Name: Jenni Hopkins
Twitter + Instagram Handle: thisisjenniearle
Location: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Occupation: Founder + Designer of Jenni Earle
Secretly Obsessed With: Cowboy Boots, although I don't think it's a secret...
On My Nightstand: A stack of business and self-enriching books with a murder mystery on the top that I actually read, a small pot of foot creme, an essential oil diffuser, and a chapstick
Last Thing You Read: I find that in my travels I love listening to books, so my last listen was “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes, it was amazing!
How did you get started on your career path?
my career path looks more like a ball of yard than a path, but all the twists and turns have served me well. after graduate school i took jobs i took out of necessity. each step down the path taught me something that I use in my business and my work today, even though at the time it felt like something i was doing UNTIL i started my career; the florist assistant, the event manager, the retail positions, are all useful as I look back.
What key elements played into your success?
i have started other businesses that never got off the ground because I wasn’t bold enough to ask for help. so in truth, I pretended like I was starting businesses. after gathering a supportive group of other small business owners as friends and going through a creative business incubator, I was able to actually lay out a foundation for the success i’m having today. my mentors have helped SO much, ask for help y'all!! and i found a smart, no-nonsense, business operations badass. that has been the icing on the cake!
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
I think my biggest struggle has been overcoming my own doubt in myself. as a younger woman, i kept waiting for the outside world to take me seriously so I could take myself seriously. somewhere in my mid-thirties i had just about enough of that way of thinking. when i started to stand up for myself, listen to my gut, pay attention to my own voice when i asked the question, “what next?”, that’s when I started creating work that was my own.
When do you feel most successful?
my mother bought me a map of the united states to hang on the wall, so I could put a pin where we had stores that had picked up our bandanas. there was a particularly successful month in early 2018 and I had my sons help me put in the pins. it was so fun to watch their faces as I read off the list and they found the towns and cities, spread far across the country. I felt proud of what i was doing.
What’s the best piece of advice you received?
a wonderful friend taught me to put the words “right now” at the end of sentences that are negative to give them a fabulous spin. for example, “we can’t afford a part-time employee… right now” when you add these words, it allows you to see that you are building towards something. just because this is how it is now, doesn’t mean it will always be that way.
allow yourself to see and boldly aspire to that next level, instead of feeling burned out with the current situation. you will make it to that next place, keep working! stay focused!
What advice would you give to women looking to enter your industry/space?
make sure you are listening to your OWN curiosities and passions and not creating what you think other people may be curious or passionate about. it sounds cliche, but when you find the work that you love to do, that you would do without pay or recognition, that is where you should spend your energy. if you are spending your energy on something that isn’t fueled from your passions, it will be exhausting and unfulfilling, no matter how successful you become.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
paying my mortgage and feeding my children from a paycheck from my own business makes me bubbly with pride. since my divorce, i have worked a bunch of different freelance jobs, most often wardrobe and prop styling, to pay the bills, while I built this business on the side. however, since early 2018, I quit all the other stuff and have been paying myself (and two other amazing women)! being able to come to work, to a place that I built, from an idea, is more rewarding than anything I can imagine.