Jenna always wanted to be an entrepreneur and was fascinated with how to make money without getting a ‘real job’ from a young age. “I remember being a little kid, selling jewelry at my aunt’s garage sale,” she recalls. “It starts young!”
The Importance of Branding and Positioning
Both Jenna and her brother Chandler are designers. They had spent years travelling around Canada’s craft fairs, enjoying the business, but seeing there was lots of room for improvement. This enabled them to complete a lot of their business research first-hand with the other designers who would be their potential clients.
“It didn’t take long for me to realize that craft shows needed to revamp their branding. When I started I was in my mid 20’s and I knew they didn’t appeal to any of my friends. They would refuse to come visit us at the shows.” So Jenna and Chandler decided to create a craft show that their friends would want to come to. A little less old school and a lot more fun and upbeat. They created Make It Productions.
Knowing the importance of branding and positioning, the pair decided to make their show more like a party, adding food carts and a bar. Giving the traditional craft fair a makeover and appealing to a whole new generation.
Bringing together artists from across Canada, the pair has grown the show from just 30 exhibitors to over 250, in five years, attracting well over 15,000 socially conscious shoppers. Quite the achievement.
When asked what their secret is, Jenna comments, “I’m naturally creative, so coming up with lots of ideas was always very easy for me.” Her love of being able to get people excited about Make It! is also key. “I’m good at connecting people and generating a lot of PR for our designers.” A contributing factor of why Make It Productions won the Small Business BC Award for Best Online Marketer back in February 2014. As one of the judges commented, “They use technology in a strategic and integrated way which contributes to their success, however it’s their authenticity and creativity that sets this business apart.”
Their inspiration? “I am inspired by all the Make It designers we work with because they are doing what they love and are passionate about it.” A passion that is carried through the brand, and the entire business.
Success Doesn’t Mean You Stop Working
With all this success, you think it would be easy for Jenna and Chandler to take a breath, sit back and enjoy their achievements. But that’s not in their nature. Jenna has recently created a blog and online training program called Make It University, to help creative entrepreneurs sharpen their marketing skills.
Their goals for the business? “To continually improve and grow the show,” Jenna simply replies. “We also want to hire more staff so Chandler and I can work on our own projects.” And one of those projects is to expand upon the Make It University and write a book for creative entrepreneurs to help them sharpen their business skills.
Jenna and Chandler have seen a quick rise to success, so we were intrigued what their parting advice would be. Jenna quickly said, “There isn’t anything you can’t do if you put your mind to it and believe in yourself. “ She explains, “One thing I think people do too much is quitting too soon. It can be really tough, but if you just stick with it you’ll be amazing at what you can accomplish. It’s little steps forward every day that gets you to your dream.”