How Maria Dueñas Jacobs Channeled Her Love of Tremendous Jewellery Right into a Children’ Model

In’s month-to-month collection Workplace Hours, we ask individuals in highly effective positions to take us by their first jobs, worst jobs, and every part in between. This month, we spoke with Maria Dueñas Jacobs, the founding father of the kids’s equipment model Tremendous Smalls. As somebody who obtained her begin in style at this very journal, Dueñas Jacobs has a eager eye for type. However extra importantly, she developed a drive to work arduous. Beneath, the entrepreneur and mom of three shares how every part in her profession has led to Tremendous Smalls, what she does to take care of stability as a mom of three and an organization founder, and the most important classes she’s discovered alongside the way in which.

My first job

I used to be an after-school instructor faculty at an all-girls personal faculty doing crafts and taking good care of children. It’s so humorous as a result of that was the job that was mainly obtainable to me, and I cherished it as a result of children are so humorous. I felt that means after I was 16 and I really feel that means now, over 20 years later.

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My worst job expertise

I’ve had quite a lot of unhealthy days and a few unhealthy jobs. After I moved to New York, I knew I wished to review at FIT, however I additionally knew I wished to begin working. I known as all of the businesses that represented totally different stylists and photographers to inform them, “Hello, I’m an assistant stylist—I’ve further time and may work for another person.” This was all even though I had zero expertise. This was very a lot a “faux it until you make it” state of affairs, and I finagled my means into each job; [I was] prepared to do something.

Considered one of these brokers referred me to an company that booked dressers for style reveals, and proper off the bat, I grew to become a dresser. It was probably the most superb expertise, but additionally the worst as a result of I used to be completely invisible—nobody seen me, however I used to be so comfortable to be there. Identical with the assistant stylist place; it was the worst since you get handled such as you’re nothing, however you study probably the most. I felt motivated that I used to be within the business I used to be meant to be in.

The most important lesson I discovered early on in my profession

There’s one thing to study from everybody. I’ve all the time felt that means, and I nonetheless really feel that means now that I’ve my very own firm. You may study as a lot from the intern because the CEO. Yearly, I inform myself to hear extra. There’s a lot to study, and I imagine in lifelong studying.

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What led me to turn into an equipment editor

I began my profession at Glamour underneath Xanthipi Joannides—a tremendous mentor; she’s like a mom to me. She would say issues like, “Here’s what I want; right here is the deadline. I don’t care the way you do it, simply get it finished.” I believe different individuals may really feel overwhelmed, however I felt empowered. It was my puzzle to resolve. We traveled the world collectively and she or he taught me what a form chief is like.

After 4 years of working underneath her, I used to be able to do extra. That’s when Xanthipi, having seen how I cared for the equipment throughout our shoots, informed me about an equipment place. Her perception in me helped me imagine in myself. From there, I made a decision that I used to be going to be an skilled within the class. I made my means up the ranks at Glamour, after which Samira Nasr—who was the style director at ELLE on the time—reached out a couple of position to be the equipment and jewellery director at ELLE. She was fantastic, and it was a dream job. She additionally employed me after I was pregnant with my first daughter—which was such a tremendous factor.

How I navigated the hiring course of whereas pregnant

I didn’t doubt myself, and Samira didn’t doubt me. I informed her, “I’m pregnant, however I need this job and I do know I can do that job higher than anybody else.” I barely took maternity go away in any respect—oftentimes, individuals really feel unhealthy for me due to that, however I used to be so excited, I wished to work! I get a lot pleasure from my job. I get a lot pleasure from my children, too, but it surely’s the mixture of each, private {and professional}, that retains me comfortable and lights me up. That stated, I did take correct maternity go away after I had my twin daughters.

Why I made a decision to pivot and launch Tremendous Smalls

I used to be prepared for my subsequent profession problem, and I met Katrina Lake, the founding father of Sew Repair, by a pal. On the time, she was launching Luxe, which was the up to date style program for Sew Repair. It was all about utilizing algorithms and know-how with a stylist. I spotted that I may study a lot working at a tech firm, and—in a leap of religion—she employed me.

Whereas I used to be there, I nonetheless felt like I used to be lacking one thing and knew it wasn’t my be-all and end-all. I used to be nonetheless going to occasions and dressing up a lot to exit, carrying a number of jewellery, and my then-5-year-old Luna was stealing my issues and enjoying with them like toys. She stated, “I’ll cease stealing your issues, however give me one thing that’s a toy that appears prefer it.” I believed, “Why isn’t there a Tiffany expertise, however for [children]?” I began what would turn into Tremendous Smalls after I was at Sew Repair, however because it grew I spotted that is what I’m meant to be doing. Now, we’re creating equipment and presents with an grownup sensibility, however made for play.

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The most important lesson I discovered since beginning my model

You may’t take your foot off the gasoline—not for a second. I learn Cleo Wade’s What the Street Mentioned to my daughters on a regular basis; the message is that it doesn’t matter what highway you’re taking, you simply must hold going.

How I discover stability as a mom of three and the founding father of a kids’s model

Actually, I don’t. It’s so arduous. Some days, I really feel like I’m doing all of it proper, and others I really feel like I’m doing all of it flawed. After I’m with my kids, I attempt to put away my telephone and be current for them, 100%. After I’m in a gathering, I attempt to be 100% current. I believe the stability is a delusion—there’s simply the aspiration of the stability.

How my background ready me to run a enterprise

I used to be skilled to work like “no” is rarely a solution, and it’s the proper mentality for a start-up—you pull all of it collectively. No is a motivation in quite a lot of methods, so that basically ready me. I additionally constructed this community that I didn’t notice I used to be constructing. Lastly, my eye was skilled to know design. I’m not a designer by commerce, however I’m very clear in my imaginative and prescient and I do know precisely what I need. Due to my background and every part I discovered and was uncovered to, I’ve a very clear sense of route.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

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Dale Arden Chong is the Senior Style Commerce Editor at Beforehand, she was an editor at and has written for Who What Put on, GLAMOUR, The Coveteur, and extra. She loves style, meals, and artwork, amongst different issues—however her biggest love is Okay-pop idol V of BTS.