Voices of the Triad: Jenni Earle
By: Nancy Tuohy
Scout Guide chatted with Jenni Earle, who describes herself as…. an artist, mother and business woman! Jenni says, “It’s taken me a while to claim that title, but guiding our emerging brand through a pandemic has solidified my confidence in myself as a leader.”
Tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur and artist…My journey starts out very firmly in the artist corner. I have been creating visual art and designing and making clothing since I was young. My comfort with taking risks made my crossover to entrepreneur a likely step. But I really had no idea how to grow a business.
Luckily, Winston Salem takes nurturing its entrepreneurs very seriously! After several failed businesses, I came up with the idea for Jenni Earle, a socially conscious lifestyle brand dedicated to inspiring courage and authenticity. Our foundational product is a hand-dyed, 100% southern grown and sewn bandana. Each one has a mantra of encouragement woven into its hand-drawn design.
After completely selling out of bandanas a few times in Winston Salem, I knew I wanted to learn to be a good caretaker of the business potential. The Center for Creative Economy hosts a creative business accelerator that I still, four years later, reference or reflect on every day! These folks have become my biggest cheerleaders as Jenni Earle has continued to grow and scale. I don’t think I could have done this in another town, and definitely not on my own.
What do people love about the Jenni Earle brand? And why is it needed now?
Our bandanas don’t make people brave. (Although we like to think we squeeze a little magic in with the dye.) Instead, they remind people that they are braver and more capable than they thought!
We hear from hikers, makers, writers, mothers, and all kinds of kinds about what a little nudge toward authentic action feels like to them. Tie on one of these bandanas, pop on one of our shirts or patches, ande the purest version of yourself possible.
Especially now—every single human on this planet has been altered by the pandemic and we are here to remind you that you have more courage than you know. Jenni Earle wants you to wear what you love, sing and dance to the music you love, express your truth, and be brave, every chance you get!
What do you love about Winston Salem?
I love that there are so many strong women business owners in this town! Salem College is the oldest educational institution for both girls and women in the United States, and I feel that strength of character and validation of our voices in the soil and water here. Winston is also a very “community over competition” town. When a new restaurant or business comes along, we rally around it!
Winston Salem allows space for people to try of different versions of themselves. There’s art everywhere. There’s expression and acceptance.
What would be on an itinerary for a weekend in Winston Salem? Tell us your favorite places to eat, drink and be merry.
I love the patio at Sixth & Vine, it’s my happy place. It doesn’t matter if it’s brunch, lunch or supper, it’s always so comfortable and beautiful!
I live in Washington Park and I always feel so good walking over to Acadia Foods or Slappy’s Chicken for supper. After, I like to pop over to Southside Beer Garden for a cider before I head back home. The south side has a great sense of community that I really appreciate.
I also enjoy walking and picnicking at Quarry Park or Reynolda Gardens, then swinging by Cafe Gelato for a treat!
Nancy is a native of Durham, North Carolina and has lived in Winston Salem (off and on) for 20 years. The city has transformed itself since her days as a student at Wake Forest University. She attended The Madeira School in McLean, Virginia prior to college. In between stints living in Winston Salem, she has also lived in Nashville, Tennessee and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Dubbed by her friends as “the spa fairy,” Nancy loves to travel and be pampered. Her favorite vacation includes lots of hiking and outdoor activities followed by a massage and then a delicious dinner. She feels lucky that North Carolina is a state with never ending options for her favorite ventures!
She is an avid reader but loves people too much to not have conversation so she also is a needlepointer–because you can still chat with someone while you stitch! She loves to garden and cook and hopes she is teaching her two sons to do the same