“Admiration begins where acquaintance ceases” ~Samuel Johnson
As you may or may not know, I love and am inspired by pretty, lovely, and crafty things (although I am not at all crafty). One of the things I love is all things fashion which includes jewelry. My sister and I often joked we would like to make jewelry and do it across country from one another and then sell it, but, what I know to be true about myself, is that I do not have the patience or the focus to do this very focused and creative task. I am the person that when something isn’t working, I first look at it closely and then hit it hoping it might fix whatever the problem is. My friend Jen, is thankfully oh so different than me, for not only does she make jewelry, she makes beautiful, awesome, delicate, “where did you get those earrings, necklace?” jewelry and ahem, it’s affordable.
I have known Jen for 7 years now. She is beyond an acquaintance to a very lovely friend who I admire for so many reasons. In addition to the pursuit of her craft, she is a mother, philanthropist, community leader and inspiration to many that know her. Just today, I dropped a check in the mail for a family she is coordinating a Christmas for, just because they have fallen on very hard times. It is her time and energy she gives to these types of families as well as organizations in her area.
Her philanthropist heart came full circle earlier this year, when Jen and her husband, who is one of KSP’s best friends from college, unexpectedly made the effort to join us in our March of Dimes March for Babies, Pruitt Wondertiwns Team walk. To have them show up with their beautiful daughter and potentially Q’s future prom date, C, was such a spectacular show of friendship and we were and are so grateful.
As the holiday season is here, and I recently needed to come up with a gift from some family and friends, I simply looked down at my own neck which holds a necklace close to my heart bearing the engraved initials of E and Q, and I knew exactly what I am going to give a few special folks, and then it hit me. I needed to share this wonderful woman and crafts person with all of you through “‘Mynewfavoriteweek’ly Inspiration” interview. Jen, made this necklace for me just after my babies were born and I subsequently gave one to my sister after my niece was born.
In the true form of who Jen is and what she represents, even as we talked about her interview, she offered to create a special code and discount for my readers where you will get 10% off each item purchased and 25% of the pre-tax proceeds from sales will go to benefit The Pruitt Wondertwins 2012 March of Dimes team. Being that we were just asked to be the Ambassador Family for the 2012 March for Babies walk, I couldn’t be more excited and grateful. It’s the best of both worlds, amazing jewelry that people will love and a way to raise funds for our March for Babies team. Giving and getting with the same click of a button (see the details at the end of this interview!)
I am pretty sure, you get the idea about “who” Jen is, but I want her to tell you in her own words so you can see just why she is “Mynewfavoriteweek’ly Inspiration.” It is my honor to introduce you my friend and jewelry maker Jennifer from JLynn Jewelry.
Shannon: What inspired you to want to make jewelry?
Jen: The funny thing is that I wasn’t initially inspired to make jewelry. It started out with me trying to repair a necklace that had broken. After I’d successfully done that, I wondered what else I could do. I went back to the bead store, went straight home, and made my first necklace. I found the process fun, and it was also exciting because I felt that I was good at it, and that I was picking it up quickly, as though I’d always made jewelry. As I became better, and learned the nuances and techniques of jewelry making, the process became even more enjoyable, the way I imagine other artists feel as they learn a craft. Making jewelry is also a rewarding thing to do because it’s something that can be shared with friends and family.
Shannon: What is the first piece of jewelry you ever made?
Jen: The first piece of jewelry I made was a long necklace, with gold pearls, and it could be layered in interesting and surprising ways. I was shocked when a woman I’d never seen before asked me where I got the necklace. I didn’t quite know how to respond; I laughed for a moment, blushed a little, and said that I’d made it myself. She said it was beautiful and asked whether I was a jeweler. I said “no, not really,” but as I drove home I started thinking about the possibilities of turning this fun and interesting new hobby into something more.
Shannon: What would you suggest to people who might be interested in starting their own business?
Jen: It takes a lot of time so be prepared to work all the time!
Shannon: What is your dream for JLynn jewelry?
Jen: I love that I make every piece myself and I want to keep it that way. I would love to open my line in boutiques across the country. I also would like to join forces with various charities and non-profits by creating pieces that will generate revenue for their organizations.
Shannon: You are heavily involved in non-profit work, how do you marry the 2 worlds and be a mom and wife?
Jen: I love giving back to my community and helping people and animals in need. This has always been a major part of my life. When I was little I was always bringing home stray or wounded animals to help rehabilitate them. As I got older, my volunteer work became more involved. I volunteer for a local non-profit that fundraises for other agencies and runs its own community outreach programs for people in need in the area. I regularly donate to non-profits and volunteer my time when possible. After having our daughter in 2009, I was laid off from my professional career. This was the best thing that could have happened. It motivated me to be more serious about JLynn Jewelry but also freed up my time to continue my volunteer work in the community. Being a mother is a full-time job but it has taught me so much about setting priorities and not taking on more than I can handle. I never want to look back on my daughter’s early years and regret that I was not there for her when she needed me. My husband has also been very supportive and has encouraged me each step of the way as the jewelry business has expanded, including extended babysitting sessions when I have a deadline to fill a jewelry order.
Shannon: How did you make the choice to pursue making jewelry full time?
Jen: Making the decision to turn my hobby into a business was at times, scary. You have to put yourself out there and be willing to accept that not everyone will fall in love with what you have to offer. I think this decision came out of necessity—I needed to have some sort of income—but also because I was intrigued and wanted to see how far it could go.
Shannon: How do you feel now that you have taken this step?
Jen: Being your own boss can be wonderful but stressful. Especially in a one-person operation! There is no one to turn to when things are not going well. I also tend to be very critical of myself and often times set deadlines or goals that push me to my limits. With that said, I love every minute of it.
Shannon: What are three things you would want people to know about you and JLynn Jewelry?
- My jewelry collection expresses who I am and what I love.
- I am a friendly and outgoing person that can make friends with just about anyone. My jewelry line appeals to young and old, trendy and traditional.
- While I love nice things, I am not an extravagant person. For my jewelry collection, I hand-select each gemstone and only use the finest materials while still managing to keep the line affordably priced.
Shannon: What is your pearl of wisdom that can inspire yourself and others to make today ‘anewfavoriteday?’
Jen: I heard this on NPR not too long ago and it has stuck with me ever since. “If you want to be a good parent, fall in love with your child.” I think this holds true in everything we do.
Perhaps you are catching on that I am so inspired by people that pursue their dreams and their passions. Jen is one of these people. She has done it with grace and gumption and I love that. She blends her craft with her delight in helping others and for me that most certainly makes today ‘mynewfavoriteday.’ If you would like to learn more about JLynn Jewelry, support her small business, give a lovely gift that also gives back to a very real cause which has impacted all of our children, then I would love and encourage you to please visit her site www.jlynn-jewelry.com Additionally, I will do my first ever giveaway, where I will buy one of Jen’s famous initials necklace and inscribe the initials (up to 4) of your choosing if you are selected from the folks that simply sign in on this post. Nothing major, just a comment to say you were here or a meaningful comment, your choice. I will then do a random selection and contact you to give you the necklace. I love Jen’s jewelry and I also love that she is willing to this for my little Pruitt Wondertwins team, so I want to help create a smile for someone special in your life when you give them one of her very special necklaces.
To purchase and get the discount as well as make the donation based on your purchase, visit http://www.jlynn-jewelry.com/ and enter code “FAVORITEDAY” at check out and 25% of your total order (pre-tax) will be donated to March of Dimes. In addition, you will receive 10% off!
I hope y’all feel as inspired as I do and that Jen’s amazing heart and passion will inspire you today to make today ‘yournewfavoriteday.’