Jéri is an educator, writer, culture curator, and designer from Pittsburgh, but has called DC her second home since 2005. She has always loved accessories. She also always had a lot to say. Pinned Up allows her to put both of those passions together.
- CEO Hack: Understanding when to say no
- CEO Nugget: Start sooner. As long as you have an idea, start it!
- CEO Defined: Being empowered. Taking your idea, executing it and moving forward
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello hello hello this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jeri Ogden of PinnedUp. Jéri, it’s awesome to have you on the show.
Jeri Ogden 0:39
So glad to be here. I’m super excited to do this interview with you.
Gresham Harkless 0:44
No problem super excited to have you on as well too, and hear about all the awesome things you’re doing. And before we jumped in, I wanted to read a little bit more about Jéri so you can hear about all these awesome things that she’s doing. Jéri is an educator, writer, culture curator, and designer from Pittsburgh, but has called DC her second home since 2005. She has always loved accessories. She also always had a lot to say. Pinned Up allows her to put both of those passions together.Jéri, are you ready to be to the iamceo community?
Jeri Ogden 1:13
I am ready.
Gresham Harkless 1:14
Awesome. Let’s do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit. Take us and tell us a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. We’ll let you get started with our business.
Jeri Ogden 1:24
So I launched pinned up on November 2 2019. It had been an idea of mine, though, for a little a little bit of time before that. Probably for like, honestly, almost a year before that. And I just kind of was like oh, I’m busy with work, oh, I have this, I have that. And I do still work a nine to five I work in educator engagement for a nonprofit organization. So when I switched over to that role, my work life balance somewhat shifted for me. And it was like, Okay, I actually do have the time to work on this. I was calling my passion project for a long time. So I was excited to live. So yeah, November 2 2019.
Gresham Harkless 2:05
Nice. And it kind of sounds like as you said, when I said whatever you read your bio, you kind of have the seeds of it planning for at least there for a long time. And then once that opportunity opened over seems like you were kind of ran with it.
Jeri Ogden 2:17
Yeah, exactly. It was like, I had always had a lot to say, which is like kind of put that in my bio. Um, and people, you know, would I think kind of sometimes through my different sayings are like no, like, those aren’t catchphrases I was known for. And those kind of became some of the first buttons that I made. And then from there, they’ve developed into different things that I want to express and have other people express.
Gresham Harkless 2:40
Absolutely no, I love that. And you know, I’ve been a creative myself, I’ve always loved the way that the creativity kind of comes out and manifests itself in different, you know, products and services that we’re able to kind of create. So I know you have your clients that you serve, could you take us through a little bit more about what penned up is how exactly you serve the clients you work with?
Jeri Ogden 2:59
Yes, so pinned up buttons for your emotions, it’s a very long title. So I just go with pinned up. So a lot of my clients, honestly, our other educators, educators know each other, so that too, we kind of hang out with so a lot of my initial clients and customers were educators who wanted to put something on their lapel, or put something on their lanyard while they’re at work without necessarily, you know, having to say much so as a button where myself, that was also why I decided to land on buttons was because I were buttons. And I remember teaching third, fourth and fifth grade students when I taught in Houston, Texas, and I used to wear a simple black power fist button. And my students when I first saw What’s that mean? Miss Ogden, what what is this? So that launches this whole conversation around, you know, the Black Power fist and the black power movement and the Black Panthers. And they were like, in all, you know, so as I was making the buttons, that’s what I was thinking about what educator is going to go to a conference or be in their classroom and want something to say, but how can they do that subtly, you know, I’m not a person who wears always necessarily t shirts with a lot of words on them. So buttons are that simple way to spark that conversation and to support particular movements.
Gresham Harkless 4:10
Yeah, absolutely. I love that. And you know, as we’re recording right now, you know, we see that a little bit in the NBA and basketball where you get those subtle things to kind of express how you feel. But I absolutely love that. And I love that. Obviously, being an educator, you’re able to create something that connects you with, obviously other educators, but also the students as well, too, and gives those teaching opportunities.
Jeri Ogden 4:30
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s probably some of the feedback that I hear most from people who buy the buttons is what kind of conversations they have because someone notices them.
Gresham Harkless 4:40
Yeah, absolutely. And I think you can definitely get that opportunity to do that. And it kind of sparks that opportunity to kind of teach learn and create that that deeper connection. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce and this could be for you personally or your business but what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?
Jeri Ogden 4:59
I think What sets me apart honestly, is that my buttons are I put them out in collections. So they’re designed to wear multiple together, but also stand alone. And also it’s kind of like a throwback, because enamel pins have started to take over the the acessory industry. And I’m just like, no, we’re just gonna do a simple Circle Square, little, you know, quarter, one quarter inch button, and it’s like, oh, yeah, like, this takes me back to like blue jeans. 70s rock our jacket. So I think that’s kind of what sets me apart. But definitely the idea that I released the buttons as collections has been something that has been people like that, you know. So for example, I have the sisters collection, we’re all four of those buttons are around black womanhood is supporting black women in a variety of ways, or the self care collection. And that’s what those buttons represent. The collections has been something I think is very different than what I’ve seen other button and pen companies do.
Gresham Harkless 6:03
Yeah, absolutely. Is there is there like a reason why you decided to do the collections is is so that people have different alternatives, or they kind of maybe within themselves also start to story as well.
Jeri Ogden 6:12
Exactly that so for me, it was like, What are these things that you want to say about this topic that kind of go together. So when I think about black womanhood, for me, it is say her name, it is trust black women, it is these four women have meant something to me. And it’s also we’re more than strong. Like when I think about black womanhood, those kind of the things that come to mind, when I think about what it means to be in an empowered educator, then these ideas come to mind. So yeah, I released it that way, because it helps to tell the story around that subject matter.
Gresham Harkless 6:44
Nice. I absolutely love that. And as you said, I mean, you get that opportunity to see the holistic, I think holistic view on these stories are different movements of different things that are that we individually are especially passionate about. I think so many times when you sometimes just have that one button, a lot of times it doesn’t give you that opportunity to hear about those different aspects, those different stories, those different movements within a movement, as well, too.
Jeri Ogden 7:06
Mm hmm. I totally agree. Like even today, like I’m rocking, you know, the, say her name and trust black women, because that’s, that’s where I am right now. Like, if you do these two things, your life would be so much better.
Gresham Harkless 7:18
Absolutely. And I think it definitely, as you said, as well to increase that awareness around there, because a lot of times when you have something, and you showcase that a lot of people may not know. So it provides that conversation opportunity. And I think, definitely in today’s time, we need more than enough conversations about some of the things that are going on in the world.
Jeri Ogden 7:35
Absolutely. Absolutely. Totally agree.
Gresham Harkless 7:38
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO. Heck. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have. But what’s something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Jeri Ogden 7:50
I think what makes me more efficient, being as though I’m running a business and still working for someone else. I think the thing that makes me more efficient is understanding when to say no and what to say no to. So I actually have a button that says no, a complete sentence. And I think being empowered to say no without explanation without feeling guilty, is honestly, that hack and like what that comes from is really being able to look at my calendars. I have all the apps that keep me organized. And I read these different books from entrepreneurs who are successful, but it’s really about like, how do I care for myself so that I don’t get burnt out. And that care is sometimes being able to say no, to what’s not going to be best for pinda or be best for me or be best for my nine to five. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with saying no, I really do. And I think that that’s what has helped me. And I’m very young in the entrepreneur journey. You know, it’s like I said, I just launched in November, but it has helped me to put out what I want to put out. You know, when I Oh, every time I put out a button, someone tells me Oh, you should put this on. But you know, but I’m like, thanks, you know. So being able to say no, I would say it’s my hack, honestly.
Gresham Harkless 9:07
Yeah. And it’s an extremely powerful hack. And I mean, I think that I feel like the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been more comfortable in saying no, but it’s so important because you have to be able to kind of guard your time guard your energy guard, guard your focus, and to be able to kind of put that focus into where it needs to be. And I think there’s so many opportunities that you have so many different buttons that you might want to create people to create, that you kind of can quickly end up running somebody else’s race instead of staying true to your mission and what you’re trying to do and accomplish.
Jeri Ogden 9:38
Absolutely. So I love that you said running someone else’s race. You know, I said this on another podcast and I shared this advice a friend said to me, one time when you stay in your lane, there is no traffic. So it’s like if you just focus on what you’re trying to do, you don’t have to worry about everything else around you.
Gresham Harkless 9:55
Yeah, absolutely. And it can get really, really noisy and I think that’s why it’s even more important. To get to know your race to run your race and and understand exactly what that is because as more and more opportunities come as even more and more success happens, it starts to get a little bit noisier people start pulling at you in so many different ways. And you have to make sure you’re staying true. And you remember exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing. Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you, what I call your CEO nugget. And this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice might be what you touched on before, but it might be something you would tell yourself if you were to hop into a time machine.
Jeri Ogden 10:30
Hmm. Honestly, if I was to happen to a time machine, I would tell myself start sooner. Like I’m happy with when I started, really looking back, there was some confidence lacking that didn’t allow me to start sooner. And I just think about like, Oh, I could have been at that festival, or I could have met that person. But I also understand, that’s what’s for me never misses me. Right? So it’s going to come, but those opportunities will come back around. But I think that’s what I would tell myself is that start now, you know, start start now. So don’t wait until every moment is perfect. And the perfect investor has decided to share your product or, you know, invest in your product or, you know, share your Instagram. But start when when you have the idea and you feel it, you’re ready, just go ahead and start because I made a lot of excuses. I said I had the idea for a year, you know, I made a lot of reasons why I couldn’t start the year before.
Gresham Harkless 11:24
Absolutely. And what it was it the job opportunity that really opened up that opportunity to make the make open up the door for you to understand and see and take that action towards that.
Jeri Ogden 11:33
That was a big part of it. And honestly, working with a really good friend of mine who run latonia, she runs a German tea house and seeing her journey in house like we were just working together at this after this, you know what I mean? Like, I was tasting her teas and talking about packaging with her. And and if I was doing good with her, why couldn’t I do with myself? You know? So yes, the Job did help. But there was also I was there was some fear there, you know, so I had to like, I think that there’s an opportunity when even you’re afraid to leave. And I think that’s what I would tell myself, if I was taking a time machine back to say like, go ahead, girl, you You got this, it’s gonna be fine.
Gresham Harkless 12:14
Yeah, absolutely, it is so incredibly powerful. You know, having that environment around you. And you know, being around other entrepreneurs and business owners in and of itself, gives you confidence. I know, when I first started my business, it was being part of a networking group that actually helped me to understand and gain the confidence because I didn’t think I could do it before and it was only regularly being around those people that say, Whoa, hey, maybe you can do this, maybe you can do that. And it starts to create that opportunity, that energy towards that. So I love that, that CEO nugget, and I appreciate it. And now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we’re hoping to have different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show. JÃ©ri, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Jeri Ogden 12:53
You know, it’s funny that you asked me this, because I was like, see, am I a CEO? You know, like, I don’t manage other people. But I think like, being a CEO, is it’s, it’s taking your idea, executing your idea, and then moving forward and what it means to grow your product, your business, your idea, whatever that looks like. So you being the driver of that of that engine of that ship, like, I think for me, that’s what being a CEO is. And it’s like, it’s, I’m in charge of my time, I don’t answer to anyone else, I decide what products are going out what Instagram image I want to put out. So I think for me, SEO is being empowered, like that’s the biggest part of being a CEO, is that I have control over the look, the brand, the interactions, all of those things belong to me. And that is much different than when you work for someone else.
Gresham Harkless 13:52
Absolutely. And I love that that empowerment is that empowerment piece is so important. And we kind of touched on a little bit on the power of saying no, and how important that can be where you’re, you know, as they say, as soon as you’re saying yes to something, you’re saying no to a million other things. So you have to be very clear on what you’re saying yes to and being empowered to be able to make those decisions, whether that manifests itself and you know, who you work with, who you partner with, what podcasts that Come on, or, or what people or what actual buttons to actually create as well to that gives you that empowerment to be able to kind of see the world as you hope to see it.
Jeri Ogden 14:25
Yeah, absolutely. And being empowered. I think especially as you know, in my 30s black woman, like it just it just means so much to me to be a business owner, and then to help other young women or other young men, but a particularly other young women have come to me and said, Hey, can you help me with my Instagram page? Or what do you think about this logo? It just feels so good that someone would even like, look at what pinned up is doing and say, Hey, I wanna I want some advice on jury because what she’s done in the 689 months is amazing, you know, and I think I just I’m so honored and humbled by the Young women who have come to me to ask for my help.
Gresham Harkless 15:03
Yeah, absolutely. And as you said, you know, in your nugget is is so important for us to take those leaps, because often, we forget how powerful we are, we forget how much of an impact we have. And sometimes the things we see and sometimes the things that we don’t see, but we never get to that point, if we don’t take that leap. So I appreciate you for taking that leap and remind us of doing the same. My pleasure. Awesome, awesome, awesome injury, truly appreciate your time. And that definition as well. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there’s anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know and of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you’re working on.
Jeri Ogden 15:36
Yeah, so I would say to anyone who’s reading or listening or hanging out with us, that you know, you have something inside of you. And don’t, don’t diminish it, don’t downplay it, don’t second guess it, like whatever that little seed is that’s growing inside of you, water flourish it, you know, and it will grow into something amazing. And that is so powerful, you know, figure out your corner of the world and, and make it your own. To reach me is pinnedupemotions on Instagram. That’s the website. My DMS are open, feel free to holler at me. And I’m here for networking and community. So it means a lot to me when people do reach out to me.
Gresham Harkless 16:19
Awesome, awesome, awesome, we will definitely have those links and information in the show notes. But again, I appreciate kind of the reminder. And even the education that we’ve gotten as well to about knowing this special thing that you’re thinking about that you want to do that you maybe feel like you can’t do a lot of times you just have to take those steps and water. You know those seeds as you as you said as well too. And that’s when something phenomenal starts to blossom and grow sometimes beyond what we even thought possible. So, appreciate that reminder, appreciate your time again and I hope you have a great rest of the day.
Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO.CO. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it’s a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear a www.CEOgear.co This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.