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Meet Jen Tracy of Jenco Creative in Miracle Mile

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Tracy.

Jen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My path to establishing JENCO CREATIVE was pretty fast in the making. I went back to school as an older student, and after graduating from college I went on to spend 3 years in corporate environments. It only took three years before I decided to take a chance and become a freelance designer. I felt pretty confident that with my connections and personality I would find an opportunity to get me into my next full-time job. But that plan changed courses pretty fast as my independent freelance work picked up and I was overcome with excitement of “doing my own thing.”

My first big break was through a connection I made when I was waitressing during college. I had kept in touch with a customer who owned his own graphic design studio, Facet Creative. It was an aligning within the universe that put us together, as he just landed a huge client and needed help with the work load. That relationship developed into me finding an amazing mentor and learning enough to constitute getting a Master’s Degree in real world design. From that foundation I moved forward with some serious hustle.

Between those early years and today, I’ve taken many roads and tried many paths to get to where I am with my business. I reached out to people who I respected in my industry and asked advice, heard new perspectives and even found mentorship. I took on every project that came my way and pushed my team to always do our best regardless no matter the size of the project. I strategically partnered with web design firms who didn’t have the skills to take on print design. I became involved in NAWBO (National Association of Women’s Business Owners) and grew my community of women who are out there in the world making business happen. I found an opportunity to write for The Dieline, a packaging design blog, which brought greater visibility to JENCO CREATIVE. But lastly, I had an unbelievable amount of perseverance and the ability to work very hard on very little sleep during those formative years.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’ve heard that working for yourself is never a smooth road. If it was smooth sailing, everyone would be running their own companies. For me, I never planned to start a graphic design studio –but the fast growth in my freelance design career pushed me into being a small business owner pretty FAST.

When I think about the struggles I’ve had over the years, three key topics come to mind. Picking myself up after failure, the cash flow of running a small business and lastly, managing the business aspect of running a company when my key strength is creativity not finance.

I’d like to say I’ve overcome all these struggles and that they are in the past, but I find they continually pop back up.

Having failures along the way are probably the most memorable of the struggles. The emotional pain that comes with mistakes being made, work set-backs and total defeats – those leave scars. But ultimately, I’ve found I have some amazing resiliency within in me. Talking with other business owners who understand the common plights is reassuring and laughter always helps.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Jenco Creative story. Tell us more about the business.
JENCO CREATIVE is a boutique graphic design studio that’s been around since 2007, helping our clients make their services and products shine. JENCO’s beginnings focused on print design, but we quickly fell in love with helping clients build smarter, better-looking brands. Since then, we’ve grown up to include a collaborative team that covers design, copywriting, and web development while running the gamut of branding, print, and digital work.

We’re small in size but big on personality. We’re confident but check our egos, we’re lighthearted but know when to get serious. Most of all: we love our clients. So we do more than just design: with careful service and creative guidance, we make sure our clients are always comfortable and happy. And we love bringing that spirited JENCO style to every project.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I feel extremely fortunate for the twist of good fate I had in the beginning of my career. As a freelance graphic designer, I had a “lightening in a bottle” situation that brought me to where I am today. A contact I made through my days working as a waitress at Lulu’s Cafe brought me enough business to keep a small team employed for over two years. As mentioned earlier, this contact ended up being my mentor, my biggest support system and he provided me with what I consider to be a Master’s Degree in real world design. I am continually grateful for all he brought to my life and my career.

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Image Credit:

Athena Photography

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