Momtrepreneur

Jacinda Jenkins, owner of Harper’s Haven Boutique, a business she runs out of her Mount Union home, is a perfect example of the momtrepreneur.

In a world filled with buzzwords to describe everything, a fairly recent one describes women entrepreneurs who are balancing owning their own business and rearing their children — momtrepreneur.

Momtrepreneur is a word to describe a woman entrepreneur who is running her own businesses while dealing with the act of rearing children.

Fortunately, for the business end of things, there is a resource locally that can help those momtrepreneurs, and all entrepreneurs for that matter, start their own business, potentially moving from their homes to a potential store front, as an example.

Debra Clark, who serves as the Huntingdon County Business and Industry director of business development and Startup Alleghenies Entrepreneurial Coach, can encourage and coach those moms who are wanting to start a business that can help them be the best, most efficient entrepreneur they can be so they can also be the best mother they can be.

“I offer one-on-one coaching assistance to help them analyze their business ideas and also educate them on business plans, market feasibility and cash management among many other things,” she said. “Through Startup Alleghenies, in partnership with Huntingdon County Business & Industry, we are able to provide an amazing network of resources to these entrepreneurs.

Jacinda Jenkins of Mount Union, a young mom to a 2-year-old girl, Harper, and a 1-year-old son, Dax, is the classic example of the momtrepreneur who received the help of Clark thanks to Startup Alleghenies.

She started her own business out of her home two years ago, Harper’s Haven Boutique, a place where she screen prints custom T-shirts.

I started working at Helpmates right out of high school, but after I had my daughter, I realized I was away from her too much,” she said. “I started selling LuLaRoe products on the side. I made great money doing that, but I didn’t like how they were doing things ethically, so I sold off my inventory.

“My older sister said she would teach my how to use a Cricut (machine) to make iron-on vinyl designs,” added Jenkins. She lives in Colorado, so she had to teach me over the phone, so I started in the kitchen of my house.”

After using a Cricut for vinyl iron-on designs, she quickly went into screen printing with custom-made designs.

“I branched out into what is called ‘supplication,’ which is new for our area, and people love it,” she said, which are customized T-shirts. “(Through Facebook and Etsy), it’s one way I can present cool graphic T-shirts to people, especially mothers, at a low cost.”

Starting was tough, as she said her friends supported her by buying T-shirts, but it wasn’t until one T-shirt design, “Mommy Said No Kisses,” took off and went viral on her Facebook page.

“It was definitely a learning experience,” she said. “After that T-shirt got featured, my Etsy page went crazy and things are crazy on Facebook. I’m at a point now where I’m doing well, and I don’t have to worry about one sale (going wrong).”

Since her business has taken off, she’s gotten to a point where a store front is needed, so she’s working with Clark to find a perfect location.

As to how she balances working from home and taking care of her children, it’s all about priorities.

“It’s crazy at our house sometimes,” said Jenkins. “Sometimes our floors aren’t getting mopped, but I’ve learned that you can’t let other people dictate what you do. Some weeks we’re eating out every day and I don’t have time to cook, but our kids are fed and happy, and they’re living their best life. People worry so much about being the perfect mom, but we all make mistakes. We’re all going to have our own way of doing something and what works best for our family.

“Your kids do not care if you’re house isn’t the cleanest house in the world, if you’re giving them the best memories, that’s what matters,” Jenkins added. “You need to give them the best life possible. I’m doing this for my kids. I don’t want them to have to work two jobs and have to go to college. I want them to be able to do whatever they want to do.

She also wants to find ways to give back to the community.

“I want to be one of those people who has a big hand in helping the community,” said Jenkins. “I love this town, and I want to open a storefront here, because I plan on being here for the rest of my life.”

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.

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