For the month of May, I interviewed Jennifer Velasquez, founder and illustrator behind The Salvaged Sawhorse, an online shop dedicated to self-care products for the heart and home. Jennifer is on a mission to “create pieces that nudge you to check-in with your heart, remind you to feed your soul, and reconnect you with your power.” Her product line includes hand-painted affirmation cards, self-care activities, planners, and home decor. I hope you find this interview as inspiring as I did!
XO – Lola
Jennifer and I met last year at – you guessed it – the We All Grow conference, where I meet many of my inspiring amigas. We instantly connected as her shining smile and personality drew me into her stand, where she was a first-time vendor. I’m usually quite timid when it comes to approaching vendor stands, but Jennifer asked if I’d like to pull an affirmation card and I was hooked. We spoke for at least half an hour and have been Insta-amigas ever since. I’m a huge fan of Jennifer and her work and I never miss the opportunity to have my comadres pull an affirmation or self-care card.
INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER VELASQUEZ, FOUNDER OF THE SALVAGED SAWHORSE
Please walk us through a typical day in your shoes as founder of The Salvaged Sawhorse.
Like most self-employed/work from home types, everyday is different. I typically start my day responding to emails – getting back to customers, sending updates to my wholesale partners and planning for upcoming craft shows and popup events. Once that’s done I like to jump into my art. I was recently commissioned to create the artwork for a deck so everyday I’ve been illustrating. Once I feel inspired I could go for hours – I mean I actually forget to drink water for hours! After that I pack all my open retail and wholesale orders and ship them. Far more often than I want to admit, it’s 4:50pm and I’m putting on the last piece of tape on a package and making a mad dash to the post office before it closes at 5pm! Once I’m back home, I’ll take a little social media break, respond to DMs and connect with friends, and then get back to illustrating. My day ends when my hands cramp up!
What was the initial inspiration for you to start The Salvaged Sawhorse?
It really was inspired by my health journal. I’ve always had migraines but when I hit my early 20s they became chronic, which means I had 15 or more migraine days a month. I felt like I was loosing my identity and who I was before all the pain, it consumed me. So I started incorporating self-care practices and affirmations into my routine. Even though the frequency and intensity of my migraines remained the same, how I perceived them changed. I actually felt empowered, “I wasn’t a sick person, I was a badass migraine warrior!” That inspired me to create my own line of tools like affirmation cards with my artwork and I wanted it to be inclusive so it needed to be in English and Spanish.
What’s been your top-selling product in 2019?
Hands down, my affirmation deck.
Share a recent accomplishment or success that makes you proud.
My products are currently being sold in 25 stores! I was very afraid of doing wholesale and putting myself and my products out there. In July I decided to just do it and it has paid off. Every time I get a wholesale order, I do a little dance.
Please share three goals or projects you would like to accomplish in 2020.
I have so much I want to do and it’s just me running this little business, but reaching the goals below will be so fulfilling!
1. There’s a product that I’ve been meaning to design for some time and I think 2020 is the year it will happen. It’s a very special and magical yearly planner.
2. I’d like to have The Salvaged Sawhorse products in 40 stores.
3. I want to bring the mission of The Salvaged Sawhorse to life and host an event!
Describe a challenge you’re currently facing as a business owner.
There’s a lot I want to do but since it’s currently me performing all the tasks to run this business I have to get comfortable saying “no” until I’m at a point where I can hire outside help. So I’m constantly having to weigh the opportunity costs of agreeing to take on more work because I know I will have to sacrifice something on the other end. It’s this dance of not taking on too much and then dealing with the FOMO afterwards.
What are three travel essentials you always pack when hammock camping with Jake?
Love this one!
1. Okay, mosquito net is number one. Why? Hammock camping can feel vulnerable, you are exposed so having a mosquito net protects you from debris falling from trees or bugs from landing on you AND it’s a psychological safety net. You feel there’s a barrier to the outside.
2. Coffee – this would probably make it on to any type of essentials list but truly when camping there is nothing better than putting coffee in a pot and boiling it over a campfire to make café de olla.
3. Journal – when you’re hammock camping it forces you to strip down to the basics. You’re able to walk further to get to a camping spot since you’re not carrying a heavy tent and sleeping mat. You’re also bringing less since you know you won’t have a place to store it. It puts you into a different mindset and if you’re camping for a few days it’s good to have a journal to record any ideas or goals that come up. I also like to use it to sketch out cool mushrooms or other treasures from the woods.
If you could travel anywhere over the summer, where would it be?
For our honeymoon, my husband and I went on a road trip through Costa Rica. Road trips are our absolute favorite, they may not be the most comfortable in the moment but they’re so full of adventure and you come away with great stories. Last year my partner and I drove from Montana through several national parks in Canada up to the Arctic Circle to see the northern lights and it was such a memorable experience. But if I could take one more trip in 2020 it would be to New Zealand or Mongolia. I’ve always wanted to go so if time and money were no object, I’d head there.
Felicidades to the newlyweds who tied the knot on 2-20-20!
What’s something you’re currently obsessed with?
It’s been an obsession for some time, True Crime. I LOVE listening to true crime podcasts and scare my fiancé with how easily I can rattle off obscure facts about decades old cases or serial killers. It’s also possibly the cause of all my paranoia! I love the podcasts My Favorite Murder and Crime Junkies.
What’s one of your favorite Mexican dishes?
I have so many and I surprised myself because the first thing that came to mind is a sweet dish! Mangonada, I could have one in the middle of the most frigid winter.
What are some of your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram?
Because I’m in a creative space I have so many friends that are fellow creatives and I love supporting their work. Some of my favorites to follow are:
@queensdoula – she’s such an advocate for women, is real about living in NYC with kids, and is so knowledgeable
@wellnessbykristen – for inspiration to eat locally and with the seasons
@allthingsada – she’s funny, real, and growing her line of hair care products. It’s so awesome to watch.
This is part of Jennifer’s Self-Care Deck, where you’ll find a collection of prompts, little rituals, and activities designed to help you connect with YOU and help you feed your soul. It’s so easy to live our life on automatic and neglect ourselves. This deck will nudge you to practice self-care by introducing easy activities you can practice weekly.
Jennifer’s best-selling Positive Affirmations Deck is also available in Spanish. They’re are an antidote to the stream of judgmental and negative thoughts that cross our brain several times a day. They use positive, uplifting, and empowering language to change our inner-dialogue.
Most recently, Jennifer created affirmation decks for children, in both English and Spanish. These cards are meant to promote healthy self- esteem, confidence, and self-love. Each card includes four to six accompanying dialogue starter questions, challenges, or exercises that help explain, absorb, and embody the affirmation.
I purchased the Spanish deck for Amado and really appreciate that the cards are gender inclusive (half the deck is in the masculine, while the other half is in the feminine).
Photos via The Salvaged Sawhorse
Lola Wiarco Dweck
Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.