CEO and Creative Director from the JENNY BIRD
Jenny Bird is one of Canada’s leading fashion jewelry designers. And we took this chance to interview her for our online CanadianSME Small Business Magazine. If you are fond of jewelry, you must already know her expertise. She is a self-taught designer who is passionate about growing a female-led business. Her business has seen explosive growth since the brand’s inception in 2008. And we have talked about it all in this interview segment. In 2017, Jenny was named Canada’s Accessory Designer of the Year. She leads the company as the CEO and Creative Director from the JENNY BIRD office in Toronto, Canada. Read on to know her thoughts behind women entrepreneurs and how her mantra of staying flexible helped her achieve success as a woman entrepreneur.
What inspired and motivated you to start Jenny Bird and what are you hoping to accomplish through the work that you do?
I wanted my dream job, so I had to create it. I also wanted to be free; I wanted to be independent, to decide how I spent my days and to control my success.
At JENNY BIRD (JB), we are on a mission to uplift and inspire through the work we do. I am hoping my work inspires other women to believe in themselves enough to pursue shaping their days, and to live life according to how they love to spend their time, rather than in line with other people’s expectations. We are also striving to uplift everyone we touch as a brand – from employees to suppliers to customers to our community – and I am proud of the positive impact our significant philanthropic efforts make each year.
What are your top tips for improving your business and progressing towards your entrepreneurial goals?
Every day, spend some time IN the business and some time ON the business as well. This is different work, which I talk about in my episode of American Express’ Build it Braver, Dream Big: Prioritizing to Build your Business. It takes discipline to turn away from the daily operations and reactionary work (getting back to people, putting out fires, etc.), but you need sacred time devoted to the things you need to do to take the business to the next level of success. Whether that be writing a job description for a new hire, meeting with a mentor or taking time outside your office for ideating on growth–for me that can be a walk in nature outside the city. This is the juicy, productive time that will move the needle more than busy work time.
Our content acknowledges the strength of the ardent entrepreneurs and their lifelong experiences of the marketplace that help them build successful business empires. Our belief in productive learning and providing inclusive content is why we have plans for a wide spectrum of activities that incorporate everything from reading to prolific networking.
How do you stay organized and productive when starting a new business? What fueled your entrepreneurial journey?
It’s all about staged manifesting for me. First, you need to identify the big end vision and then the first big milestone stage to get to that big end vision. I still close my eyes when doing this for the next stage and envision it’s happening. I’m in the room. What does the business look like at that future stage? Who’s in it? Where does it make sense and bring me joy to spend my time? How has my role shifted? How am I supported? What types of people are beside me? What does success look like (or key metrics at that stage)? Then you figure out the steps you need to take to get there from where you are currently, like having chats with people who have done it, listening to podcasts–whatever you have to do to figure it out. Then you will know the work that needs to be done, so you simply determine what should happen first and get to work. It’s a hustle. But when you see the results of your efforts THAT is what fuels you to keep going. This process works from day 0 when your business is just an idea in your head, and I still use it today. The key is to design your time to make sure the priorities you have identified to get you there are fiercely protected, as we only have so much time. Today, I still organize my time according to what is most important to get done each day, each week. Often you can say yes to meetings or do things for people that aren’t actually in line with those priorities for your business, so you have to constantly check in with yourself and be auditing if that is really necessary or if you need to say no. Get comfortable saying no.
Jenny Bird – The ‘Queen of the Hoop’ Click To Tweet
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur? How do you see yourself growing and improving your business in the future?
It’s a grind. There is a constant stream of roadblocks, wrong turns and costly mistakes as part of the founder experience. You have to receive these barriers for the gifts that they are for your growth and keep moving forward. I find getting back up after being pushed down rewarding, rather than discouraging. I am very tenacious, and like proving people wrong by surprising them with my capabilities. My biggest personal challenge has always been when we’ve needed to let someone go if they are not right for the company. It is ultimately best for both parties, but it’s so tough. The business has just begun. This brand will be a global household name with many product categories. I want its success to uplift more people through increasing its charitable commitment with each new level of success.
Do you have any advice for founders who feel like they’re struggling to make progress?
Keep sacred time for productive vs. busy work. It’s a long game. Magical brands aren’t built overnight. I know you’re always looking ahead for what’s next, but pause to celebrate the small wins, for progress that has already occurred. Also, stay flexible. Your original, end vision may not be what the market is telling you will succeed–I started in handbags! You may need to redesign your idea at any time, so throw away the worry that people will criticize if you pivot and your self-criticism for needing to correct course. It’s savvy to do so. Being a successful founder requires that you drop all judgment of yourself, let yourself make mistakes and embrace agility. That’s where the pride should lie.
About Jenny Bird
Jenny Bird is one of Canada’s leading fashion jewelry designers. She is a self-taught designer who is passionate about growing a female-led business. Her business has seen explosive growth since the brand’s inception in 2008. In 2017, she was named Canada’s Accessory Designer of the Year. She leads the company as the CEO and Creative Director from the JENNY BIRD office in Toronto, Canada. She believes that magical brands aren’t built overnight. She knows that people are always looking ahead for what’s next, but it’s important to pause to celebrate the small wins, for progress that has already occurred. Also, staying flexible to change is her mantra.
Once labelled, ‘Queen of The Hoop’, Jenny Bird is Canada’s leading fashion jewelry designer. Her contemporary pieces marry creativity with a bold, fearless spirit, catching the eye of many celebrities, stylists and fashion lovers around the world. Striking yet wearable, her designs are made to be worn for years to come.
Jenny is a self-taught designer who is passionate about growing a female-led business, which has seen explosive growth since the brand’s inception in 2008. Though her hoops are unforgettable, she’s also gained notoriety with her custom chains, innovative earring silhouettes and anklets. Jenny’s talent lies in her intuitive sense of trends and eye for beauty. In 2017, she was named Canada’s Accessory Designer of the Year. Bird leads the company as CEO and Creative Director from the JENNY BIRD office in Toronto, Canada.