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Meet Jennie Small

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennie Small.  

Hi Jennie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I worked as a western wholesale rep (Wrangler and Cinch Jeans) for about 15 years after graduating from college in 2001 from the Ohio State University. I married my husband in 2006. We met in 1998 and started dating in 2002. Prior to my work as a wholesale rep, I worked at Rod’s Western Palace and I showed horses in my youth, so I have a long-standing love of all things Western. In 2016, one day before my birthday, I found out that I was pregnant. We weren’t really trying, but not preventing it either. About a month later, we found out that we were having twins! I was mentally prepared to continue my job as a sales representative with Cinch Jeans with A baby, but two kind of threw a wrench into my plans. Then we had premature twins at 29 weeks and 6 days on 4/4/17. They spent 13 weeks in the NICU at Akron Children’s Hospital. I spent almost every day there as well. They were finally both released on 7/7/17. The first 18 months with twins were HARD. I gave up my job because there was no way I could return to traveling 6 states. We were fortunate enough that my husband got my job since it had great pay and benefits. We lost my best friend/Frenchie dog a day before my girls’ 2nd birthday, which also happened to be my dog’s 8th birthday. We got a new Frenchie pup in July 2019 and I was disappointed that I couldn’t find a collar that I really liked. I had dabbled in leatherwork when I was in high school, so I decided to give it a try again to see if I might enjoy it. I LOVE it! I started a business in October 2019 and have opened business pages on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Etsy. I have been busy enough to enjoy a nice supplement to our family income and will hopefully be able to increase my business when my girls go to kindergarten in August. I loved my old career, so I’m very happy that I have found something that is also fulfilling now that I have children. I was 37 when they were born, so I didn’t really think I was going to even have kids. 

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?
Overall, it has gone pretty smoothly. I’m glad I didn’t start until my girls were toddlers. Etsy and Facebook have been great platforms to connect with customers. My main struggle has been balancing family and work, which I’m sure is the main struggle of every working mom. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I never had considered myself artistic. I can’t draw worth a darn. I can, however, transfer drawing to leather and make it look really cool (in my opinion). I kind of have a niche in dog collars. Not a lot of makers specialize in the dog collar market. I also make some Birkenstock sandals, which is another specialization. 

What makes you happy?
I love my family, and my pets, and I love that I can be at home and not miss anything in my girls’ lives because I’m stuck at work. I love making my own schedule and creating things is very fulfilling. When customers leave good feedback or message me to tell me how much they love something, it really makes me smile. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Laura Jonsson Photos

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1 Comment

  1. Paul Winters

    June 19, 2022 at 2:21 am

    Love what you’re doing with your life, Jen! Hope we can connect sometime this summer.

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