Jennifer Fisher, from Boldly Beating Chemo to Boldly Creating Jewelry
JJ Button Ears was jewelry guru Jennifer Fisher’s very first business. She was five when she created it with her babysitter. Their inventory was comprised of simple buttons epoxied onto earring posts — a weekend craft project that turned into a mini-success, one they sold store-to-store in her hometown of Montecito, a small town south of Santa Barbara.
Always into fashion, Jennifer’s grandfather was a silversmith and she’d often watch him craft metals together, creating beautiful pieces of jewelry that Jennifer coveted. She’d spend her days rifling through international fashion magazines, ripping out pages of the outfits she wanted for herself.
Years later, the draw of the fashion world moved Jennifer to NYC where she enjoyed a successful career as a fashion stylist for major national ad campaigns. Her life was just as she had always dreamed. However, at the age of 30 her health was delivered an unexpected blow. She was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor and had to undergo multiple sessions of chemotherapy in both NYC and LA. Because her tumor was one that grew from estrogen receptors her oncologist advised against ever carrying a baby on her own.
After being met with disappointing and unsuccessful results when using a surrogate, her husband, Kevin and her decided to go against her doctor’s orders and try IVF herself. When that still didn’t work, she decided to take a break from it all and took the summer off to relax. And alas, that’s when it worked. The couple was able to conceive naturally and nine months later Jennifer gave birth to a baby boy, Shane, in a perfectly healthy pregnancy.
The couple’s friends, delighted with the news, started showering the new family with gifts to represent the birth — often pieces of dainty jewelry. “Shane’s birth was a major deal for us and I wanted something to wear that represented him in a way that felt like me,” says Jennifer. It was a huge life event and something she didn’t think a dainty piece of jewelry properly represented.
When she couldn’t find anything she liked she took matters into her own hands and designed something herself — a dog tag that she would come to wear everyday.
She knew she had stumbled upon something special when she started getting multiple requests for the same necklace while on her fashion shoots and sets. And then, when Uma Thurman wore a necklace Jennifer had individually designed for the star on the cover of Glamour, Jennifer Fisher suddenly had a full fledged jewelry business on her hands — one JJ Button Ears could have never imagined.
Today, Jennifer Fisher Jewelry is worn by women all over the world and is a cult celebrity favorite. Known for its bold pieces, whether that be an engraved necklace with an empowering phrase, or a chunky in-your-face — yet sophisticated — pair of hoops, JF Jewelry has matured over the years from a more rock n’ roll and gothic vibe to a more minimal and classic sensibility… however still, just as ardent.
The designer looks up to strong women like Michelle Obama (who is regularly photographed wearing JF earrings) and lives her life post-sickness differently than before. “I take more risks because I know every day is truly a gift,” the entrepreneur shares. With this new outlook on life, she’s inspired by everything… art, architecture, lighting. “This morning I took a photo for my inspiration board of a piece of metal that I saw on the back of a truck!”
Jennifer Fisher, the person, is an independent, strong-willed woman, mother and boss lady. When she wasn’t happy with a decision being made for her she took that hurdle and faced it straight on, ultimately creating a brand and lifestyle that represents powerful, emboldened women.
Every night as she goes to bed, kept in her nightstand drawer, Jennifer keeps the talisman she had when she was going through chemo to remind her how far she’s come and how precious life is. “It’s a tangible piece of strength,” she shares. “There is something about having things that I held so dearly during a difficult time in my life and knowing their presence is still there.”