April 2, 2020
On today’s episode we had the pleasure of sitting down with the incredible Jenessa Wait whom we’ve been OBSESSED with for years now. She is a hand letterer who has built an online print shop filled with beautiful designs, bible verses & powerful quotes. She not only sells prints in her shop but home decor items such as pillow cases, journals, mugs, calendars, and lots more. Jenessa is a wife, designer, creative and speaker who believes that encouragement and truth have the power to change the way we live. She started her hand lettering journey in 2015 as a hobby and it quickly turned into a business as well as a way to bring encouragement into people’s lives and homes. She has a strong passion to impact the way people think about who they are and what they’re destined for. When she’s not creating, her and her husband pastor a young adults group at a local church in Austin, TX where they reside.
Jenessa’s heart is so beautiful and in our interview we touch on topics like how to get started finding your style as a calligrapher, how she started her online shop, getting out of your comfort zone, using your business to encourage people, and what to do if you struggle with feeling like you’re not creative enough.
Jenessa grew up in a Christian home in Canada, in the coldest city you could possibly imagine. It wasn’t until she was 18 years old that she decided to leave her home and venture off to a Bible college in California where her life turned upside down. She met God there and had encounters that truly changed her life. She also met her husband there!
Redding, CA was where her destiny started to take place. It was there that Jenessa got launched into a lot of what she is walking in now.
Jenessa has been married for five years and she and her husband now live in Austin, TX. When they moved to Austin, Jenessa was pleasantly surprised and fell in love with the city.
Jenessa adores creativity and it is something that has always been a part of her. She grew up in a creative home and everyday after school her mom would have a craft for her to do. Jenessa didn’t call herself a creative until she moved to Redding and she had a whole year where she didn’t work (while she was getting her green card). It was in this year’s span that she really started to realize she was a creative at heart.
Right when Jenessa and her husband got married, there was a year that she couldn’t work while waiting for her green card. As an enneagram 7, she likes to keep herself busy. That year was really challenging for her. She was bored and knew she needed to do something.
Jenessa remembers being at a coffee shop with a friend who pulled up Instagram to show Jenessa a hand letterer from Australia. The moment Jenessa looked at her stuff, something in her heart came alive. Jenessa’s friend told her she thinks she should try hand letterer. It was as if God was giving her the invitation to do it too.
It was that day that she went home, grabbed a pen and some printer paper and tried to letter the best she could, not knowing what she was doing. She felt this invitation to try something new. For the next six months she would put on some music and practice. It was a way for her to connect with God. She had a goal to fill a binder with all of her designs. It was never the goal to start a business, she just wanted to try something new.
Over time, she began to develop and get better. Jenessa kept exploring and trying new mediums. Ultimately, she had fun with it. It was a journey of exploration.
Jenessa began with a binder and filled it. She would take 10-20 pages and just fill them with the letter “A”. Then, she would move on to the next letter.
It is totally healthy to pull up Pinterest and use it as a reference guide. But, it is dangerous if we want our end goal to be a replica of what we see.
The best way to keep your own unique style is to literally stick to your own natural hand writing. Jenessa could never really read her hand writing in general. Lettering is just hand writing with different tools that make it look pretty and emphasize your normal lettering in a different kind of way.
Jenessa essentially was just practicing her own handwriting. It was like going back to Kindergarten and practicing your “As” and “Bs”. It may sound basic, but it is so powerful and profound. Going back to the basics can lead you to develop your own style.
It wasn’t until after 5-7 months of practicing that Jenessa felt like she could see her style develop.
Practice and use people’s styles to guide you and find your own style, but eventually you have to find your own. You want your own unique style to come out.
Jenessa launched a course where she shares some of the practical things that have helped her such as how you hold the paper, where to position the pen, etc. This course has been really helpful for those starting their hand lettering journey. She shares her journey as well as encouragement and the practical side of things.
Jenessa is very passionate about truth and encouragement. Her journey wasn’t perfect and easy. It was hard and challenging. She questioned if she was enough and if her style would be accepted by people.
God really met her in those moments. He hit her over the head with truth and constantly reminded her that she was made for this. It was the power of truth that helped her and the renewing of her mind. There was a season in her lettering journey where she had to combat lies over and over again. The moment Jenessa started her business, that was when all the insecurities came out. God really showed her that the truth will set you free. She needed to fight the lies with truth.
Truth really will set you free. It’s God’s truth. Jenessa wants to give back to people and show them that what you believe actually matters. What you believe about who you are, what you do, and who God is all plays a massive part in what your life will look like and how you live your life.
Jenessa loves that she can merge a gift that she has developed with truth. She is so passionate about this. Jenessa knows that God can speak through beautifully lettered words. It’s more than just the beauty, it’s the spirit of God behind it that she wants people to experience. We have all this ability to encourage. Not just to encourage other people, but also ourselves. It’s so easy to forget that we can do that. We can be our own greatest encouragers and champions. It’s powerful to speak it, not just to think it. Speak it out loud.Many of us would be shocked to see how different our lives would be if we just spoke the truth, not based on what felt real or not, but based on what God says is true. We would see so much change in our lives.
Feelings are not the greatest leaders. They are good indicators that we should talk to God about something. We can often let feelings lead us more than they should. Jenessa still faces struggles and doubt, but she has learned the tools to allow her to keep moving forward. That’s the secret. Just keep moving forward. Wherever you are at and whatever place in the creative journey you are at, don’t stop. The enemy uses lies to get us to stop moving forward because he knows where we are going. He uses lies and fear to paralyze us from stepping into the destine that God has waiting for us. Truth is a sword. It cuts through the fears and allows us to move forward. We can’t ever put the sword down. You have to hold truth all the time. Where God is taking us, we are going to constantly need to hit things down. He is taking us so much further than we can ever imagine.
Jenessa’s husband was the one to encourage her to start a business. She began to share her process on social media and people responded to her showing up!
Jenessa’s friends started to ask for prints and she decided to go for it. She started with custom work. Jenessa actually started a wood sign company @medleyandco. She learned it was a ton of work and God used that business to teach her so much. She went from custom work to wood signs on Etsy. Etsy is great to start out! It sets you up for success and is clean and easy.
When she and her husband moved to Austin, her wood sign company flopped. It wasn’t taking off the way she thought it would and Jenessa was really discouraged. This was when the Lord asked her to lay it down. As hard as that was to do, she knew deep down that she needed to lay it down. That moment was when everything switched to prints.
She didn’t have a website or Shopify at the time. She had her personal instagram and decided to brand around her name. Jenessa began to sell her prints via her stories. Once this took off, she knew she needed to put together a website.
It was all through following God’s leading. All of it was listening to where God was moving and breathing.
If you are just starting out, Jenessa’s advice is to give what you have and just start somehow. Show your work to people and don’t hide it. Share the heart behind your work and why you created what you created. People will follow you and your journey because it is who you are. Yes they love what you create, but being vulnerable and showing people who you are is so powerful in the process.
At the end of the day it’s not about us being successful. It’s about us being obedient. We are successful when we are obedient to God, not the other way around.
Stepping out of her comfort zone was so huge for Jenessa. It was so uncomfortable to do something she wasn’t good at and didn’t know anything about. But, a lot of times our destiny is outside of our comfort zones. There are things that are waiting for us but we have to step past what feels comfortable. We are so accustomed to feelings and we let them be our leaders. This isn’t the best way to live life. Stepping out of her comfort zone and doing the hard things really allowed Jenessa to grow.
Being faithful was also incredibly important. The secret sauce of growth and success is to show up everyday and keep moving forward. Don’t stop. Be faithful. Show up. It’s all about the little tiny baby inches that we move every day. Don’t wait for the big leaps, focus on the small movements each day.
Keep showing up and do not bow to fear. You’ll get there. The moment you think you’ve arrived is scary. You’ve got to keep growing.
Community is so vital in every person’s life. Whether you are a believer or not you need a community. You were born to run with people and to do life with people. The moment we isolate or think we can do things on our own is not a good place to be.
You want to find the people in your life that you can share the dreams of your heart. It takes a lot of humility and vulnerability to find these people, but community can bring the most beautiful moments in your creative journey. When you allow people to step into your journey with you, encourage you, and give you feedback it could change the course of your life.
Sometimes our breakthrough is found in other people. It is easy to think that our community is found on social media. But, that is not a real connection. Social media can be so powerful and beautiful, but your real community should be face to face in your real life.
We truly need each other. We have the power to help each other in so many ways. Find your people and your tribe and open up your heart to them. Let them know your dreams, failures, insecurities, fears and let them be there for you.
If there are people that are further along in the journey than you are, don’t hesitate to reach out to those people and ask them the questions. It never hurts to ask. Being teachable is so important.
You are so much more ready than you know. You are way more capable than you realize. We are all our own worst critics. Stop criticizing yourself and go for it. Whatever comes out of your adventure, make it fun. Don’t take it so seriously. Do DIY things. Have so much fun in the process. Take off all the expectations and just go for it.
In addition to a FREE 7 day trial, get 50% off your first year of HoneyBook, a $200 value!!
If you want to connect with us and other listeners in the Heart and Hustle community join our Facebook group here.
Podcast inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
GET OUR 'TOP 5 APPS WE USE FOR INSTA
GRAB OUR FREE GUIDE BELOW ON THE TOP 5 APPS WE USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH INSTAGRAM TO UP LEVEL OUR INSTA GAME! TRUST US, YOU'LL BE A PRO IN NO TIME!
ARE YOU RIDING FRONT SEAT ON THE INSTAGRAM STRUGGLE BUS LATELY?