Business Style: La Double J
With vintage patterns and a lot of passion, she has created a fashion empire: The label La Double J by Jennifer Jane Martin (La JJ), dresses women in Feel-Good-Fashion.
Photographs: Marco Giuliano; Hair & Make-up: Francesco Mammone
Madame: You're considered the print queen of Milan. How much pattern is allowed in daily business?
JJ Martin: Especially in conservative professional circles and industries, the easiest way to get started is a print blouse with a dark blue suit. But even a foulard on a shirt blouse or a slim silk scarf on a business bag can work wonders. You will see that the colorful fabric immediately lifts your spirits. In our shops, however, I notice that the businesswoman dresses more feminine today than she did a few years ago.
Madame: This means that the end of patriarchy, which is not only evident in the economy, can also be seen in the female business wardrobe?
JJ Martin: You know, I'm very involved with this subject. Female energy, by which I mean qualities and competencies such as compassion, creativity, and intuition, are becoming more important in the corporate culture. But does this also lead to efficient results? I think it takes just as much masculine energy to bring things to their goal, i.e. characteristics such as logic, analysis, and strategy. We carry both within us. More than ever, we women must learn to balance these two poles better.
Madame: How would you define your leadership style?
JJ Martin: As profane as it may sound, a positive attitude and a relaxed working atmosphere are my main advantages. I have seen so many cases where a toxic working environment has ruined the company. I would also say that my problem-solving skills are well developed. No matter what we do, the first thing I always ask myself is: Why could it fail?
Madame: You've been in business for three years now. How did you experience the founding of the company?
JJ Martin: I was pretty naive about it: We started with a simple dress model, and I really didn't think about what to do next. We then grew organically - to put it diplomatically ... My luck was that my husband worked in the e-commerce business and helped me with production. After all, we teamed up with the silk manufacturer Mantero Seta. That's exactly what La Double J is all about - whether fashion, porcelain or decoration: working with beautiful traditional brands from all over Italy. From the fashion drawing to the production everything is 100 percent "made in Italy".
Madame: You call yourself "best cheerleader for Milan." How was it in 2002 to move here from New York?
JJ Martin: Back then, everything was going on here behind closed doors. It was difficult to gain a foothold because there was simply no internationality. But at some point I stopped complaining, this constant negative energy was just annoying. I learned that I can't change my environment, only how I react to it. And fortunately, a lot has happened in recent years: a young creative scene of fashion, art, and design has emerged that is giving the city a new boost.
Madame: You yourself are part of this creative community.
JJ Martin: Yes. For me, the birth of La Double J was fate, I firmly believe in it.
Jennifer Jane Martin
Born 1973 in L.A., graduated at UC Berkeley University. She then held positions in advertising, including marketing at Calvin Klein. In 2002 she moved from NYC to Milan for love's sake and worked as a journalist for international media.
In 2015 she founded her own online magazine LaDoubleJ.com, through which she sells vintage fashion - and now offers her own collection and homeware.
Her first vintage piece: a $40 fur coat she bought at the New York flea market in 1998.