyday. If it is Monday, we have a status where we do highs/lows and talk about the week ahead. The days are filled with creative presentations, client photo or video shoots and reviewing or concepting new work. Around 5:30 pm I head home and do family stuff for a few hours before hopping back online from 9pm — 11pm. Around 11:30 pm I always try to go to sleep.
Best part about your job…
The best part of my job is growing a business I really believe in, getting to mentor and lead a talented team of women and partner with amazing female entrepreneurs. A huge part of our business is working with female founders and collaborating with them as they create awesome companies that are shaping and influencing culture. I get to see their passion and drive for the business firsthand, and our job at The Working Assembly is to help amplify their work in any way we can. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with theSkimm, Zola, WayUpand LOLAas they continue to build their brands.
Worst part about your job…
The worst part is also the best. — that I’m accountable to so many people and I have a lot of responsibility day to day. I love it… but there is definitely a part of me that would love to completely unplug and go on vacation for two months. I’m still in major hustle mode but maybe someday soon!
We’re just obsessed with TheSkimm, we’re such avid followers since the first day they’ve started. Was this your first project and what it’s like to work with them?
We have loved working with Carly, Danielle and their team at theSkimm. We’ve been fortunate enough to have started working with them 3+ years ago and watch them catapult. They are hard working, smart and truly amazing.
Working with fast growth startups is definitely our sweet spot, but our passion is female led companies. We believe that the more women who start, lead and grow businesses the better off we all are. More diversity and representation leads to more creative products, which leads to a better economy for everyone.
Favorite female empowerment speech
A huge inspiration for me is Diane Von Furstenberg. I downloaded her book The Woman I Wanted to Be on a whim. I was about eight months pregnant at the time and feeling stressed and unsure about how I was going to grow my business along with growing my baby. I found myself listening to her voice on my commute in an almost meditative state. When Diane talked about balancing motherhood with work, being self-sufficient, and persevering through rejection, I felt like she was speaking directly to me somehow, giving me a much-needed, daily pep talk and telling me to keep going: ‘Accept the reality, embrace the challenge, and deal with it. Be in charge of your own life. Turn negatives into positives and be proud to be a woman.’
Things you wish you knew before starting out
To take a long vacation because it would be a while before I could again! To not worry so much about money and take rejection so personally. To understand that things happen for a reason and that it does have a way of working out the way it’s meant to be. To delegate, even if you know it won’t be done exactly the way you would do it — you have to trust others around you and take help when it’s offered. To not listen to people when they say (which they will), how easy/fun/simple it must be to be your own boss — those of us doing it know, it is often the exact opposite of all those things! To know that building something you love and believe in is going to be 1000% times harder than any day job you’ve had but also 1000% more rewarding.
Things you do to boost your creativity
Go to museums, go to the park and be outside as much as possible, take long walks and listen to a podcast or music, mediate, do yoga, anything to get out of my own head sometimes!
What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?
Since discovering Bastet Noir, I’m pretty obsessed. Not only is the mission pretty amazing, but the clothes are gorgeous and versatile for so many things. Current faves include: Bareback velvet jumpsuit(which may be the most perfect GNO outfit ever made), Marigold shirt dress(because the color and cut are so unique) and the Spot The Dot dress(which is great for weekends and spontaneous evenings out and can easily be worn with sneakers or cute boots).
Choices are everything in life. Something as simple as choosing to turn the negative into a positive, actually IRL is pretty complex. Perhaps, because it’s something as humans we are not really programmed to do. Somehow we find it harder to be optimistic, because the source of our existence seems to always be the pain. That’s why it takes a certain kind of person who has the strength to rise above the challenge and reprogram the mindset. That is exactly why we celebrate these individuals for they conquer fear by doing things normal people very often won’t. Through their journeys, they lift up, inspire, motivate and empower the rest of us. They look fear straight into its ugly face and say f you and Jolene Delisle is one of those people who hasn’t allowed fear of failure to ever stop her from doing what she does best, building iconic brands out of companies which are just starting out while at the same time being a mother of a 1 year old. Whoever said that girls run the world must have met Jolene first.
We love strong, confident and self reliant women, so if you think you got what it takes, send us an email with your Instagram account and the story you’d like to share and you might just become Bastet Noir’s next cool face.
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