We had the good fortune of connecting with Jordan Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jordan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Honestly, risk taking is engraved in my DNA. One of my earliest examples of risk taking is my mother. I’m pretty sure that most kids that were raised by a single mother can agree that our mothers are the definition of being a risk taker, especially in the black community! They make the impossible happen. Also, I think about my ancestors. I don’t know much beyond my grandparents yet but I try to ask those uncomfortable questions so that I can have a little more understanding about where I come from. I would like to believe that they were huge risk takers. What I do know is that entrepreneurship runs deep throughout my family’s history! I’ll continue to learn more about my family’s history. It inspires me to create my own! I believe that important to think about your bloodline and build a platform for them to use their voices, express themselves and experience freedom. The decisions that we make today will impact the next generations that will come after us. For good or for bad, they have to inherit the decisions you made. Let it be great.
In both my life and my career, risking is at the core of all things. As much as I would like to glamorize the idea of risk taking, the truth is that not following the status quo and betting on yourself is hard! Normally, when I decide to do something that is deemed to be “risky” there is no blueprint to rely on. I’ve realized that most people haven’t traveled down the road that’s destined our lives and sometimes it’s just you and God for a moment. While it’s uncomfortable, it is a crucial part of our journey. Sometimes you don’t need any distractions while you’re building & making your dreams a reality. It’s just like when you plant a seed in the soil. It has to become strong below the surface in order to grow successfully above it.
That’s actually what I’m experiencing right now, at 22 years old, as a young black man in America. There are so many important decisions that I have to make that will determine the outcome of my future but I had to take a leap of faith for every single chapter of my life. It’s actually funny because every-time that God guides me to jump and I ignore the signs or think that it isn’t the right timing, my life will actually change completely and he’ll force me to jump. In the end I either reach the goal that I dreamt about or learn how to get there next time. You can learn so much if you try and fight for what you believe in!
It’s been a beautiful, difficult and scary process of scaling my company, building my personal brand & shaping my personal life as an adult. I’m learning how to take more control of my life and how to continue being my life’s narrator. I don’t want anyone to do that for me. I feel like I never had to prove myself as much as I feel like I do now. I have to fight for my dreams and freedom. There are so many barriers that are designed to hold us back. It’s important that we use our voices, gifts and talents to break them. That’s powerful.
No risk, no reward.
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?
I’m an entrepreneur but I look at entrepreneurship as art. I love working on projects and telling stories through my work as well as my team’s. I love a wholesome body of work that has so many moving parts. I love when a project resonates with someone and inspires them to go with their heart and bet on their self. I love pushing a project to its fullest potential and evolving it when it’s time. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t only apply to entrepreneurship that also applies to your happiness. You should be able to do things that you love and do it to the best of your ability. Having confidence in your abilities, is to win internally. No one plays a game to aim for second best. Be the best version of yourself. Don’t sacrifice your happiness for a desperate moment. It happens too often. The thing that’s more important than any business plan or career road map is you! Make sure that you’re okay as a person. Most readers that are currently reading this most likely are highly driven or have big dreams. Make sure that it is not deeply rooted pain that is driving you. If so, you have to do the work to change that otherwise you’re just building a bigger stage to showcase your pain. Please heal first. We’ll wait for the “whole” version of you.
As a kid I remember watching entrepreneurs in my hometown (Baltimore) own and run successful businesses. That led to me deciding that I wanted to be a business man one day, I was 9 at the time. I didn’t realize it but I already was one. I created different money making gigs as well as production gigs. In elementary school I started a singing group along with a few of my friends. I don’t think we had a name but we basically modeled the Jackson 5. We wanted to have a concert and perform the songs that we spent time practicing for our school. We asked our music teacher and she said yes. She believed in us! We produced how the show would run and invited more acts from our school to preform. It was great and the entire gym was packed. The parents came out to support! That’s when I fell in love with production and complex projects! The key to any success that I’ve ever had is that someone believed in me and gave me an opportunity to execute my vision. I say all of this to say that the reason why I take crazy risks now is because I had people that believed in my crazy risks as a young kid. Never crush a kid’s dreams! I make it my point to give opportunities to people that I believe in (when I can). It may be something simple to you but everything to someone else. Sometimes you just have to show people that you believe in them and their dreams. It can go a long way and have a domino effect.
Ultimately all of those projects led me to starting an online fashion & accessory store in high school. That evolved into me opening a streetwear store in a local mall in Charleston, SC called BIRCH & PEN. With the opening of B&P I ended up making history and becoming the youngest store owner in Charleston, South Carolina at 19 years old. My main goal was to show people that it’s possible to follow their dreams and the importance of entrepreneurship. We partnered with many creatives and artisans by carrying their items in-store. Many of them are very successful entrepreneurs today. During that time a lot of different businesses would turn them down even if they had great products and a great pitch. I hope that is changing!
We’ve completed our purpose at that phase of our company. I felt that we reached a cap. We were constantly selling out way too fast. Sometimes moving 10x faster than manufacturers and ultimately that put us behind. It was tricky to find a good balance on the production side. I know that a lot of businesses have been experiencing the same problem recently. There are many great things that I could say but I’ll allow those moments to remain sacred for the Birch Squad! I’m just focused on creating new moments especially after the difficult few years that we’ve had due to the pandemic.
There is a diverse surgence of top producing entrepreneurs here in Charleston, SC! I’m so glad to be able to witness this renaissance, it’s so inspiring. My hope is that the future is full of opportunities for all people, that barriers continue to be broken and that underdogs will continue to change the world for the better. I don’t only hope for that change, I do my part! Having pride in my culture inspires me most!
At 22, I’m so thankful for every experience! It’s crazy how all the dots in your life actually align, you have to pay attention to them. Everything happens for a reason.
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?
I enjoy exploring the city, almost all of it is historic. There are a ton of great restaurants! I enjoy trying out new restaurants. I would actually recommend taking a guided tour with a Charlestonian.
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?
I would like to give a shoutout to everyone that has played a role in my life at different stages! Without them I wouldn’t have accomplished some of my dreams or be who I am today. Thank you!