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Rising Stars: Meet Joanna Villegas Bennett

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Villegas Bennett.

Hi Joanna, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I’m the seamstress, designer, and creator behind JoJo Makes. Prior to starting my small business you could have found me in an orthodontic office conducting consultations and wondering if and how I would ever fulfill my dream of being self-employed.

When my workplace was ordered to close back in March of last year I found myself at home with lots of time and idle hands. I soon decided to dust off the old Sears Kenmore sewing machine my mom had purchased for me as a teen. Little did I know I was about to create JoJo Makes. I started by creating my own design for face coverings and later expanded into handmade hair accessories. During this time, I was able to donate 316 face masks to two assisted living centers in my community.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome
My small business journey has been far from smooth. There have been multiple external struggles such as material shortages, having both of my sewing machines break in the same week, but I think the greatest challenge thus far has been overcoming my own self-doubts and fears of inadequacy. In building this company I’ve had to take on responsibilities I’ve never dealt with before such as digital marketing, brand building, consistent content creation, and more. There have been many times where I’ve questioned if this is something I’m truly capable of or if I’m in over my head.

When I look back a those moments, I feel so proud that I didn’t allow my fears to stop me. I kept going and took things day by day.

I love this quote I heard Dolly Parton say once, “My desire to do it is greater than my fear of it”.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in quality decorative face coverings with matching hair accessories that I hand make all on my own. JoJo Makes is well known for the skill and care that is put into the creation of each item as well as the uniqueness and creativity of the design. My aim is to provide people with an item that will bring them joy when they receive it, when they wear it, and/or when they give it as a gift.

The community around JoJo Makes is something that truly humbles me everyday. The women (and some men) that support my efforts are what keep this company thriving. A large part of my business is based around return customers and their own referrals to friends and family. I appreciate the trust people put in me to bring their loved ones something they will love and treasure.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Prioritize self-care. It’s easy to get caught up in all the doing that is required to start your business but if you don’t take extended breaks you’ll soon experience burn out. Instead, replenish yourself with anything that makes you feel refreshed and is not business related. That positive energy will translate into your craft and will sustain you for longer.

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