Krista Jones is a person of many talents. A veterinarian and ecologist by trade, Krista first discovered Generator while planning her own wedding. She was looking to provide a unique and personalized experience for her guests and was happy to make items herself. So, when she found Generator it was game on!
Krista ended up really enjoying the process and, recognizing that this was a service not currently available in the market, decided to start her business Whimsically You to try and fill the gap.
Though her existing connection with Generator Krista learned about our JumpStart Business Bootcamp. She applied and was accepted, and now we are here, ~ 1 year later, checking in to see how things are going. Continue reading below to learn more about Krista and her business, and whether or not the JumpStart juice is worth the squeeze!
Tell us a little bit more about your business… What do you sell… Why is it unique?
My company, Whimsically You, focuses primarily on helping couples to create one-of-a kind weddings that reflect their stories, their passions, and their values. We do this by helping with general event conceptualization and starting with a couple’s unique vision and priorities (rather than automatically following preconceived notions). We can then assist by crafting custom decor elements (e.g., placecards, signage), designing interactive enigmas to bond and entertain their loved ones (think escape-room-like games and challenges), and providing a bespoke rustic photo booth to delight the guests and provide fabulous & candid keepsakes. While our primary focus is on weddings, we do other events as well. To our knowledge, we are the only U.S. company to focus on providing custom wedding puzzle games. More broadly, our focus on bespoke and meaningfully personalized creations means that every event really reflects the individuals behind it.
Where did the idea for your business come from, and when did you know it was more than just an idea and worth pursuing as a business?
I got married in 2022. We saw a gap in the market where there were services we would have hired someone for (like creating a reception table game for us) but couldn’t find anyone that was offering it. I also gained a lot of new skills and discovered just how much I loved embracing my creative and crafty side when preparing for our celebration. However, it was seeing the reaction and response to all of these elements from diverse guests at our wedding that made me realize it might actually be a viable venture!
What was it about the JumpStart program that made it worth applying to… What were you hoping JumpStart would help you accomplish?
I was hoping for a few things – a big one was knowledge about actually starting and running a business, which was totally foreign to me! I expected both new info and reassurance on what I’d already done. I also wanted the accountability of a structured program to help drive progress in a busy time, and the perks of feedback, membership, and training funds!
After being accepted, how would you describe your JumpStart program experience… Was there anything particular that stood out, or surprised you?
JumpStart was a fantastic and somewhat frenzied experience! It definitely felt a bit overwhelming to be tackling so much with the business while trying to balance all of my other obligations. However, Emily and our guest experts provided lots of great foundational knowledge in a wide range of areas and in a supportive way. The community component was a fantastic element that I hadn’t thought about as much in advance. Just having other folks in a similar stage to bounce ideas off of, commiserate with, and rely on for accountability was huge.
How did JumpStart help you grow as a business owner or affect the development of your business? Were there any particular challenges the JumpStart program helped you to overcome?
Participating in JumpStart provided a lot of initial structure and momentum to get the business off of the ground and gave me the confidence that it could really be a thing (along with normalizing the fact that none of us 100% knew what we were doing). I actually found my first paid client through the public Pitch Night event at the end of JumpStart! And it was awesome to feel supported by Generator and also part of the bigger community by having our photo booth at Art Hop this year!
Were there things about the Generator community, or the tools available to you, that allowed you to grow your business in ways that might not have been possible otherwise?
I don’t think the business would be at all possible without Generator! I rely heavily on your tools in a number of the shops, and the ability to use a variety of modalities really increases our flexibility and ability to design to specific needs for the event. Yet, even if I only used the laser (which I use the most), it would be extremely challenging to create a setup of similar caliber at home – between cost, space, and safety components! In addition, the community is super supportive and inspiring! It’s a great environment to promote creativity and to get trouble-shooting help.
Do you have any advice for future JumpStart applicants and/or recipients? Any advice/tips/tricks that you wish someone would have shared with you?
As much as possible, really try to carve out the space to devote as much time as possible to working on your biz during this time! Be prepared that you may find it hard to work ON the biz while also working creatively IN the biz. Give yourself some grace and know that you probably won’t be able to do everything you’d like during this time.
How are things going with the business today, what’s on the horizon, and where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I’m pretty excited about the future of Whimsically You! We’ve had some great events this year and have some bookings for 2024 that we’re really excited about. I’m leaving my current position in May and plan to focus on the business full-time at that point. In 5 years, we would love to be in a position where my husband can also join the biz full-time, as well as expanding the kinds of puzzling experiences that we create.
What’s the most beneficial piece of advice you’ve received during your entrepreneurial journey?
I think, as someone with perfectionist tendencies, the mantra of “Progress over perfection!” has been super useful. It’s scary to put things out there, often before we think they’re fully ready or perfect. We could spend another year making them 3% better…but we need to keep making forward progress and know that we will improve as we go!