Meet the Maker – Jennifer Heynen of Jennifer Jangles

Meet the Maker - Jennifer Heynen of Jennifer Jangles

This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Jennifer Heynen, the self-described “maker of happy things” and business-savvy creative behind Jennifer Jangles!

 

Meet the Maker - Jennifer Heynen of Jennifer Jangles

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Jennifer: I was designing floral arrangements for corporate parties, hotels and other businesses. It became very stressful for a variety of reasons so I began looking for other avenues.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Jennifer: I have been in business for 19 years and where I started is completely different than where I am now. When I began my business, I was making mosaic tables and wallhangings from my handmade tiles. I sold them throughout the country by traveling to art fairs. Now I design fabric and other products that I license to companies as well as self-produce a line of craft kits and patterns.

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Jennifer: My tagline is “I am the maker of happy things,” and that basically sums it up. I do ceramics, paint, sew, make jewelry and more. The binding factor is that everything is bright and happy.

 

Meet the Maker - Jennifer Heynen of Jennifer Jangles

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Jennifer: My fabrics, kits, and patterns can be found in independent quilt shops all over the world. My books Ceramic Bead Jewelry and Stitch Kitsch can be purchased through book stores and Amazon. Ceramic items and all of the above can be found on my website jenniferjangles.com.

 

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Jennifer: I get up at six and stumble to the computer with my mocha in hand. After a few hours on the computer returning emails, making lists, etc., I ship any orders out that I have. Then, I get started on whatever my current project is and spend the majority of my day working on it. To end my work day, I go for a run and then pick up my two boys from school around 4:00.

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Jennifer: 1) Are you really willing to work hard long hours?

2) Are you willing to take chances?

3) Are you afraid of failing?

 

Meet the Maker - Jennifer Heynen of Jennifer Jangles

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Jennifer: A really big and detailed to-do list.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Jennifer: I think one of the best things I have always done for my business, especially when working on new products is to get out and do shows. It is invaluable to watch customers and see what they like and don’t like about things I am making and selling. They always have ideas and suggestions as well. I’m never afraid to try something new or fail. I think that you have to go with what is inspiring you because that will shine through in your work.

 

LBC: Please share one mistake or obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Jennifer: When I had transitioned in to selling jewelry to wholesale accounts only. That was the sole source of my business income. I did one wholesale show twice a year. It was more than enough business to keep me going. My mistake was that because I relied on one show for all of my business, there came a year when it wasn’t a good show, and I had to scramble and come up with different avenues of income to stay afloat. Now, I always have different streams of income for security when one avenue isn’t working.

 

Meet the Maker - Jennifer Heynen of Jennifer Jangles

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Jennifer: 1) My newsletter.

2) Photoshop.

3) My notebook/planner.

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Jennifer: I would like to be writing more books and licensing more of my product ideas and artwork.

 

LBC: What’s one thing you would eat, if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?

Jennifer: I would live off of mochas for the rest of my life.

 

Meet the Maker - Jennifer Heynen of Jennifer Jangles

 

LBC: Share one of your guiltiest pleasures.

Jennifer: Only sewists will get this one, but it’s pre-filled bobbins for my sewing machine. I hate winding bobbins.

 

LBC: What’s your spirit animal?

Jennifer: I don’t know if this is my spirit animal, but toads always cross my path just before something good happens to me.

 

LBC: Tell me a few of places on your travel “bucket list”.

Jennifer: The Leaning Tower of Pisa and Hawaii.

 

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love your work and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for Jennifer Jangles! We’re cheering you on…

 

Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Meet the Maker – Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

This week in our Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Jen Kuroki, the playfully creative and talented ceramic artist behind jen e ceramics!

 

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

 

LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Jen: The company I was working for asked if I would transfer from Los Angeles to Chicago. I love LA! I stayed, quit the job and started freelancing design and producing ceramics full time.

 

LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Jen: I honestly had no vision for the future. I never imagined I could have a business doing ceramics. Things just started happening organically. And lucky for me, I still love it.

 

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

 

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Jen: Ceramic objects that smile.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Jen: On my website at jenkuroki.com, in my Etsy shop, and through some stockists: Schoolhouse Electric (online/Portland), Potted (Atwater, Los Angeles), Leif Shop (online/NYC), As of Now (Los Angeles), Verve Coffee (Los Angeles), Rare Device (SF) and upcoming on FAB (online).

 

LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Jen: There is no typical day and my schedule really depends on the current projects, orders and events coming up. I still have some graphic design clients, so I go back and forth from the computer to my ceramics studio. It’s a juggle. And then there’s all the packing, shipping and administrative work!

 

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

 

LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Jen: Starting a small business is truly a passion project. You must love what you do. Is it something you can devote your life to? Know that you will have to pay more taxes as a small business owner. Plan accordingly. Do you have an additional source of income until the business takes off? Do you have any money saved? How streamlined is your production process? Rethink old practices and integrate new ones.

 

LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Jen: A fun session on the ceramic wheel, making work for myself. I ignore orders for a little bit and explore new forms and shapes. The spontaneous “me time” allows me to remember how much I love working with clay. Play helps mitigate the pressures of the business.

 

LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Jen: I’ve tried to make it a habit to say yes to scary things. Leaving a 9-5 job was the best decision so far. It’s been challenging, but I feel like the quality of my life has improved so much. Another great business decision has been getting a business credit card. Make the business pay for the business.

 

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

 

LBC: Please share one obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Jen: When I first started, I was presented with a massive project of producing the ceramics for a new hotel. I knew nothing about the business of ceramics, but thought I would be stupid to turn down the order. The relationship lasted a couple of years and they were hard years filled with excruciating hours. And although I would have done it completely different now, it was an incredible learning experience. I was able to learn quickly about production, my physical limits, the necessity of terms and conditions, streamlining designs and processes, and the trials and tribulations of pricing.

 

LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Jen: Sierra Club. Their motto is “Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet.” I can stand behind that one.

 

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

 

LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Jen: I’m still super backwards when it comes to business efficiency. I got a business credit card last year, which I love. I tried using Quickbooks and despite all the recommendations from fellow freelancers, I hate it. Maybe I need to take a class, but it ended up creating more work for me and my accountant. And I love my Passion Planner! I’m somewhat of a Luddite (may be my problem with Quickbooks), so writing things down really helps me keep my goals, appointments, to-dos, notes, thoughts…all in one place.

 

LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Jen: I would be working in a larger studio with at least one full time assistant. I have so many ideas and not enough time!

 

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

 

LBC: What’s your spirit animal?

Jen: The Hawk. Some of my friends call me the Oracle. Haha.

 

LBC: Tell me a few of places on your travel “bucket list”.

Jen: Cinque Terre, Italy; Patagonia, Argentina; and Katmai National Park, Alaska.

 

LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Jen: One of my favorite quotes: “Forever is composed of nows.” –Emily Dickinson

 

Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

 

Thank you, Jen, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love your work and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for jen e ceramics! We’re cheering you on…

 

Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

LBU Summer Semester 2013: Registration Is Now Open

LBULiveOpenforEnrollment

 

LBU: Secrets To Wholesale Success is now accepting new students! Beauty entrepreneurs, ceramic artists, stationary girls, jewelry makers, cupcake bakers and apparel designers who are ready to step up their game and crack the wholesale code are invited to join me in my premier mentoring program, designed to radically transform your business and build your community over the course of seven weeks.

 

Every last seat in my spring semester sold out in just five days and more than half of the seats in this session were claimed by those on the waiting list, but I’m keeping a desk warm for you! The course returns July 15th and it’s bigger + better than ever. I’ve fine-tuned the curriculum, added an Implementation Week to help students keep pace with the program an raised the total number of live coaching hours to ten (!).  Plus, every LBU student will also receive a copy of my Price-O-Matic software (valued at $199) to assist as they create pricing strategies that are both profitable and competitive.