I haven’t changed my earrings since 8th grade

Kiera likes to describe her style as “basic-ish”, but put together. She thinks about clothes in a practical way which usually goes something like this: “How many different ways can I wear this? Does it go with what I already have?”

Kiera Jacobson jean jacket

Kiera likes to describe her style as “basic-ish”, but put together. She thinks about clothes in a practical way which usually goes something like this: “How many different ways can I wear this? Does it go with what I already have?”

She likes to stay in the same color palette, but dabbles in different textures and necklines. Her favorite brands to shop are Madewell, Jcrew, and Forever 21. Madewell & Jcrew are at the top of the list because she can shop by outfit and feel confident that the color palettes are curated to work together.

In the case of Kiera’s style, “basic” really means fundamental, foundational & classic. Relying on these principles for her wardrobe saves her mindspace so she can think about other things. She thinks it’s important to make an authentic first impression and this includes what she wears. She tries not to stray too far from her “brand” which is why a lot of the things she wears look similar.

Kiera grew up in an advertising family in Wisconsin, where her grandfather started an ad agency. He dreamed of being a cartoonist, but when he pursued that dream in California, he was turned down. So he returned to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to set up shop with his wife, at the picnic table in their garage, and Jacobson Advertising was born.

One of their first clients was Swiss Miss, and Grandma Jacobson did all the rose malling on the packaging.


Creativity ran in the family because Kiera’s dad was also an artist. He attended Macalester College and graduated with an Economics degree but started a glass etching studio. He took over the family advertising business when his dad was ready to retire.

As Kiera was deciding what career to enter, her parents didn’t pressure her to go into advertising. When she went to her dad for advice he told her: “If you’re not sure, go into writing.”

She ultimately decided to study journalism at the University of St. Thomas and discovered that she had the advertising bug. Kiera entered her first ad competition in her hometown paper and won!

While she was enrolled at St. Thomas, one of her professors recommended that she apply for a Target internship. She submitted her portfolio and Travis took a chance on her. After interning for a year, she was offered a full-time position as a Junior Writer.

That was 7 years ago and since then she has been promoted to Senior Manager. That’s where Kiera and I cross paths, working together at Target. The reason we became friends though, is because she lived in India for 4 months. Weird, right? I only got to know her after she returned from India and our mutual friend Nam connected us.

It was great to sit down with Kiera and talk more openly for this project. I got to hear her story and all about the impact living in India had on her life.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? My Grandpas. They passed away when I was in 2nd & 3rd grade. I hear such awesome stories about them.


One of my grandpas was super involved at home from church to the community to leading weekend activities for kids. My other grandpa lived part-time in an artist village of Mexico and started libraries, brought eye glasses and instruments to kids and as I’m told, found his way into quite a number of adventures in the desert. This was the same grandpa who started the advertising agency. I know I owe a lot of who I am to both of them and the families they raised.

Would you like to be famous?
I don’t think so. It would depend. I would like to be known, not famous. I want to be known as a loving friend. Whether it makes history? It doesn’t matter.

Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
No. I so rarely talk on the phone. If I do, it’s usually with people I already know well, so when I have free time I call and talk to them.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Being active and in good conversation with the people I love. Good food… Hola Arepa… wouldn’t hurt.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
I think I sing in the car, or when I’m cleaning. Google Home makes me feel like I’m not singing alone. The last time I sang was probably yesterday.

What has shaped your life in a profound and meaningful way?
Oh boy, a lot, but one comes to mind, just in terms of what’s happened this past year. When I was in 7th grade, I had the chance to travel to Europe with 20 other 7th and 8th graders, for three weeks. I’d never been away from home for that long and had never traveled alone – I didn’t know anyone going. I still said yes and came back a more confident, independent, open-minded person.


A year and a half ago, a similar opportunity came up and I again had to say “yes”. I moved to India to work for four moths. I had no idea what to expect and it was totally outside my comfort zone. It was a real growth moment in my life. So much was happening while I was there that it took awhile for me to process it. I had to learn to live in it and not worry about understanding it.

This quote from the book “The Better Life” by Claire Diaz Ortiz put it in perspective: “Sometimes when the big things happen in life you can’t actually process them at the time they happen. Sometimes, you can only really understand them in retrospect. Because sometimes they are too big for the small moments.”

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Depends. Is it a fit 30 year old? Then for sure! This is a hard decision because I’m a physical person. I’d ultimately choose mind though because I’d rather sit and have conversations with people than run around alone.

Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
I hope I die doing something that I love. I recently heard a story about a man who died while he was fishing. He still had the pole in his hand!

Diamonds or pearls?
Pearls, of course! I started wearing pearls in 8th grade and haven’t changed since. They are classic and go with everything. I never applied much meaning to the pearl until a family friend gave me my first real pair as I was about to embark on my adventure to India. With the earrings, they enclosed a note that said: “Pearls mean wisdom through experiences.”

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