There are few things better than coffee and conversation, which is why we try to set up coffee dates (in-person or virtual) as often as we can. It’s a great way to catch up with clients and friends and chat with people we’ve been dying to meet.
Today we’re talking to Jill Bauer, your go-to gal for all things home. She’s a phenomenal baker, gorgeous decorator, and one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet! (Side note: we started working with Jill several months ago on an exciting new project that we can’t wait to share!)
What got you started as a TV host and personality (on QVC, the Today show, and more!) and what major decisions did you make to evolve your career into what it is today?
From the time I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. I asked my high school journalism teacher which schools had the best programs, and he told me that the University of Missouri had one of the top journalism schools in the country. So, I left the sunny skies and beaches of my home in southern California after high school graduation and attended Mizzou. Once I started taking classes, I realized that I loved telling stories on camera, and pursued broadcast journalism as my major. While I was at Mizzou, I worked for the local NBC affiliate station as a morning and weekend news anchor and reporter.
From there, my first “real” job was as an anchor and reporter at WLFI-TV in West Lafayette, Indiana. While there, a colleague took a job at QVC and suggested I send in a resume. I was contacted for an audition, but I had to cover all of the travel expenses, which would have maxed out my credit card! It was my Dad, who upon hearing me say, “what if I run up all this debt in trying to pay for this audition and then I don’t even get the job?” responded with, “But oh my dear, what if you do?” And so, I auditioned with about 500 other applicants, made the next 2 cuts, and with things down to just me and one other was told I was too young and didn’t have enough life experience to relate to the customers. Luckily, a few months later, a change in management led to another look at my audition tapes and I was offered the job. At the time, I was the youngest program host they had ever hired.
I loved my years at QVC. 25 years is a long time to do anything and I basically grew up on the channel! It was a wonderful ride and I have nothing but fond and happy memories of my time there. What I loved most about being a host on QVC was the ability to simply be myself. I think that’s one of the reasons why what I do and my brand resonate with people…I don’t try to be anything other than just Jill. When I left QVC in 2019, I wasn’t really sure how my “second act” was going to evolve, but I was excited about having some creative freedom to start something new.
I never imagined that after just a few months of leaving QVC I would be featured as a lifestyle expert on the TODAY show. I was lucky enough to meet a former executive producer at TODAY who now works as an agent, of sorts. She introduced me to a producer on the Hoda and Jenna show, and well, the rest is history. I thought I might be on once in a while, but it’s become pretty regular. I’m usually on at least once a month, sometimes 2 or 3. I’m flattered they like the segments I put together and that when a topic comes up in their brainstorm meetings, the producers reach out to me because they think I’ll do a good job.
As a young journalism student, I had dreams of one day making it big and being on the TODAY show. I never would have guessed I’d be making my debut at the age of 50.
Share your advice for someone who wants to curate their personal home style and decorate their space on a budget?
The first place you should shop? Your home! Using things you already have in a different way or in a different room is such an easy way to change things up. Don’t be afraid to spray paint things to make them look updated and fresh.
Your home is your sanctuary, so make sure the things you display and are out in view are things that make you smile.
Textures and colors are easy to play with and change up each season in throws, pillows, and flower arrangements. Those are often how I refresh my space season to season.
It seems like you’ve seamlessly blended your career and life passions. Do you have any words of wisdom for how to achieve that?
I think there’s a tee shirt out there that says, “Do what you love. Love what you do.” I’ve been very lucky to be able to make a career out of what I love…which is essentially being at home and making our home living a place of comfort for my family. However, there’s nothing wrong with having a little side hustle that allows you to do what you love…you just have to be willing to make the time. You hear a lot about self-care. Self-care for me is decorating the house, preparing a new recipe, painting a table. And then I make myself vulnerable and share it with my followers. I make the time to do it and then I take the risk in sharing it. Once you do that, you may find that sharing what gives you joy is joyous to others too…that’s when you can look at making the shift and turning that passion into a career.
What are some of your goals, both personally and professionally, for 2021?
We have some really exciting things on the horizon with the Just Jill brand. My goal for the new year is to solidify the website as a go-to destination for all things home and continue to build on the authentic following on my platforms.
Personally, my goal is to spend as much time at the beach as possible. 🙂
Tell us one impactful thing someone has said to you.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. I try to be mindful of this every time I open my mouth to speak!