Please tell us a little bit about your early years. What was life like for Jenni as a little girl? Where are you from and what were your dreams and aspirations?
I was born in Greenville, SC and raised in Newberry South Carolina. Very small town where for a long time we didn’t even have a Wal-Mart I don’t think. Definitely no malls or anything like that. We had to drive about 30-45 minutes away to Columbia for almost everything. It was like second nature though because that’s what everyone did. Almost all of my family lived there. I then moved to Nashville for a few years with my mom and dad as a young teen, and I’ve been in Memphis 23 years (where I have no family besides my twin by the way). As a little girl I was raised in a 2 parent household with the best parents I could have ever asked for. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and my spiritual family was truly the village people speak about. I have a twin sister and an older sister who I was always close to growing up.
I was always super smart, being in gifted and talented programs, honor roll and advanced classes from 1st grade forward. I loved to read and even worked in the downtown library while in elementary school. Fashion and style has been my thing for as long as I can remember. I was popular, I think mainly because I was a twin, but I didn’t have a lot of friends so to speak. I took speech classes because of a bad lisp and slight stutter. I had braces on my legs at one time (not quite the Forrest Gump ones cause my mama wasn’t going for it lol).
I remember thrifting with my parents and having carts full of clothes. I remember drawing pretty ball gowns and suits on my notebook paper because I wanted to be a clothing designer and a lawyer. I remember sitting on the curb with my books looking up in the sky asking the planes to come take me away, not because anything was wrong but because I had never flown before and didn’t even think it was possible. I dreamt of and aspired to be an international clothing designer and a chic lawyer who wore short skirt suits to the courtroom.
What were some of your biggest challenges early-on, and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge early on was getting pregnant and having my first child at 15 years old. I then dropped out of school to work and take care of my child. At 16 I moved out on my own and kept working while trying to figure out life and raise my child. At 17 I moved to Memphis with literally the clothes on my back in a city where I had no family or resources. It was a big challenge because I was still a child myself. I overcame the challenge by going to Job Corps (last stop after a stint in juvenile and even being in a couple group homes), getting my GED and continuing on to graduate.
At 18 when I graduated from Job Corps (top in the class of course) with my GED and computer service technician certificate I was actually pregnant with my second child unknowingly. So by 19 I had two children. The only way I was able to overcome it was with the help of my God.
What were some of your first passions and how did you make them a priority as you grew older?
My first passions were always gaining knowledge, helping others and fashion. I’ve been an avid reader since I could first read and style & fashion was always in my blood. I used to love to go to the fabric store with my mom and help her cut out patterns. She used to sew all of our clothes (even for my dad) and my two sisters. I used to sit and people-watch and say “she should have worn XYZ instead”.
All my friends would always come to me to put their outfits together and ask me for style advice. This led me to having a boutique, styling firm, and being a clothing designer with the highlight of my style career being showing my collection at New York Fashion Week. With my other passion being helping others I was always a listening ear and a wealth of information and resources for those who need it. This led me to starting a 501c3 non-profit focused on curbing teenage pregnancy and young male violence because if we can lead them while younger it will go far in a lot of adult issues being avoided.
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur and where did your inspiration come from?
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when I used to buy candy and snacks from the grocery store and sell them at school. I’ve always been a master salesperson and knew that if I could make millions for these big organizations I could do the same for myself.
I got tired of realizing that no matter how hard you worked you would probably never make enough to live in the same neighborhood as the owner of the business. I got tired of getting .50 cent raises, having someone control every moment of my day with them, and my creativity being stifled while someone else benefitted from my hard work.
My inspiration came from seeing business owners living their best life. They seemed to have so much freedom and happiness and I wanted that. Also my mom used to sell some of the clothes she made so that definitely inspired me to be an entrepreneur as well.
When you became a mother, how did that journey affect your plans and goals? What were some of the things you did to keep a balance with all you had going on?
When I became a mother at the tender age of 15, it affected my plans and goals in a major way. I was a little lost girl trying to figure it out. But it had a positive effect too because I now had someone to live and work for. I had someone depending on me for everything so I had no choice but to elevate because I couldn’t let her down. When I became a mother for the second time at 19, I felt defeated but knew I had to keep pushing. My children are literally my whole heart and soul. We basically grew up together and I know there is no way I would have been able to do it without my God. To be honest keeping a balance sounds good but I don’t even know if I would say it was a balance. I survived what was meant to make me a statistic.
I raised my children to be some of the best kids in the world. They are God fearing, intelligent, respectful, hard working and amazing human beings. That’s why my nonprofit is so important to me because I want to stop teenage pregnancy by giving them an outlet through the arts and business.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a coach and business consultant. Where did you learn your craft and what inspired you to help so many others?
Honestly, I never knew I would be in this field of business. I started out as a boutique owner. That boutique was selling knock off handbags from the backseat of my car. I was still working in corporate America so I used that to my advantage, selling to my coworkers and their families. I then moved on to selling clothing and accessories because I didn’t want to go to jail for counterfeit items lol. So I started dragging around alllllll my inventory to every pop up shop there was.
People started to seek me out to be a part of their events because they knew I would draw the crowd and I had amazing items and customer service. I then set up a boutique in my living room, then the boutique took over my dining room as well and people would come shop all the time. (I don’t recommend this. I just did what I had to do with what I had). I then went on to be inside of other boutiques and at the height of my boutique career I had JCHIC inside of the Wolfchase mall in Memphis.
During this time I started styling others and even styled some celebs. So the boutique turned into a styling firm and I found that I was mainly working with entrepreneurs. They started asking me questions about how I was so successful and I started giving business tips from what I had experienced and from the classes I was taking and books I was reading. That grew into what I am today. As the Brand Style Curator, I now have a full service branding and marketing agency for entrepreneurs, companies and organizations. Instead of a coach, I’m a brand strategist and business consultant with a corporate America background. I learned my craft from being an avid reader, taking many personal development classes and courses, hiring coaches and consultants, and pouring everything into my brain.
I also have an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, and I’m 4 classes from my master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in human resources management. Corporate America contributed heavily to my craft as well. I worked since I was 14 years old bagging groceries at Kroger. When I was about 19 my career in banking started and I worked myself all the way up to being the assistant branch manager and business banker at Suntrust bank. During my career I worked heavily in banking, sales customer service, payroll, recruiting and administrative areas. All of this contributed very well to my businesses because the knowledge gained there was priceless. I took some of the most expensive training paid for by the organizations I was working for. It’s really where my personal development journey began and I didn’t at first know how much better it would make me when I did start my own brands.
How did you get connected with the Spa Boss Tribe and the Six Figure Spa Chick?
Candace is from Memphis like me and I would always see her around at events. She was doing massage back then and I had my boutique. We were both in the building phases of business and would be at all the pop up shops networking. She tells the story that I wasn’t checking for her back then but my version says that I was so busy I never took time for myself to get that massage she promised me lol. I came to one of her training classes and the rest is history. She bought some boutique pieces, hired me as her wardrobe stylist, and then hired me to make some dresses for her for Spa Awards.
I kept coming to her classes and events and she gave me opportunities to speak. I even used to catch the MegaBus to Atlanta to attend the events because flights were too expensive for me back then and I was in between cars. I’ve been around since we were doing whole events in a super small room and then on to the presidential suites at our favorite hotels. We now travel the world together, love each other’s families as our own, and are catalysts for change in our respective fields. We both went from rock bottom to the top and are now fellow millionaires forever joined together as the dynamic duo. I’m now the global program manager for the Spa Boss Tribe and the tribe is just as special to me as to her. We are always putting each other on to opportunities, maintaining an economic cash flow with each other and the marketplace, and doing all we can for the communities we serve.
Tell us all about the JChic Lifestyle Brand! What does it embody and what are some of the services you offer to clients?
The JCHIC LifeStyle® brand is a brand focused on leveling up in luxury and succeeding in style. It embodies being the marriage of business and style, focusing on branding, marketing and content for personal and business brands. The style part comes in because before you open your mouth your image speaks for you. With this in mind we have a global style team to facilitate wardrobe styling and image consulting for entrepreneurs.
We help them identify, enhance and portray their signature brand style statement to the world. We are a full-service agency providing high functioning economic development for entrepreneurs and small to midsize brands. We oﬀer business to consumers and business to business products and services. This makes us very unique in our industry and carved out our niche for us to be the leaders we are in the market today. We also curate global luxury travel experiences that serve to see the world, while curating scroll stopping content, networking with others, learning better business techniques, and opening the door to even more opportunities.
Tell us about the Jenni Graham Brand! We are excited to hear about what’s happening now, and what is to come!
The Jenni Graham brand is for the people that want to elevate, serve, and prosper. As the Brand Style Curator of the brand, I’m fully focused on being the catalyst for change. Whether working on personal brands or business brands, I’m the clear premiere choice when it comes to elevation in branding, marketing, and content. I’m a certified speaker, world renowned and highly sought after wardrobe stylist, and travel agent providing carefully curated luxury travel experience for business and personal. I’m the go to for small and medium scale business owners who are struggling to remain profitable or expand their operations the way they want, and I utilize my extensive expertise to help them scale their business and hit their first six figures in business and then scale to 7 figures and beyond.
I’m a member of Forbes with Forbes the culture, an AIRBNB experience host, a member of the Facebook (Meta) leadership community, an owner of multiple international AIRBNBs, the global program manager for the spa boss tribe, an Amazon influencer and affiliate, winner of multiple awards in my field, Cornell university alumni, widely published and very well connected. What’s to come is further building of the personal brand via speaking engagements, podcasts, magazine and blog features, and more VIBG (very important brand guests is what i call my clients) experiences that will change millions of lives. I am also retiring my boutique now that I’m 40 and I will continue to elevate as Jenni Graham, the brand style curator.
What do you hope WOC in general, learn by working with you and being in contact with your content and information?
The business world is dynamic yet complicated. Brands and entrepreneurs require expert opinion and wise council to help them remain competitive in this game. In order to scale their brands to heights once thought unachievable, they must have access to true professionals because, if we’re being honest, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors out here. I dedicated my career and expertise to helping brands strive for excellence in their fields. By working with me and being in contact with my content I hope they learn how to put their best foot forward when it comes to their branding, marketing, PR and content.
I want them to learn that they can advance past anything meant to keep them down and to also never stop serving others and giving back wherever they can. I want them to think deeper into allowing anything they have gone through to serve as a springboard to make them better people overall. I had to heed the call for help because the competition in the business space is so high that someone had to simplify the process.
What’s something you think WOC need more of within our community? Tell us your reasoning behind it.
WOC in our community need more sisterhood vibes, access to funding, personal development, and grace. My reasoning is that we are definitely better together. We don’t have to tear each other down to lift ourselves up. We don’t have to dim others’ light so that we shine brighter. Business wise we have to work 10 times harder than our counterparts of different genders and races. Therefore we need more access to funding, but more importantly, need to have our foundations and back end set up correctly so that we can gain the funding. Personal development is needed so that we don’t get comfortable with our current situations.
Grace is needed because we carry a lot and are sometimes not acknowledged or celebrated enough for the strength and resilience we possess.
When you hear the words Health, Wealth, and Growth, what do they mean to YOU personally?
Health: Taking care of yourself mentally is just as important as mentally. I feel that a lot of us need to get better on our mental health. It’s not as taboo as it once was, but everyone needs a therapist. Mental health is sometimes overlooked and a lot of things are untreated or misdiagnosed which can spill problems over into our regular everyday lives. Physical health is equally important. Make that doctor’s appointment, ask those uncomfortable questions, get second opinions when needed, and don’t be afraid to substitute or add in holistic remedies. Wealth: The actual definition of wealthy is “having a great deal of money, resources, or assets”. I don’t feel that it only refers to money. Those assets spoken of in the definition can mean many things; like you can be wealthy in relationships, wealthy in freedom, wealthy in freedom, or even wealthy in your abilities.
If we’re talking about financial wealth to me that means you have more than enough money to meet your needs, but you can also afford to work only if you want to. It’s not based on just what you drive, where you live, or what you spend. It’s more about the assets you have like discretionary income, real estate and investments. Growth: Growth to me means increasing, developing, or maturing. Even if in gradual small amounts growth is very important to your life. It’s all about being better today than I was yesterday and aiming to be even better tomorrow. It embodies not being stagnant and flourishing in your own special way.
Tell us a story about a time you almost gave up but decided to PUSH THRU and prevailed anyway!
I was sitting in my boutique and went days without customers or sales online. I was literally in tears and praying to God that my bank account would match my hustle and grind. I had put all of my money into JCHIC and it wasn’t coming back fast enough. I filed bankruptcy 2 times back to back in order to save my house that I had bought when I was 26.
I was literally at my lowest point and wanted to say forget it all and go back to corporate America where I had excelled for years. I prayed and begged God for it to get better. But no one knew except those close to me because I still showed up. I still went to that empty boutique day after day. I used the downtime to take pictures, create content, and engage online. It turned around and here I am today celebrating 10 years in business and consulting with thousands of entrepreneurs and brands.
Who have been some of your biggest supporters and motivators along your journey?
Some of my biggest supporters and motivators are my children Iyanna Graham and Christion George, my mom Jenny Okpobrisi, my dad Charlie Oliphant, my stepmom Sheron Oliphant, my twin sister Joni Graham, my best friend Candace Holyfield-Parker, my friend Mashi Epting and a host of other friends, family, mentors etc
If you could have the chance to work with ANYONE in the world, who would make that list, and why?
My wish list to work with includes Beyonce, Oprah, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Sara Blakely and Kris Jenner. They make up my list because in their own respective rights they made a name for themselves and shifted the marketplace to them instead of the other way around. I would love to learn from them, collaborate with them and soak up all the connections and opportunities working with them would bring.
When considering building wealth, what kind of mindset is required? How important is our mindset to our wealth goals?
The mindset has to be elevated. You have to be able to focus, delegate where needed, and always give back. Our mindset is very important to wealth goals because if the mind is right, everything else follows suit. Our brain is in our head at the top of our bodies for a reason. It controls everything and should be the epicenter for our growth and development. If someone locked me away and stripped me of EVERYTHING one thing they can’t take is my mind. The thoughts, knowledge and ideas stored there are mine forever and long as I have my right mind, I can make something shake!
Would you say that self care contributes to a healthy lifestyle? What are some of the other concepts that contribute to good health, overall?
Self care is definitely imperative for a healthy lifestyle. If I’m being honest you can’t have a healthy lifestyle WITHOUT self care! It’s very important to replenish what you release. The thing some forget is that self care can look different at certain times and for different people. Some examples of self care that are sometimes overlooked include saying no, releasing people or things that don’t serve you, not answering your phone, ignoring ignorance, taking naps, and being unapologetically yourself. Of course self care also includes spa days, vacations, luxury experiences, grounding yourself, retail therapy and having a strong mental health routine.
Growth can look very different for everyone. How do you stay focused on your progress without getting caught up in the progress of others?
I stay focused on my progress by thinking of myself as a horse in a race. They have those blinders on where they can look only forward and are not concerned with anything except what’s in front of them. Their only focus is winning the race. That’s how I am about my progress. I’m only focused on forward movement and not looking to see what others are doing. Their progress is none of my business but when I do see it, I count it as motivation and inspiration to be better. As long as my family, friends, power circle and brand guests are growing I’m good. I went from once having a job cleaning toilets to now being a powerhouse living legend.
I went from no car to flying more than I drive. I went from never seeing the inside of an airplane to traveling all over the world in luxury and first class. If I can grow to these heights anyone can. And the crazy part is I’m still growing daily!
We’ve all heard the negative connotation of the words “You Changed”. Can you explain to us the beauty of CHANGE and the power of blocking out the naysayers who try to discourage us on our journeys?
The beauty of change is that it’s infinite and ever evolving. You can literally change a percentage of a percent everyday and be a totally different person at the end of a time period. I feel that if you’re not changing (hopefully for the better) you’re just existing and not living. I like when people tell me I’ve changed because staying the same is definitely not for me and not conducive for my lifestyle. The constant evolution keeps me going and striving for more.
It’s imperative to block out the naysayers who try to discourage you on your journey! When you become laser focused on what your journey is you won’t even have time to worry about them. Block them on social media, in real life, and from your thoughts. A lot of the times they will come back around when you elevate and please leave them right where they are BEHIND YOU! Don’t worry about the shade from trees who have bore no fruit. Don’t focus on the shouts from the nosebleed section while you’re on the main stage.
What’s next for Jenni Graham? Is there anything coming up or happening soon that we should know about? And how can we keep in touch with you and all you’re doing?
Next up for Jenni is a lifetime of elevation. It’s coming spiritually, mentally, physically, financially, and emotionally. I’m on an ongoing quest to elevate the communities globally and curate a luxury lifestyle of leisure for myself while showing others how to do the same. We have an epic membership launching for entrepreneurs ready for their elevation. We are also releasing some amazing digital and physical products that will be conducive to that elevation happening. We have a lot of luxury experiences including signature in-person and virtual events, travels, intensives, accelerators and more.
Specifically up next is our Elevate Retreats (Jamaica, Tulum, Cabo Africa and Dubai for the rest of the year), our Profit Makers Prom in December, our annual Convo to Currency brunch, our Elevate your Brand membership, our line of planners, journals, affirmation cards, and workbooks, my retirement from the boutique, my book, an extensive digital library addition, and so much more ELEVATION! All information about this and so much more can be found on my instagram @jchiclifestyle and Facebook at Jenni Graham. Turn your post notifications on for my pages because my things sell out fast! I have over 67 hours of FREE training at the link in my bio on Instagram. I also have free information on my Youtube at JCHIC LifeStyle.
For a nice freebie, text brandboss to 31996!
COVER SHOOT CREDITS:
Hair: Posh Beauty Collection Cierra Miller Douglas @poshbeautycollection
Makeup: Hana Ali @hana_ali_makeup
Butterfly Head piece: Yaya Yogi @colorfulheadache
Nails: Destini Monae @colormedesss__
Wardrobe stylist: Jenni Graham @jchiclifestyle
Apparel: Ashley Dean @deanoffashion
Creative Director: Brittany Miller @mrsbrittmiller
Photography: Dope Shots Photography @dopeshotsbyprecious