Jenna Phipps recently met up with Jellysmack to fill us in about her world. Rocking a cream colored turtleneck and mint green pullover vest, she oozed the earthy, vintage vibe that designers at labels like Anthropologie and Reformation devote their careers seeking to capture.
Behind her is a linen mannequin with measuring tape draped over the shoulders and a viney plant nestled in a macrame hanger. In front of her—in her lap, really—is a beige doggo with a nose covered in soft white fuzz, blinking slowly towards the camera.
“This is Benson,” she explains. “I got him five years ago. He’s a rescue dog. He usually just dozes off, but he just wants to be here.” (Benson is a regular on Phipps’ Instagram).
A relative newcomer to the creator scene, Jenna Phipps began uploading content to YouTube in late 2019. The crafty Canadian quickly hit the radars of the most avid DIY’ers and creatives on the internet with her unique retro aesthetic.
Jenna’s video library is a marvel of artistic wanderlust that explores everything from calligraphy, to knitting, interior design, and gardening. 🪴
“I really get inspiration from everywhere,” Phipps says. “Little things spark ideas.”
One of Jenna Phipps’ hallmark styles is that she’s thrifty and resourceful. From day one, she shared her thrift store adventures where she often finds the items and materials she repurposes in her projects. Her channel’s most robust playlist is entitled ‘Thrift with Me‘, with the most-viewed video featuring a full room makeover with thrift store items.
The antithesis of fast fashion, Phipps even designed and sewed her own wedding dress out of fabrics she curated from resale stores for her summer 2021 wedding to husband Tim Delcourt. The project is one of her channel’s most popular videos to date.
Prior to her first upload, Jenna worked as a professional visual designer. Despite the creative aspects of her nine-to-five role, there was something missing, leaving her feeling uninspired and restrained.
“I had a background in graphic design, but I wasn’t always super excited about always creating things for a client and having them tell me what to do,” Phipps says. “So I decided to do what I wanted to do.”
In order to fill the gap in creative freedom she felt in her professional life, she started working on her own projects over which she had full creative reign. She started uploading videos about her projects on YouTube, and the rest is history.
Just two and a half years later, she boasts more than 680K followers across social platforms, with 233K on Facebook alone thanks to her partnership with Jellysmack. That was enough for her to transition to a career as a full-time creator in which she has full control over every project she works on.
“The best part is being able to make whatever I want to make, doing what I want to do, and having no limits from anyone else. It’s fully up to me, and I can really take it where I want to take it.”Creator Jenna Phipps
As executive director of her time and projects, she has the freedom to be more exploratory and experimental in her creative wanderlust. According to Jenna, that liberty and self-determination leads to some interesting and unexpected places.
“Sometimes, when I go into a project, it doesn’t turn out how I initially expected it to be. That’s what I love about it…things can change directions at any moment.”
Now in full control of her career and artistic pursuits, it seems that Phipps is slowly crafting her dream life. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t new challenges coming her way, ones that she has to solve for as she goes.
“It’s a lot more work than you might think it is, being a social media creator,“ she notes.
Of course, staying motivated in any vocation long term is a challenge for anyone in any field, even those in their dream roles. According to Phipps, being a successful creator requires inspiration—and a lot of it.
“Focus on something that really excites you,” she advises. “You won’t really go very far if you’re doing something just for the sake of being a creator. There needs to be some passion and excitement behind it. Genuine excitement is the key to becoming a creator.”
It may be simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Lack of inspiration and excitement can bring on creator burnout, the throws of which can adversely impact performance in mild cases, and mental health in more acute cases. Jenna’s strategy for curtailing these creative ruts is a combination of trusting her instincts, remaining honest with herself and her feelings about projects as they come along, and being willing to let things go if it feels strained.
“I try not to force anything. I feel what’s really inspiring me. The worst thing is when I’m trying to push something, and I know at the moment I’m not excited about it. That’s something I’ve really learned…if I’m not excited going into the project, I can start to slip into burnout,” she says.
Luckily, inspiration comes regularly for Phipps, sometimes like a bolt of lighting. ⚡️ And when it strikes, it’s pure content gold.