Notes and Mentions
Link Before You Sink: https://www.linkbeforeyousink.com/
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Serena: Hey everyone, I'm Serena,
Tina: and I'm Tina,
Serena: and we are the Mental Health Mamas.
Serena: Welcome to no need to explain. We are so glad you're here.
Tina: First is always a quick disclaimer.
Serena: We come to you not as mental health professionals or experts in the field, but rather as parents with lived experience who are on a mission to normalize the conversation around mental health.
Tina: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek professional support. You'll find a variety of resources in our show notes and on our website www.noneedtoexplainpodcast.com.
Tina: Our guest today is Jenna Righi, founder and creator of Link Before You Sink,
a handmade jewelry business that was created to find strength by linking with others.
We love that. The founder Jenna created Link Before You Sink after going through her
own personal struggles, which she'll share in just a little bit. Her mission is to find
strength by linking with others, and her jewelry is worn as a reminder that you are not alone.
We also love that message, Jenna. Welcome to the podcast.
Jenna: Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited to be here.
Serena: Yeah, so Tina and I often identify ourselves with some letters after our name, knowing that a lot of people have letters. As far as we totally made up, we use MLE for a mamas with lived experience and EBE experts by experience. Much like us, you have taken your lived experience and made a choice to turn some of your pain and lessons in life into purpose. So, Jenna, tell us a little of your story.
Jenna: Yeah, so with Link Before You Sink, I always say we're a jewelry business, but we're mission-driven first. So, it started after my own personal struggle. So, in 2000, we'll take it back to 2014. I went through a really dark time in my life. I broke off an engagement. My father passed away of cancer, and then, unexpectedly, I lost a very close family friend of mine within three weeks' time. Yeah, it was a really hard time in my life, and to be honest with you, I didn't see a glimmer of hope, but I knew that I needed to relocate. I was living in Florida at the time with my fiancee. I knew I needed to relocate back to Columbus around my support system. And on that drive, I made a promise to myself that when, not if, when I got back on my feet,
I would try to pay it forward, help others through tough times to know that they're not alone. And it was about three and a half years later, I was riding my bike, and the chain actually fell off and broke, and I was ticked off, I guess you could say, and looked down, and I had this epiphany, the symbolism of links or connection while being broken hit me, and I realized I could make jewelry charms out of the broken bike chains. Our mission is to find strength by linking with others. When we do that, through our jewelry, but we also do that through story sharing. So, we have a
blog, and that would be like the verb of linking, but with each jewelry piece, the noun, you receive a story of somebody that went through a struggle. So, we link in two ways, that's what I mean by like, we're really mission mental health driven, and I started it after that rough time in my life.
Serena: So, as we mentioned, your company is linked before you sink, and it was created to help find strength by linking with others, like you just said. So, everything broken has the chance to be beautiful again, which is amazing. So, tell us more about how the story is helping others.
Jenna: Yeah. So, we give in three ways, and I say, I mean, one way is obviously product. We give away product. I do a lot of gives with like hospitals. We donate it over 500 jewelry pieces to Nationwide Children's Hospital. And again, our pieces are worn as a reminder that you're not alone. We give product. We try to help in that way. We work with a lot of nonprofits where we give back a portion of proceeds. So, I do a lot with fundraisers. I've actually met some amazing just members of my local community, one woman actually lost her son to suicide after
who was cyber bullied, and I met her actually through my business. So, I do a lot of fundraisers, and I give back a portion of proceeds there, and then I always say we give back the gift of hope with our stories. We firmly believe that there's no greater gift than sharing a story that locks somebody's else's insights to help them feel less alone.
Tina: Yeah, we love that. Storytelling is amazing, right? It is honestly how Serena and I started this, right? Telling little bits of our story, and we know that stories, we are never alone. There are always people who can relate. And so, I want to talk a little bit about something I read on your website, which talks about the unboxing
experience. So, your company really emphasizes a stronger together theme and the importance of interconnectedness. So, I imagine this unboxing experience when people receive their necklace and their link is very intentional. So, talk a little bit about that.
Jenna: Yeah, I know maybe biased here, but I think our unboxing experience is incredible. So, you know, I've bought jewelry and I feel like when you buy it, the purpose isn't just to sell a product and you open it up and here's your necklace.
It's when I say the unboxing experience, like there's affirmations all over the necklace card, like taking care of your jewelry. Here's how to take care of your jewelry, but here's how to take care of you. There's a little note from me on the back that like a little snippet of my story as a reminder that no matter what you're going through, you're not alone. That's just the necklace card. Then you open up like on the back of the insert. It's like a picture of a woman wearing her piece and it's
our mission. So, it says like symbol, link, intention is to find strength by connecting with others. And then you open up your story. So, every, our stories come from our blog. So, people go to our blog to submit their story and they're all private by first name and state, but we print those and we put those with the necklace card as well. So, the unboxing experience is just, I wanted people to unbox it and just cry happy tears almost. You know what I mean? That they're knowing that you're not alone and that's why we make great gifts. I would say 75% of our clients are gift, they buy it for a gift for somebody when they know they're going through a tough time and I would say like we don't really compete with jewelry. We complete with almost
flowers that you know that you would get somebody going through a tough time. So, our unboxing experience and then I sign it personally. Like, I really wanted to put a lot of love when you open that package that you know that you're not alone.
Serena: Yeah. So, so on the website, which is link before you sync.com, there's a tab for submitting stories and we're obviously huge believers in the power of storytelling as a means of healing. So, I don't know if you could talk a little bit about
like what, I mean, you know, without sort of sharing a particular story unless you'd like to, maybe sort of what kind of stories you have and also what kind of feedback you get from the storytelling.
Jenna: Yeah. So, I'll start with how we started actually. So, when I launched this business, I went to my friends. Like, I had like a little circle of my own friends like Angie's lost her father. Stephanie struggled with depression. So, I went to them and said, hey, to start, I need some initial stories. Would you help me? And they were all like, Jenna, like, we don't really want to, right? And like, you know, it was almost like a chore. And they did it because they're my friends. But you know what? They all came back to me and said, whoa, I thought I was doing you a favor. And to be honest, I got the gift at the end of the day. It was so powerful. I mean, writing down what I went through. Like, to look back at it, you know what I mean, birds I view. Like, I realized how strong I was that I went through that time in my life. So, that's how we started. But now we collect them, you know, obviously, as we've grown, anytime I see a story. So, we started off with like, you know, depression, cancer, divorce, and now, I mean, it's, there's a bunch of different topics. I would say, but anything with a child, you know, something with a child bowling, I mean, those really are hard for me to read. But I'd say the one that really touched me. And because I met her was, I think just God works in mysterious ways. But I was doing a pop-up event at Chase Bank. It was, it's local in Columbus. And a woman came up to me and said, what do you do? And, you know, I hate giving my story But that's how we started. That's what I gave her, you know, hey, here's how we started. And she said, oh my gosh, there's a benefit on Sunday. This was Thursday. So, like, three days away. This woman, and I knew the story, but I didn't know her. She said, my friend lost her son to cyberbullying. And he took his life. Do you think you would help out with that fundraiser? I was like, I'll be there. Like, I'll clear my schedule and I'll be there. And I'm like, I have her number now. We text now. Just, you know, that one is very, very powerful to me. And she's just doing so much from what happened to her to make a difference in other people's life with, like, I feel like she's going to change laws. She's working on it right now, but just the way cyberbullying and all that. So, a lot of stories touch me. But that one is definitely one that sticks out to me. But yeah, I just think that the power, you already said it. The power of sharing your story. It's just, it's a, it's a give and a get, you know what I mean? It's a, it works full circle.
Tina: Well, and I can hear it in your voice, your ability to create this thing that is not only giving other people joy and hope it is giving you the same. So, I love that.
Yeah. So, you are a clearly successful business person. And you, you know, you, you kind of were in a dark place and found your people. And they took care of you. And I'm, I'm sure you are someone who takes care of others. So, I'm curious, since we can't pour from an empty cup, how do you best take care of yourself?
Jenna: That is always a work in progress. Always is, you know, I had somebody say shut off those negative voices or, and I, they're never shut off. If you were talking about a microphone, they turn up and then you turn them down and they turn up, you know what I mean? But it, so it's always work in progress. And I tell anyone that it's never like, if you noticed, even with my story and I said, and then three and a half years later, I found this bike chain, that three and a half years, it was one sentence that I just told you that was a lot of doubt. I was about, I was a week away from turning 30 and I was supposed to get married the following month. And here I was jobless than restarting my life. It was just, it's one day at a time. For me, there's a couple things that I do, I say my links. I used to call them connections or my support system. Now there are my links in my life helped me get through a lot. And I was shy to share my story at first and just very timid. And now I'm like, you know what I mean? That’s how I got through what I got through. So I always say when you're going through a tough time, talk about it. Talk about it. You really never know what somebody else is going through. And I use like my old boss as an example is like big muscles. And you know what I mean? And as I got more vulnerable with him, he was like, yeah, and I go to therapy too. I'm like,wow, you know what I mean? It's like I would have never known that it's very normal. It's very normal to reach out and talk about what you're going through. So that's one working out big for me, taking care. And I have bad days and good days, but it's just important to reset every day. And again, turn down that microphone when those negative voices creep in and take a step away and just try to reset every day and give it your all that it is always a, you know, it's always work and just continually working on yourself for sure.
Serena: Yeah. Thanks for saying it's work because it is. I think sometimes I feel like it should be easy and it's not, it's not easy.
Tina: Its a constant reminder, right? We have to have a constant reminder. Serena and I knock on each other's door every day about it because, yeah, I figured you a message yesterday, right?
Jenna: That's so normal. And I have people, oh, how'd you get from A to Z? It's like, I never read the headlines anymore. You don't go from A to Z. It's like, you know, what happened been between that three and a half years, that was loneliness
and tears therapy. And, you know, and I still do that stuff now. It's like you just,
it's very normal to ride the waves and lean on your support system when you need them. I mean, you know, I mean, I used to be very hard shell back in the day and not like that at all. And I realized the more vulnerable and real that I am with other people. They really, they're, oh, you went through that. You feel that way too. You suddenly feel like you're not alone. You know what I mean? Because you're all, we're all going through it.
Serena: Yes. So it sounds like one of the ways you've built your connections is through that vulnerability. But knowing that, you know, we're facing a loneliness
epidemic in our country, what other thoughts do you have in terms of, for people out there listening who might be feeling that? How, how did they find connection?
Jenna: Yeah, a couple of different ways I think. And I also disclose I am not a mental health therapist. Of course, I think that you need therapy. I've done it. I still do it. Go get that professional help. But I do think that there are other, like I, and remote, you know, I sometimes I almost feel like a hypocrite because I have a business that solely focus on connection and linking with others. And I work at home alone. You know what I mean? How I do that business wise is I reach out to other entrepreneurs. I join a gym to get out of the house and see new faces. I mean, I think there's a variety of things that you can do. But that's also, again, it worked for me just given this remote world that you're living in. But I check in on my friends and stuff, too, because sometimes the ones that you, the strong ones that you don't think to check in on are sometimes the ones that you need to, to check in with most, you know what I mean? And then that conversation is, again, reciprocated. So I'm always connecting in one way or the other, whether that's professional help or, you know, go into the gym and getting out and going for a walk, taking a break, going for a walk, walking my dogs, texting my friends to make, making sure they're doing okay. And I have checked in with my friends before, hey, what's new? And something's wrong. You know what I mean? Like, thank you so much for reaching out to me. And I appreciate that when people do it for me, too. So I think there's avariety of things that you could do. But I would say, overall, it's making it put yourself out there and connecting support.
Serena: Yeah. So tell our listeners how they find you and your company.
Jenna: Yeah. So first of all, I always say, yes, I sell a physical product. But we, you can go to our, our website, it's https://www.linkbeforeyousink.com/. And you can share your story. That's free. You can go in and read stories. The stories are anonymous by first name and state. We never share any private information. So I, yes, I do sell a product. But please, please, we link, you know, you can go to our blog and feel connected that way. I also read any contact us forms that are coming in. So please, if you have any questions, reach out to me as well. So our website is https://www.linkbeforeyousink.com/. And then our Instagram and Facebook is @linkbeforeyousink .
Tina: Awesome. So before we let you go today, are there any other messages, things you want to put out there into the world?
Jenna: Yeah. I just, one thing I always chime in on too is embrace your unique gift, because I think we all have one. I know we all have one. We all have a unique gift. We have something that makes us unique. Even if you think you're in a rut some days, I know that there's something that you have that somebody else doesn't have. And I've, I've done this with my own business. Like I've compared jewelry to jewelry and why does wholesale work for them? And it doesn't work for me. It's like I have a unique gift and I give back and fundraisers work for me. And that's not able to, you know, other jewelry businesses that doesn't work for. So my point is, when I say embrace your unique gift, that also means try not to compare. So to me, those things are a really key. And I know you have a unique gift, even if you haven't found it yet. It's there.
Serena: That's great. So thank you, Jenna. So much for joining us today. And just really reminding us of this important concept of connection.
Jenna: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Tina: And do go listeners to see the beautiful jewelry that's on her website, because it really, even though you're selling something more than a product, the product is beautiful. So it's very symbolic and awesome. So do, do go visit.
Jenna: Thank you so much.
Tina: And so podcast friends, we are as always grateful for your listening and supporting us. You can help us out by visiting Apple Podcast. Leave us a review while you're there. That's awesome. I know it's not so easy, but do it. Do it. Do it. It helps us. Subscribe. Please share the podcast with others. You'll find more content on our website. Noneedtoexplainpodcast.com . You will also find us on all the socials. We would love to hear from you. And we have a new voicemail number, which you'll find in the notes. You can leave us a message. You can share a bit of your story. We have certainly heard more about this power of storytelling here.
And yeah, give us ideas for podcasts. Just call us and say hi.
Serena: And this is your gentle reminder to take good care of yourself while you're also taking care
of your people.
Tina: Thanks so much for listening.