Bread & Butter Home

Bread & Butter Home

A little slice of heaven on the corner of 1st and Armitage in downtown Elmhurst city center. The eclectic home-decor store front, Bread & Butter Home, offers a variety of aesthetically pleasing accessories and decorative finishing touches for your home and style. Jessica Berg, owner and decorator extraordinaire, has a talented eye in her process of selecting unique styling pieces. Whether you're a decorator, designer or home owner, Bread & Butter Home provides the simple necessities to make any space a comfortable and creative setting. 


Jessica has a knack not just for design, details and beyond - but for simply listening.
She really hears her clients and fills her store with one of a kind pieces for their home, gifts and design concepts. She works on the concept of turning a house into a home through their individual taste and style. Adding in colors and completely creating an atmosphere to gather people.

Dana Steinecker Photography

I was so lucky to watch the process of Jessica’s family home get built. Their tasteful home is filled with personality and delicate designs throughout. Artwork cascades on their walls, with complimentary colors throughout their home. A favorite piece I was so lucky to see in person, was a breakfast nook that Jessica’s father designed and handcrafted. A gathering place for their family to eat, play games and just gather.


Get to know Jessica & the heart and soul of
Bread And Butter Home
Location  131 W. 1st Elmhurst
www.breadandbutterhome.com
312-543-3440


Who are "your" people? Those who inspire you and keep you going?

Bread and Butter

Thankfully, I have a close group of family and friends that understand and recognize my passion for home décor and have always encouraged me to follow my dreams. 

My husband, CJ, is my biggest cheerleader.  He jokingly calls me “The Talent,” which means the world to me and keeps me moving and pushing myself every single day. 

My Mom has the same passion, so she is my wing-woman when it comes to finding great items for the store and curating the right aesthetic.  We love to go to the home shows together.

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I also draw inspiration from my Dad, who’s a very talented woodworker. He makes the most gorgeous wood items for the store.  His charcutier boards, pizza peals, trays made from vodka barrels and so many other amazing items are some of my best-sellers.  He can’t make them fast enough!

Lastly, I am inspired by my children. 
It’s important they see me doing something I love, and they’ve been a ton of help within the store.

When did you start your business and why? 

Owning a home decor store has always been a dream.  I grew up with a passion for decorating.  As a child I would rearrange my room weekly!  Making home spaces warm and inviting has always been a favorite of mine.  Hopefully, my clients see that same warm aesthetic in my inventory at Bread & Butter Home.  

I also come from a long-line of retail store owners.  Going back to my great-great Grandpa, who owned a small grocery store in the early 1900s.  I have pictures of his old store and it resembles the 100-year-old space Bread & Butter currently occupies.  I often picture him sweeping his floors 100 years prior when I sweep mine.  There is something nostalgic about that thought that I absolutely love.  


What was your inspiration to take the leap of faith or just go for it? 

Bread & Butter 131 W 1ST ST. ELMHURST

Bread & Butter
131 W 1ST ST. ELMHURST

Timing was everything. After years of researching potential locations in Elmhurst, the spot I had always wanted became available.  My husband and I saw that as a sign and decided to make the jump. 

Seeing the development in Elmhurst made our decision an easier one as well.  We’re so excited to be part of the growing retail community here.  I think things are just getting started.


What advice would you give moms or dads ~ who are starting their own company, or looking to change career paths or life paths? 

Make sure you’re passionate about your endeavor.  There are several ancillary responsibilities that fall outside of that passion.  You need to make sure your love for the business makes those other struggles worth it. 

Also, understand your business is a journey of growth.  Focus on your daily, weekly, and annual goals so you can be more forgiving of yourself in the short-term.

Lastly, you are going to get so many suggestions and advice from just about everyone.  Be respective, digest them, but stay true to your brand.  You won’t be successful building someone else’s vision.  

 


In life we have chapters, what would this chapter be titled?

Community!  

One of the best things about owning my store are the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet.  My customers have been a huge part of my success by simply recommending Bread & Butter to others.  I appreciate the “buy local” mentality as it helps keep small businesses in Elmhurst thriving.  

The other store and restaurant owners have been so supportive and helpful as well. It is a great tribe of people. As a community, we can work together to raise each other up and keep Elmhurst the best town in Chicago.


In a brief overview, where have you come from and where are you heading?

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I began by finding the exact aesthetic I wanted to represent my brand.  The first year was spent combing through catalogs, websites and traveling to different trade shows around the country.  Eventually, I had to just trust my decisions.

Once we opened, and my initial inventory sold, I looked for more unique items to replace it.  The longer we’re open, the more risks I’ve made. I want people to come the store and notice the changes with each visit.  I am always on the hunt.

So far, I have been fortunate enough to maintain a weekly buying schedule while growing my business.  There is not a destination or end point, I want to forever be evolving.

How do you start your day? 

It’s varies from day to day, but I always start with the toughest thing on my list first.  Once it’s done, my day only gets easier.

Also, I always make my bed – it just makes me feel better.  

What is your favorite inspiring quote, by who? 

I have a few. As someone who collects home décor magazines, I have seen my share of inspiring quotes.

I am going to make everything around me beautiful- that will be my life.
— Elsie de Wolfe

I love that she makes no apologies about surrounding herself with beautiful things.
There should be no shame in that.

The best rooms have something to say about the people that live in them.
— David Hicks

This one is great, because the best rooms are built over time – not just plopped from a showroom floor.
Buy things you love over your lifetime. 


Advice you'd give to entrepreneurs looking to start up their own business:

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As I mentioned before, starting your own business involves far more than just being passionate about something; although that’s a great start. 

 You need to evaluate all the responsibilities in front of you.  If you find you have a weakness, find trusted people to help.  Are you a people person?  Do you have a firm grasp on accounting and contracts?  Are you comfortable with networking, social media and marketing? 

If not, surround yourself with people that excel in these areas.  Don’t feel unaccomplished if you need help.  You can’t be all-things to your business and hiring the right people will help elevate your brand in the end. 

Lastly, there is nothing more satisfying than the continued growth of your own business.  It makes the hours of hard work so much more rewarding than working for someone else.


www.breadandbutterhome.com
312-543-3440
Location  131 W. 1st Elmhurst, Il


Those Who Wander

Not all who wander are lost.

Another adventure in the books. We have a thing for exploring, getting out of our comfort zone and off the grid. We laugh because through all of life, we all travel very well together. Our travel is not for everyone. I’ll hear the compliments that our trip looked fun, beautiful and all things in between. But, this type of traveling comes with those things that are not picture perfect on Instagram.


When we wander, we always have to make a plan. We need a route, we need that route to get us to our destination in the daylight and we need to be properly packed. When we camp it comes with days ahead of prepping. We tent camp. We do it well. I’d like to think I pack more efficiently than someone else, but don’t let him know that. We have to pack knowing the days and what we’ll be pulling out to wear.

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When you tent camp-there are a few considerations to not take lightly. If you’re in Bear territory-you cannot smell like any thing. You cannot leave your scent on anything. Which means a lot of plastic bins, a lot of plastic bags, and bear spray as your best friend.

Once you’ve eaten, all food items need to be properly washed away from the camp site, and put away typically in your car, or bear box. Garbage needs to be disposed in bear aware garbage containers away from the campsite.

S’mores can happen, but then headlamps and a late night trek to the car are due to put everything back.


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This particular trip we took we were on the outskirts of the Carolinas in the heart of the Smoky Mountains.
We were on a camp site which took reservations, which most State Parks are first come first serve. This particular site was along a rapid stream. Truly the noise machine was our river. But, with no volume or off button. Campers were sparse. We were along the Appalachian Trail, allowing campers to come in at night and rest. One night campers came in past midnight and I laid awake watching their flashlights and shadows and prayed we would all be alive in the morning, imagining scenes from every bad 80’s horror movie I’ve watched.
In bear aware territory I sleep with this fun knife. Really it would mean a bear or mountain lion would have to have already attacked us to do anything. And unlike the stories we read, these animals really want nothing to do with us, but I still feel we’d be a light appetizer for some.


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We were in Black Bear territory. When we arrived I asked the ranger how many bear sightings and how far from the site they were. He kinda laughed and said,
“You’re in their territory, this is where they live, they were sighted about a mile out, a sighting every day”-lovely. Black Bear, still wild animals, don’t create that fear in me the way Grizzly and Puma do.

When the kids asked me if they had to be scared of bear or mountain lion more, I honestly told them mountain lion. (My exact words when I found out we were in puma territory was “they eat your face off-but don’t run from them”, meant to be sarcastic, but didn’t sit well with a few). When we hike, we know to talk loud and make noises and sing, and carry our buddy Bear Spray. When we sleep, we bookend an adult on each side of the tent and let the kiddos sleep in the center with bins by our heads. To be honest, I often don’t sleep-well. And I often think about how much flights will be for our next trip into a beach destination and envision myself unpacking once and the smells of clean sheets. So….

This is a vacation right?


There’s nothing like camping. There is no television or WiFi for that matter. But, there is NO boredom. Each child has a pocket knife, a real one. They often never sit unless they are carving their walking stick or debarking the sticks they find. We gather fire wood, we find insects so insanely weird I often wonder if possibly we just discovered them. We get scared from little noises or cracks we hear in the forest. We talk a lot. We change a little.

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We push ourselves to hike past areas that look scary coming up to it and then often have some form of beautiful reward.
Like this gather of butterflies in front of a waterfall that would gather all together and then all fly away when we got near, later to find out it was on a pile of “you know what”-making this beautiful mess truly what it sounded like.



Yep, this is common.

Yep, this is common.

When we are in camping zone, our minds shift. I sometimes count the hours until we get to shower in a real shower-or at all. We brush our teeth together in the public bathrooms, we dodge the stalls with spiders and we hold it all night long, so we don’t have to make that walk in the dark to go.
If you’re lucky with outside of your body plumbing, you get to jump out the tent and find a tree.


danasteineckerphotography

We’ve experimented with out meals. We keep a seasoned skillet that tastes a bit like everything we’ve cooked on it. We’ve brought in food to cook. We’ve brought in backwoods survival REI dry foods. Kids have liked both. When you’re hungry it all tastes great. We eat healthier because the more natural the food the less you have to throw away. We often make bacon every morning and watch the fog, steam float into the trees.

(I often wonder if we’re just being idiots and sending bacon signals to a family of bear).


We use water bottles, and water backpacks, we have hiking shoes that can get wet and dry fast. We measure distance often by the minutes it takes us to walk. We lie and say we’re 5 minutes out every 5 minutes. We encourage each other, especially those with little legs that want to be held at the end of our hikes. We celebrate when we make it to our destinations. I’ve learned to put up a tent and set up “home” within less than an hour. We try to leave with less than what we came with. We donated our tarp to the midnight hikers, campers (who were college students taking on the trail), because it rained and they could use it a as a roof to eat under.

We’ve learned tricks, table clothes are important, bug spray is even more important, flip flops are sorta useless.

There’s nothing like it though.
Our kids will say they grew up camping, they can decide if they like it or not.
Sometimes I don’t even like it, then I love it again.

I once told my kids,
“When life is hard and you don’t know what to do or you need help making a decision,
just go out in nature.
Take a walk.
Just be still.
Get out into a forest.”

We were really made to wander.