Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. For Joanna Huckins ’16 and Jacquelyn Fisher ’15, co-founders of Sweat and Tell and Jay Beauty, their journey began shortly after graduating from college and has since evolved into a thriving and dynamic business. In this blog post, the duo will share a glimpse into their entrepreneurial story, the challenges they’ve faced, and the valuable lessons they’ve learned along the way.
J&J’s Chapman Experience
Joanna (Jo) and Jacquelyn (Jacqs) graduated from Chapman one year apart. Jacquelyn graduated in 2015 with her degree in Strategic and Corporate Communication from Chapman’s School of Communication and Joanna in 2016 with her degree in Business Administration from the Argyros College of Business and Economics (at that time known as the Argyros School of Business and Economics).
Both co-founders credit their time at Chapman University for shaping their entrepreneurial journey. For Jo, attending Chapman while originally being from Seattle was a dream come true. She says “Chapman really enabled me to form into an adult version of myself that I am proud of. I met lifelong friends, was involved in my sorority Alpha Phi, had several internships, and got an incredible education that empowered me to tackle the real world head-on.” Similarly, Jacqs also credits Chapman for teaching her so much that she’s taken into the real world. She says, “From nights out at The D to late nights editing in Dodge, I have a lot to look back on and thank for my journey to get where I am at.”
Jo& Jacqs say that they are often reminded how useful their college classes were. “When we would sit in finance classes, we never thought it would be something we would apply to our careers one day until we founded our businesses,” said Huckins. “Hindsight is 20/20 and maybe we should have paid even more attention in those finance classes, haha!” Now, the pair is creating balance sheets, managing their finances, and forecasting all while taking into consideration the current economic state of the world. Perhaps most importantly, Chapman taught them their strong work ethic. “Entrepreneurship requires persistence and drive, and establishing this in college has enabled us to be successful in our careers both in the corporate world and as entrepreneurs,” says Fisher.
The Sweat and Tell duo are no strangers to leadership. Involvement in their sorority, Alpha Phi, provided them with leadership skills that have proved instrumental in their entrepreneurial careers. Roles like Director of Recruitment and Director of Advertising taught them effective communication, executive decision-making, and team collaboration.
The Birth of Sweat and Tell
Both Joanna & Jacquelyn have worked consistently since they were in high school. Jo worked in sales for six years before pursuing entrepreneurship full-time and Jacqs worked in sales and marketing for about 5 years before taking the leap.
The duo started Sweat and Tell back in 2018 when they were working at their first corporate job together, trying to navigate work-life balance. “We leaned on one another to prioritize a fitness routine and our overall well-being, so we could feel our best mentally and physically,” Jo said. “We began by sharing workouts, reviews, healthy recipes, and tips within Orange County. Since then, our brand has evolved ten-fold and we now have a global community following along for all things health and wellness. Our platform is a space for positivity, motivation, and inclusivity.”
Diversifying with Jay Beauty
With fitness holding such a prominent place in their lives, they often found themselves racing from an early morning spin class to the office or a pilates class to a happy hour — thus, creating the need for a dry shampoo product that could truly get the job done. “After trying just about every product out there, we uncovered a gap in the market for a clean, sustainable, and aerosol-free product,” said Jacqs. “Enter our second business, Jay Beauty, which was founded in 2022. We are now both allocating our full-time efforts to growing and scaling Jay in addition to managing S&T.”
Entrepreneurial Challenges & Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
The entrepreneurial journey is never without its challenges. “You’re pulled in so many different directions that it can feel like a lot to juggle. This can lead you to doubt your skills or talent, or feeling imposter syndrome. We’ve both felt imposter syndrome throughout our entrepreneurial journeys, but you learn how to celebrate your successes and treat any challenges or “failures” as a learning experience,” they said. “Oftentimes we underestimate our own potential, and that’s when the self-doubt starts to creep in.”
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic caused Jo and Jacqs to shift their entire perspective of their brand. “We went from reviewing local fitness studios to being unable to leave the house,” they said. “We had to rethink what value we are bringing to our audience and what our purpose as a brand would be.” Fight or flight mode kicked in for the pair and they quickly realized they needed to become the go-to pros in their industry, although they knew it wouldn’t happen overnight. “We both needed to reinvent our brand and become experts in our craft; becoming certified instructors and creating a new business plan entirely. We pushed through together and believe our brand became more defined than ever.”
Tips for Current & Future Entrepreneurs
The co-founders offer five valuable tips for students and recent graduates looking to embark on an entrepreneurial path:
- Create a short-term and long-term plan of action that aligns with your goals.
- Have a vision and execute on it.
- Don’t be afraid of failure. Utilize these experiences as a learning experience.
- Find a mentor and network consistently. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice!
- Progress over perfection.
Jo and Jacqs have come a long way from their college days at Chapman University. Their entrepreneurial journey, while filled with challenges, is a testament to their persistence, adaptability, and hard work. As they continue to grow Sweat and Tell and Jay Beauty, they remind us that the path to entrepreneurship is paved with determination and the willingness to learn from every experience.
Joanna & Jacquelyn urge the Chapman and Argyros communities to join their community: “Follow us! @sweatandtell and @jaybeauty – you can use discount code CHAPMAN15 for 15% off our dry shampoo products.”