America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Jak Sprat, Sanborn
REACT – RECOVERY – RESILIENCE
SBDC IOWA CLIENTS SHARE THEIR COVID-19 JOURNEY
Jodi Krikke, Owner
How did you come up with the idea for Jak Sprat?
JAK Sprat started in 2012 as a magnet board and magnet hobby/business. It wasn’t until November 2017 that earrings came into the picture. I have always LOVED big earrings – big, gaudy, glittery, fabulous earrings. But there were always two problems- 1) Either I couldn’t find them big enough or 2) if they WERE big enough for my liking, they weighed about 5lbs and made your earlobes sag to your chin. So in October 2017, I came across a company selling leather earrings, I reached out to the owner and asked if she could make me a “ginormous” pair. And she said YES! They were going to be 4″ leopard print earrings! When I got them, it was love at first sight. They were big, they were leopard, and most importantly, they were lightweight. So after I ordered a couple more pairs, I realized I might be able to make them myself (I’m always up for a good crafty challenge!) I went out and bought myself some faux leather. I figured out how to cut it, and on November 16, 2017, I made my very first pair of earrings that I wore to a craft show the very next day. And the rest is history!
How has the SBDC helped you?
SBDC has been a tremendous help in my journey to get to where I’m at today. My SBDC coach is Michael Wampler, Regional Director of the Northwest Iowa SBDC in Spencer. The first meeting with Michael was at my request, wanting to discuss how I could quit my full-time job in order to start a t-shirt company (In between magnet boards/magnets and earrings, I had also been making a TON of t-shirts for people). Michael has been and continues to be, incredibly helpful with the “logic” side of the business for me. My creative brain can wander in a million different directions, and Michael has always been helpful in making sure my business isn’t just ‘pretty’, but that it’s also being successful. He’s helped keep me on track and is my go-to person for logic and strategic planning for my business. He’s the one person I really “talk business” with on a regular basis.
Has your business been impacted by COVID-19? Have you pivoted your operations? How are you helping others during this time?
My business has been impacted by COVID-19 in a few different ways. 1) My children (ages 5 and 7) are now home with me 24/7. And since my husband is still going to work every day, it’s been a challenge to get work done during the day But we make do! I’m blessed to get to work from home and be with my kids. 2) While a majority of my business is done online, I had an open house scheduled in April, but due to COVID-19, it didn’t happen. So to pivot from that, I have started doing more Facebook live sales than ever before. I have a fellow earring maker friend (Jowana) who lives out in New Mexico, and since the week everything shut down, we have done an earring live sale every Friday night! The ladies who join us are from all over the US have really become like friends! And the sales have been hugely successful as well! The ladies (and myself!) really look forward to it!
Another thing Jowana and I are currently in the process of starting is an online “Virtual Vendor Market”. The goal is to help other small businesses (including ourselves) have an outlet to sell because most markets and craft shows have been canceled for the season. It’s a space where vendors can showcase themselves and their products and customers can have a one-stop-shop experience. We’re super excited about this!
Another way I’ve tried to do my part during these crazy times is to make purchases from small/local businesses as well as encourage my own customers to support small. I know it’s a hard time for a lot of businesses, so I want to help any way I can- big or small!