fiddle leaf photography
Jan 18, 2018
As I’ve grown my business I’ve come to know so many dynamo women business owners in Edmonton who are the most beautiful mix of grit and grace. Do they have it all figured out? NO. Do any of us? They are working their way through, one day at a time, trying to make life what they want it to be. And on top of it all, they are raising their own kids, who are watching them forge a path that isn’t always easy but is full of reward. I’m fascinated by these women and want to learn more, which is why I asked if they’d sit down and chat with me. This is the third entry in the Grit + Grace series. You can catch past Grit + Grace entries here.
When you first meet Jennifer Jones, the woman behind the Nest In the City, you’ll probably note that she has a quiet, reassuring presence. She appears calm and collected while still exuding an approachable warmth. But, this woman is not to be underestimated. Jennifer has big dreams and a strong work ethic, and in only 3 years, she has turned Nest In the City into one of Edmonton’s premier handmade markets.
I first met Jenn at a Tuesdays Together meeting in 2016 and since then have been following her journey as her markets continue to grow and gain popularity. I’m fascinated with how she had an idea, that to me seemed grand, but to her seemed 100% doable, and built a business that is not only sustainable and fun, but also allows her the freedom to pick her 2 kids up from school and do a lot of her work from home.
Although markets will always be at the core of Nest In the City, recently Jenn has expanded her business by introducing the Nest Collection (clothing and homeware) and Nest Night Out (a crafty night ladies night out).
I met up with Jenn in her south Edmonton home one morning and we sat down over coffee to talk about how she got here, how she manages motherhood with business, and what her plans for the future are.
Tell me about your business and what it is you do
Nest In the City is a creative lifestyle market. It’s hosted twice a year, and we have handmade, local vendors as well as workshops and other fun crafty activities.
How did you start Nest in The City?
I’d been to many markets shopping for my kids and whatnot, but I wanted something more fun, interactive, and creative. I love crafting with my kids and loved decorating their nurseries, so I really wanted something to encompass all of that where you could go out and have a day with your friends and do more than just shop.
When you first started did you have 2 kids at home?
Yes, my daughter was in preschool and so I was trying to fit work in during nap times and in the evenings.
How long have you been doing Nest In The City for?
We’re going into our third year of markets.
Was Nest In the City anything before markets, or did you just decide you were going to start a market and went for it?
It started as a market. We rented and a space, got vendors and just went for it.
Were you terrified it wouldn’t work?
No, not really. At first we only had 28 vendors, so we started really small. We didn’t want to just accept anyone and everyone. We created an application process and I really wanted vendors that I would shop from myself.
What’s your favourite part of running Nest In the City?
That I really get to do what I love. I get to be creative and come up with new stuff every time we have a market. I also get to meet some amazing vendors, and even some of the moms that come to the show every time. I love being able to make connections.
What’s the hardest part of Momming and running your own business?
All of it! But really, setting boundaries. Working from home is constantly challenging and to set boundaries around home life and work life isn’t easy. At first, I was really bad with it, but I’ve gotten better because I had to. I’ve also learned to say no, which has helped a lot.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?
To have a niche. I think it was actually in one of our Tuesdays Together meetings where we talked about defining a niche and that hit home. Because at first you think you have to please everyone, but then you realize that’s not going to work. So, narrow it way down. And yes, you will lose people, but the people who come will love it.
Where do you hope Nest In The city will be in 5 years?
I really like where we are right now. We’ve found our niche, which is where I want it. But I do want to work on growing our merchandise and our brand so that we are more than just the markets.
What’s the best Mom advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t try and be perfect! I struggled with that so much. I’m a perfectionist, but then you become a mom and realize that it’s just not going to work. You have to let things go. It’s an ongoing struggle, but I always try to keep it in the back of my mind.
What is a favourite kid product you could never live without?
Blackout blinds. My kids sleep in, even in the summer when it’s light out so early. The blackout blinds are amazing.
What’s the song when you just need to dance it out?
Blinded by the light! My kids love that song too, even though they call it by a different name.
If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you bring?
(Long pause to think about this question, and then laughter, because really, who gets to go to a desert island all by themselves without their kids?) My phone, because then I’d have music and I could read. And I guess just a nice blanket, and then I’d figure everything else out.
What’s your favourite app on your phone?
What’s your current Starbucks order
Vanilla latte, half sweet
High heels or sneakers?
Both, depending on the day and if I’m Momming or working.
Leggings or jeans?
Do you have a recent read you’d recommend?
Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving Success by Randy Vaden. It was all about how we’ve become this escalator/elevator mentality where we want everything instantly. About how we see this add on Facebook and it’s just as easy as taking a webinar and you’ll be rich, skinny, famous, whatever. But no, it takes a lot of work.
Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a mom now than it was to be a mother when you were growing up?
Both. I feel like my husband is more involved than my Dad was, so in that sense, it’s easier. But it’s also harder because we have the internet and everything being thrown at us with what we should and shouldn’t be doing and sometimes it’s almost too much information.
Do you feel like you have this mom thing figured out?
(Lots of laughter…) No! Gosh no. Wait, let me check. Is there like a quiz I can do??? (Jenn checks her phone and we both break into hysterical laughter.)
Want to read more inspiring stories? Catch up on past Grit + Grace stories here.