Mediaplanet chatted with Jenny Bird, Founder and Creative Director of JENNY BIRD, to learn how she got started in the jewellery business, how she balances work and life, and her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Could you share the story of how you founded JENNY BIRD and what inspired you to start your own business in the jewellery industry?
Despite my successful brand marketing career, I wasn’t fulﬁlled. I daydreamed of a big, beautiful creative life where I was designing things I loved while being in charge of my days, who I was surrounded by, and ultimately my own destiny. I found my passion for jewellery after a first chapter with handbag design. I believed in my creative talent.
Readers might be curious about the initial spark that led you to create JENNY BIRD. Can you walk us through the moment you realized there was a gap in the market and the steps you took to turn that idea into a successful business?
My initial spark was the idea that what I did for work could be a natural extension of who I was, instead of just a job. This was an “ah-ha” moment for me in my mid-twenties.
It was 2009 when my first handbag designs weren’t selling easily given the recession. I pivoted to jewellery and found it was a natural design language for me. I also found that there was a gap in the market for elevated, luxury offerings at accessible price points.
Starting a business requires a leap of faith. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during the early stages of JENNY BIRD, and how did you overcome them?
Accessing financing while not wanting to give up any equity was a challenge. My husband and I are still the sole owners. That was hard to stay committed to when cash was tight. But in the end, this approach has created a magical brand as it was grown slowly and consciously.
Knowing when to hire help and to scale when you’ve never built a company before was also challenging.
Balancing work and personal life is a common struggle for entrepreneurs. How did you manage your time and energy while growing JENNY BIRD and do you have any advice for maintaining that balance?
A healthy lifestyle is a must. You must fiercely protect the time for your wellness each day against the raging needs of your growth company like it’s a sport. This is the hardest one to commit to but it will always deliver the highest returns. I also recommend regularly disconnecting and unplugging to get into an inspired headspace and out of the tiresome day-to-day distractions and decision-making, as well as travelling.
Taking the first step can be intimidating for aspiring entrepreneurs. From your experience, what words of encouragement and guidance can you offer to those who have a great business idea but might be held back by self-doubt or fear of failure?
Just go for it! Inertia kills want-to-be founders. Don’t overthink it and be open to adjusting your initial idea over and over until you have a viable business model. Never be afraid to say “I don’t know” and to ask for help. Get over your fear of failure right away. Surround yourself with positive people, and seek out mentors you feel aligned with. You choose who you surround yourself with.