We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenn Cleary and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenn, what do you attribute your success to?
I attribute greatly the success of The Wandering 1 to three things: community, flexibility, and faith. When The Wandering 1 was still just an idea, I was in a period of my life when staying in one place for too long meant I was “sitting still.” I had visions that I would continue to explore new areas and communities, and not settle in any one place. A funny thing happened soon after launching the brand though: every time I made to move locations, some new opportunity too good to ignore kept popping up that kept me stationed. With each opportunity, leaving my small town in Colorado was suddenly much more difficult because my connections were growing, and with it the recognition of my brand. I felt a pull to both stay and go (which I think many of us can relate to at times) and at first it was frustrating! But over time I realized that integrating myself into a close-knit, supportive community was much more valuable than seeing new places for the sake of “going somewhere” in life. What I thought I wanted wasn’t necessarily what I needed. God knew this, and kept me in place for a reason. And in staying still for a moment and expanding my connections, I have received overwhelming encouragement from such a supportive community. Strangers who don’t necessarily know me begin to recognize the brand (benefit of a small town) and sales are spreading from word of mouth, which is amazing and crucial to the growth of a starting business. I also learned that while some say that you have to make sacrifices for a starting business, I would argue that flexibility is the better outlook. If I wasn’t flexible in the plans I had for myself or my business, The Wandering 1 might not be in its fourth year now. I think it’s important too to recognize that flexibility can replace “IF” with “WHEN.” Our dreams don’t have to die just because our plans didn’t materialize when we thought they would. Venturing on in faith that we will get where we need to be, at just the right time, frees us from looking back at those “what ifs”, and will ultimately lead us to our best success.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a nature photographer and designer who showcases travel-inspired work on screen printed hats, clothing, photo slates, tapestries, luggage tags, and more. I am currently based in a small mountain town in Colorado, where I find incredible inspiration in the landscape, wildlife, and daily adventures of my backyard! I attend many markets and fairs in the summer, and one of my favorite things is connecting with other adventurers and travel-enthusiasts. While adventure and travel is at the heart of my brand, I ultimately hope to inspire faith in our daily ventures, and encourage individuals to pursue their creative dreams. I hope one day to create a larger platform for individuals to connect through nature, and build each other up as collective wanderers! One of the things I most love about this journey and my brand is the constant growth and change. I think a brand needs to be flexible because it’s naturally going to change as you work through the logistics, the market., etc. Every year I do a “re-vamp” (even if only in my head) about what The Wandering 1 is representing and saying. Usually every year I fine tune a different area that ultimately makes the brand better as a whole. I’ve learned a great deal, but one is that the answers don’t always have to come right away. The exciting part is finding them along the way!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If in the summertime, I’d grab breakfast from “The Lazy Bear” in New Castle, then take them on an exciting whitewater raft trip down the Colorado river in the morning. We’d follow up with a natural hot spring soak in the town of Glenwood Springs, then dinner at one of the amazing restaurants downtown, like “The Pullman” or “Slope and Hatch”. Depending on the day, most of the towns in the Roaring Fork valley have some sort of concert or festival happening throughout the summer, so I’d try to check out one of those with my guest as well! There are also great off-roading trails to spectacular sights of wildflowers, turquoise lakes, and picturesque old mining towns, and can often find awesome camping spots along the way!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely want to thank my community for their continued encouragement and support in my brand, especially during this difficult time during the pandemic. I want to thank in particular my church community for mentoring and supporting me in all my endeavors, and being a beacon of light through dark times. They have brought me closer to Christ and strengthened my faith, which this business would be nothing without.