Jenny crossed "The Pond" in 1998 to work for the Mouse -- Mickey Mouse, that is -- at Walt Disney World as part of an international program called the Fellowship Program. Always true to her roots, she represented Wales at the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot for a year and a half and then held several influential positions working for the Welsh Development Agency as well as the British Consulate. Yet what always pulled at her heartstrings was being her own boss and providing a high-quality product that made a difference. She prides herself in putting her stamp on "high-quality" and also giving back to others in need. She currently gives some proceeds to a nonprofit organization called Give Kids the World, based in Kissimmee, Florida. The name LoveSpoon Candles was derived from her homeland of Wales. In Wales a lovespoon is a decoratively carved wooden spoon that was traditionally presented as a gift of romantic intent. Jenny loves her homeland of Wales and loves providing high-quality candles for all to savor just as much.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I was raised in a modest house in Neath, Wales, where my parents worked all hours of the day in the healthcare field. To this day I never remember wanting for anything, as my parents always provided for me and consistently ensured that my brother and I had the most fruitful life children could possibly have. I will never forget how my parents led by example through hard work and a positive attitude. They believed that if you worked hard and helped others along the way as much as you could, all would take care of itself. I believe in this philosophy. As a matter of fact, a mantra that I live by comes from the late Zig Ziglar: "No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care." My husband and I instill this into our two boys, Logan, 10, and Dylan, 6. We believe in working hard and showing people we care, which is one of the main reasons I launched LoveSpoon Candles. I want people to see that I put as much thought and care into our product line so that people can cherish each candle as a special gift for themselves or a gift for one of their loved ones. Nothing makes me happier than when I see that our product allowed someone to kick back and relax. I have the best job in the world. I get to create a product that brings joy to so many people.
How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at the helm of LoveSpoon Candles?
First, I would say working for Disney for several years certainly allowed me to learn from the best in the hospitality business when it comes to guest satisfaction. I established early on in my career a solid foundation of providing the utmost in customer satisfaction from my Disney training. Additionally, while working at the Welsh Development Agency and the British Consulate, I was able to see firsthand how companies from my homeland worked on marketing, promotions, sales and business development. I would say that when I look back now, I guess I have been able to take the customer service training from Disney and blend it with my business training from the British Consulate and Welsh Development Agency to create the boundaries for our company LoveSpoon Candles.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at LoveSpoon Candles?
The highlight is how much success we have seen in just over a year, and that people are absolutely adoring a product that I make personally is such a great satisfaction. The challenge is simply having your own business. Each day is a challenge, yet I strive to offer a high-quality product each and every day.
What advice can you offer to women who want to start their own business?
The advice I would offer to other women is that if you want to start your own business, then simply do it! There will never be that perfect day, time, or season of the year to do so. There will always be the excuse of "I will start tomorrow" or "I just don't have the time." Life is meant to be lived out loud, so get out there and do it. As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "Don't die with your music still in you." My goal in life is to play my music as elegantly and as loud as I can, and when all is said and done, I can only hope that people appreciated the concert.
What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
The most important thing I have learned is to of course surround yourself with a strong, positive group of people, and secondly to never, ever cut corners. We at LoveSpoon Candles pride ourselves on providing the utmost in quality, which is the reason why I carefully and methodically hand-pour each of our candles. The longevity of a company is based on providing high-quality products on a day-in-and-day-out basis, because, let's face it, people work hard, and they want a product that they can appreciate.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Life is what you make it. For me, my work is part of my life, but my family will always come first. That is one of the great things about being your own boss: You get to choose the hours, and I get to do so much with my husband and two boys. In our family life we juggle between our boys playing baseball, football and acting. Oh, yeah, and did I mention we have two golden retrievers that we love taking on long brisk walks? It is an invigorating life I lead, and I pinch myself every day! I am truly blessed to be able to provide a product that people can enjoy and, at the same time, represent my Welsh heritage and enjoy my family.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
For me it was having the confidence to speak my mind in board meetings. Yet as I started getting more and more knowledgeable in my profession, I said to myself, "Enough is enough!" I decided to start voicing my opinion and taking on more of a leadership role. I felt I had a lot to offer to the companies that I previously worked for, and I believe to this day they would say that I provided solid contributions. So I guess I would say the biggest issue is for women being respected for the strong individuals that they are, and frankly this can only be done by having the courage to shine your bright light in your office, boardroom or any other workplace environment.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I have been so blessed throughout my life to have so many tremendous mentors spend time with me and guide me over the years. I could not be in a position that I am in now if it were not for the mentors that assisted me along the way. I would encourage everyone to find someone that you work with or socialize with that embodies key attributes that you want to possess someday. Take them out to dinner, and offer to pay for them. Yet be sure to ask them questions on their achievements. If you want to be successful, you must spend time with successful people.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Princess Diana. She was Princess of Wales and did so much good in helping others throughout the world, which inspires me to be able to help others in a similar fashion.
What do you want LoveSpoon Candles to accomplish in the next year?
Expand more domestically. We have only been in business for a little over a year, and I really want more and more people to be able to "Indulge Their Senses" with our LoveSpoon candles, whether that is with our Cornerstone Collection or our Monogram Series. I hope to fulfill that goal in 2015.