Lincoln woman goes from homelessness to owning a business

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A Lincoln woman has created a sweet side-business during the pandemic, but it’s more than just a business.

Jillian Thompson, the owner of Berries by Jillian, said this is proof of perseverance after experiencing dark times.

Thompson had never decorated a chocolate-covered strawberry until last year, and now they’re taking over her house. It’s a home she’s very appreciative of because she used to be homeless.

When she wakes up and when her day ends after her regular job, Thompson is working on chocolate-covered strawberries.

It’s a project she picked up during the pandemic and it’s become Berries by Jillian.

“It started by me making a Facebook page and asking ‘Hey would this be something you’d want to buy?’” said Thompson. “I had 200 likes and comments right away.”

Now she’s buying 16 pounds of strawberries a weekend and sometimes stays up until 3 a.m. perfecting a design.

Starting a business isn’t an easy task, but Berries by Jillian is actually one of her easier accomplishments.

“Everything I used to own fit in a bag,” said Thompson.

Six years ago, Thompson experienced homelessness after the death of her mom while she was living in Las Vegas.

“I didn’t want to get out of bed to go to work, so I just stopped,” said Thompson. “Addiction… I was heavy into drinking and drugs.”

She’s picked up her life and in the meantime she’s picking up a new passion.

“I went from sleeping on a bus to owning a business,” said Thompson. “It’s just crazy and it definitely makes me appreciate so much more.”

Right now, she’s doing all orders through Facebook, but it hoping to expand into a website and also pop-up shops.

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