I am so excited to introduce Jennifer Wilson of VONBON to you. I fell in love with her products while pregnant last year and have since become inspired by her business mindset as well as her desire to parent intentionally. Here she shares how in 6 months she went from being overworked to living intentionally.
Please tell us a little about you:
I am a 32 year old, mom to be, come November. I live in downtown Vancouver with my husband of three years. I was a dental assistant for 7 years, went back to school to become a dental hygienist and then gave it all up last December to follow my dream of running my own business. I now own and operate VONBON, an organic cotton baby and children’s apparel and accessory line. I have a hand in every part of my business, from designing prints and patterns, to branding, social media management, and packing/ shipping orders. No job is too big or small.
I love being outdoors, and am an avid sun seeker! Travelling is a passion of mine and I hope to scratch many more places off my list. I am a girly girl at heart and love dressing up and putting on a pair of heels! I am a new entrepreneur and still trying to figure out how to balance my personal and business lives. It’s a daily struggle, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Three of your favorite things to get you through the day (apps/drink/workout):
1. If I can push myself to do it, an outdoor workout first thing in the morning is the best! I take to the seawall with my resistance bands and soak up the scenery while I sweat it out.
2. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but since the summer hit I am addicted to iced vanilla lattes. Decaf for me with a babe on the way!
3. And Instagram, of course!
Who are you inspired by, and why?
Honestly, I am inspired daily by so many around me. I have created an amazing network of hard working, determined, intelligent young women who inspire me on a daily basis. Whether it’s a personal attitude or a brand strategy, I’m inspired to be the best I can be in my personal and business life. My sisters are also huge inspirations to me and I am so lucky to be able to have them as part of my team at VONBON.
To get where you are today, how did you ‘feel the fear and move through it’ anyway? Where there any moments you thought you’d just simply quit?
It wasn’t until I started my own business did I realize that most people’s lives are run by fear. Every decision they make is based on a fear, whether it’s fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of the work required. Some are even fearful of success! Over time I learned to remove fear from my mind and keep a positive attitude. I use positive affirmations and thoughts to visualize what I want in my life and for my business. Of course, that doesn’t mean that just because I think it, it will happen. I have had plenty of road bumps along the way and definitely felt like “maybe I should just quit”.
For example, when our demand grew too large for me to continue hand making my products. I had no choice but to hire a local production company to continue growing. I was so fearful that my standard of quality wouldn’t be met, or that there would be great errors made that would cost me time and money. I had to let go of the fear of loosing total control and take a chance that it would all work out. There were definitely some learning curves, but it was the best decision I made.
We always want to know how others balance it all, and I’m sure you feel like you don’t, but tell us some ways on how you stay on top of your game. What gets left behind, what gets top priority, and what helps you stay grounded?
Such a great question! I think these days social media gives us all the perception that people’s lives are “perfect” and they are able to balance it all and look fabulous while doing it. Let’s be real…some days are better than others and it’s a constant push/ pull to navigate the game of “balance’” in our lives.
Over the past 6 months I came to realize that my passion, VONBON, was taking over my life and my relationships. It was so easy for me to work 24/7 because I love what I do and want to be the best at it. All of the really important things started to slip away while I burned the midnight oil. My health was starting to decline, my marriage was suffering, and the relationships with my family and friends were taking a toll. I had a massive “awakening” once I became pregnant and realized that you can have balance in your life, it just doesn’t look the same from day to day.
I sat down and made a list of all of the changes I wanted to make. Now, I stay on top of my game by putting myself first instead of my business. I make the time to eat right, be active and spend quality time with the ones I love. Because I work from home, it’s easy to always be working. I no longer work around the clock, I let emails wait until tomorrow if need be. I make sure to eat dinner and spend the evenings with my husband. We started writing to each other each night to keep our communication open, and to be conscious of what’s working, what’s not and what we are grateful for. It’s something we look forward to every night. Weekends are for friends, family and having fun!
If you can truly accept that some things just have to wait and won’t get done today, tomorrow or even next week, then you can be much happier. You really just have to take things one day at a time and congratulate yourself for even the smallest daily accomplishments.
What are your must-have tools to keep on top of every day tasks as well as your busy life?
I couldn’t live with out my Sugar Paper Planner. It has a monthly calendar that I write all my projects, plans and events in. It sits open on my desk and is a great snapshot of what I have going on for the week and the entire month. I also schedule a bi-weekly meeting with my business manager to keep VONBON on track by creating new lists of goals and deadlines we need to meet each week/ month. If you fail to plan, plan to fail!
Living intentionally takes action and dedication, is there a specific moment in your life where you made the decision to live intentionally? Or has it always been the way you’ve lived life? How has your life changed since you’ve been living it intentionally?
Living intentionally does take action and dedication and it isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It also looks different for each individual.As I mentioned before, I had an awakening about 6 months ago as I realized that my marriage and level of happiness was suffering because I was so focused on my business and unconsciously shutting out everything else that had value in my life. It is a daily exercise for me to live intentionally and in the moment. We natural gravitate towards what was comfortable and easy and sometimes living intentionally is not. The changes I have seen in myself, my partner and our level of happiness since I started consciously living has been life changing for me.
I feel like I have much more balance in my life and I have never been happier. I feel more in tune with myself and can make clear decisions.
Do you have any rituals or friends you call upon when you need extra support or encouragement?
I am so blessed to have a very strong group of long time girlfriends who I can share anything with. They know the good, the bad and the ugly and have helped me to get through some of the hardest times in my life. They are a constant source of support and encouragement. Often they are just a sounding board and help me to clarify my feelings and thoughts.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to live intentionally but doesn’t know where to start?
I think the entire concept of living intentionally can be very overwhelming and people think that they need to overhaul their life to do it. You don’t have to start with drastic life changes, even the smallest daily intention can get you going and make you realize your potential to grow and build an intentional life.
Where do you look to draw from when you want inspiration, visual or narrative, for the life you intend to live?
It is very easy to get caught up in gathering inspiration from others on social media, who appear to have perfectly styled homes and fashionable families. For me, I gather inspiration from anything and anywhere. It’s all about how something makes me feel. I really like daily reminders, so I gather and collect phrases that remind me to live intentionally and what is important to me. We all need a reminder. Pinterest is great for this and it’s an easy way to organize it all.
I also keep “The Happiness Project” on my office shelf and will go through and reread it time and time again. It offers such great reminders and no matter how many times I read it, it re-inspires me to live a happier life every time. The smallest things can have the biggest impact!
I’m always inspired to hear what other people’s dreams are, what dream of yours are you currently working towards that you envision happening in the next year?
With our baby on the way in just three short months ( AHHHHHHHH!!) I have many things I want to make happen! I am looking to move my studio out of my home and create a new office space where we can expand over time. I have an organic cotton bedding line I am currently working on that I want to launch for the holiday season and I have goals of expanding our team at VONBON while I am on maternity leave.
What is really exciting for me is the possibility of how the brand will evolve once I have my own child. I have always been my own muse, the gift giver, so it will be very interesting to see how the brand / product lines expand with a new mom holding the reins!
Thank you Jennifer for sharing your heart and words with us, I’m so inspired by what you have shared!
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