Photography by Meg Niemann | @MSNPhotography
I am so excited to announce my third Honest Girl is not only my cousin, but also my best friend DRUM ROLL PLEASE.... MEET Jenna Sands!!! Jenna started her company Branded By Jenna around the same time I started Honestly Kate, so watching her company grow to size it is now has been so inspiring! Jenna has had a passion for health and fitness our entire lives.... something I'm still praying rubs off on me! Read below for her tips and tricks of the trade!
What is Branded by Jenna?
Branded by Jenna emerged from a side hustle I was working on while I was employed at another company. I was helping a family business market their food products on social media platforms, which ultimately started to drive website traffic and grow their e-commerce sales. After seeing tremendous organic growth after only a few months of work, the company began to depend on their e-commerce sales as a significant part of their monthly revenue, something which they had never considered before. I realized that my services could be applicable to a number of small brands looking to expand their social presences. Ten months ago I took a leap of faith and left my job, my comfortable salary, my benefits, and my health insurance to follow a passion. Today, I represent eight clients in the Health and Wellness space and my company continues to grow.
Was there a particular moment that made you realize this career was for you? Have you always been interested in marketing brands?
Although I have always followed a healthy lifestyle, I never had a background in marketing until Branded by Jenna was born. Once I saw myself adding tremendous value to these brands, I knew this career was for me. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and knew that I wanted to work for myself and I was just waiting for the right moment to come along!
What makes your approach different than other social media agencies out there?
My services are affordable and customizable, and clients have the ability to add their input, something which many PR and Social Media agencies do not offer. Big agencies charge per an hour, I charge per monthly service. The majority of clients have between 1 and 2 services, that are tailored based on their social media objectives and initiatives.
How is working with a family business?
I’d be lying if I said it’s easy to work with my family because it’s not. I frequently remind myself how lucky I am to have a mentor like my dad. He is the reason Branded by Jenna exists. His company, Paleo Passion Foods was my first client. It is because of this company, that I was able to learn from my mistakes, teach myself marketing skills, and take a risk.
Tell us about your other company, Wellness Meet Up.
Wellness Meet Up is the sister company to Branded by Jenna. I started it with a childhood friend who I had connected with on the same common interests. We realized that these bloggers & influencers were developing close friendships through the internet, but lacked communication in real life. Today our mission with Wellness Meet Up NYC is to foster in-person connections between brands, bloggers, and wellness enthusiasts. We host bi-monthly events; each with a social media influencer, a curated theme, and brand sponsorships chosen specifically to meet this theme. Wellness enthusiasts meet their favorite influencers while also learning about a specific wellness topic and discovering new brands. It is our goal foster real-life relationships throughout the country.
What advice do you have for other creative women with a passion for entrepreneurship and starting their own business?
Follow your passion. Don’t be complacent and definitely don’t stay employed at a company, if you don’t see a bright career path ahead.
What advice do you have for people trying to pursue a side gig?
Give it your all. You never know where it will lead you. You will know if you’re on the right path if you have absolutely no free time, your sacrificing your social life, you’re embracing the stress, and you STILL want to pursue it.
What’s next for your career? Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
The demand for my social media marketing services is tremendous. My current focus is figuring out how to effectively scale the business, so I can take on a dozen more clients within the upcoming year. Our goal for Wellness Meet Up is to go nationwide within the year and be hosting events in big cities throughout the country.
How do you stay honest to your brands?
Staying honest with the brands I work with means being honest with yourself. I only represent brands that I believe in and that I can add value to. I would never take on a client whose product I don’t agree with or where I don’t feel my services would benefit them.
Thanks for sharing your Jenna! Check back next week for my fourth Honest Girl!