We were happy to introduce Jennifer, owner of ANEBA by Jenn through our my B.O.B. campaign on Instagram! This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At blackbox we believe it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through our blog, we can dig deeper into their stories and provide a fuller perspective with you!
During the month of finals in April 2016, Jennifer was inspired by her passion in fashion when an idea to design authentic Kente chokers came to her. Determined to get started, she designed her website, procured a year's worth of supplies, found a manufacturer, built her team and fully launched ANEBA by Jenn in one month!
Wow you are studying Mechanical Engineering! That is a vast difference from designing an authentic Kente choker line. Do you plan to work in your studied field when you finish school?
I actually currently work for the City of LA as a student engineer and I have done a few different things in my "career" field application wise that I couldn't have pictured in a lecture hall. It took this internship for me to understand that the idea of me doing both or having an interest in both isn't so far fetched. There are more similarities between a designer and an engineering than you'd immediately think of. They both fulfill a need/demand for their customer and above all they both are problem solvers. The only difference is their approach in problem solving. A designer problem solves from a more artistic/abstract perspective, where an engineer takes a mathematical/scientific approach in this same task. But in the end, they both create to fulfill a need.
As of now, I do not plan on working in my studied field when I graduate, but who knows, let's see what God has in store for me.
In one month you started and launched your business, what has happened for Aneba since launching?
Well since then, we have continued to scale, however, there has been ups and downs like any new business. We ended up in Urban Outfitters in just 6 months of business so I'd say recognition from such a well-known brand was reassuring. We have worked with talented people and have upcoming collaborations with people we are very excited about (stay tuned!!). Overall, I'd say its been a journey.
What business advice have your parents given you, being that they both own their own successful businesses?
I don't really talk to my dad much about my business, but I can say I learned discipline from him in watching him deal with his. My mom is pretty much my business partner now. She's been my mentor throughout and has allowed me to make mistakes and figure it out on my own, while along side me the entire time. A huge part of ANEBA's success I owe to her. She told me it would be difficult, frustrating, sometimes I'd want to quit, I'd fight with my team, etc.; I did all that and more! Lol, but we are still here and we don't plan on going anywhere, anytime soon.
What advice would you give another entrepreneur interested in launching a fashion accessory line?
GO FOR IT! I encourage you to pursue your every dream..every single one of them, no matter how outrageous it may sound to other people. Just understand that people may not see what you see immediately and they will discourage you. Some of your "friends" will stray from you, you may lose some people through this new venture, you will cry, you will be frustrated, you will have many wins and losses because starting and running a business is a full time job and a full time investment. Just remember it's okay! Just don't let those people influence you and turn you into one of them. No matter what.
Can you give us a sneak peek into your 10-year business plan? What plans do you have for Aneba in the near future?
LOL, I have a lot of plans for ANEBA, but we'll just have to wait and see! Haha.
How exciting to dig deeper into the quick launching of ANEBA by Jenn and learn more about Jennifer's journey. We wish her much success and growth as she continues to build her business!