Interior Architecture and Design alum celebrates five years in business
After nearly 25 years in the business, Jennifer Hissa ’96 (Interior Architecture and Design) realized her longtime dream and opened Greater Chicago Kitchen and Bath, her own showroom located near Chicago. The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) alum recently celebrated five years in business after a major renovation project.
“It’s been amazing,” says Hissa, who moved back to the Chicago area recently. “I’m the boss and get to do what I want to do with my space … Just being able to have that space of my own means so much to me and it means a lot to my clients as well.”
After graduating from MIAD, Hissa immediately started work at an interior design firm. “Now that I can look back on that experience … [that firm] just wasn’t a good fit for me,” explains Hissa. Then, she answered a newspaper ad for a kitchen designer position with a premiere kitchen dealership from Germany and discovered an untapped passion for kitchen design. “I thought, this is where I’m supposed to be, this is what I’m going to do for the bulk of my career, and it’s been a smooth ride ever since then!”
A passionate and dedicated kitchen designer, Hissa loves connecting with her clients over their needs. “The kitchen truly is the heart of the home,” she explains. “Everybody ends up in the kitchen when you have a party, everybody starts their day in the kitchen, they pretty much end their day in the kitchen.” Nearly a year after graduating from MIAD, Hissa sought additional certification from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, becoming certified in kitchen design.
Hissa designs for her clients with a dedication to providing the best space for their needs. “I interview them about how they live in their space, because everybody lives differently … I really get to know these people well. A lot of my good friends actually started out as clients!” As a designer, Hissa values making connections with her clients. “I love delving into the details. How often do you shop every week? Where do you keep your food? How many pots and pans do you have?” she explains. “I had one client who had fourteen sets of china. He had a story for every set of china. It had come down to him from all these different family members. We designed a room to showcase all of his china … That’s what makes me passionate about what I do.”
Now, Hissa contributes her passion for interior architecture and design back to prospective MIAD students. She participates in National Portfolio Day, reviews student artwork and connects with local high school classes as a regional recruiter in the Chicago area. “I am so thankful, so appreciative for the education that I got at MIAD,” she says. “I feel like that’s my way to give back and thank MIAD for what they did for me. It’s been great to reconnect too.”
The five-year celebration of Greater Chicago Kitchen and Bath was a milestone for Hissa and her supporters. “It’s just so fun to be able to do what I want to do in life. I love doing kitchen and bath design, and to be able to celebrate that with my friends, family, vendors… everybody came together to support us for this party. It was just amazing.”
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