Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series of articles that features accomplished Galt High School and Liberty Ranch High School graduates. If you are interested in being considered as part of this series or you know a GHS or LRHS graduate with notable accomplishments, career or otherwise, please email Faith Lewis at email@example.com or Bonnie Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jacqueline (Wrede) Bourassa set off from Galt High School with the intention of pursuing a career in teaching, but when she found her college elective design classes more fulfilling, she changed gears. Bourassa has worked with private clients and as an interior designer in corporate retail. Now, she is living in Galt and balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood.
A graduate of GHS’s Class of 2000, Bourassa played softball for three years and was involved in student government, where she served as spirit coordinator. She also took child development classes her junior and senior years, which started her down the path to becoming a teacher. She attended San Joaquin Delta College for a year and then transferred to Mesa Junior College in San Diego.
“It was there that I discovered I was enjoying my elective classes of interior design way more than I liked my main degree of child development [and] teaching,” Bourassa said. “I eventually went on to a trade school that was solely for interior design so I could be on the fast path to start my career sooner. I graduated with an art history degree with interior design being my main focus.”
Before she had even graduated, Bourassa was able to get her foot in the door with a receptionist job at Design Galleria by Valentine. She had the chance to become familiar with vendors and see how the designers took an idea from paper to reality.
“My knowledge grew quickly,” she said, “and as soon as I graduated from college the firm moved me straight into a designer position at their new location in Roseville.”
After a few years here, La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries was looking for designers to work at the new Elk Grove location. Bourassa took the opportunity to move closer to home. But it wasn’t long before a new opportunity presented itself with the opening of IKEA in West Sacramento and Bourassa saw her chance to get her designs in front of a wider audience.
“With IKEA, I was one of their interior designers and would be responsible for creating their room settings within the store so my work as an interior designer would reach far more people,” she said. “They have about 40,000 people that walk through their store in a week.”
While the West Sacramento location remained her home base, the company was soon flying her out to help design and implement new stores in Florida, North Carolina, Canada and France. These trips often meant being away from home for a month at a time and Bourassa embraced the opportunity to explore new places.
“I loved traveling [and] designing with IKEA,” she said, “but after a while it started to drain me always being away.”
So she accepted a position as the assistant store manager/visual manager at Pottery Barn in Roseville and was quickly promoted to district visual manager for the North Bay locations. Working in the corporate district, she reported directly to the vice president and president of the company. She and her team were responsible for designing the sets that were then photographed and implemented in stores nationwide.
“I left my dream job of being the district visual manager of Pottery Barn after having our third kid,” Bourassa said. “I wanted to focus more of my time at home with my kids … I knew that being at home with them was even more important to me and that I could always fall back on design later if need be.”
It didn’t take long for design to ensnare her again. What started out as a one-time favor helping a friend lead a crafting party quickly gained attention and grew into Blueprint Design Co.
Bourassa now hosts private events for groups of eight to 18 people and public events with as many as 40 people. She guides her guests through several customizable home décor projects such as wooden signs with interchangeable holiday elements. For private events, Bourassa collaborates with the host to choose three projects that guests can choose to work on.
“Starting my own business just sort of fell in my lap,” Bourassa said. “I think no matter how much I stepped away from design it always found a way to be brought back to me. Being my own boss now I get to choose how much time each day I want to invest into it versus how much time I need to find balance for my kids.”
Bourassa continues to do interior design for commercial and residential buildings, volunteers in her kids’ classrooms and coaches t-ball. She still enjoys traveling and takes advantage of free weekends to go camping with her husband and three kids.
All Blueprint Design Co. classes are available on the Blueprint Design Co. Facebook page.