Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in home décor but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jackie Chapman, owner of Jak. Natural Designs, located in Blue River, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Jak. Natural Designs is a one-woman, self-taught woodworking and woodturning venture that focuses on creating small-batch and high-quality functional art. My mission with Jak. Natural Designs is essentially to bring people joy. Using ethically sourced wood and sustainable practices, I can only hope that these intentionally made goods will inspire a life lived in the same way the pieces are made: with love, with passion, and exceptionally.
My clients are design-loving, conscious consumers. Whether they're looking for an eye-catching platter board for their next dinner party or a statement floor vase, all the goods that leave my shop have an origin story and have been uniquely designed and created by my own two hands.
Tell us about yourself
Inspired by natural wonders and fuelled by my quest to live an adventure-filled life, I embarked on a new journey of woodturning and woodworking in the summer of 2018. Stemming from a long-time interest in pottery and conveniently surrounded by 'blank canvases,' woodturning was exactly the creative outlet I needed after settling in the sleepy and remote town of Blue River, BC.
Beginning the craft wasn't difficult; however, honing and perfecting my skills has been a continual and, at times, very challenging process. The entirety of my skills on the lathe and in the woodshop, I've learned through YouTube and trial and error. By primarily using foraged timber, I love giving new life to our precious natural resources as well as incorporating whatever journey the tree has already been on into my creations. I'm continually motivated by discovering what kind of challenges and opportunities I will find in each piece of wood and exploring how I can incorporate the designs from my sketchbook into tangible pieces of art.
My favourite works to make usually come with the biggest organic challenges - there is always beauty to be found within nature's flaws and imperfections. I consider every piece created to be an extension of the natural world and a symbol of inherent beauty, intended to bring a sense of serenity, delight, and wonder into the space in which it resides.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been building my community. Entrepreneurship can be quite a lonely profession. When you're first starting out, there is so much self-doubt, indecisiveness, and uncertainty. I have been so fortunate to build my network of clients, fellow woodworkers, and other small businesses who all support me in different and wonderful ways. Another big accomplishment has been how far my business has come as I enter into my third year with Jak. Natural Designs. When I look back at how and where I started, I have nothing but gratitude, appreciation, and gratification for what this small business of mine has become.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
In my opinion, the hardest thing part about owning a business and especially with being a solo entrepreneur is having to wear all the hats. There's really a fine line between knowing when to learn a new skill and when to hire something out. This can mean the difference between having a good efficient flow in your business to keep moving forward or getting stuck not knowing how to do something and getting frustrated and stagnant. The balance of saving money or saving time is a skill I still have yet to master, and so far, I've learned that at the end of the day, the more work you can do from your zone of genius, the better off you'll be.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- 'Progress is better than perfection' - it's easy to get caught up trying to do everything perfectly but remember that nothing will ever be perfect. Usually, making progress is more important.
- 'Try to spend the most time working in the areas of your business that you love most' - you started a business to enjoy what you do, and the more time you spend doing the aspects that excite you, the more energy you will put into your business and most likely the more success you will have.
- 'Celebrate your successes!' - remember when you were dreaming about doing what you are doing now? Make sure to take the time to celebrate your accomplishments and your wins! It's easy to finish something and just move on to the next thing, but it's so important to recognize when you've succeeded at something. Also - you make your own schedule which means that whether it's something big or small, it's so important to acknowledge your achievements and how far you've come.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you so much for this opportunity to share my story. If you're someone who's been dreaming of running your own business - just start! You can do it!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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