We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenn Cleary and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenn, how do you think about risk?
I believe that risk taking is essential for growth and discovering our best stories. One of the main reasons I created The Wandering 1 is actually to inspire venturing out and taking more risks. Having before been in a well-paying job I wasn’t satisfied with, I decided to quit and take an unpaid internship. Not only was this a risk financially, but the internship was across the country, meaning I would uproot myself from my hometown, all the relationships I had grown with, and the feeling of security in living a stagnant daily routine. I knew no one or anything about the direction I was headed, but I had many goals in life, and knew that change was necessary for those goals to happen. I also realized that risk was necessary for change to happen. But I tend to be quite the over-thinker and will look back on decisions well after they’re made, so I knew there was still something more I needed in order to follow through with the risks: faith. Without faith, sometimes our goals can absolutely seem unreachable, because we’re limiting ourselves to what we think we’re capable of in the current place and current time. We most likely never have that motivation to change and grow. And then we’ve already failed, because we haven’t even tried. God had bigger plans for me than just standing still and wishing, which is why He placed on my heart the creation of The Wandering 1. I may not always know where I’m going, but I know I’ll get where I’m supposed to be if I just keep trying. The risk to have that kind of faith is always worth it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Pretty much every part of the business keeps me busy, but growing connections and marketing is probably the most important. Initially I doubted whether I had the resources, knowledge, or experience to start a business, and the truth is, I didn’t. But God was teaching me that it’s ok to not have it all together–that’s not what gets something going. All you need is the passion, drive, faith, and a little help from others. The more people I told about my idea, the more resources I gained through connections, and pretty soon I was able to manage the finances, design work, craft fair showings, and other components to get my business off the ground. I have some friends publicly market my company when I’m too shy to; others introduce me to screen printers for product design; others fix my website when I inevitably break it trying to fix it; and some of the best just give me words of encouragement when I have self doubts. Each day is different, and new challenges to overcome, but connecting with these people and others in the community is ultimately what’s been the most exciting in this brand-building adventure.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh boy, there are so many amazing things to do in this area of Colorado! Obviously I love my hometown of Glenwood Springs, so we would have to start there. From the wide range of downtown restaurants to the diversity of outdoor activities right in the backyard, you could spend the whole week just in this town alone. Rafting along one of the two rivers coming together in the heart of town, horseback riding along the Flat Tops wilderness area, rock climbing within gorgeous Glenwood Canyon, hiking to views of Mount Sopris and the Elks Mountain range, soaking in the natural hot springs, paragliding over the town….I’m just getting started. But in venturing outside of home, I’d say one of my favorite places discovered in this state is Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I’ve seen big canyons before, even Grand, but something about this stunning black gem in the seemingly middle of nowhere captured my heart. Camping on the edge, watching the sunset, feeling small against something so big…I feel humbled and reset as I put into perspective conflicts, goals, and life itself. If there was still time, I’d pile paddle boards in the Jeep and offroad one of the most serene lakes hidden in the Valley’s wilderness (sorry, keeping that one a secret). Then we’d finish off the trip with a Big Daddy Croughnut (the world’s best doughnut) breakfast sandwich at Sweet Coloradough in Glenwood Springs, sending my friends off in a happy sugar coma! 🙂
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The ultimate shoutout to my Northern Star who has guided me, comforted me, and encouraged me throughout the business and every other part of my life. Without Jesus, I would never had had the courage to take the risk to start a business or follow crazy dreams. And a massive shoutout to my parents, who are a constant source of inspiration and support. They’ve kept the dream alive on my downest of days. Of course a shoutout to my friends and followers for keeping both the business and my vision alive, and spreading the word to those I haven’t yet reached. I’ll never be able to thank you all enough.