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Ep. 83: Jill Malek Turned Her Passion For Art Into A Thriving Wallpaper Business

In this episode, hear how NYC based artist and designer Jill Malek, whose handprinted, nature-inspired work now covers the walls of YouTube’s flagship corporate office, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ritz Carlton Boston, and more, turned her passion for art into a thriving wallpaper business.

“It’s funny, everyone always says it took a lot of courage for you to go out on your own. And when I decided to make the plunge ten years ago, I really felt at that point that I didn’t have a choice, you know, of course I did have a choice. Everyone always has a choice, but I knew that I would always reach my greatest potential if I went out on my own. And because of that I really didn’t have a choice. So I didn’t see it as an act of courage. I felt it was an act of survival really.”

As she speaks with Sally about her life and career, Jill offers her advice to women who are scared to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. She also shares some of the lessons she’s learned in the ten years that she’s owned her own business, and talks about her proudest moments, which include having her patterns become part of the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum.

“There’s no feeling that can match when your work is well received and you do have that giant paycheck that comes in from a job you feel so proud about. There’s nothing that matches that feeling.”

Jill went from art director to entrepreneur, and she never looked back. Her business, a marriage of graphic design and interior design, was a natural transition from all the corporate graphic design work she had been doing. Even when the lure of a steady paycheck tempted her, she kept returning to her vision.

“I think that ​my need to do what I’m doing was so strong that it overshadowed everything else. And that longing for a steady a paycheck does return, but I’ve had ample opportunity to go back to that life. And I never have…I have something inside me that needs to be expressed and I have a vision of where I want to go, and I know I’m going to get there.”

Listen to this episode to discover how Jill started her business and landed clients, how she realized she needed to speak out more in the design world, what drives her every day, and how her mentors have inspired her to be more confident through their success.

“If you know that you’re doing the best that you can and you’re being the best version of yourself, I think that’s the best that you can hope for.”