In collaboration with Creatives Meet Business, we’re highlighting four guides who will be leading workshops during the upcoming CMBXP conference. Designed for creatives, artists, small business owners, and solopreneurs, the conference will cover four tracks–Storytelling, Business, Marketing, and Skills Development–as well as feature mentorship sessions and happy hours.
The final interview in our series features Jackie Bologna, founder of Sweet Sangha, who will be leading a wholesale workshop for the Skills Development track. Below, she shares how her career in sales led to entrepreneurship, her thoughts on productivity and daily routines, and the top three things makers need to have lined up before pursuing wholesale.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how Sweet Sangha came to be.
Since graduating with my business degree nearly 10 years ago, I’ve worked sales jobs for small to mid-size and large enterprise companies. Throughout those jobs, I continued learning new things while strengthening my skillset and making invaluable relationships and friendships. Within a couple of years of working for corporate, I grew bored and tired of doing the same thing over and over again, knowing there had to be more, but what was it? In 2016, I came across a startup juice company based in Dallas that I knew was something so special that I had to be a part of it. I was hired on as employee #1 and since then, I never looked back.
I realized that the small business and entrepreneurship life is something that I enjoyed and was passionate about. Every day was a challenge that I embraced and I felt like I was making a difference as we were all working towards something bigger than ourselves. I wore many different hats and continued to learn while connecting with people out in the community and strengthening customer relationships.
Over time, I got to meet so many makers in the community by way of events, markets, networking opportunities, etc. and realized that there was a shared pain point amongst them. They all had really wonderful products and stories of how they started their business but expressed the struggle on the sales side of things when it came to wholesale. The idea behind Sweet Sangha is to bridge the gap between maker and buyer as I help share maker’s stories and get their product out on the shelves through wholesale and meaningful partnerships. I had an aha! moment and realized there was a need so I curated a portfolio of makers and re-connected with my buyers. One year later, here I am and beyond grateful that I decided to take the leap and start my own business!
What is your favorite part about helping small businesses navigate the wholesale process?
When owners/makers realize that wholesale isn’t scary, but rather a valuable asset in helping grow their business once they have a better understanding.
Take us through a typical day in the life. Do you have any routines in place?
Every day varies but for the most part, I’m normally up between 7am-8am. I’m a believer in starting off the day with breakfast so for me, it’s either a bowl of cereal, toast, fruit or yogurt. I’ll either have a cup of coffee (which I rarely finish) or lemon ginger tea and go play with our fur babies (1 cat & 2 dogs). If it’s nice out, I’ll even do a small yoga flow and meditate…but lately with this heat, I’ve been practicing indoors more 🙂
By this time, it’s mid-morning so I sit down at my desk and grab my notebook that has my weekly to-do list written down. Being a one-person business, I’ve found that a weekly to-do is much easier and less overwhelming than a daily to-do as I can visualize my week and shift things around if need be. Monday is usually my catch up day with admin stuff and prospecting. Tuesdays/Wednesdays are my account follow ups and brand partner meetings. Towards the end of the week is when I schedule any in-person (or virtual) meetings with potential clients.
Since working remote these last 5 years, I’ve learned that I work best in sprints (blocks of 1-2 hours) as I’m more productive this way and take small breaks in between. This helps with my work flow and avoid long periods of sitting down — which honestly wouldn’t work for me because I can’t sit still. Hah! I try to wrap up each day by 6pm but will address any pressing matters outside of that timeframe if need be.
Although I love a good routine, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve become more flexible as things can change each day. Whatever your routine may be, remember to be open to change and not be so rigid. We learn to ebb and flow as change is the only constant. The biggest (and best) change for me is that my husband and I just welcomed our baby girl into our family who just turned 1-month!
What are three things you think creative entrepreneurs should consider before pursuing wholesale?
- Develop a website with proper content
- Have pricing in place and a wholesale line sheet to reflect that for prospective buyers
- Know your target market and audience
Tell us about your CMBXP workshop. What do you hope attendees take away from the experience?
Who is your dream client to work with?
My dream clients are businesses and owners that understand my company and align with my values, ethics, and passion. They genuinely take an interest in partnering up and trust me in being another platform and advocate for their brand while helping growing their business. I truly believe that there is no better relationship than one that is mutually beneficial and long lasting!
What is your best advice for creative entrepreneurs wanting to get their product into their dream store?
Be patient and persistent. Good things take time 🙂
Creatives Meet Business Experience is taking place September 19-21 at Springdale General. The conference will include more than 50 hands-on workshops in business, marketing, skills development, and storytelling, and will also feature mentorship sessions and happy hours. To take a look at the full schedule and grab your badge, head to cmbxp.com. Find Jackie’s workshop details and contact info below!