Jenna, makeitshow.ca events are a great avenue for local businesses to start selling their products. How did you get involved in empowering so many entrepreneurs?
Jenna Herbut, the founder of Make It Show, shares her entrepreneurial secrets
I started an accessory company called Booty Beltz about 14 years ago while I was studying business at the University of Alberta. I sold my line in stores, and also at various music festivals, craft fairs and other events. At the time the handmade movement was really gaining momentum so I decided it would be fun to start my own craft fair. The first Make It only had 30 exhibitors and was in a community centre. Now we have 265 at the Vancouver show and over 20,000 people came out to the last holiday show! It’s amazing to see how it’s grown over the years and all the creative entrepreneurs it supports.
What you would tell someone who has a fear of starting their own business?
The fear won’t ever go away. If you’re not scared that means something is wrong and you probably aren’t dreaming big enough! It’s all about perception of fear. I would say invest in personal development and growth. Read books, go to seminars, and hangout with people who ‘get it’.
What does networking look like in your world? What are some of your top tips for successfully networking as a local start up?
I’m not a big networker. I enjoy going to parties and events, but I never go with the agenda or intention to network. I love people and if I meet someone cool I will get to know them as a human first. If we can work together that’s an added bonus. I would say be yourself, have fun and you’ll attract the right people naturally.
What advice do you have for women, who are just starting out in their career or considering a leap to a new career?
Be a bold, brave badass! Life is short n’ sweet and following your heart is the most important thing you can do. The worst thing that can happen is you’ll learn a new lesson. Follow your excitement, always!
How and where did you form your most significant contacts? How have these changed over time?
Vancouver is a very entrepreneurial city so it’s not hard to find others who are doing interesting things. I love meeting people who are inspired and creative. I would say many of my best contacts I met serendipitously. The key to life is not trying too hard. The people you need to meet will show up when you are clear about what you need. Only go to events that you feel drawn to. Don’t force yourself to show up to anything. I used to do this and it only exhausted me.
You have been prepping for two shows in two cities. When life get’s crazy, what is your happy get away?
I’m a big meditator. I do transcendental meditation every morning for 20 mins. I find when I start the day from a quiet place everything is easier. I also travel pretty regularly. Bali is one of my favourite places to recharge and rejuvenate.