Award-winning designer Jennifer Howard has had her projects featured in leading shelter magazines, including House Beautiful. Having renovated and changed homes 26 times in 29 years, she knows a thing or two about form and function. Focusing primarily on kitchen design and custom cabinetry, Howard’s expertise has led her firm, JWH Design & Cabinetry, to receive a “Best of Houzz” award for six consecutive years. JWH was also selected to supply all of the custom cabinetry for the prestigious 10th Annual House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year project in San Francisco in 2017. Currently, the firm is designing and supplying custom cabinetry for the Bedford Playhouse’s VIP screening lounge and private bar, as part of a multimillion-dollar historic renovation project.
“To keep up the creative and emotional energy to run a long-term business, having the passion to do what you love is critical.”
Howard started her business from scratch in a spare bedroom in her house more than two decades ago without any investor help. JWH yielded $400K in sales in its first year. Like virtually everyone else in her industry, Howard saw a major dip in sales following the 2008 recession, which took a large toll not only on her business but also on her husband’s career as a local builder. As a result, she became the sole breadwinner of her family of five children (including two adopted children from Kazakhstan) and kept them afloat until the economy recovered.
With Howard remaining steadfast throughout, JWH has made a strong rebound, continuing to grow 10 percent per year. In 2017, sales exceeded $3.6 million. “To keep up the creative and emotional energy to run a long-term business, having the passion to do what you love is critical,” Howard says.