Most of us have dreams... some small, some big, some CRAZY HUGE in that probbbbbably-won't-really-happen-but-wouldn't-it-be-cool kind of way. And then there are the people who don't seem to have time for dreams- they're too busy doing. They have goals and they're making it happen. I LOVE learning from people like that, they have such an energy and a confidence that seems to rub off from just being around them. The truth is, no one feels confident ALL of the time, and most of us know not every idea we have is a great one- but I think that ability to just. keep. going. even when you don't know what's next, is what makes some people special.
I met Jordan Jones through other friends, and beyond being obsessed with her fun gift company, Packed Party (seriously, it's a good time, go look now), I was so impressed with her passion and focus! I mean, the girl taught herself Chinese via YouTube, just to help procure some better business deals... (Yeah, what do you do in your free time?) She was humble yet so confident in herself and what she was doing... and who doesn't want that?! As the founder of Packed Party, Jordan's days are hectic and busy, so I was thrilled when she found time to sit down and share her story...
1) WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO? WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE?
I’m Jordan Jones from Packed Party! Packed Party is a company based out of San Francisco that sells uniquely themed gift items to encourage people to make every day a party! A typical day is a little tough to describe for me because every day is so incredibly different depending on where my focus is that morning or week. Packed Party is two years old, so still being in our infancy as a brand means everyone is kind of doing everything. I feel a bit like I’m a professional juggler! I could be shooting images, designing new product, talking to a vendor that is interested in being inside one of our packages, anything really! No two days are the same for me. The most consistent thing in my life currently is my top-knot. It’s an issue, but I’m coping.
2) WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU STARTED PACKED PARTY?
I worked at a marketing agency in Dallas, TX doing hospitality and events and then moved to San Francisco to run events and social media marketing for a startup in Silicon Valley. A big transition! A looked a bit like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde walking into my second job from Texas. It was very different. I was fired from this job for starting Packed Party. The scariest but best thing that every happened to me.
3) HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO START PACKED PARTY?
I actually had moved to San Francisco for the job at the startup and moved here not knowing a soul which seemed really amazing in theory…but once I was here I was like, wait, um, I know no one and it’s a Friday night. I called my mom early one evening feeling a bit sorry for myself and she told me I was having a Pity Party and I needed to go to bed and figure it out. How’s that for tough love? Listening to her that night was the best decision I’ve ever made because I awoke in the middle of the night with a dream about sending myself a physical Pity Party package. When I woke up from the dream I turned on all the lights in my bedroom, wrote an entire business plan for Packed Party, sketched a logo. I knew I’d call the company Packed Party because it only took “one person” to have a physically Packed Party with these packages and came up with the different party package themes. It’s weird talking about it still...it’s almost like Packed Party was sent to me in a strange way. No one had done anything like it at the time in 2013, so it felt like my “something” to execute and I did, immediately. I pitched the business idea to my father the next day who was incredibly skeptical, but gave me a small loan, and from there I was off to the races learning broken Chinese via YouTube, negotiating with vendors to get them to believe enough in my concept to put their goods inside, and writing all the poems that go inside packages. I’m telling you, I was relentless in the beginning. I had none of my girlfriends here to distract me while I was sort of in the creation process, so it all happened fairly quickly.
4) WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST HURDLES IN LAUNCHING AND GROWING A BUSINESS?
I have an immense amount of respect for anyone that launches any sort of idea they have. It takes guts. Not just in the beginning actually executing your idea, but doing it every day is scary a lot of times. You’re walking the line when you grow a business and as an entrepreneur you have to be prepared to do that every day. If you’re not willing to risk everything for your brand what good is it? For me hurdles have been putting myself out there with the brand, delegating things I was used to doing myself to others, and finding creative ways to market this brand with limited marketing dollars. There’s not much room for error when you have a limited budget, which is both terrifying and exciting.
5) WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
Hmmm, probably conceptualizing new products or shooting the images for our social media platforms. I’m a little out there creatively, so it’s fun for me putting my ideas into action in designing something new for Packed Party as we expand ourselves into more of a lifestyle gift brand or just styling a photo.
6) WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT THUS FAR?
This is tough. There have been a lot of “pinch me” moments I have had, but I honestly don’t feel like I’ve had my biggest moment yet professionally. Maybe I’m hard on myself, but I think I’m still working toward that. I try and push myself really hard to do things out of my comfort zone from speaking at events to asking people the difficult questions when it comes to my brand so I can be better. Stay tuned for my biggest moment I suppose!
7) WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS?
Ha! Everything? Can that be an answer? I went in to starting Packed Party so blindly and in so many ways it helped me because I was so anxious about learning and soaking everything up like a sponge. I wish I would have known my own limits in the beginning because I drove myself crazy trying to do everything. Since hiring people to be a part of our team I had to learn to delegate a lot of things and that comes with trust. I had no idea someone could love my brand as much as I did and I didn’t start to see that until I handed over task. I think anyone who starts a business can say they’re ready to give up everything…but you won’t know how far you’re willing to go until you’re doing it. You’ll find out how tough you are very quickly when you’re watching people rip off your brand, get angry if you won’t work with them, all the not-so-fun stuff that comes with creating something big. You learn how passionate you are very quickly because it’s easy to say you want to start a business, but actually doing it is hard work. That’s why there are so few businesses that succeed.
8) WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE (PROFESSIONALLY) IN 5 YEARS?
I’d like Packed Party to have fully developed more into the lifestyle brand I always wanted it to be with more unique gift items that encourage people to make any ordinary day into a party. I hope to have created a lot more fun items that feel really out-of-the-box or unique to our brand, be in more large retailers, and maybe have spoken at a few more women’s events? Talking with other women that genuinely want to learn how to start or grow their business is something I am passionate about doing whenever I can, so I’d love to step out of my comfort zone to publicly speak about my journey with Packed Party.
9) WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT ON THEIR CREATIVE/ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY?
I’d ask them to look at the real reason they’re starting the business. Do you absolutely love doodling and always make cards for your friends? Great. A stationary company makes sense for you. You’ve always dreamed of baking your mom’s donuts for the masses? Amazing. Do it, but start extremely small. If it’s a killer product they’ll come and come in the masses. Look at your passion and evaluate what you want the end game to be. For me, I absolutely love giving gifts. Giving the perfect gift to me has always been such a rush from picking out the best card to finding the perfect knick knacks to put inside. This is how Packed Party was truly created. I’ve always loved piecing together gift packages, but it’s expensive to do on your own driving around searching for items and paying retail prices. Packed Party is a solution provider in the care package space because we do all the leg-work for you!
10) WHAT'S SOMETHING FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
For being the person behind such a fun and loud brand I’m actually quite an introvert and prefer to be by myself, ha! I love throwing a little party for one at home snuggled up with my dog, some hot tea and a good movie. I also think people would be surprised to know I “tried out” yes, I TRIED OUT to walk dogs here in San Francisco when I was fired from my job for starting Packed Party. No one would hire me because they’d say I was going to leave in a few months because Packed Party was a great idea, so I resorted to *almost* being a dog walker. It was a really humiliating moment for me…but a huge eye-opener I needed to believe in myself and I did after the lady who conducted the dog walking try out told me I had “poor dog walking form” and I wasn’t going to make the cut. Ya. Please note I have had dogs my entire life, ha. I went full-force Packed Party after this day.
I have to admit, I totally laughed out loud at her dog-walking story!! I love that she has such a sense of humor about the challenging times in her path. That fresh + positive outlook, will no doubt take Jordan and Packed Party far... and I can't wait to watch! (And shop, if I'm being honest :))
Find more Packed Party fun here:
(And for a FULL tour of their super-colorful party headquarters, check THIS out!)