We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Wise and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Success can be something difficult to measure, but I believe any degree of success goes back to relationships. I think the three main habits that have helped me succeed are: being available and helpful, organization, and communication. I was born with an altruistic nature, but I also make an effort to be there for my clients 100%. My business is all about the heart–helping people create photo and story treasures in heirloom-quality products. I am serious about being available to answer questions, provide motivation and inspiration, give tips and tutorials, and create an online community of memory-keepers for both fun and support. In addition to my goal to always service my clients well and truly take care of them, I am very organized. Of course, this helps me run my small business without running out of breath, but it’s helpful to those who depend on me, too, because I have so many resources at my fingertips which I can share with anyone who needs them. I believe that communication is the highest form of connection and respect. I value keeping my clients updated (like what’s on sale when), and to me that’s part of a good relationship. Keeping in touch, being accessible, and presenting myself as real and approachable while still being professional all contribute to my communication practices. Success is in the eye of the beholder, so although I won’t be retiring at 50 to my own private island, I am happy with the things I’ve prioritized in my business which have built relationships and served people well. With that, I feel both successful and satisfied.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is called Heritage Makers. It began about 20 years ago because a mom wanted to make sure her kids knew her grandpa (her hero) even though he lived thousands of miles away. She wrote about him in a little not-so-professionally-published storybook that her kids read over and over at bedtime. That idea grew to become Heritage Makers, a professional personal publishing company. I came on board as a consultant a year or two later. What sets Heritage Makers apart from others is what I am most proud and excited about–from heirloom-quality products that will last generations, to no extra or hidden fees, to full creative license and personalization, it’s just head-and-shoulders above anything else I’ve ever seen. I had a client once who got her first published photo book back in the mail and sent me a text: “I’m bawling my eyes out. I didn’t know it would be this beautiful.” I have to say that I got where I am today with persistence, luck, and following my heart. As an introvert, a social selling company seems like the last place I would end up, but over time I learned how to make it work for me. I wasn’t looking for a business or even a hobby when Heritage Makers came my way, and yet I couldn’t turn it down because I knew what important work it would be and what it would mean to my potential clients. Photos, memories, stories, and connections are good for the heart and soul (and there have even been studies done to show it)! So instead of pushing for the sale (like I thought you needed to do in a social selling business), I led with my heart. It took some practice. I had to learn how to use my talents in my business, but I have attracted clients and a team who connect with me and with my approach, and it’s a happy place to be. Trying new ideas, experimenting, learning about business, and networking are some ways I have overcome challenges. Things change, and I have to change, too. Keeping an open mind about my approach has been necessary, and so has being true to myself by not doing things that aren’t ME. What I want the world to know about my brand and my story is that it matters. Your photos matter. Your stories matter. When you preserve them, it has the power to change you. It creates connections–connections with those you love, and even connections with your own heart. Stories can be empowering and healing. Photos can be fun as well as extremely meaningful and cherished. Photos that stay on your phone are just overwhelming. Memories that stay in your head don’t have meaning until you record them and give them meaning. It’s the best kind of “me time” or retail therapy you can imagine!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This summer I’ll celebrate living in Colorado for 7 years, so I always like it when friends tell me about their favorite spots! I would love to find more in this beautiful state! If I had a friend come and visit me for a week, I would take her to Garden of the Gods, the Denver Botanic Garden, the Denver Aquarium, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, The Bluffs (Lone Tree) and Paint Mines. We would eat at Sabor Mexican restaurant (Centennial & Aurora), Opa! (Parker), Mici (Highlands Ranch & Parker), and Hickory House Ribs (Parker), with a Crumbl cookie (Centennial & Parker) or frozen yogurt for dessert. I love all the trails around Denver and its suburbs! I love seeing people walking, running, and biking so much in Colorado. The weather is great for being outside much of the year, and I enjoy taking advantage of all the sunshine we get here.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are several Heritage-Makers who have made this business and my 16-year journey as a consultant possible. First, Heidi, Wendy, and Cary who invited me to learn about this brand new little business about telling your stories and preserving your memories and photos 16 years ago. Without them, I wouldn’t have started on this road–especially as the die-hard introvert I am! Second, I have a wonderful group of devoted clients and team members who make working my business truly enjoyable. They love photos, memories, and stories as much as I do. They get excited about finishing their family yearbooks or giving a sweet and truly personal gift, and they often tell me about what they’re doing and what they love, which makes my job so meaningful and rewarding. Last but not least, Candi, the co-founder of Heritage Makers, who has appreciated my passion for memory-keeping and has been an amazing and supportive mentor to me the past couple of years. Shoutout to these wonderful people who have touched my life and my heart the past decade and a half!
Becca Morganegg, Trish Tolentino