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.
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.
Who are "your" people? Those who inspire you and keep you going?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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 love that she makes no apologies about surrounding herself with beautiful things.
There should be no shame in that.
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:
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.
Location 131 W. 1st Elmhurst, Il