Jennifer Christine Williams
Jennifer is an Oakland based writer, musician, and artist. She is currently studying Somatic Psychotherapy and writing her first novel.
What challenges has your gender identity presented in creating your brand? How does your gender identity factor in to your design?
My work is definitely rooted in my experience and positionality, and I address my identity as a white woman in each of my zines. My gender has pushed me into this world of emotional labor, and being white I’m also examining how emotional labor is different in my life than someone of another race. I also think a lot about how the world of psychology and even healing is very whitewashed and individual-based, like we just have to fix something broken about ourselves. I’m starting to see how we need to heal in community because so much hurt and pain and trauma come from the outside, from broken and oppressive systems. I hope my zines can offer healing in community.
What are you reading right now?
Diverse Bodies, Diverse Practices edited by Don Hanlon Johnson. It features ten chapters written by my colleague, classmates and teachers from the Somatic Psychology Program at CIIS.
Where are you based? What is your favorite part about living in your city?
Oakland, California. I love the energy and the upheaval and stitching back together of Oakland. I’m grateful that power and privilege and oppression are regularly part of conversations and events and gatherings amongst my peers. It’s sad that many of us have to fight so hard to live here, but I can feel how we are fighting for each other as well.
Do you donate to a good cause?
At times I’ve consistently donated 10% of my profits to organizations like Planned Parenthood and St. James Infirmary. Lately, I’ve been donating through someone in LA who is helping connect white people to black and brown people who need funds as a form of reparation.
Do you support other small businesses or craftspeople?
Whenever I can!
Any secrets you want to share?
Your questions might be your answers.
What’s your signature dish?
Grateful zuchini fried up with eggs on top.
What’s your favorite part about owning a business? Least favorite?
Having a platform to share my process, and hopefully my process is helpful to others. My least favorite? Those upfront expenses.
Where have you traveled to recently that inspired you?
Some of my family lives in Arnold, which is in the Sierra Foothills. I love the pace of life there, the slowness, the crisp air, how in the simplicity I am grateful for absolutely everything.
What do you do when your not working?
I am in graduate school to become a therapist, love going on hikes with my dog and reading.
How do you balance work/life?
Prioritizing exercise and sleep and vegetables as much as I can.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to start a business?
Small and consistent actions will make something grow. Keep paying attention to it and follow your instincts.