Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenna Smith.
Hi Jenna, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My love for travel, different cultures, and pushing my boundaries started the day I stepped off the airplane alone in London for my college internship. Since that day, I’ve experienced 60+ countries, lived abroad for most of my adult years, and just truly lived life—often without any sort of plan.
Below is my list of who I am outside of my strategy, management, and marketing and entrepreneurial skills. A list demonstrating the grit, the capacity, and the willingness to continue to learn that fuels my everyday life. A list not filled with what I already know how to do, but one full of failures, new chapters, and when you really dig in—one filled with unforgettable real-life experiences. A list of a life, up to this point, fully-lived.
With that, I give you me: I own my own business. I have made bad people and financial investments. I work smart and hard. I have taught English in an orphanage, a factory, and a karaoke bar. I am partner in a second business. In Thailand, I get high making lists and scratching items off lists. I left smalltown USA with the thought of never looking back but realized you can always go home. I have been smacked in the face by a dead body, bucked off a horse onto a cactus, and shared homemade mead with Nepalese villagers. I am always planning a trip. I have slept (comfortably) on dirt floors, jungle hammocks, and everywhere in between. I have surfed, safaried, and silently meditated. I own a vineyard villa. I am a type A, detail-oriented, on the verge of neurotic, control “enthusiast.” I have friends from all walks of life, and I work to keep in touch. I have had malaria, chikungunya, and dengue fever. I have been married and divorced. I have trekked for days in the Colombian jungle, farmed coffee in Guatemala, hot air ballooned over the Nile, and volunteered for the death and dying home in India. I have never felt out of place. I listen. I have never met a stranger.
Currently, I own a boutique in Kimmswick, MO (Sparrow+Mason) and remotely develop marketing campaigns for two learning organizations and a startup accelerator. But what I enjoy most are the six months of the year spent in sunny places, soaking up the sun, cultures, and slower-paced life. Sparrow+Mason is named after my two rescue dogs. One, Mason, is rescued from the same county as the boutique is located, and the other, Sparrow, was rescued from a Thai island.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No road is completely smooth, but then again, no smooth road every built any sort of character or perseverance. Obstacles and challenges build the grit you need to know that moving forward is the only option and finding that next step is part of the process.
My boutique was started on a whim, more than 8,000 miles from Missouri. While vacationing in Vietnam with my parents, they mentioned that they would be moving their business to a new location and their building would be available. I immediately suggested that I be their tenant, even though I lived full-time in Thailand. Crazy? Maybe. But I was able to set up the entire company from the ground up remotely, and with the support of my friends and family, I flew in a week prior to launch and was able to open a fully designed and stocked store on the targeted date.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’ve marketed everything from feline HIV treatments and construction to learning and development programming and far-off island resorts. The tie that binds is the ability to tell a story and paint a picture through words.
I believe this 20+ year marketing experience shines through in the boutique, as I now have a platform to tell those stories through tangible goods. I’m able to dot my I’s and cross my T’s through product placement, color groupings, and vignettes. Kimmswick is a community of 20+ merchants, and while we each try to differentiate ourselves from one another to create a holistic shopping experience, we wouldn’t be anything without one another.
Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
There are no real surprises with me! I am radically candor with all who meet me. I am, however, not comfortable in the spotlight, talking about myself or opening gifts while others watch!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: sparrowandmason.com
- Instagram: sparrow_and_mason
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sparrowandmason
Lynn Terry Photography (picture of Sparrow only)