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A Family (Inspired) Business

A Family (Inspired) Business

Jamie Jones

Jamie Jones ’22 and current Koppelman School of Business student

The loss of her mother led Jamie Jones to channel her grief into a thriving business.

Sometimes, when Koppelman School of Business graduate student Jamie Jones ’22 sits in her backyard knitting or crocheting, she sees a blue jay. To Jones, it feels like her mother, who died of colon cancer in 2010, has come back to watch over her.

Jones’s mother first taught her how to work with yarn at the age of eight. When her mother died, Jones turned to knitting and crocheting to help process her grief. “I went through depression,” says Jones, “and I needed a coping method.”

But what began as a coping mechanism has become a passion, an endeavor that combines the satisfaction of creative expression with running a successful business. While actively engaged in the business school community, Jones also runs Knitts by Jamie Allison, which she started in 2015 with a collection of baby clothes dedicated to her nephew Law Jones.

She sells custom-made knitwear like hats and scarves, but also creates less conventional pieces like crocheted bikinis and earrings that resemble delicate filigree. She designs elaborate bags with decorative wooden tops painted by her husband and metal handles crafted by her father.

Though Jones is now a thriving business owner and a student, her path was not an easy one. Still grieving her mother, she enrolled as an undergraduate at Brooklyn College in spring 2011, but soon withdrew to take care of her father, who was diagnosed with stage one prostate cancer.

Jones’s father recovered and she re-enrolled at Brooklyn College in 2018, honoring a promise to her mother that she would finish her education. Knowing she wanted to work for herself, she earned her Business Administration, B.B.A. then enrolled at the Koppelman School of Business for an M.S. in business administration.

Jones has worked hard to balance her business with schoolwork and related activities. Currently completing her first year in the master’s degree program, she is the liaison to Koppelman for the Graduate Student Organization. “I’ve been doing a lot, along with student government, to be a voice for the grad students.”

After graduation, Jones plans to expand her business internationally. She also wants to return to Brooklyn College to teach, thinking with gratitude of her own teachers at the business school. Professor Veronica Manlow has “been a real mentor,” she says. Jones named some of her crocheted earrings after Manlow. “I called them the Veronicas,” she says.

Business Management Deputy Chairperson Myles Bassell, a longtime family friend who is like an uncle to Jones, especially understands her challenges of the past several years. Jones can talk to him, she says, “when I’m feeling down and I really can’t talk to anybody [else].”

Jones appreciates the ways in which her time at the business school has changed the way she thinks about her business. Studying data analytics, in a course taught by Bassell, has given her new ways of tracking “what’s selling, what’s not selling, what’s popular in my business.” She has also learned the importance of time management, and of setting and sticking to a production schedule.

And Jones’s mother is still helping her move forward. She recalls something her mother often said to her: “Knowing that you’re different, Jamie, just keep pushing, keep going. You’re probably going to have a roadblock, but look at it as a challenge and just keep pushing through.” These words have sustained Jones. “I think that’s how I survived during undergrad and grad [school],” she says. “I just keep fighting and showing who I am as a person and also as a student.” And when she sees her customers wearing clothes or accessories she has made, she smiles and thinks, “Yes, I’m doing it. I’m getting it done.” Right now, she says, “I’m happy.”

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