Meet Jenna, President and Designer of JAECI, one of our partner brands here at Buckle. Today, she’s agreed to give us the inside scoop on her inspiration and how she grew the JAECI brand. We’re very excited to hear and share her story!
What inspired you to start your own jewelry line?
As a teenager I was diagnosed with a liver disease known as AIH (auto-immune hepatitis), and because of that experience, my outlook on life changed for the better. I realized that no one knows what hand they are going to be dealt in life, but that we are all on a journey to better others and ourselves.
At the time I was working a full-time job and going through the motions of life. I was not really sure who I was as a person, but I did know that I wanted to make a difference and to inspire people to believe in their dreams and inner weirdness, so I created an inspirational graphic jewelry line known as JAECI. The name stands for the initials in my first and last name, spelled out with an Italian twist with the acronym “Journey. Aim. Experience. Create. Inspire.” By staying true to yourself, anything in life is possible because life is what you make of it. In this world of ours we are all connected and I’m here to simply inspire others to believe in themselves, to find their passion in life, and to be trendy at an affordable cost.
How old were you when you decided to venture into this business?
I’ve always been addicted to jewelry, from collecting it to making it. When I was around the age of 6, I started making bracelets. My mom would take me to bead shops where I was able to design them myself. But back then I was just doing it for fun and didn’t really think anything of it.
Then, when I realized I wanted to create a brand to inspire others, the first thing that came to mind was jewelry. However I wanted to be able to mass produce it, and I knew bead making was not the way to go, so I started drawing designs then would graphically create them on the computer. I was 21 when I decided to take the plunge and start my own business. I worked with what I had, asked questions when I did not know the answers, and learned each step of the way. In life, no one really knows what they are doing, sometimes you just have to jump in and realize it will all work out.
Where did you find inspiration for the idea of different animals and what they represent? I was in the process of designing my new collection. I was working on animal designs but having a creative funk. So I took a break and decided to go on Facebook where I saw someone post a personality test – I clicked on the link, and it told me what kind of dog I was. Then it clicked. I thought it would be so cool to take a personality test to find out your animal, then have it coordinate with a necklace you can wear to represent and remind yourself of your uniqueness. It all worked itself into place after that. I did some research with Myers Briggs to become more familiar with personality tests, then made them work with different animals.
I love thinking outside the box and giving people the opportunity to find something out about themselves that they may not have known. The animal necklaces are able to do that.
Which animal do you think you are and what does that animal represent? Based on the test I am an owl, which I feel suits me to a T. We as owls are most conceptual and known as thoughtful individuals with razor sharp wit.People enjoy our company as we challenge others to think. Also, we are always aware of what is happening around us.
What are your hobbies?
I would have to say that working is probably my number one hobby. I really do enjoy what I do and love working and collaborating with other people. But when I am not working, I also love baking, gardening, painting, people watching, walking my dog (Couper – he is a cavapoo), dancing, cross-fit workouts, concerts, dining out, movies, reading, and traveling. I spend a lot of time with my family and close friends, and I also love meeting new people. I love hearing everyone’s life stories and dreams. It helps with the creation of our brand and always gives me inspiration for upcoming pieces.
Can we expect to see any new lines from JAECI soon?
Absolutely! We are actually doing a bit of a re-branding right now and coming out with some amazing pieces for the fall this year as well as next spring. I don’t want to spill all the beans, but we are putting a new twist on necklaces with more inspirational phrases and some fun interactive pieces that get people’s brains working. We also have a necklace campaign that we will be launching and will be giving back to a charity, so we are really excited about that.
Do you have any words of wisdom/advice for people who want to get their business off the ground?
Just start. Start somewhere and keep creating, keep going. If an opportunity arises always say yes and hear what that person has to say. Meet new people, make new connections, and be genuine. Fail and fail again, but know that when you fail you should be taking in a lesson and re-create it ten times better the next time. Never give up, work hard and know that anything is possible. Work with what you have and start somewhere, you may have to give up a few things but if you continue to strive and continue to achieve – I promise you, great things will happen. Remember to always stay true to who you are and do not let anyone tell you its impossible. Everything is possible and there is always a way, you just have to believe.
What’s the hardest obstacle you’ve faced in the business? How did you overcome it? Every day I am faced with an obstacle that challenges the business to think and grow. But that is good, because we have to challenge ourselves and strive to be better.The market changes and people change, so we have to continue to keep up with society and the new trends. However, the hardest obstacle I’ve faced is realizing that you cannot create something for everyone. There will always be people who hate on what you do, or believe that it should be done a different way. We used to listen to these people and create things their way, but realized it was not working out. If you want to make a name for yourself, you have to stick with what you believe in and go with your gut. We have come to be okay with the fact that our jewelry is not for everyone. That is what makes it unique. There is so much in this world and a place in this world for each of us, no matter what you create; there will always be people who can relate.