We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenny Hill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenny, how do you think about risk?
I am not the type of person that would willingly go sky diving or climb a mountain or even ride that loopty-loop roller coaster at my local amusement park. However, as a business owner, I’ve found myself in risky situations. Acting on the very idea to start a business is in itself a risk. What if I fail? What if no one wants to use my service? What if I have to go back to waiting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company on the Santa Monica Pier? These are all questions that briefly crossed my mind when my business partner and I decided to establish our company. But one truth drowned out all of these doubts – I knew we had a GREAT idea. I knew that if we stuck to it and worked as hard as we could, we would succeed. My faith in the service that we could provide never wavered. And now, eight years and one pandemic later, we are still in business (though limping a bit, but still here!) I think I now understand that the risk that I was willing to take eight years ago by starting a business was a calculated one. To me, it seemed MORE likely that I would parish in a bungee jumping accident than fail at my business idea. Crazy, I know. But one thing I’ve learned is if you are THAT passionate about something, you should take every risk to make it happen.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
JC Room Blocks was born when my business partner and I were in our late twenties. At that time, most of our friends were getting married and wedding planning talk was always a major topic of conversation. One thing that our friends lamented about was the confusion and difficulty in setting up hotel room blocks for their out of town guests at discounted rates. As we had backgrounds in corporate travel and events, it made sense to my partner and I to apply our know-how to the wedding market. We started small by negotiating hotel room block contracts for our friend’s events and then our friend’s friends and before we knew it, we had a lot of clients coming to us through word of mouth. In the years that followed, we built an online presence and began a robust network of wedding planner partners. In the time that we have been operating, other companies have surfaced that offer a similar service. But NO ONE can match our level of personalized customer service. Many of our competitors have relied on technology to set them apart where we have strengthened our mission in genuine human connection. In an industry where couples are planning the most personal and important day of their lives, they want to feel taken care of. They want to know that a real person can hop on a phone call to advocate for them if (heaven forbid) something should go wrong. We get to know our clients on a personal level and that is something that is paramount to our brand.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As a transplant from Maryland, I have done this so many times!!! I love showing off L.A. and all of the awesome things that it has to offer! Okay, so Day One – We rent bikes in Santa Monica and ride the bike path to Venice Beach. We hang at the skate park, watch the drum circle, take in all of the crazy sights and sounds that make Venice feel like a bit of a third world country! Then, we lock up our bikes and have a drink at the Whaler on Washington Blvd. It better be a First Friday, because we head over to Abbot Kinney via the Venice canals to try one item from 5-6 of the most interesting food trucks and peruse the cute shops in the area. Day Two – We find our inner hippie zen. We start the day at the Temple of Self Realization Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades. We then hike the Los Leones trail in Pacific Palisades where you can get the most gorgeous ocean and city views. After that, we drive up Topanga Canyon and make a stop at the wacky and wonderful Hidden Treasures vintage store and each buy an authentic flower child relic. We stop at the Westfield Woodland Hills Promenade and grab a bite to eat. I LOVE Lucille’s BBQ and top the night off with a slice of cake from Susie Cakes – THE best cake you will EVER have!!!! Day Three – LA wine country!!! We start at Malibu Family Wines where we bring a picnic of appetizers and sample flights of wine. Then, we head over to the picturesque Malibu Cafe! Peddle boats, giant checkers and great food and music abound! Day Four – Beach Day! Let’s spend the day at Paradise Cove – after all, it’s where Beach Blanket Bingo was filmed. We have a decadent lunch and then rent a cabana all day and play in the surf and sand. On the way home, we grab a taco from an authentic taco stand in the valley. I love “Restaurants” on Van Nuys Blvd in Van Nuys. Day Five – The obligatory Hollywood tour! We go to the Chinese Theater and look at the hand prints, because you have to with out of towners. But then, you see a sight that’s not for the faint of heart – The Museum of Death!!! A macabre destination for any self-proclaimed Murderino. After all of that darkness, it’s time to lighten the mood! Dinner at Birds on Franklin followed by Harold Night at the Upright Citizens Brigade! Day Six – Gotta start the day off right with a big ol’ breakfast at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. Then a little more sight seeing – Funko Hollywood is an AWESOME place to bring out of towners – lots of photo ops for the Grams. And then cap off the night with an outdoor screening at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Day Seven – As someone who has relocated to Santa Clarita in the last few years, there is a lot to see and do in Old Town Newhall! If someone is an old Western film fan, the Walk of Western Stars is not to be missed. We’ve got a lot of cool independent restaurants and bars like Newhall Refinery, Draconum Brewery and The Junction that will whet your whistle and fill your belly. William S. Hart’s old home atop a hill overlooking the Santa Clarita Valley can be toured and a brand new Laemmel’s will be opening any day screening independent films.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout definitely goes to my business partner, Catherine Keefer! The ying to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly, the flip to my flop! This girl has been my ride or die. I think our partnership works so well because her strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa. Catherine is always calm under pressure. In situations where I feel like the sky is falling, she always manages to point out that cloud with the silver lining. Catherine lets me shine in public facing situations while she is the quiet storm behind the scenes. Owning and running this business has been nothing short of an adventure. And with Catherine, I feel there is nothing that we can’t accomplish together.
Linkedin: Jenny Hill
Facebook: JC Room Blocks