Meet Jenny Sweeney of Jenny Sweeney Designs, one of the most colorful and creative people I’ve ever met. Most people know her as a successful entrepreneur, wonderful mother, and amazing friend. I know her as the “Bumble Bizz One Connection” who transformed my life and completely altered the direction of my career path.

Bumble Bizz, the company that helps users grow their careers through person-to-person networking, asked me a great question – “who was the one connection who changed your career?” Jenny immediately came to mind, and I hope to pay it forward to someone else (more details on the bottom of the blog post).

Jennifer Lake Jenny Sweeney Bumble BizzJenny Sweeney Studio LibertyvilleJenny Sweeney Paintings

Before jumping into exactly how Jenny became my “One Connection,” I want to explain our history and give you background on her business. Jenny was one of my very first PR clients. As a stylish stationery designer, Jenny dreams up the most beautiful, clever, hand-glittered greeting cards. I began working with her in 2004 as her main publicist, where my job was to secure local, regional, and national press placements and celebrity fans. We were like two peas in a pod. At the time, most other clients looked down on me because of my age. Jenny, on the other hand, made me feel valued and smart. She gave me creative and strategic freedom on her account and allowed me to direct as I saw fit. Jenny trusted, collaborated, and encouraged me along the way.

Shag Throw Pink Hello PillowBumble Bizz One ConnectionJenny Sweeney Interior Design

Fortunately, her creativity and our collaborative efforts lead to big things for her business – a major retail deal with Target, countless celebrity fans, national media placements, and even a ongoing partnership with Golden Globe and Emmy-winner, Mariska Hargitay. Years later, I still remember sitting with Jenny in Mariska’s beautiful NYC apartment and thinking, “Wow, look how far we’ve come.”

During the years we worked together, I learned so many lessons from Jenny, both directly and indirectly. While reflecting on this time in my professional life, I put together some of these essential lessons.

Lesson #1: Character and Integrity is More Important Than Your Brand or Business

The best entrepreneurs and co-workers value their character over cash. Every person has a different view of what it means to be successful. In the end, I hope to look back at my career and be viewed as a woman of integrity who cared more about treating other people well vs. making money or building a business. Jenny instilled this philosophy in me.

The core of Jenny Sweeney Designs is to be selfless and kind to others. She’s constantly looking for ways to give back to others – hiring stay at home moms to hand-glitter cards, providing jobs for friends or family in need of extra monetary support and establishing non-profit partnerships.

After chatting with Jenny about some struggles at an agency, she encouraged me to find a firm with executives who valued this vision. I left and joined Zapwater where I still work today. Best decision I’ve ever made.

Jenny Sweeney Tiny FigurinesJenny Sweeney Designs LibertyvilleInterior Design Libertyville Illinois

Lesson #2: Embrace Color and Creativity

I live more colorfully and creatively thanks to Jenny being in the world. She embraces all hues, and surrounds herself with them in every aspect of her life – her workspace, studio, home, closet and beyond.

Lesson #3: Keep Your Feet on the Ground and Your Creativity in the Clouds

Stay humble. While Jenny’s business skyrocketed, she never let it go to her head. She allowed her creativity to flourish while remaining grounded. Love that!

Jenny Sweeney Designs Studio LibertyvilleJennifer Lake Mary KatrantzouJenny Sweeney Libertyville House

Lesson #4: Imitation Isn’t Flattering; It’s the Enemy of Innovation.

Jenny knows no limits when it comes to innovation, and she’s especially good at remaining fiercely loyal to her vision. Competitors consistently try to imitate her work – stealing ideas as they struggled to find their voice. Naturally, Jenny was fluent in all things “Jenny” and remains laser-focused on her point of view.

Jenn Lake Jenny SweeneyJenny Sweeney Artist Studio

Lesson #5: Embrace the Pivot

Over the years, I’ve watched Jenny transform her company into a lifestyle brand. It’s evolved from a small stationery studio into a full-fledge company, offering other product categories, creative classes at her shop, and even interior design and branding. Naturally, everything she touches ends up sparkling.

Jennifer Lake Bumble Bizz
 

Looking to find your One Connection? I recommend downloading Bumble Bizz which gives women the opportunity to make the first move in business. The app has nearly 20 million users, and allows you to network with others. It’s incredibly simple to set up – add your verified profile pic, digital resume, etc. I recently downloaded the app and hope that I can be a resource for others – to mentor, encourage and help shape other people’s careers. “Pay it forward,” if you will, as Jenny, and so many other women, have done for me. Stay tuned to Instagram for even more information.

Who’s your “one connection?” How will you be one for someone else?

 

Thanks to Bumble Bizz for partnering on this post. Collaborations like these help make Style Charade possible. 

 

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  • Carrie Colbert

    Love love love everything about this, Jenn! What a great relationship you are so fortunate to have. Thanks for sharing the lessons with all of us.

    More color please,
    Carrie
    http://www.carriecolbert.com

    • Thanks friend! Means a ton coming from you, given your corporate background!

  • Amy

    Loved reading this post Jenn! Very encouraging and inspiring for women entrepreneurs like us!

    • Aw, thanks Amy! So sweet of you to comment!

  • Dana Mannarino

    Jenn, this post was so inspiring. I loved hearing more about your relationship with Jenny. I can totally see how she’s directly influenced your brand and your work ethic. I also can 100% see you being this person to MANY people and that’s why I love ya!

    The Champagne Edit

    • Thanks so much, friend! You’re the best!

  • This post was unbelievably inspiring! It’s wonderful to hear more of your story – I always love your photographs but I’d love to hear more from you in the copy for sure, you seem like such an interesting person! Bumble Bizz sounds amazing, downloading now! xx

    Your newest breakfast obsession is easy, delicious and gourmet! Check out my newest post now… Blush & Bordeaux

    • Thanks for your kind words, Lucy! Happy Tuesday!

  • Mary Fremeau

    I love reading more about you and your background!! So awesome!! And you and Jenny seem like the perfect match– she is as bright and cheerful with her colorful designs as you are! Love this so much!! I think my “one connection” would me my college secondary education and English professor, Dr. Green, who started as a high school English teacher in the Chicago burbs, became a principal, a superintendent and then a college professor! She is still my mentor to this day!
    xxoo
    Mary
    http://www.BelleOnTrend.com

    • Thanks Mary – so sweet of you to comment! I love hearing more about your One Connection – yay!