The Real Female Entrepreneur

G&G 113: What It Really Took to Build Noonday Collection with Jessica Honegger

Season 2, PopularLauren FrontieraComment

Episode Sneak Peek: 

"I went to pawn shops to sell my gold jewelry in order to fund my first website. And I didn't tell that story for years, because I thought that made me look so desperate. But now I'm like, well damn, I was desperate!"




What's In This Episode:

In this episode, I sat down with Jessica Honegger, the founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection. If you haven't heard of Noonday before, they design and sell jewelry and accessories made by artisans around the world. And by doing so, they're making a difference in some of the world's most vulnerable communities.

They're changing the world! And six years into building this business, things are going really well. Jessica and her co-CEO just won an Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst and Young.

But things haven't always been this way. At all. For a long time. And I love this conversation so much, because Jessica is super transparent about that. From not paying herself a salary for 3 years to pawning her gold jewelry in order to have enough cash to build her first website (she also shares why she didn't tell this part of her business story for years), she shares about so much.


Who's Jessica Honegger?

Jessica Honegger is the Founder and Co-CEO of Noonday Collection, a business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. Noonday Collection creates economic opportunity for artisans in the developing world by connecting them to a growing marketplace in the United States.

In 2015, Inc Magazine named Noonday Collection as the third fastest growing privately held company owned by a woman in the nation. Jessica has been featured in numerous publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, and she has been nominated twice for Austin Under 40 in Entrepreneurship. She has also been a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year two times, and was the featured cover story of Austin Woman. 

Jessica founded Noonday Collection in 2010 with the dream of using entrepreneurship to alleviate poverty in vulnerable communities. Shortly after, she launched the Ambassador Opportunity, which gives women the opportunity to become stylists, storytellers, and social entrepreneurs who sell Noonday products at Trunk Shows across the U.S. In just six years, Noonday has become one of the largest fair trade retailers in the world. The company partners with 30 artisan businesses in 13 countries, creating meaningful opportunities for thousands of artisans. Plus, almost 2,000 women have joined Honegger’s vision by becoming Noonday Collection Ambassadors.

Jessica can be found in Haiti or Ethiopia on even given day of the month, but her favorite spot to be found is swinging on the porch with her three kids and husband in their artist centric neighborhood of Austin’s east side. She will happily tell you where to get the best tacos, margaritas, and massages in town.  And she is always, always, planning her next adventure, preferably one where she brings her family along with her. Next on the horizon: Uganda and Italy.


"I've had a lot of moments of wanting to quit just because it's just so hard. It just requires all of you - every single cell in your body. That is what it takes to scale a business - to take that idea from a side hustle and make it a full-time thing."


"I always wanted big. I always wanted to literally change the world. And that meant there was no quitting."


Links From This Episode:

"Yes Please" by Amy Poehler (psst.. this is an affiliate link, so if you purchase the book or other things using this link, I may get some cash money! thank you!)

"Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes (this is an affiliate link, too)

Jessica on Instagram

Noonday Collection on Instagram and Facebook

Grit + Glitter on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook