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How Metalsmith & Jewelry Designer Leah Johnson Spends Her Thursday

being an entrepreneur with four kids (including twins) keeps this Denton mom busy

Jewelry designer and metalsmith Leah Johnson owns LJ Artisan Designs, an online artisan jewelry businessShe and her husband, Greg, live in Denton and have four kids: Hannah, 23, Olivia, 20, Caroline, 10, and Luke, 10. 

6AM I wake up (Greg is already up and at the gym), and after a quick stretch and a big glass of water, I make sure that my two youngest kiddos are awake. (They wake up to their own alarm clocks, but you just never know.) Once I have a cup of tea in my hands, my brain is starting to fire properly! My twin 10-year-olds, Luke and Caroline, are doing well fixing their own breakfasts and school lunches, but I’m there for assistance if they need it, which they are more than happy to accept. It’s a lively morning filled with Harry Potter references, questions of who is our favorite historical person and singing TV show theme songs.

7AM As the kids wait for their ride to school (I’m so thankful for my carpool), I hear them laugh together outside, and it warms my heart. They often bicker, but they also have great moments like this one. I take some time to read the Gospel reading for the day and do my morning prayer. I eat a quick breakfast and clean up the kitchen. (Yep, the dinner dishes from last night still need to be cleaned.) I get dressed and ready for the day while I listen to a podcast. I can’t get enough of small business podcasts.

8:30AM I say good morning and chat with Olivia who is up early for her summer job. And then it’s into my studio to start the workday. I do a little organizing, check my calendar and sort through emails.

9AM A customer comes in to find a birthday gift for a friend. We find just the right item and visit for a few minutes.

9:30AM I review a quote from a vendor and jot down questions to ask at our next phone meeting.

10AM Today is Style Box by LJ packaging day! This is my monthly jewelry subscription service. I have to make a couple more items for new members and photograph them before I can start packaging.

12PM I break for lunch. I’d like to say that I mindfully chew each bite and enjoy my lunch slowly, but in all honesty, I use this precious time to check email and check in on my Facebook business page and Instagram page.

12:30PM Back in the studio, I reach out to the nonprofit organization that I’ll be supporting next month to schedule their trunk show. Ten percent of my sales proceeds go to different local nonprofits.

1PM Another customer comes to pick up some earrings that she needs for an upcoming wedding.

1:20PM Now it’s time to get busy—I print out shipping labels and get started packaging style boxes. My assistant, Andrea, who usually does the packaging, is out of town and I am missing her even more right now!

3PM I leave to do the afternoon carpool. My car will be filled with active (and hungry) kids anxious to tell me about their school days.

4:30PM I’m back home, and the kids are having a snack and getting started on their homework. I’m headed back to my studio to continue Style Box by LJ packaging.

5:40PM The twins and I leave to take Luke to his martial arts class. Greg and I are tag-teaming this one. I’ll drop off, and he’ll pick up. I head home to fit in some exercise.

7PM Everyone is home for dinner. It’s breakfast food for dinner tonight—sometimes you have to press the “easy” button. I chat with Olivia about her day at work and hear about the twins’ day at school. After dinner, we discover that we have absolutely no dog food left for our two dogs—that’s when an older, driving-age child comes in very handy. I also text back and forth with my oldest daughter, Hannah. She is winding up her college career and is starting the job search process. I’m reminded that with kids, the days go by slowly, but the years fly by!

8:45PM After a fierce Uno game (Mom went down in flames), the little ones are off to bed. Greg and I catch up on how our days went. He is an entrepreneur-slash-business owner as well, and he is one of my business mentors and my biggest cheerleader in this entrepreneurial craziness.

9:30PM With Olivia off chatting on the phone with her best friend (and soon-to-be roommate) and Greg off to bed, I’m headed back to the studio to clean up the style box packaging mayhem that I left earlier. I hit the computer to work on the technical aspects of the “What’s Your Jewelry Personality?” quiz that I’ve been working on. The last thing I do is to plan my schedule for tomorrow.

11:30PM After chastising myself yet again for staying up too late, I head in to get ready for bed. It’s quiet in the house, and I take a moment to thank God for this family and the love that we have for each other. It’s certainly crazy and not anywhere near perfect, but it’s mine, and I love it!

What she’s reading: The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
Favorite vacation: A beautiful tropical beach with my husband, a steel drum band playing and a cocktail with an umbrella in it
Her go-to for retail therapy: Lately, it’s been Anthropologie.
Dream job as a kid: Interior designer. (If I had known about metalsmithing and jewelry making, that would have been it!)
Habit she can’t quit: Staying up too late
Why she chose to live in Denton: We’ve adopted Denton as our home. We love the friendly, artistic and accessible atmosphere and love our community of friends and family here.
Beauty product she can’t live without: Benefit Boi-ing concealer—hides the late-night circles under my eyes!
Favorite indulgence: Taking a day to just sit by the pool and read all day long
What’s iher Netflix queue: Blue Bloods and my old standby, Friends
Favorite date night spot: Barley & Board, and we love to have a cocktail and appetizers at Queenie’s Steakhouse (both awesome places to eat in Denton).
First celebrity crush: Matt Dillon
Favorite movie: Top Gun (I’m a child of the 80s!) 
Beverage of choice:
 A good chardonnay
Best purchase ever: Sleep Number bed
Motherhood in five words: Amazing, ever-changing, HARD, letting go (OK, I know that’s two words), gift

Image courtesy of Courtney Gonsoulin.