We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Ornelas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I was trying the whole “Instagram Influencer” side gig and I had a lot of fun with it! Taking photos, trying out different creative ideas to shoot content with different products, etc. The creativity behind trying to help promote brands and products I liked was fun and motivating, I loved networking with these businesses and other Influencers in a field that was so vastly different from my actual full-time career, (I’m an Electrical Design Engineer for Northrop Grumman’s Space Division). It was nice to have an “escape” from just Engineering, and know that it was providing me with benefits such as extra income, new friends, and more insight into Social Media. While browsing instagram, I had noticed that there were a lot of Fitness brands out there (especially the bigger name brands) that seemed like people (especially women) were only really buying their products for a chance to be featured on their Instagram pages, which was already a long shot (since they had a very competitive brand rep program). It was disappointing to see and find out that a lot of companies that were promoting themselves as “Women Veteran Owned” that also had mission statements such as “Empowering all Women” were actually ran by a male, and were only promoting the same women over and over again. It seemed like a lot of these women were tearing themselves apart and asking “why am I not good enough to get featured?”, etc. I thought this didn’t seem fair, and I wanted to try and change that. With the help of my now husband Alex, who already owned several successful businesses of his own, we started Peachtails Apparel, which is setting out to “redefine Women’s Empowerment” for the better.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think the best way to explain this is by using part of our mission statement: “Peachtails Apparel is setting out to redefine what Women Empowerment actually is.” How so? It starts by making sure each customer feels like they’re getting a special gift every time they get a package. We hand write our thank you notes on a motivational Insert card you might want to keep and hang in your office, add free stickers (first orders get a pop socket and air freshener!), and use sustainable and fun poly mailers and product bags. We encourage everyone to tag us in their Instagram stories and post, and we always make an effort to repost and show them off to the community! We hype every single one of these ladies up, and make sure they truly feel appreciated and beautiful. We also have a Feature Friday, where we randomly seek out Women within our community (or even a new lady that’s never heard of us before) and learn a bit about her from her page, and feature her on our story! Our community is encouraged to follow and like post on their page, and we hope the effort is reciprocated, so it multiplies and spreads, encourages more and more Women to come together and support one another. “To us, Women Empowerment means doing the right thing, always. Community over competition. We want to gather Women from all walks of life and curate a community where you can help better one another, and not go after it alone.” When we say this, we really mean it. We often feature other small businesses and their Women owners on Feature Friday stories as well, and help spread the word about their business, even if they also sell Women’s Activewear! We think this definitely sets us apart from others, it is not often you will see another brand page helping another brand, especially one that is more-so considered a competitor. We do this to prove that it IS possible to truly Empower ALL Women, not just those that only purchase from us. “Do good and feel good, always.” Also another true value we hold true from our mission statement! I believe we are still growing, but it is nice to see what we have achieved thus far in only a couple short months. I definitely think it was challenging, we struggled the first couple months in really getting any traction, however, staying true to our mission, values, and just being consistent is what I think ultimately lead to us gaining some traction! I believe it is also the key to truly flourishing and evolving as a brand, especially in such a competitive market and industry.
As far as lessons go, I think thus far it is important to remind yourself that not everyone wants to see you win, unfortunately. It is easy to be taken advantage of, so always protect yourself and your brand, above all else. I would say making sure you write up agreements and have them signed/emailed is the best way to go about any brand collaborations with influencers, and making sure you are clear about the content expectations and timelines. Always give yourself extra time to complete task as well, don’t feel a need to rush just because other companies out there are constantly putting out new products. The higher quality both your products and content are, the less releases you will need!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My personal favorite spot has to be Tempe Town Lake! The atmosphere here is always so happy and uplifting, and the walk around the lake is honestly beautiful, probably best around sunset time, since the bridge lights are always great to enjoy! I would probably start with either a paddle board ride on the lake, then walking down the walk way and checking out the Center of Arts, this is probably one of my favorite spots to take pictures at actually (we have used this spot several times for Peachtails Apparel shoots)! So definitely having a small impromptu photoshoot here next. Following that, we probably could use a bite to eat, so my go to is always Mellow Mushroom right across the way in Downtown Tempe. This is another area I have always loved taking walks in, there is always something fun going on off Mill Avenue! Other spots I love are hiking up “A” mountain, checking out “Hole in the Rock” nearby and Papago Park, these are always such a great and fun workout, especially in the summer! If it’s the summer, checking out a Spring Training Baseball game is always a fun idea, or perhaps heading to any of the Art street fairs and events either in Downtown Tempe or Phoenix. I think Phoenix honestly is one of the best places for food all around, but Old Town Scottsdale definitely tops the list with fun, hip restaurants that also are fun for a night out, such as Toca Madera! Other fun attractions I’d have to take my guest out to would include Scottsdale Fashion Square, Butterfly Wonderland, and the downtown Phoenix Botanical Garden, just to name a few!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Fiancé, Alex Aun, has been the “backbone” of Peachtails Apparel! He lets me run on my own because he see’s this as a great opportunity for me to experience actually owning and growing my own small business! He is always there when I need a second opinion, advice, a mentor, an extra hand with just about any task, and will take over any role as needed, as well as providing me with general support and love. We wanted this to truly be a “Women Veteran Owned”
Company, so it was important for both of us to get me exposed and comfortable doing all aspects of the business myself, however, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help and guidance, which is why it is so great having Alex on my side close by. My friends that have also supported me throughout the journey of building up our social media page as well as cheering us on, as well as my sister and mom, who proudly wear Peachtails Apparel!
Other: (Personal Instagram): Instagram.com/jennelectric
@Imagesbyseb (Sebastien Verstraet), @510south (Javier Castillo)