Call her eclectic
If nothing else, Jessica Schneider is a shameless self-promoter and a good conversationalist. She gained fame, to some extent, through the pages of this newspaper with an Art of the State story about her “window” in the downtown antique mall on the corner of West First and Sierra streets. She’s a vivacious 30-year-old with an idiosyncratic sense of design, an interesting way of phrasing things and a store, Decorating with Style, that’s spilling over with appealing items for the home.
Why do you keep calling me, Jessica?
Because I love the News & Review! And when you did a story on me and the window, I could not believe how many people read that story. It gave me a lot of recognition. Kind of helped me with my career.
So, your mall, the Moana West Annex, seems kind of out of the way for shoppers.
I was downtown. I had this little room upstairs in that (antique) mall, but it was so transient, I didn’t get a lot of locals. I’d become kind of defensive. Like [people would say], ‘Oh, I never go downtown.’ I was like, ‘You shouldn’t be that proud; you should go downtown.’ It’s getting better, but for me to grow in the interior-design business, I couldn’t be downtown. I tried it, and I love downtown. I used to go to the meetings, the downtown development meetings, but not anymore.
So who do you think should come visit you?
All people because my prices are reasonable. I’m not Rich-Girl-Playing-Store. This is not something my husband bought me for a hobby. Does that make sense? Big business has ruined small businesses. I’ll go into TJ Maxx or Ross, and I’ll see a line that I’m carrying, and it’ll be less than I paid for it. So, I don’t try to have boutique prices because I want to turn over my stuff.
You started in Genoa, right?
Gardnerville. I had a little store called the Jitterbug, and Gardnerville was not ready for it. There was a tattoo shop in the back that subleased a room from me, and Ballistic Skateboards subleased a room from me. I had vintage clothes, funky stuff. All underground music, in Gardnerville. And I was 22. What was I thinking? … And [KRZQ DJ] Mat Diablo, oh my gosh.
[She pulls out a portfolio that includes a story and photo about her Gardnerville store.]
This was Jitterbug, and that’s Mat. He was still in high school. He was like my first Jitterbug kid. He was.
That’s cute. So what kind of store would you say this is?
It’s very eclectic. If anyone were to describe my style, I’d say eclectic. It has a lot of antiques, and I’m trying to do one-of-a-kind stuff. I make a lot of stuff, too. I glued all the beads and stuff on those little dress forms. And what hoity-toity interior-design shop does layaway? I do layaway, and not everyone has money, and most people don’t, but that woman wants this thing, and it’s $289, and she’s dying for it, and I’m letting her do layaway.
So you see yourself as kind of a working-class-interior- design-store person.
Does that sound weird? If you live in an apartment, if you live in a shanty, it should be your sanctuary. I think you should love your house. That’s where you have to relax. That’s where you spend most of your time. And you can do it affordably.
What else do you do?
I do the House Detective show. I do the window (of the Downtown Antique Mall), the one across from Silver Peak. Last time I did the window, there were all these people walking downtown, and it felt so good. Before, it was like a ghost town on that corner. I applied for HGTV [Home and Garden Television] to have my own show, so if I’m a finalist on Feb. 13—I might be, I really made myself stick out on the audition tape—I’m going to call every paper, every news channel in the world and tell them to vote for me.