Jen Enck loves her job as an accountant AND she also loves to tap into her artistic side, creating fun & sassy products that are sold at art fairs, and also in over 200 retail/web locations around the world. Jen has found a unique balance in loving her J-O-B and also supporting her need to create, de-stress, enjoy her work, and help her fellow artist. She's multi-passionate, often chasing the next shiny object, but also organized and has a clear vision of what she wants to create...and why it is important.
Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
9:33 A side hustle can tap into that creative desire, help you find community and fulfill the need to fit in. It can also help solve some real world issues.
14:44 One key to success is being able to pivot - you have to be realistic about what it is others like and want, and still be in tune with whats going on in the world.
26:18 I love this quote! ""What other people think of you is none of your business!"" Regina Brett
--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---
Jen Enck (00:00):
Things have really turned, but I think the key to pivoting is, you've gotta be realistic. We get stuck at knowing what we like, but you've got to be realistic about what others like, and what's going on in the world too.
Welcome to the Side Hustle Lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset, and live the lifestyle you've always dreamed of, you are in the right place. So lower the lights. Grab your favorite beverage and join your host. Founder of NotaryCoach.com and Amazon bestselling author of Sign and Thrive: How To Make Six Figures As A Mobile Notary And Loan Signing Agent, Bill Soroka.
Billy Soroka (00:49):
All right. Good afternoon. Cheers. And welcome to my next guest who's a longtime friend, also a fellow serial entrepreneur and fellow lover of all things shiny, Jen Enck. Jen, thank you so much for joining me here in the Side Hustle Lounge.
Jen Enck (01:08):
Thank you, bill. It's awesome to talk with you. You know, we don't catch up often. It's nice to get back into it with you.
Billy Soroka (01:16):
It really is. And I'm so excited to actually record this conversation cause you and I have not caught up in quite some time. So I'm real excited to hear what you have going on. You and I - I think we're cut from the same cloth for sure. We always have multiple irons in the fire and our fingers in something. And we're going to get a chance to talk about that a little bit today. To our listeners today, we're talking to Jen about balancing multiple side hustles and maintaining a full-time job. And what's interesting about Jen among so many other things is that she is, she has found a way to thrive in the crafting and art arena as well in her side hustle. So we're going to get a chance to talk about that too. So stay tuned, Jen, what I want to start out with though so we can catch up. I want to ask you a question that I know some of my friends are scared to ask me and I'm sure you are surrounded by friends that are afraid to ask - What are you up to now? What's new?
Jen Enck (02:26):
Oh boy. Well, it depends on the day. I would say I you know, I'm still, I work full time still and you know, I feel like that's my security blanket. So at some point I, the baby's got to get rid of the security blanket, but in the meantime I just keep building my side hustles. I have two main ones right now and working on doing a online course to help people start there as well. So you know, yeah.
Billy Soroka (02:58):
I knew we going to have multiple answers there of course, but I want to go back cause you called it a 'safety blanket' and I love that. And most toddlers lose their safety blanket somewhere between two and five years old. How long have you been hanging on to your's?
Jen Enck (03:14):
Well, I just had my birthday and I won't say how old i am....
Billy Soroka (03:20):
How long have you been working in that job or in the industry?
New Speaker (03:24):
I work in the automotive industry and I've been working in it since I was 15 years old. So I will say, yeah, so I'll spill the tea and it's 35 years in the automotive industry. But you know, I'd love it, you know, I, I really enjoy it. It's not a hardship for me. I, I love the industry. I like my job, you know, so it's not that I ever wanted to leave it because I'm miserable, you know, and I get paid well, and I think I like the normalcy kind of part of it, but I do appreciate my paycheck, you know? So I'm a naturally, you know, if you've ever taken those personality assessments, you know, so I'm naturally a nonconformist. And, but I conform for a paycheck, so yeah. And I've always been that way. So that's kind of why I'm, I'm a side hustler because my natural being is more on the artsy side and I work as an accountant. So you know, that right-brain left-brain thing they're fighting against each other. So I feel like the only way I can really be happiest to be able to work both sides. So I have to use my creative side and that's why I'm in the arts and crafts area.
Billy Soroka (04:49):
I love this number one. I think what I'd love is your perspective, because I think there's so much pressure sometimes, and maybe it's from the side hustle community or the, from the art community, right. To quit your job and live your passion. But sometimes you can actually love your job and love being there as part of that. And it sounds like that's kind of the, not even a battle that you fight, but you just enjoy being there
Jen Enck (05:15):
And want to go. Yeah. I mean, you know, like any job you have your days where you're like, why am I doing this? But you know, I've, I'm very content at this very moment in the job that I have right now. You know, I've got it all dialed in to where I feel like it's the right amount of hours. I'm not pushing myself to an extreme... Where I have been that person as well, where I work 80 hours a week, you know, I'm 60 in my job and then another 20-30 in my side hustles and yeah, it's really painful. So you know, right now I'm, you know, I'm working a good, you know, normal 40 hours I come. And so I think the key is to schedule your life, right. So, you know, I have my, my daytime and then when i leave work, I come home, make dinner.
Jen Enck (06:06):
And then at night I, you know, I have it in my mind, like by eight o'clock the latest, the latest, I will start working on my stuff till 11, at least, you know, like, and then weekends, I schedule out when I'm going to work on my, my stuff, you know? So I think that kind of gives me the give and take that. I need to make sure that I stay in the level headed, happy place, you know, where I get really resentful if it's too much of the, the accounting space, you know, it's, it doesn't make me happy then as I feel like, oh, I want to be creative. I need to use, I need to make something hurry. I need to buy some craft supplies, you know, hurry. It's like, you know, it's like an IP, right. So
Billy Soroka (06:54):
I've seen some of your posts on Instagram. I'm like, I can totally relate
Jen Enck (06:58):
To that. A Michael's or a craft store is right. So but you know, for me, it's, it's definitely the scheduling has changed my life for sure.
Billy Soroka (07:11):
That's a good point. So let's, let's dive even deeper. So we know that you have a full-time job, you're in the accounting arena, in the automotive industry. And you mentioned that you have two other side hustles right now. So tell us about those.
Jen Enck (07:24):
Okay. So one is called Drinks and Crafts, and that is a little hustle. I started basically to, I guess, chill out, you know, I was working too hard at my automotive side. And at that time I took a huge pay cut in my job. Well, pretty much earth shattering at that time. But so, you know, about 11 years ago I had started Drink and Crafts. I was making coasters and I would sell them at art shows around Arizona. And it just started because a friend of mine ran an art show and she said, why don't you bring your stuff? I was like, okay. She gave me like, to like, just bring a small table to give me this itty bitty spot in between other artists. And it was like, okay. And I sold out and I was like, wow, like I can sell this stuff.
Jen Enck (08:13):
Like to me, it was just something to do. I just made a couple things, you know, and the coasters were fun and silly. And I was like, oh, well then when I took a pay cut and it was like, I really need some additional income. I don't want to leave my job. I was hoping that was a temporary thing, you know, and I was happy, extremely happy with my job, but, you know, I'd like to my dog and I didn't want to change. So I started doing more art shows and that became a regular occurrence where I started doing at least two a week. And at the time for my job, I traveled all around the country. Auditing car dealerships, which is a difficult job. And especially being on road, being a road warrior is, is a hard life. But I would, you know, try to fit in as many arches they could, if I was in town just to supplement my income and it was shocking to me how much money I could make.
Jen Enck (09:12):
So I kept with it. Yeah. Then it just became part of my life because I really enjoy the people. You know, I enjoyed the social aspect of it. I love my fellow artists. It's so neat to be around creatives. You know, it's, it's really, it's such a different world, you know, coming from an accounting side, you know, I mean, bean counters are not the most fun people, you know, they're very, very black and white, you know, and or should I say black and red? So you know, it's just a different way of thinking, you know, the analytical thinking where the creative, everything is shiny and new and fun. And I don't know, it's just a whole different perspective. So I really love those people. Those are my people, you know, so I feel like that's what I was missing. So to, to join that community become, it's such a family like community here in Arizona for the artists and the community it's was like, like coming home, you know, so it was really good for me. And then it gave me the income I needed and it was a shocking amount of income for me did not expect. And so it really helped me settle, settle myself, you know?
Billy Soroka (10:32):
Right - it seems like it kind of tapped into that creative need and that's finding your tribe of people where you fit in and then it also helps solve some really practical, real world challenges with income. And I think that's so inspiring because you hear so much about starving artists and people not making it. And you're in part, I mean, you're a a shining example of making it work, but also it sounds like you found a community of others that are thriving as well.
Jen Enck (10:58):
Yeah. You know, it's, it's very, I think the part of it that, you know, I guess we get to a point where, you know, you can try to keep up with the Joneses, right? You want, you want all the things and I get caught up in that a lot, you know, and, and where I'm trying to be more live the more minimalist life now. And I've kind of learned that from that community where they like, this is all I need, you know, I don't, I don't need everything, you know? And so I'm seeing that they can make it work and, and thrive in their own environment. And, you know, take each day, as it comes is, is really inspiring to me, you know? Cause I feel like I come from a different place in that respect, you know, I'm surrounded by people that are trying to make as much money as they can in my business, you know? So yeah. And so so that's, that kind of changed my mindset a little bit, but you know, in, at the time shows were in abundance, you could do a show every day, somewhere, you know, as long as you know where to go, which sadly now in this world, it's a crazy world we live in is not the case. So I have seen you know, them struggling a little bit more to make you come, but you know, they're still holding on. Yeah,
Billy Soroka (12:14):
Yeah. They've I would imagine those live events have taken the, or caused a huge hit to that community. Have you found well and I, I hate using this word cause we heard it so much in 2020, but that have you seen a successful pivot?
Jen Enck (12:30):
Yeah. well for myself I had to pivot tremendously. I sadly, you know, cause my Drinks and Crafts business is a live event business. People always ask me, do you sell these online? And I used to, but it was really hard to keep up. I like to say they're limited edition. It's hard to make the same ones over and over. So, and it was really hard to keep up with the website. So I was like, you know, these are exclusive to live events and if you want to come see me or text me, call me, email me, I'll see if I have them. You know, but I can't guarantee. Yeah. And so, but because of that, I also decided to launch a second business, which I call Dandy like Candy, which is basically an offshoot of Drinks and Crafts.
Jen Enck (13:19):
The Drinks and Crafts was art shows, but I also turned into a home craft business. So I would do that try and kind of in the off season, like in Arizona, art shows are October through March, April because in the summer it's too dang hot, you know, so we don't do art shows it Phoenix area. We go up north and whatnot. Well, I figured I'm not going up north, this, wasn't my thing. It's a lot more expense. You know, you gotta take multiple days to do bigger shows and it just didn't love it. You know? So I started Dandy like Candy, which I make little cute, funny zipper bags, which goes along with my whole motif. I've always made tote bags and coasters and just silly sassy stuff. That's my personality. So making the zipper bags, I said, oh no, I'm going to try and sell these online. I really want to push this into a wholesale business and have stores and boutique sell them for me, you know, I'm not looking to retail and do that, but I figured in my off season that could supplement my income that I lose from not doing shows. And so that I started a couple of years ago, which has been amazing actually have grown it ridiculously fast. So now my, my bags are in just, I just surpassed 200 stores around the country and Canada and I just got my first store in the UK.
Jen Enck (14:54):
Yeah. So now I'm international baby. Like how does that, so but that's that had to pivot because you know, sassy sayings and whatnot. And then all of a sudden, you know, all these stores are closing their doors or, you know, they're not essential businesses, you know, things like that. And so what I did was a lot of those stores went online and I allowed them to sell my products online, where a lot of other makers did not want that they wanted their own online sales, which that's not my focus. I wanted wholesale. So then I created my quarantine collection, which has all sassy designs based off of, you know, this whole COVID and wearing a mask. And so I just started presenting them as a place to hold your mask, you know, so you can put your mask in them and put them in your purse, in your bags, whatever your briefcase.
Jen Enck (15:52):
And so it really took off with the boutiques and that's my best seller used to be a bag that said ""Shit I need"" and it's still up there. But now my best sellers are ones that say, you know, ""Survival kit"" and they have a mask on 'em and things like that. So it's, it's really turned, but I think the key to pivoting is, you know, you've gotta be realistic. You know, we get stuck at we know what we like, but you've got to be realistic of what others like, and what's going on in the world too.
Billy Soroka (16:25):
Yeah. That is such a good point. If you're going to sell products, then you've got to, you got to sell what people want - Shit People want, exactly - Shit they need!!! I just love that. It's, it's almost like you - well - number one, you were positioned well, because you had started that wholesale part just before the pandemic hit. Right. And when the pandemic hits, you're able to pivot like that open-minded
Jen Enck (16:54):
Yeah. My business grew, you know, everyone was hurting in 2021. My business grew over 300%. So it was, I mean, a big surprise of course, Drinks and Crafts tanked because I couldn't do art shows. So I felt like that's okay. That was my whole intention was to have this other side, you know, and that worked out,
Billy Soroka (17:20):
Definitely got the boost, you're international now. And then during the pandemic, did you find that you created more, so does Drinks and Crafts have an inventory stocked up ready to go when this thing when events come back?
Jen Enck (17:37):
Sadly, no, I, in Arizona, the automotive industry was considered essential, so we never closed. I've never missed a day at work. So I still went to work every day. It was just weird to just come home after work, you know, not go anywhere. So you would think I would have been a little bit more creative, but I think really, because my Dandy like Candy took up, all I do is make bags after work, you know, I'm not making the coasters. As a matter of fact, this weekend, I have a show tomorrow and I'm making coasters today and because I have really hardly any inventory. And it's crazy.
Billy Soroka (18:19):
Let's talk about that a little bit too, cause I want to kind of see what the lifestyle looks like. You, you work full time or passionate about what you do with your job, but then you also make these crafts. So what's life look like that schedule that you mentioned. When do you create, when do you market, when do you build relationships and all that good stuff?
Jen Enck (18:41):
Okay. So, I mean, I have you know, basically a nine to five job Monday through Friday. I don't work weekends for that job. So I come home, make dinner and then I start working, you know, and if I it's really depends on the orders as they come in, but I do try to schedule them where I used to be. There's no thing that saved me. I used to really pride myself in getting them out right away, you know, but that would really put me in bad situation some days where I'm just up all night trying to work. So I really had to dial it down and be like, okay, Jennifer, let's be realistic. Like, okay, you don't have to ship it out in two days, let's move your shipping. So I moved it, Hey, I will send your stuff within four to seven days, they will be sent out.
Jen Enck (19:27):
So then I look at my calendar and I say, I make products on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I ship on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturdays. So however that order falls, that's where I schedule when I'm going to make it. And when I'm going to ship it, because all of my stuff is made to order. And it's intentional only because I don't want to waste product. So I do have bags and then I make the sayings on them as their orders because, you know, especially like last year showed us my best sellers are no longer my best sellers. So I don't want to have an abundance of that one and it's not selling. Then I have to buy more inventory to create. And so I want to use what I have when to be realistic and be conscious of my expenses and that knowing how what's going to happen in the world, you know?
Jen Enck (20:20):
So that's been a very interesting, but really helpful to actually schedule out my items. And then, like I said, I usually start working from seven or eight o'clock at night, no longer than eight. I start. And then I work till 11 and the 11 is my cutoff. So, and then it's like, okay, get ready for bed. Do whatever meditate, read a book, do something and think, get some sleep and start again. So some days if I just don't feel like doing that I give myself some grace. I just say I had a rough day. I'm tired, whatever. It may be, whatever hours I didn't put in during the week, I tell myself I'm going to put them in on Saturday or Sunday. And so that's how I scheduled. So if I have to do a full eight hour day on Saturday, then that's what I'm going to do. You know, instead of doing, you know, three hours a night or something.
Billy Soroka (21:13):
Yeah. That's that takes commitment for sure.
Jen Enck (21:16):
Billy Soroka (21:18):
How important I love that you schedule out that way., I love that you took control of when you're shipping things out. I think a lot of people in these handmade products, they almost fall victim to their own policies and they guaranteed 24 to 48 hour. And that puts a, almost an unnecessary strain. Sure. There are people who need their product that fast, but maybe that's not the best, that's not your client. So you attract clients that can give you a little bit of that window of grace, I suppose. So I love that. How important is it to you to actually hand-make them versus commercialization of them?
Jen Enck (21:54):
Well, it's funny you say that, you know, I have done research. And initially when I started doing the wholesale, I was going to have someone make items for me. I was going to do a, like a print on demand company. I send them the orders and they fill them, but I just wasn't in love with the products that they were offering at the time. And in order for them to use my particular bags, I would have to supply them with a huge amount, which I didn't understand why, like, if I know what what's coming, why supply you with a ridiculous amount? You know what I mean? I guess I know when to reorder, you know, like I keep track and, you know, I order a thousand at a time of the supplies. So I don't know. I think then because of, you know, the changing in the world and whatnot, it just kind of gives me, I really enjoy making things and that's my stress reliever.
Jen Enck (22:55):
So do I want to give up doing that? You know, so I feel like once it gets too big, you know, I have had an intern then before COVID I had to lose my intern, you know, I think, you know, be getting back to that soon enough. I think it's easy enough to have help and just hire like a dish. I, I would really rather just have my own employees eventually, you know, in my, in my little brain, I want my own manufacturing plant and hundreds of employees. So it's part of the big dream. Well, I love
Billy Soroka (23:31):
That you made such an excellent point is that making stuff is a stress reliever. Part of the creative process is why you're here. This is not about just creating products to sell, right? This is almost a therapeutic for you. And I think that's really important for us to keep in perspective.
Jen Enck (23:49):
Yeah, it is. I feel like, like I mentioned earlier, I feel like it changed my life. I was in a really stressful situation. And when I make things, it makes me, you know, my natural, because that's my natural personality, right. So I actually went to school for art. Don't ask me how I'm an accountant. I went to school, I went to school for, I went to college for art. So not doing that was very strange, you know? And, and I guess we were kind of, like you mentioned earlier, the starving artist thing, maybe that was a fear of mine that I wouldn't make money. And, but I do understand too, it's really hard to bare your soul and show your work as an artist. So that's why I started with stuff that was not personal to me, you know, make coasters or silly, silly sayings or whatever. It's not personal, but I am that person that can still, I can paint. I can draw, I can do. I'm like I have paintings hanging in my house and people are like, oh, well, who did that? I'm like, I did like what you do that? And I'm like, yeah, you know, I'm actually an artist. I don't sell my work that way, but so I can understand the scariness of it. Cause I that's very I don't know, you have to really be secure and the rejection of that, you know? Yeah.
Billy Soroka (25:04):
Yes. You know, Jen, I love that you even brought that up and that's going to be a topic on this very podcast is it's almost it's terrifying. It can be terrifying to quote unquote, publish your work to the world. There's also, as I learned cause I'm a, I'm on the writing side of things. I can't, I can't paint. I can't draw. It's terrible. But on the writing side, it's a passion of mine. And when I released my first book, I went through the best way I can describe it is and this is a terrible analogy. Cause I can't like literally feel this, but it was like postpartum depression and empty nester syndrome all in the same field. Cause I had published, it took a life of its own. I was involved. It's the most vulnerable I've ever felt in my entire life. Right. And that does exist for all artists. And I think that there's almost this conflict going through their brain. They want to build a lifestyle doing what they love, but they also don't want to be hurt.
Jen Enck (26:07):
Yeah. And, and in a combination with that is that imposter syndrome, that little sucker, it comes up and I have, yeah. And I was just talking about this with my cousin yesterday, who is an artist himself, but he's like me, he works full time. He does this art a little bit here on the side at night. He doesn't really sell it and I've pushed him for years to, to sell. And and then when he finally did our show, he sold, you know, more paintings than anyone it's like, see it's you gotta do it. And that imposter syndrome combined with everything else, I feel like, you know, you have multiple syndromes going on and you have to overcome that. Right. Where are you going? You know, you, you got to do what feels good to you and don't worry about, about anything else. You know, what's the saying like the, what someone else thinks of you is none of your business. Like that's, that's what you gotta remember, just do what feels good to you.
Billy Soroka (27:09):
Do what feels good to you feel the fear do it anyway. And the, my favorite quote was from a local mentor here in Phoenix actually. Who said everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear and that I have proven that to myself time and time again. But you know, I still struggle with the imposter syndrome and put putting yourself out there too far. That's such a gift when you can get through it. So I love that. You've, you've found little bridges to get there and I can't wait to see where you go with this.
Jen Enck (27:39):
Yeah. I it's funny. Cause I just was telling myself, Jennifer stop playing small. You're playing small. Like just keep going because I know what I can do. I know what I've, what I've accomplished, what I can accomplish. But I hold them. I feel like a hold myself back for some reason. And I'm not quite sure what the reason is. You know, I've done a lot of soul searching on the topic and then it's like, then I just kind of push through and get to the next level. And you know, you just kind of keep going. Do you ever read the book 'The big leap'? (The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks).
Billy Soroka (28:11):
No, I haven't read that yet.
Jen Enck (28:14):
Write that down. I can't remember the names of them, Gay something. It's amazing. And that is literally my life. That's when you play small, you know, and you've got to push past those boundaries when you think you can't get any further, that's when you're right there, you know, you just got to go, just keep going,
Billy Soroka (28:33):
Got to keep going. I think that's one of the things I'm so attracted to with you as you always do push through, you know, you rarely quit. Sure. You might shift directions, but you are always in forward motion. And I think that's the key. A lot of people turn around.
Jen Enck (28:47):
Yeah. I'm tenacious as they come, whether it be good or bad, but yeah. But yes, like you said, I do shift gears. I, I'm not afraid, like I'm not afraid of failure where other people are afraid of failure. I'm not. I think if you try something and you don't like it, then you don't like it. You do something else that didn't work out, you do something else. And that's one of the things I think a true entrepreneur is always going to have a million ideas. I don't know about you. I have a notebook with millions of things that I want to do in my lifetime. Right. As a matter of fact, I years ago, I remember watching shark tank. Right. And there was a guy on there and he was kind of a pianist, a. And I could see nobody really wanted to work with this man, but they really liked his product.
Jen Enck (29:36):
And so he was actually offered to sell to them. And it was like, how about if we just, you know, pay you this many millions of dollars for this and just buy it outright from you. And he refused it. And I was like, are you nuts? Like if you're, you obviously are a one trick pony and you're not a true entrepreneur because a true entrepreneur is going to be able to just take that money and do something else and do something else and do something else. Right. And I feel like that's, that's part of the whole spirit of being an entrepreneur, right? Like I've had several businesses I've sold and I've launched and sold. I don't know how many, but I love the startup process. That's like my favorite thing to do. And that used to be, my focus is I just wanted to start it and then give it to someone else. You know? I like the whole, that whole process of it. And so actually holding onto these businesses as long as I have is kind of shocking to me, but I know it's because of the, the, the creative side, you know, it's my stress reliever.
Billy Soroka (30:38):
Yeah. I love that. You talk about that and this is so relatable and maybe, you know, I've been thinking too, I'm in with my current business. I've been part of this longer than any business I've ever been a part of that. But part of the reason is because I can create within it under this umbrella, I can express who I am in so many different ways I can tie the personal development and then I can create new products. That's I think it fosters everything that a person like me multi-passionate is really what it comes down to a multipotentialite right. You ever related to that term? Multi-Passionate or multipotentialite? Oh,
Jen Enck (31:14):
Absolutely. But of course, a lot of people don't relate to it, so they just think you're nuts. Right? I have, I am the crazy guy in a lot of my circles. Yeah. You and me it's like, we're, we're, you know, the two, the two halves making a whole, because we're the same like that where other people are like, what are you doing now? You know, people are inspired by it. And some people are just don't even want to talk to you. Yeah. They
Billy Soroka (31:38):
Think we're leaving, living this fantasy life. And then a lot of ways, I think it is it's exhausting at the same time too. Don't get me wrong. Right. Like I can't even watch shark tank anymore because I can't handle one more idea. Like if I watch shark tank at night, my wheels aren't spinning all night long, just thinking of different ideas or how I could do something better than what I may have seen there. Right. But there's so much in our society where we're, we're kind of ingrained to be the specialist. No, you got to go to school, get this degree. And then you're going to spend 30 years doing just that. And that was literally like, hell on earth for me. Right. And I think we can inspire them. Yeah, exactly. Which they don't even do anymore. Jen, I want to circle back because I love where this conversation went and I also, you have done amazing things with the craft business that I think would be on other people's dream boards right now.
Billy Soroka (32:35):
And that is getting those wholesale accounts going international, tapping into so many different shows. And we can either talk about the drinks and crafts, or we can go into Dandy like Candy with that international piece in there. But I want to just specifically talk about how it ties into your schedule because you, you talk a little bit about how you balance your job, how you create your product, but at what point, and how do you reach out and start building these relationships that get your foot in the door, your product in the door.
Jen Enck (33:10):
Yeah. so like locally here in Arizona, there are a lot of stores that popped up that do have multiple makers in there. And a lot of them will either rent you a little space in the store or they'll do consignment, they'll sell it for you. And then just keep a percentage. Which that's how I started off with my wholesale and learned very quickly that renting, you know, that's how they make their rent is by renting all these spaces to unsuspecting little artists, you know, they think, oh, I can make that a hundred dollars back when you're all of a sudden not making anything. You're just making enough to pay them the rent because no one's pushing your product like you do. And that's something I learned at doing art shows. Cause I watched other artists just sitting there with their face in a book not talking to people and not making any money.
Jen Enck (34:07):
And I sit there, I stand, I smile. I say hello to everybody. I'm like, oh, have you seen these? Oh, you want to see something funny? You know, I talk to everybody and I can make thousands of dollars in four hours. And they made zero, not even enough to cover their booth fee, but it's all in your approach. So when you have stuff in the store, nobody's sitting there trying to sell it for you. Right. They're like, oh, if it comes to the register, cool. You know what I mean? So I'm like, well that doesn't really work for me. And the same with the consignment. So I'd have stuff on consignment for months. And then all of a sudden I'll get a check in the mail for $16. I'm like, are you kidding me? Like, you know, it's been there for three months. I got nothing.
Jen Enck (34:50):
Nobody's buying this. How can I sell thousands of these? But your store can only sell two or one. You know what I mean? It doesn't. So, so for me personally, I decided that is not beneficial for my business. So I do not do renting a space in a store or consignment anymore, but that is how a lot of people want to play it in the state of Arizona. So what I did is I just started contacting stores. You know, I follow stores on Instagram when I like what they sell. You know, I feel like maybe my stuff's a good fit cause I'd have the sassy vibe to it. I said, oh, that's seems like it needs store. I researched the store. I will never walk into a store without an appointment. I don't think that that's professional. I would never want someone to do that to me.
Jen Enck (35:41):
So that's one thing. But I will research the store. I will look at their website, their information. Is there information about how to become a wholesaler? Things like that. And so then I will send an email and, you know, tell, give them a couple pictures of my product, maybe a line sheet, you know, Sam, I love your store. I would love to be a part of it. I think it's a great fit. And you know, here's my wholesale price and love to work with you and then go from there. You know? And I think the key to that too is to schedule follow-up, I'm sure they get millions of emails, you know? So, so there's also these websites that are for makers or companies to connect with stores and buyers. And so I looked into that and I got accepted.
Jen Enck (36:36):
Well, it was funny cause I just launched my business and they're like, I'm like, okay. I hurried up, I created my products. I made my website and my logo, everything in two weeks, just so I could get on this wholesale site. So yeah, I, I hustled in and I got accepted right away and it was a game changer for me and taught me a lot about how to wholesale, because basically you create your own page on their website, has all your products, you set your minimums you set your reorder minimums and they do keep a percentage, which is a little bit high at the beginning. But if people reorder, it reduces. So I thought, well, I'm, I, it would be impossible for me to reach these people on my own. And if you had sales reps, you're going to pay them a commission. So it's the same thing, you know?
Jen Enck (37:22):
And if I want to be serious and play, not play small, right? Like, like in my past, this is what I got to do. Right. So, so that's what I did. And that actually has brought me at least a hundred of my wholesale accounts has been through there. And so it really worked out for me. I mean, it's not, you know, I'm not making all the money in the world, but you know, baby steps, right. You gotta start somewhere and it's been good. And then the other thing I tried to do last year before the world got shut down was I did my very first ever trade show and wow. That I thought, you know, I've been doing art shows for 10, 11 years. My, this shouldn't be too hard. Right. It was, it was quite an experience. It was, yeah.
Jen Enck (38:15):
I did a lot of research beforehand and how to really do a trade show. And it was completely different worlds. You know, it was four days and I went to Dallas for the, the world trade center. I was on a floor of all up and coming companies and artists, they had they actually invited me to come, which I thought was amazingly, how did they find me? You know? So, and it was like a total home and gift show. And it's like, they're expecting, you know, people from 30 something countries like 20,000 buyers. I'm like, this is, this is what I have to do. I got to try. So, so packed up my stuff, got all my, all my goodies made. And I went there and I set up and I smiled and I tried to talk to everyone the way I do at an art show.
Jen Enck (39:04):
And everyone ignored me. I, I was there for three days before I made a sale. I literally was going to cry. It's never, you know, all this time trying to teach the other artists how to like talk to everyone and smile and you know, that's how you sell it. Wasn't working for me for the first time in my, my little career here of selling. So I was like, oh my gosh, what am I doing wrong? And I really wanted to just give up, but you can't, you got to keep going. And so finally kind of the fourth, the third day, I think it was the end of the day I got my first sale and I was like, whoa. So finally it got somewhere. And then what come to find out? It was a lot of people just look around, cause it's literally 13, 13 floors.
Jen Enck (39:49):
I think of, of stuff, of stores of it's a lot for them to get to them. So these people are, you know, coming from all over the world, so see what they want to buy for their, their stores. And so, yeah, by the last day I, I was happy. I went home with some orders. I felt like, okay, I did it. You know, it was an experience, you know, some you got to try, but the expensive at all and the stress of it. I don't know if I'll do another one again, because, but after that, I mean, I did make solid contexts and they still order from me every month or so. And that's the whole point of it. Right? So
Billy Soroka (40:30):
Yeah, those long-term relationships.
Jen Enck (40:32):
Exactly. And just like any other business, you have to build those relationships
Billy Soroka (40:37):
Huge. Well, and I love the love the way you line this up, because it really does come down to relationships. And number one, I love that you research the stores first, you find out that you're a good fit ahead of time. You already know that you're a good fit for your products, a good fit for their store. And then you compliment their store when you reach out like, Hey, I love what you're doing here. I think I'd be a good fit. And here's some samples. And sometimes I think it's, that part gets skipped where when you reach out a lot of artists, a lot of like in my community, it happens to be notaries, but we just, we throw up all about us in the email and we forget that there's a, another person that wants to hear some good stuff about them too, about their dream and about what they're putting out in the world. So I love that you address that a little bit and on the trade show front, I mean, this was your first one. I know you're questioning whether you'll have another one or not, but do you think, are there people that do thrive in this and make it a point to go to those every year? Is there a follow-up are the contacts that good?
Jen Enck (41:43):
Yeah. So there are businesses and a lot of them are way bigger businesses than not than mine, you know? And they have big setups and it's a big to do. And they do, you know, the big shows trade shows. That's all they do. So I thought, well, maybe I could pivot my business in, instead of me hustling, because you know, by this time of the year from October through March, I've already done 30 something shows I do every weekend and I'm exhausted, you know, and I'm waiting for summer so that I can take a break. I thought, well, if I could pivot and I can really push the like candy into the wholesale market more. And I just do say two trade shows a year. I can handle that. You know, if that's successful for me and I can really push my business, then why not?
Jen Enck (42:32):
Let's try it. I mean, basically it's all the money I would have paid in fees for a whole season. It's going into literally four day event, you know? So I was like, well you know, I'm going to just do it. These people invited me I don't know how they found me, but I feel blessed in, you know, there's a reason this is, this opportunity has been presented to me and I'm just going to go for it. And so he did, you know, and then of course the world has changed with COVID. And so a lot of those trade shows stopped being in person. And they're online shows right now. So I don't know what that looks like going forward, you know? Right. I just got a little taste of it and it was right before stuff was last January, right before things were happening. I don't know, you know
Billy Soroka (43:23):
Exactly. Well, you, you brought up something else too that that'll help us close out here. Cause I think this is super important. You, you talked on how at the, by the end of your season, which is normally about this time of year in March in, in at least Phoenix, you're just completely exhausted because you have gone to so many shows now, and then on top of the going to shows, you still have to create your inventory. You're busy. So what that says to me is that this is not always rainbows and unicorns, right? So there's, there's some hard work, some labor and some exhaustion that goes into it. What keeps you going? What's your big, why, why, why do you go through this?
Jen Enck (44:08):
Well, you know, a lot of, a lot of of that is, is true. It's not rainbows and unicorns. It's hard, it's hard work. And as I get older, I'm like, wow, this is like hard physical labor. When you think about it, it's, you know, you think you go into a store, that store is there all the time. As an artist, you are building that store every morning, two before it opens, and then you're open all day long and then you're tearing down for two hours and going home and dying, right? Because you're exhausted. It's not, it's not an easy life, but at the same time, my 'why' that keeps me going is there's people in my life that I need to take care of. You know, I, I feel responsible for, I take care of, and also I enjoy helping people. So those are the things that drive me and you know, what makes, you know, my life is very personal, so I won't say it to the letter, but you know, it's, it's always to serve others, right? I am, I'm a servant to others. And so this helps me be that be philanthropic, help other people. You know, I told you, I've kind of been trying to work on creating a program to help artists sell their work. Like that's another part of it. Like anything I can do to help others and serve as I feel like that's what makes me feel, feel good and feel whole, and this is the gist of my why. So
Billy Soroka (45:38):
I love that. And that's probably another reason why I think you and I are so attracted to each other and we've stayed in each other's lives for so long. Is that servant leadership that you demonstrate, not only are you you're, I mean, you're using your job, your business, your side, hustles, your creativity as a vehicle to serve others in that I love being in the peripheral of that. Jen's energy is amazing. I love what you've created. Congratulations on being international with Dandy like Candy. I can't wait to see where you go, especially with this program or this course that you're creating to help other artists sell or monetize their work too, so they can live their dream lives. Thank you for being here.
Jen Enck (46:22):
Thank you so much for having me and I, you know, I, I love you like a brother from another mother, you know, so we definitely have that bond, that entrepreneurial bond. So I love seeing what, what you're doing and, and thanks for, including me in your journey.
Billy Soroka (46:40):
Totally my pleasure. And thanks for always being willing to say yes, yes. Crazy stuff like being on a new podcast. I really appreciate that. And for those of you that are listening and you're interested in checking out Dandy like Candy, Jen has graciously offered us 20% off your order. Plus you can follow her on Instagram. I have the links and the coupon code inside the VIP room at SideHustleLounge.com. Just look for Jen Inc. And this podcast episode. And we'll hook you up Jen, once again. Thank you so much into all of you who are listening. Thank you for being here.
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