Get out the tissues, folks, because today's Woman Crush Wednesday is a bit of a tear jerker (but happy tears, I promise!). I met Jackie of Sincerely, Jackie just about two years ago after Jaine from Brklyn View Photography suggested we meet. We immediately bonded over our past careers in Corporate America and how, as a business owner, there's no one to pat you on the back any more except yourself. Over the last couple of years, Jackie has been a sounding board, a confidant, a creative partner and a dear friend. And most recently, Jackie became a mom. To make a very long story short, Jackie was admitted to the hospital in May with severe preeclampsia and potentially HELLP syndrome. A week later, her baby boy, Richie, was born at 26 weeks old, weighing 2 pounds, 2 ounces. Over the last few weeks, I have watched Jackie exude endless strength, courage and optimism. I am happy to report that Richie is doing well so far and growing stronger everyday! I recently got to meet him and immediately burst into tears when I watched Jackie hold him. You can follow Jackie's and Richie's journey on Instagram.
When did you start Sincerely, Jackie?
Sincerely, Jackie was launched in 2013, and was the result of a rebrand from a different business (also in the stationery field) that I had since 2008.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
At first my "business" was something I did part time as an excuse to learn as much as I could about stationery and invitation production. I dove into all of the technical details behind invitation design - etiquette, print methods, typography, calligraphy, fonts, paper quality, etc. - all while working full time and attending graduate school. In 2014 I made the decision to leave my full-time job to focus on Sincerely, Jackie. That was a difficult decision, because I loved my full-time job, but ultimately I knew having my business would offer me more flexibility and freedom, especially when starting a family.
What sets you apart from other wedding stationery designers?
I don't just offer pretty designs, I offer my expertise in all aspects of invitations, including etiquette. In my years working with couples, I have found that they really rely on their stationer to give them guidance on the invitation "rules". I always advise my couples when it comes to proper wording, grammar, addressing, and nuanced details - while still making sure the invitations look beautiful. It's so frustrating for me when I see non-Sincerely, Jackie couples send invitations that aren't done correctly because the guests might blame the couple, but really it's their stationer that should have advised them better!
Do you have an all-time favorite invitation suite that you designed?
That's like asking a parent who their favorite child is! I don't think I have any one particular favorite design, but I really love any design where my clients allow a little room for creativity - in color, paper choice, print method, etc. I love taking a simple, classic design and making it completely unique through details that fit my clients.
What's the most memorable event you ever attended as a guest?
An intimate farm-to-table dinner in Italy. It wasn't a formal event, but I'll never forget it!
What advice would you give to other women starting their own businesses?
Just do you, and focus on being the best you there is. Also, try to be smart in your spending - I've seen so many businesses fail in the first few years because they can't get themselves to turn a profit after years of spending too much.
Do you have any daily routines that you think are critical for having a successful and productive work day?
Coffee! I also make sure I actually get dressed every day. Even if it's just jeans and a tee, being properly dressed helps me be more focused and feel more professional during the day.
What other business women do you look up to?
I would say Mariam Naficy, the founder and CEO of Minted, is one of the most remarkable business people I know. She's creative, innovative, and incredibly business-smart. She is also a mother, an advocate, and manages to keep a HUGE group of independent designers feel loved, heard, and appreciated. I don't know how she does it all!
What's your favorite business book?
I really enjoyed Tina Fey's "Bossypant". But, to be honest, I'm not a huge reader of business books. I tend to read a ton of novels and feel-good beach-type books. I think it's important to find an outlet that isn't business related, and for me, that's reading.
What's one question you'd like to answer that I didn't ask?
You didn't ask about my biggest business mistake/lesson learned, and I'd be happy to share! learned the importance of having a set process for all of my clients early on in my business, and I later learned the importance of never deviating from that process no matter who the client is. Eventually you're going to find a routine in how you operate your business, and getting away from that routine opens you up for all sorts of mistakes and problems. I don't care if your client is your mother, father, sister, or your celebrity idol - be sure to treat them (and apply the same process) as you would any other client. The last thing you ever want is to go above and beyond for somebody (read: give them "special treatment" that is outside of your normal process) and have it backfire horribly. Even if it feels a little awkward at first, it'll be worth it in the long run!
What's your favorite color?