Who are you? & can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Jenny and I am from San Francisco but recently moved to San Diego with my amazing husband and I am now a mom to a 3 month old baby girl! My background is in Operations and Supply Chain where I’ve worked at large corporations like Google and LinkedIn but I have always wanted to start my own business. I am a firm believer in making an impact and felt that with my own business, I can make a bigger impact with a larger platform.
What exactly is Grace and Kindness?
Grace & Kindness is a jewelry line designed with the help of many survivors of human trafficking. What is unique about my jewelry line is that each piece holds a meaning and story from a survivor of human trafficking. Through jewelry, it is their way of taking back their power and using their voice to share their story. With that in mind, they also hope to empower other women and encourage everyone to practice self love – sharing their words of wisdom.
What inspired you to start Grace and Kindness?
I know firsthand the trauma of human trafficking and wanted to spread awareness, remove the shame that is often associated with it, and create something beautiful out of a dark and painful experience. I reached out to other survivors because when you are being trafficked, you have no voice, opinion, you simply do not matter. By asking them to share their words of wisdom, it is in a way their way of taking back their power and sharing their story, their way. Also, with my desire to spread awareness as well as help combat this epidemic, I donate a portion of my proceeds to organizations that rescue and rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking. Ultimately my goal is to partner with another organization to create a curriculum and program that is implemented across all schools that teach what is healthy love, what are boundaries, how to say no, and above all, value and love yourself as you.
How did you come up with the name?
I chose the name Grace and Kindness because to me it means extending grace and kindness towards ourselves as we heal. Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame. I always knew I wanted the word Kindness in my business because it is such a wholesome word. When we choose kindness, we are being selfless, we are being empathetic, and we simply care more for others.
You are sharing stories of healing and rebuilding after trauma; can you tell us about that?
Once you have survived something like human trafficking, I think most people feel broken, like they are damaged goods. But they are absolutely not. They are brave and bold beyond their wildest imaginations. It is also really hard to heal alone but something like being trafficked makes it difficult to open up and talk about it, to even begin to heal. There are no guidelines or rules to healing especially from this type of trauma. But the best thing you can do for yourself is give yourself time, be patient Healing can be painful, traumatic, scary, and uncertain. But the bravery in taking the first step out of the darkness and knowing that you want and need to heal is the biggest step. When we extend grace to ourselves during our times of healing, rebuilding, and recreating, it allows us to honor our past, our story, and our journey. Through my jewelry, I aim to give other survivors hope, help them see that there is no shame, and help them see their value in their amazing qualities, like their brilliance.
Is there a favorite product?
Yes, I love the Own Your Brilliance necklaces. They were designed by me but the story behind it is from a survivor about what her brilliance means to her. I also love it because it is actually a really beautiful and unique piece. It is dainty and also mesmerizing when you look at the stones in the bulb.
What is your favorite part about running Grace and Kindness?
My favorite part about running Grace and Kindness is my ability to partner with organizations rescuing victims and speaking with the survivors to hear their triumphant stories and their amazing resilience.
What is your least favorite part about running Grace and Kindness?
Right now my least favorite part is sometimes feeling like I don’t know what I am doing. Running a business is new to me but it’s a work in progress and it’s scary but also so rewarding. I remind myself of how far I have come, how much I have accomplished and that helps propel me forward.
How do you spread the word about your company?
I use social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. But a lot of traffic comes from word of mouth. People telling me they saw someone wearing a piece of my jewelry and struck up a conversation which led them to my website.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Don’t ever give up. There were so many times and moments where I felt like I was in above my head and I was ready to walk away but I look at my daughter, I think about where I was before and who I am now, and I tell myself, don’t you dare give up on you. I would tell fellow entrepreneurs, you were made for success, you have to train your mind to keep believing that so when you become successful (your own definition of success) you are receptive of it.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺
“When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.” I think this quote really applies to survivors of all types of trauma because we all want to write a brave new ending and not have a past or experience that defines and dictates who we are supposed to be.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thank you for giving me a platform to share my story and brand! 🙂