Female Founders: Jennifer Lindsey of Inspired Wraps On The Five Things You Need To Thrive and Succeed as a Woman Founder
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
Founders have powerful personalities. I’m not entirely sure what this means but I would not describe myself like this. I am straightforward and no-nonsense but I am also an introvert. I have to take an hour in the morning to meditate and remove myself from the world. There is nothing I like more than doing something creative while watching TV. I am what you would call a “homebody.”
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Lindsey.
Jennifer Lindsey, the founder of Inspired Wraps, was born with creativity running through her fingertips. At 10 years of age, her grandmother taught her how to wrap gifts, and while she has loved doing so since, little did she know she would make a career out of it!
Lindsey wanted to pursue Fine Arts in school but, wanting to make a more stable income, she shifted her focus to another type of creativity through food — the culinary arts. After attending culinary school, she worked as a chef for 14 years in the fast-paced kitchens of Pappasito’s, Paesano’s, and Whole Foods but due to health issues that made it impossible to continue, she had to pivot again.
After Christmas one year, she noticed she had an abundance of ribbon, paper, and various gift wrapping supplies. Lindsey realized if she did not let them go, they would overtake her space. So, she began to sell what she could on Etsy where she found there was quite a market for specialty supplies. With her love of wrapping and putting together gift baskets, it was a natural and seamless transition to turning her hobby into a business.
Over 2,200 sales with five-star reviews later, Inspired Wraps has since evolved into gifts as well as gift wrapping supplies. You will find a unique curation of nature-inspired gift wrapping supplies as well as thoughtfully-designed gift baskets meant for anyone who wants to think outside the generic department store box. Out of her home located in San Antonio, Texas, Lindsey also wraps gifts for customers.
When she’s not busy wrapping, Lindsey continues to explore various mediums that pique her interest and inspire her. Whether that be playing guitar, printing black-and-white film photography, knitting, crocheting, sewing, or crafting projects for her young daughter, Lindsey is constantly keeping her hands busy. She also has another business called Microphonic where she upcycles vintage microphones and repurposes them into functional works of art. Between it all, she still manages to dedicate an hour to meditation each morning to help her stay grounded and focused.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I fell into Inspired Wraps after being unable to continue my culinary career. I worked as a chef for 14 years but due to health issues had to pivot. I have always loved wrapping gifts and putting together gift baskets and it seemed like a natural transition. The success of a meal depends heavily on presentation much like the success of a gift.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The continual growth is fascinating to me. I can’t believe my fortune in stumbling into something that is being well received. I am so grateful.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When we started to systematize the inventory we created a spreadsheet to tell us how many months we had on hand for every item. I found I have one item with 15 years of inventory! My ordering process has become much more conservative after that.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I was, and still am, a novice at running a business. About a year ago, I felt the need to contact SCORE to find a mentor. I’ve had my mentor, Steve, for over a year now. He turned my hobby into a business. He has given me a wealth of knowledge and continues to teach me. I will forever be grateful.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
In general, there’s a stigma for women who are not primarily focused on home and family. That’s not to say that focusing on your family is not a noble pursuit but a woman shouldn’t be faulted for choosing a focus outside of that either.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
How do you change ingrained mindsets? I suppose honest dialogue and adopting true feminist principles of equality. It seems each generation comes a little closer. Ultimately, it comes down to individuals taking responsibility for their growth and a willingness to listen.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Why not? Many women have the willingness, tenacity, and passion.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
Honestly, I had to Google myths about founders, but I did find these.
- Founders are risk-takers. I have not taken any uncalculated or unnecessary risks. Most of my actions are carefully considered.
- Founders act alone. This could not be further from the truth for me. Even if I had wanted to act alone I could not have done so. I have a mentor, employees, a handyman, a PR firm, and the list goes on. I’m sure it will grow, too. It is a team effort. There is no way I could’ve done this alone.
- Founders have powerful personalities. I’m not entirely sure what this means but I would not describe myself like this. I am straightforward and no-nonsense but I am also an introvert. I have to take an hour in the morning to meditate and remove myself from the world. There is nothing I like more than doing something creative while watching TV. I am what you would call a “homebody.”
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
I don’t know if you can generalize anything being right for everyone. I think anything is right for you if you want it and don’t allow anything to stop you.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. There will be a lot of paperwork and dealing with numbers.
2. You will not have as much time to be creative.
3. You will have to deal with a lot of people.
4. You will have to learn how to sell yourself and your vision.
5. This will be so fulfilling.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Not there yet! But hopefully, one day, my work will inspire someone.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’d love to see hunger eradicated. Children going hungry is a crime and so unnecessary. I would love to change that.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I should say someone like Martha Stewart since she is the queen of creativity. However, I think it would be Ellen DeGeneres or Bill Burr. I love to laugh.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
Thank you, so much, for the opportunity and exposure.