Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a single mama of 4 kids and a true #Girlboss who has been a Creative Director & Fashion Entrepreneur for the past 17 years. My story is a little different than the average and it’s been a wild ride, but through it all my life has been changed for the better. Being in the fashion industry as a designer and Fashion Stylist for twenty years has taken me around the world. I have made many connections along the way and I have listened, learned, been through hell, messed up, loved again, started a couple of fashion businesses, fought, failed, listened again, taken risks, sold businesses, failed again, gotten divorced twice, grown, raised 4 outgoing kids, learned to love myself again, and now I am here. Boom! Phew, I know that’s a lot. I am called the idea person, they come in buckets a minute, and I love to meet new people and learn their stories. On my spare time (if I am lucky to have it) I love to paddle board with my kids and golden doodle, and play any sports I can. Oh, also I turn 40 years old this year!
What inspired you to start The Giv Box?
I was inspired to take the leap of faith and start my own artisan made subscription box because seven years creating stylish, on-trend products that make an impact on others lives ended up making the greatest impact on my own! Traveling the globe with my previous career developing and seeing the positive effect first hand on these Artisans lives, I knew I could never go back to selling and creating things that didn’t have some good attached. I thought, I can always design and make cool stuff, but to help women artisans build their own businesses at the same time?….Um, match made in heaven! You had me at empowering others!
How did you come up with the name?
No one has asked me this question yet. It’s actually kind of funny. So first of all I believe that giving back is the center of our souls happiness. I am always happier in my life if I am giving back and it provided me a center of peace I can’t get otherwise. Everyone always wants to give back but so many don’t know how, so by providing a way to give without even thinking about it, by doing something we would do anyways, like shopping, the name Giv Box just came to mind. It’s a box full of products that give back so much to the hands that made them. The funny part is that, I spelled it Giv and not Give because In my previous job I always made up words when I would be speaking in the conference room. My CEO, and co workers would always stop me, and say “Jen, is that even a word?” I would always respond, “well if isn’t it should be.” They would then write it down on my whiteboard wall in my office. They named it Jen’s Dictionary. LOL, so it seemed fitting that I would spell Giv a different way then what it was supposed to be. Plus to be honest….it was also available on instagram. So it was a match made in heaven.
You empower artisans world wide; can you tell us about that?
Yes, we provide jobs everywhere to those who wouldn’t always otherwise be able to have the chance to either work, or get their craft, their passion of creation into the mainstream market who wouldn’t have that chance otherwise. We all have so many opportunities with where we live, our education, wifi at our fingertips, and many hard working Artisans don’t have those same luxuries but still have those same goals and dreams. So to be able to find those who need a place of work, who want to learn with us to develop, design, and create we help make those connections and relationships so that we can better their situations of living and impact in their homes and communities. It’s not about just giving someone money and walking away. We develop long term relationships to create long term to help impact for them hopefully a long time to come. We have lots of plans for the future too to implement some new leadership programs, but that’s all I can say as of today, but stay tuned. It’s all about creating a better way of living around the world for all those who want it.
Is there a favorite product in the boxes?
Bracelets, bracelets, bracelets. As I have been selling, creating, and wearing accessories for a long time as many of you reading this have, and they are always the top sellers. A dreamy armparty is easy for the consumer to just grab and wear with everything, every event we go attend. I have been a personal shopper for over 15 years, and women always overthink when shopping. When they buy necklaces, they always think “what will I wear this with?” If they can’t think of anything they usually don’t buy it. Same with the earrings and rings, they do the same overthinking process, or many women don’t even have their ears pierced. Then there is bracelets I say bracelets are go to because you don’t have to think about what to wear it with, they are like a good T shirt, you can’t have enough and it goes with everything.
Do you switch the products every month in the box?
Yes, each month we focus on one artisan groups story. Their needs, why the group was developed, their families lifestyle, and really we try to connect the subscribers to the powerful story their pieces are creating. So each month a new story to empower, new pieces to wear, and all on trend with so much good attached.
What is your favorite part about running The Giv Box?
My favorite part is learning each day on new ways we can connect, empower, and collab with other companies and Artisans who are doing the same thing and have need. I love learning the needs of others and see how we can bring some opportunity to them and their artisan group. Seeing others happiness, crafts, beautiful textiles, and really a peek into their culture is one of my most favorite passions ever! Also being able to be home for my kids after school (I run the company out of my front room/garage for the time being) is a nice change from corporate world. It’s been a big lifestyle change for all of us, big adjustment, but it’s been good for me and my babies. I am a single mom so being able to have them see hard work, mixed with passion, I believe is a good thing.
What is your least favorite part about running The Giv Box?
Wearing all the hats, as a start up, since I am so very little I have to be the CEO, Marketing team, and everything else. I miss my team, to have that office culture with other brilliant people is a HUGE miss for me. I love people. My goldendoodle Williow is cute, but does not have any great ideas to bounce off of. I find it difficult to get that feedback and fun element, and go a little crazy sometimes alone, and juggling it all.
What makes you different from other subscription boxes out there?
My box is full of everything having to do with give back and empowerment, with a community of Giv ambassadors as our cheerleaders, and consumers that surround themselves with a culture of doing good. There are some other boxes that have products that do good but not to many. I know this because I had to do my homework for my angel investor pitch deck. I want to celebrate and give back to our community for subscribing. So we are in the works of collabing with other companies to give our subscribers discounts and cool perks of either their products or services for subscribing and choosing to purchase their accessories a different way.
How do you spread the word about your company?
Right now as a start up company with no huge marketing budget….it’s all about friends, family, Giv Ambassadors (they earn a small commission for all the sales they generate), social media platforms, collabs with other companies, and work- work-work! Everywhere I go I share, doesn’t matter if I am at the grocery store, filing taxes, paying a bill on phone pay….by the end of that conversation, that person will know about The Giv Box mission.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Yes, don’t you ever allow yourself no matter how hard it gets, or how many mistakes you make, to quit! Surround yourself with others that get it, even if that’s just going to the local starbucks or local work space in your city to be around others to have a fresh perspective to think, just get out. Talk to people that get it, because if you don’t sometimes that load voice of fear will be louder in the 4 walls you are sitting in all day alone creating and failing in. If you have negative people around you, find new people to be around. If you have people who say you’re crazy, hear that as a compliment that you’re brilliant. Most important, look at your competitors as your friends, let them lead you, learn from them, and do it BETTER. Just keep taking action each day no matter what, there is always another day, more people to meet, and a dream to create. CALL ME, just don’t you dare quit trying! It’s a lonely journey. Everyone will tell you it’s hard or everyone else would do it right? But no one tells you, it’s lonely, no one gets your constant vision and dedication, they will make fun of you, even your closest friends and family. IT’S OK. Just keep going with your gut and idea, because you’re different and that’s why you’re doing this not them. You. Are. Unique. Honor that, and lastly lean into the pain of failing, and let it be the guiding factor for your next move.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺
OMG, literally to many. If you follow me on my fashion gram @jenstyles you know I tie all quotes into my captions. So this is the hardest question yet. So…ummm… “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.” Ok, can I give you one more? “we all have something within us that this world needs, so don’t you quit!”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Giving isn’t hard, it’s just about learning the right ways to impact others lives including your own. It literally is so fun over here at The Giv Box, so come join our community and see how trying new ways to shop is actually a beautiful way to learn about others and be inspired daily. I take my style tips and show you many ways to style yourself daily for all your events in your life. It’s like having a personal stylist connected to your box. We also really want to help those who are local and want to start their own career paths as well. I know so much about business. Come get involved with strong women who are creating their dreams and impact all in one community. Find our FB group page and see how you can get involved by sharing your talents and voice for good. You can also find us on instagram @thegivbox where we have so much fun, giveaways, and stories that are guaranteed to entertain your daily gram watch sessions. See you all soon, thanks for helping me spread this mission of give back. Hugs!