Vendor Spotlight | Jennifer Hatton | Poppins and Post
One of the best things about the event planning industry is the amazing vendors we get to work with! These people are some of the most creative and kind people you will meet. Each month in our Vendor Spotlight we introduce you to some of these creative entrepreneurs. In this series, we will get to know a little about the businesses these entrepreneurs have created and what drives them to be successful.
Jennifer Hatton is the owner and creative mind behind Poppins and Post. Based out of Napa, California she specializes in creating curated packages, handcrafted baked goods, and custom gifts for weddings, corporate, & special events. Her creations are thoughtful, creative, and so beautiful. I can’t imagine someone who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive one. Plus, she is just a joy to talk to! I first met Jennifer during an Instagram challenge we were both participating in. We connected in the comments and chatted the whole length of the challenge and long after that. She really is a gem. We hope you enjoy getting to know more about Jennifer and Poppins and Post.
Tell me a little about Poppins and Post. When or how did it start?
I’d like to say it was completely planned! I use to have a bakery in Carmel, California that I sold in order to move to Napa and be closer to my family. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do in Napa. So, I took some time to really think about the bakery. I considered what I loved and what clients I liked to work with. I always loved the retail side of things - packaging, presentation, and buying goods. I also loved getting to work with brides. I thought - I’ll start there.
Then I picked up my iPhone and got on Instagram. I knew that even if I didn’t immediately start a business, I wanted to have content out there. I did some miniature styled shoots in my home studio with different gifts I put together. They were all things I loved and knew I would want to receive. Because I have a background in food I leaned toward including packaged foods. I also live in wine country, so I for sure used that as inspiration. All of that turned into what it is now, creating unique, custom gifts for weddings and other events. As I have gotten to work with different vendors and clients my style has evolved and grown.
What motivated you to start your business?
I worked in the corporate world for 7 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at Hyatt. Once I stepped away from that world and became self-employed, I just couldn’t go back. Of course, that was one of those things you think about when you are early on in your business. Should I go back? Do I need to supplement my income? Should I be doing both? But the benefits of working from home - having flexibility and getting to create - that is worth everything to me. It is a dream come true that I get to create beautiful gifts for people every day. I also still get to do a lot of baking, which I love. I haven’t totally lost that. I think ultimately that's what motivates me - to be able to work for myself. If you can make it worth financially, it is amazing.
What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I have had a few opportunities to work closely with a celebrity and had that fleeting thought of “Have I made it?” But honestly, I think what I’m most proud of are the times I have overcame something big. Like having two weddings in one weekend or surviving the holiday season rush. Those moments where the deadlines are stacking up and you think you might not make it, but you do.
I truly am proud of the times when I have exceeded my own expectations. When I’ve stretched myself further than I thought possible and accomplished more than I thought possible. Those are really special moments to me because it confirms that I’m doing what I'm supposed to be doing. It gives me some affirmation that I’m where I’m supposed to be. But this is all so new! I’m looking forward to many more big accomplishments. There is a lot of growth opportunities ahead!
Where would you like your business to be in 3 years?
I have lots of lofty thoughts of what I would like to do! Right now, I am completely a one-person show. I do it all. From meeting with clients, to answering emails, to putting orders together, and delivering those orders. Of course I do call on my family in those times when there is an emergency, but for the most part, it is just me. I would love to have some time to be able to work on branding, packaging, and just overall creating a strong brand identity. Basically all of the things that get pushed to the side because I’m putting together the actual gifts. I would like to add people to the family so that I could do that.
I’d also love to build up our e-commerce business. I’d eventually like to have more pre-designed gifts and a way for someone to interactively put gifts together. That is probably a little further out. And eventually, maybe in 5 years, I’d like to have a brick and mortar store. I loved having and merchandising a shop.
But mostly my goal is to just keep doing what I did this past year - increasing revenue and serving more clients. This year felt like a good start to everything. I had a full wedding season, holiday season, and did some corporate work. I felt like this year I created a strong business. I wasn’t just taking orders here and there. I’ve actually only been at this a little over a year and I already been able to double my clients! I want to continue to build on that growth. And I also want to get more into the details this next year, thinking about things like packaging, boxes, and labels.
What is the most important thing you have learned as an entrepreneur?
The importance of the integrity of your brand. I feel like brand integrity is a concept that covers so much! For example, it is very easy to look at Instagram and to compare and covet other people’s idea. I definitely went through those growing pains at the beginning, thinking mine isn’t like theirs. But I have come to appreciate what makes me special and different from other people. We all have our own way of doing things. I definitely have a style and it is coming out more as time goes on. Stay true to your style! It is really important.
Integrity of your brand also means doing what is best for the client in front of you. It is my job to listen to a client’s ideas and to help them put those ideas together in the right way or embellish slightly to create something that looks like them. This is someone who is giving a gift to their family or friend. It shouldn’t look like Poppins and Post made it. It should look like Poppins and Post made it on their behalf.
Finally, integrity of your brand is having manners and in general acting with appropriate social decorum. The name Poppins and Post is actually a combination of Mary Poppins and Emily Post. When I was growing up, those where two people that defined social grace, manners, and etiquette to me. So obviously that is the core of our brand. I want that appropriate social decorum to be apparent in everything I do. Every time I answer an email quickly people thank me for getting back to them promptly. Is that not the norm? I know we are overloaded, but I feel like it is important to correspond in a timely manner, address people by name, and just generally interact with people the way we would want them to interact with us. I love that I get to work one on one with people. That is really special! I want them to know I don’t take that for granted.
What do you do on your days off?
(laughs) What days off?
I just enjoy going out and seeking inspiration. I love going to the nursery. There is so much inspiration in flowers and citrus. Everything in Napa grows beautifully. That is probably not fair to the rest of the world. But I can honestly find inspiration everywhere. I love to go to Whole Foods before people have touched displays and just look at new products and packaging.
I also want to open a General Store one day, so anytime I can find those types of places, I go! I’m obsessed with antique stores and going to find treasures. I love to collect things. Any city I travel to I look for things to buy that I could eventually put into a basket. I have so many things that I have purchased with the intention of going in a gift basket that just haven’t made it there yet. I particularly love glassware. Almost every place I go I wind up with some sort of glass or dish.
Poppins and Post specializes in creating curated packages, handcrafted baked goods, and custom gifts for weddings, corporate, & special events. You can find out more at https://poppinsandpost.com/. You can find Poppins and Post on Instagram @Poppinsandpost.