Welcome to The Creative Local Series! Up Next: Jenna Stratman from J Lynn Designery. I am excited to bring this fellow Midwestern gal over to Uniquely Women today. It is such a great feeling when you meet such kind souls on the web – and she is one of them! Her shop and blog are amazing and she has the sweetest heart. She will be sharing a little bit more about her business and some of her favorite Kansas City, MO hangouts within this interview!
If you are new to Uniquely Women, I started a blog series column – The Creative Local. This series showcases boss ladies, whether it be bloggers, entrepreneurs, or women making a difference in their neck of the woods. Each will showcase their current city, taking us around to their favorite places along with a few of their current business endeavors. Tag #thecreativelocal on Instagram & Twitter to showcase the creative local in YOU to be featured.
The Creative Local: Jenna Stratman
Her Favorite Kansas City, Mo Spots:
There are few things I love more than talking about Kansas City! And I’m sure most (if not all) fellow KC residents would agree. I moved here almost three years ago…and not entirely by choice. My then-boyfriend, now-fiancé was already here a couple of years before me for school. I was in St. Louis at the time, but when he decided he wanted to do his rotations here for med school, I decided to pack my bags and move west to be with him. Neither one of us loved having a long-distance relationship, and I was certain that Kansas City would be a very temporary thing.
However, it didn’t take long before I started to see and feel why everyone around me was so obsessed with this city; it’s contagious when you’re here, and the pride for local small businesses, all of the local teams, and every other part of the city that was just SO good, was hard to ignore. Before I knew it, I had fallen in love with this city, and my fiancé and I now talk often about making KC our forever home.
I’m still finding more and more new reasons why I love Kansas City every day. Overall though, it’s just the perfect mix of local pride, culture, and Midwest mentality. As a creative, I find so much inspiration in the culture of the city; that’s something I’ve never really had growing up, and I love being so close to it all now. All of the opportunities, events, music scene, local food joints, — I can’t get enough of it all! Not to mention, the people here are incredibly kind and welcoming. They embrace inclusion and love sharing what this city means to them; I love that, and have happily joined the bandwagon of KC pride over the last few years.
Heirloom quickly became my favorite go-to coffee spot after discovering it just a few months ago! And truly, the pastries there are beyond anything you’ll taste in the city. This is my absolute favorite spot to meet clients, take friends, or just drop by for a quick treat. At my latest visit, I indulged in their Lavendar Honey biscuit, and friends: it. was. divine. Of course, isn’t everything on their menu?
Honestly, the Country Club Plaza is a magical place in itself! With the beautiful architecture, musicians on every other corner, canal and bridge along the back side, and every store you could imagine, it’s the one place I love to visit for shopping, to grab a drink, or just for a little fresh air. HMK, a store created by Hallmark (which is also headquartered in Kansas City) is the perfect little store for the cutest and most perfect selection of gifts and cards you will find. They even feature a whole section of Kansas City gifts, apparel and decor, and love displaying local makers there as well; there’s that amazing local pride again that we all love so much! If you’re ever on the Plaza, this darling store is a must stop-and-shop.
Glacé Artisan Ice Cream
Is any tour around Kansas City really complete without an ice cream stop? A friend turned me onto Glacé a couple of years ago, and I became an instant fan. This beautiful little ice cream joint is just south of the Plaza, and they continually feature the most creative flavors you didn’t know you loved! Everything from Goat Cheese & Medjool Dates to Lavendar Lemon, and trust me: you can’t go wrong with any of their flavors. In this visit, I had a mixture of Sweet Cream and Raspberry Cassis sorbet, and it was ice cream perfection.
Part of the National World War I museum, Liberty Memorial is such an incredible spot to take anyone new to Kansas City…and one of my favorites to visit over and over again. At the base of this amazingly large structure is a lookout point where you can stand and look out over all of Kansas City. The view is one to remember, and it’s almost impossible to not snap a few photos every time you visit.
If you’re going to live in Kansas City, having a love of bbq is almost a necessity! We’ve tried different bbq joints all over the city, and while they’re all so perfect in their own ways, Q39 is one we love every single time. If you’re visiting, the burnt ends are a MUST to try. My go-to on any other day is the Apple Brined Pulled Pork with a side of beans or fries. Or let’s be honest: you’ll need to try both while you’re here.
Next Up: Interview with Jenna
In a few sentences, describe yourself
Hi, friends! I’m a graphic designer with a love of business, a guinea pig mother of two, and a bride-to-be getting married to the most wonderful man in just a few short months. Born and raised in the Midwest, I love this part of the country to call home, but absolutely love traveling and discovering new places near and far. My love of design and background in business created the perfect combination for me to run my own company, and one day last summer, I made the leap from my day job to do just that. It’s been a rewarding experience through and through, and I adore working with bloggers and small businesses to create a beautiful presence for them on- and offline. My love of organization and planning became so much more last year when I also launched my very first line of planners! Because let’s face it: life and business should be beautiful.
How did your shop start? Where did that passion come from?
I’ve always had a love and interest in the operational side of business and knew that I’d one day want to run my own company; but I especially had a love for retail. There’s something so magical to me about creating this beautiful, unique experience for your customers and having complete control over that, whether it’s online or offline. I had a desire to create a brand that was a reflection of my own style, and this was the perfect opportunity to do that. I knew I wanted to start a business long before I ever knew what the business would even be about! Although, my love of everything bright and beautiful has been around for as long as I can remember, so I suppose I’ve always had an inkling of an idea what the aesthetic of my brand would become.
Tell us about your products — how you started and where you drew inspiration from?
I designed and launched a line of weekly planners last year! I learned an incredible amount in the process, and was thrilled to sell out of the first planner within weeks of its release. I then followed up with a second line of planners, which you can find in my shop now.
The planners were designed to bring functionality and beauty together; I wanted this to be a tangible place you could go to get away from your computer, phones and tablets, and focus on the intention behind your week. Take some time to plan out the good things ahead and reflect on the great things of the present. Everything from colors used to paper quality and binding treatment were all essential elements I poured myself into throughout the design of this product; I wanted it to feel like special place for the customers, from the moment it arrived in the mail to every morning they sat down to open it and plan for the day ahead.
I often draw inspiration from the most random of places: interior design, packaging, magazine layouts…I could spend hours flipping through the latest and greatest magazines from Barnes & Noble, gathering inspiration from the photography, typography and design treatments throughout. I also LOVE certain movies and TV shows that use particular colors and make me feel a certain way; all of these elements came together as inspiration for my planners.
Life can get busy — I know! How do you keep yourself organized as a business owner?
Is it too cliché to say my Refresh Weekly Planner saves my life on a daily basis?? Truly, I stay organized through a variety of methods and apps. I carry two planners at all times: the Refresh Weekly Planner keeps my day to day details, events, and meetings organized and handy, while the Revive Blog Planner I use to view client timelines at a glance and plan for blog posts ahead. I’m very much a person that needs to write something down to remember it, so having the physical planners handy is the way to go for me. However, I’m also a crazy list maker! I find joy and peace in making lists for the days or week ahead, and crossing things off one at a time. I also am a BIG fan of everything Google, and use Google Docs and Google Drive religiously for keeping online documents organized and accessible from everyone. Everything from my current client notes to my wedding guest list lives here, and I love that I can easily check it from my phone on-the-go.
If you could give one tip for a new entrepreneur, what would that be?
I’ve been such a huge fan of Barbara Corcoran’s for quite some time, and one thing she mentioned in her book “Shark Tales” really resonated with me: be resilient. She talks about the importance of not feeling sorry for yourself for too long, but instead, picking yourself up and moving forward. I think this is an incredibly important trait to have as an entrepreneur. So much of what we do is through learning and trial and error; you must be willing to try and try again until you get it right. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. What matters is what you learn from that failure and how you keep pushing through. You may hear a thousand “no’s,” but you may only need one “yes” to make it work.
Top Bucket List Locations
Currently — Top Must Read Blogs
DesignLoveFest – http://designlovefest.com/
Jenna Kutcher – http://jennakutcher.com/
Becoming Minimalist – http://www.becomingminimalist.com/
Oh, Joy! – http://ohjoy.blogs.com/
Millo – http://millo.co/
Too many more to count!