Canadian cutie Jillian Harris has done something all reality stars dream of, but few achieve: she has found a place in the public eye years after her stint on The Bachelorette ended. The interior designer first appeared on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, wielding a sledgehammer like a pro, and establishing herself as a force in design. Next, she scored a gig as the “Love It” half of Love It or List It Vancouver, competing against a real estate agent to remodel clients’ homes and make them more desirable than a new pad.
But the most exciting project in Jillian’s life is coming on July 8, in website and business, Charlie Ford Vintage. Along with cousin Tori Wesszer and friend Alyssa Dennis, Jilly has found a way to combine her love of antiques, shopping, and design into an exciting project. We chatted with Jillian to get all the exclusive details on her new “baby,” putting together the perfect team, and how she balances her crazy work life with her committed relationship.
Today’s interview is the first in a series of Charlie Ford-themed exclusives for Wetpaint. Over the next few days leading up to the CFV launch, we will be releasing inside looks at the many facets of Jillian’s new venture.
Spoiler alert: You’re going to be even more jealous of Jilly when we’re done. Enjoy!
Wetpaint Entertainment: Congratulations on Charlie Ford! How did that come to fruition?
Jillian Harris: Thank you! It’s really something that Tori and I have been dreaming about since we were little kids. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve had my own baby, and it’s just my dream.
Where did the name come from?
Charlie Ford Wesszer is my nephew. Tori’s husband is a sixth generation Charles, and I came up with the “Ford.” It sounds like an entrepreneur’s name, just really strong and timeless. So, when we were figuring out what our company should be called, we borrowed his name for it.
And the team? How did that form?
It’s just our calling. We all have full time jobs but when Tori and I were talking about it, we realized we needed someone with a creative vision, someone with overall management skills who could take care of the day to day stuff, and someone who is really strong in sales who could work with vendors. Tori is a genius at managing the details and so we were talking and as soon as we thought sales, we thought Alyssa. She’s been Tori’s and my friend for years and she’s just perfect. Our support team is amazing — we have two girls we hired to work in the office, a web developer, and then media and PR people who are all wonderful.
That sounds perfect. How did it all come together? I know you have a ton of other projects going on simultaneously.
Yeah, I am sort of crazy about work. I have my own website, I design a 4,000-square-foot prize home every year, I work with Caesarstone, I’m renovating my own home, and I live three hours away from Love It or List It’s home base. So, yeah, it’s a lot.
I started by going to vintage stores and taking pictures of things and posting them all the time and people are always saying, “That’s so amazing! Where do I get that?” So I was trying to think, How do I curate these items? We approached stores to create partnerships and then got the website together, with professional photographers going into the stores we partnered with and posting them on the site. We handle all the shipping and the customer service.
Wow! Dream come true for sure. So, how does Charlie Ford Vintage work?
It’s an e-commerce site, so it’s everything decor: furniture, lighting, vases, necklaces... and we will feature different theme sales. For example, “Making an Entrance,” which might feature beautiful vintage door knockers, antique mirrors, gorgeous antique vases, heirloom entry tables... everything you’d need to make the first impression an amazing one. And that particular sale would last for a set period of time, and there will be others as well.
We want to help show people how they can integrate vintage, antique pieces into their personal style. For example, you can have a modern, beautiful dining room with an antique dining room table. It’s really about how it fits into your life, and we help people do that.
And what if someone is like “I know nothing about vintage, but I have this one piece in mind. I want Whatever the thing is. Can you find it for me?” Do you guys do that, too?
Oh, of course! We work with the best antique stores in all of North America, so we can find anything for clients who are looking for something specific. We will give ideas, advice, it’s all on the site.
Is Charlie Ford Vintage your endgame? It seems like everything else you have done has been more like you’re a part of it, or it’s a part of you: Is this what you want to be doing down the line? It seems like you’ve been working toward having your own Jillian Harris brand of items, but is this better?
Definitely. I love everything I’m doing and I’m sure eventually I’ll slow down, but for now, we all have full-time jobs and are also doing Charlie Ford as our passion. I’m so excited and so lucky to be able to go into business with my cousin and our dear friend. To do my own line, it’s always been something I wanted to do, but this feels really special. I’ve always been really passionate about things that have already had a life, that have their own story. And that’s what Charlie Ford is.
Check back tomorrow for Jillian’s first reveal, one of the most important and exciting categories featured on Charlie Ford Vintage. Have questions for Jilly? Let us know!