Pandemic Leads To Journey of Gratitude

BIRKENB

Agency Subsidizes Custom Designed Books For Women-Owned Businesses

Late one evening, JinJa Birkenbeuel, CEO, Birk Creative, came up with an idea to help small businesses struggling to survive during the pandemic. She started the Journey of Gratitude Books, dedicated to helping women with creative product-based businesses by giving them visibility and a marketing tool – complimentary copies of custom-designed books subsidized by her agency. Clients of Birk Creative, a premier multichannel brand strategy, digital transformation and visual identity agency, include Facebook, Tesla, CPASS Foundation and Google. Birkenbeuel is also the founder of The Honest Field Guide(™) podcast, where she hosts discussions dedicated to winning in business with Grammy-Award winners, successful entrepreneurs, sports-team owners, best-selling authors and inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The first 3 books are now available for digital download or print-on-demand:
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–   Fleur: Kelly Marie Thompson is a floral artist, small business owner and runs a school to teach people how to create and run a floral business
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FLEUR
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–   Beltshazzar Jewels: a jewelry artist and entrepreneur out of St. Louis that uses natural stones and materials in her work.
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BELTSHAZZAR JEWELS
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–   Martha Mae: Jean Cate, Chicago, is a curator and retailer of one of a kind and high end art supplies and art artifacts. Her shop recently moved from brick and mortar to online.
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MARTHA MAE
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Asked to elaborate, Birkenbeuel tells GDUSA:
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The pandemic motivated me to bring Journey of Gratitude to fruition. One late August evening, I was trying to come up with something to do to help small American businesses that were vanishing overnight as a result of the U.S. government’s failure to protect entrepreneurs and innovators during the pandemic. The suffering I saw firsthand of women owned businesses, entrepreneurs and even women that work inside a corporation, overnight, was terrifying. Since the foundation of my business is fully digital, and has been for quite some time, I felt I would be OK, but I couldn’t be too sure. I needed to find a container for my worry and desire to help others. I have learned through my work with global technology companies how absolutely critical it is to have operations, sales, communications – all of it – fully online.
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I decided to place my creative skill sets to use to help women with creative, product-based businesses by giving them visibility and a marketing tool, custom-designed books subsidized by my agency. A full service agency experience, but for free. With the added value of teaching them how to be self-determined and be their own marketing machine.
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I also did test runs before offering to do this work. I reached out to them on Instagram, and waited to see how long they would respond, if they would pick up the phone, if they shared what they knew about their art with me. The final decision on my end was to understand: Are these women ready to collaborate or would they prefer to hoard their knowledge and expertise because they feel they could, “go it alone and still win.” I’m looking for women in business who understand the superpower of collaboration. Collaboration is the ONLY way we are going to get out of this mess we’re in here in the USA and the world.
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Finally, because I am all in on technology, the major requirements were also that the women artists would agree to be 100% art directed by me in the set up and digital photography process. Images would have to be shot by the owner only, no professional photographer, and it would have to be #shotoniphone. The goal being to show how creating and managing a business online and getting attention is 100% doable with one single weapon: an iPhone. Women must take control of their own destiny if they truly desire financial independence. And these three women are showing the way.
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What I am hoping sticks for entrepreneurs and business owners is that using social media for business means fully engaging in an intentional way, where the ONLY reason you are using social media and other digital tools is for business research, development and customer acquisition. As a business owner (or entrepreneur), you need to understand the customer and use the tools to get attention for their business, brand and service. I try to guide entrepreneurs to understand this thinking.”