HOW DID JAECI START YOU ASK?
From the beginning, JAECI has never been a what, it has been a who. Back in 2011, that was me, founder and designer Jenna Consiglio.
The name stood for the initials of my first and last name (JC) spelled and sounded out (JAECI / Jay-See): Journey, Aim, Experience, Create and Inspire. At the time, I believed that by staying true to yourself, anything in life was possible.
I was raised in a middle-class Catholic home with a Bible sitting on the shelf and I even attended Catholic school up until fourth grade. I was always working on a project, redoing my room or making beaded bracelets. My dream was to be a ballerina when I got older, then the dream evolved into becoming an art school teacher. I always wanted to be the best. I was an over-achiever and wanted everything in life to be perfect – you could say I had some Italian pride as well. At the end of every night I would pray as I laid in bed starting out with “Are you there God? It’s me Jenna.” Yes, I stole that from the book “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret.” I did not know who I was really praying to, but always believed in a God.
I began dancing when I was only four, then started competing. In grade-school I tried out for the cheerleading team and had to choose between dance and cheer, so I chose cheer. It became my life, as did being a perfectionist and getting straight A’s in school. Life was great and then my junior year happened. I went for a check-up for cheer and the doctor found out my spleen was enlarged. This led to multiple blood tests and the discovery that my liver enzymes were elevated and I had cirrhosis of my liver (never having had a drink of alcohol before.) After that, I bled internally, was rushed to the hospital to receive blood transfusions, and then had to undergo surgery a few months after that to re-route the bloodflow from my liver to my spleen so that it would not happen again.
They told me I had Auto-Immune Hepatitis -- and my outlook on life changed for the better. After my surgery, I was in the ICU for a few days and while I always had a deep sense that everything was going to be okay, I still prayed a prayer I would never forget. I said,
"GOD, GET ME THROUGH THIS AND USE ME HOW YOU SEE BEST FIT. I AM YOURS AND WILL FOLLOW WHEREVER YOU WANT ME TO GO."
I QUICKLY REALIZED THAT NO ONE KNOWS AHEAD OF TIME WHAT LIFE IS GOING TO DEAL THEM, BUT THAT WE ARE ALL ON A JOURNEY TO NOT ONLY BETTER OURSELVES BUT TO SERVE OTHERS.
Afterwards, I would have multiple doctor visits every year, need to watch my diet, no drinking, watch my weight, and take daily medication to suppress further cirrhosis of my liver.
I graduated high school and earned a full ride to go to the University of San Diego (USD). After almost a year, I decided to pursue fashion school. I applied to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), was accepted, and dropped out of USD – my parents thought I was crazy, but later they supported my decision. I started interning for a music agency and eventually graduated with my Associates Degree in Visual Communications. Soon after that, a friend referred me for a job position at one of the largest Event Planning companies in Las Vegas. So, I went in for an interview, brought my fancy new portfolio and landed the job. Back to Vegas I went.
At the age of 20 I had my first salaried position as an assistant and worked my way up the corporate ladder to management in a few short years. However, no matter how hard I worked I still felt like I was searching for something. I wanted to inspire people to believe in their dreams, like I had been inspired to live mine. Furthermore, my drive to create was as strong as ever. And that was the impetus for JAECI.
I took art that I would doodle after work, created graphics to turn into jewelry, built a website, and JAECI was officially born. I started doing local art and trade-shows and getting my jewelry line into stores. Any extra money I made I put into building JAECI and buying inventory.
But I was only one person who could do so much and time was limited. So rather than hand-making everything in Vegas, I started outsourcing to a manufacturer overseas. I landed some big accounts at trade-shows and did custom merchandise for a friend’s band. That gave me the opportunity to really grow the company. My jewelry consisted of phrases that inspired me and a fun Spirit Animal Quiz people could take to learn more about themselves. My first collection included pieces that said “LET IT BE” and a Zodiac line. My goal at this point was to grow it to a boutique level and open a flagship store.
I was happy but unhappy at the same time, and life just didn’t make sense. I thought there had to be more than this. I started talking to my grandma, who is Jewish, and asking her what she believed in. I then had the opportunity to go on Birthright to Israel when I was 23 because I am of Jewish heritage. The ten days I spent in the “promised land” was a trip I will never forget. I learned so much history and definitely felt like the air was different there. But I came home still thirsty for something more.
In 2014, my jewelry was ramping up and I had come out with my top selling line called “F***, F******, F***.” AKA “Triple-F,” It was delicately written on a bangle, then I expanded the line to include a necklace and many other “naughty” sayings. I was making enough money on the side that I decided to put in my two weeks notice with my full-time job and go full force with JAECI (one of the most terrifying but exhilarating moments in my life to this day.)
I moved into a cute little studio in downtown Vegas by myself and remember waking up the first day thinking, “okay, now what?” No one was going to tell me what to do, how to do it, when I had to be at work, what time I could leave – it was all very strange, however I started getting a routine in place. Soon enough my small studio became a warehouse, filled with boxes full of jewelry from my overseas factory. I brought on an intern to help a few days out of the week. We were taking orders, packaging and shipping every day. It was really exciting.
During the holiday season in 2015 I was asked to put a pop-up shop at a kiosk in a new mall in Vegas called DT Summerlin. During my time there, I ran into some old high-school friends who started mentoring me and opened my eyes to a world full of daily habits, growth mindsets and life fueled by dreaming where I wanted to be five years from where I currently was. I also saw, for the first time, people standing for their values and what they truly believed in, and that first on their list was God.
After this happened I felt like Christ was knocking on my door, but I did not want to give in. He was knocking in more ways than one. At the end of a “First Friday” pop-up street event in Vegas where I had a booth, I noticed a Bible on my table. Inside was a message that read “This book will change your life forever. I’ll keep you in my prayers always.” I could not just throw it away so I took it with me and put it up on my bookshelf (fun fact – this Bible is still the Bible I use to this day).
A month after that as I was driving home to my townhouse, I stopped at the gate to input the code and noticed a wooden cross sitting on the keypad. Again, I could not throw it away so I took it with me and kept it in my car.
Prior to all this, I had not stepped foot in a church since high school. Like I said earlier, I always believed in a God but never had an intimate relationship with Him. Because we had the same initials I always felt a pull toward Jesus Christ that I still resisted (later I would learn this is a little something called pride.)
1 Timothy 1:15: ""Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" - and I am the worst of them all."
In spring of 2015, I was attending a leadership conference and my friends asked me if I wanted to attend a Sunday service that John Maxwell would be speaking at. I went. For the life of me I cannot remember the message that was preached, but at the end of the service with every head bowed and eye closed, John Maxwell asked if we wanted to be saved to raise our hand so he could see. I felt this urge inside me fighting it but in my heart, I knew deep down how badly I was a sinner. I wanted to raise my hand, so with my twin brother raising his hand beside me, I did. At that moment, this rush filled within me and I knew my life was about to change.
Four months later I outwardly expressed my faith by getting baptized at a church called Central in Vegas. I started attending church every Sunday and listening to the message. I wanted to know more of God’s word and what the Bible had to say. So, I started going to a young adults group and listening to other pastors on Hillsong podcasts.
My jewelry collections started becoming more Christian based with sayings such as, “I am all that I am,” “This too shall pass,” “Supernatural Courage,” and more. Then in 2016 at the age of 27 I designed and opened the JAECI flagship store in downtown Vegas! It was beautiful and I had so much fun designing it, truly a dream come true. In the back, I had my office along with desks for some other teammates. At this time, I was approached by an investor who wanted to help me scale the business. He came from a tech background and saw potential to grow this from an e-commerce platform.
We discussed it over a few meetings and I decided to bring him on board in 2017. He put in $300,000 for 25% of my business. At 27 that is a lot of money sitting in an account. I had never received counsel on how to spend it and I became a little too comfortable. I started getting caught up in the fashion world and making a name for myself. In addition, I started dating around for all the wrong reasons, hooking up with guys, watching things I should not have been watching to feel loved. Then I started reading books about self-love and even saw a psychic to help me find love. I started diving into crystals and lighting candles, still in search of a love from someone that I never knew. My path was steering away from Christ.
*Pictures above of things I would post on IG that I thought were "morally correct" but just shaping up to be correct in the worlds eyes, not a Christians.
My faith was being tested and I wanted an answer from God. To show himself or give me a sign that He was real, anything. I decided rather than meditating that night, I was going to focus all of my energy on God and for Him to reveal himself. “Lord, give me a sign,” I would say over and over. I ended up falling asleep or blacking out, I’m not sure – but all I remember is waking up and gasping for a breath with this in my head: Luke 12:9 – I realized it was a Bible verse. So I ran and grabbed my bible off the shelf to read, “But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels.” Boom – that was it. Praise God, hallelujah – my mind was blown. Coincidence? No, just God being God and knowing what I needed to hear. I’ve realized if you ask God He will give you the truth - not to be treated as an opinion, but truth to stand firm in and obey.
Then God brought someone into my life whom I know to this day is going to be a lifelong friend (funny how God brings certain people into your lives for certain reasons). I was at a coffee shop and he sat in front of me. I complimented him on his beanie and the conversation went from there. We got on the subject of God, and he asked me if I was reading the Bible. I was brutally honest and said I didn’t know where to start, and that none of it made sense. He said to start in John and to pray before you read the Bible that your eyes and heart are open to hear the word of God.
So, I did just that when I got home. And I felt like a child getting milk for the first time. He invited me to some different churches and opened my eyes to false prophets in the Christian church. I learned that it is okay to have questions and to ask those questions, but to seek answers from the Bible.
Looking back now at the early years of my business, I would have used the money differently. But at the time I did not know what I did not know. I started feeling double-minded with my faith because my other number one selling item was “God is Greater than the Highs and Lows.” I was trying to follow God and the world at the same time.
People at trade-shows starting knowing me for being the “f***, f******, f***” girl and that struck a chord with me. "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29 I had my shop, an investor helping to grow the brand and thought I had arrived, but come to find out I was hurting inside. Deep down I knew I was being a hypocrite for saying I am a Christ follower when my jewelry states otherwise. Something had to change. So I decided to close the store and get rid of the Triple-F line. A risky move indeed, but I knew I had to take a stand for what I believed in or I would fall for everything.
At this time in my life, I felt like I lost my identity, my heart was changing and I did not want to do the things I felt called to do in the beginning. I was hungry for God’s word and wanted to know more about who He is. So, I started praying for God to lead the way and gave Him full control (once again) of my life. I’ll never forget a night I was at home in my room, praying and crying out to Christ on the floor for Him to open my heart and lead me where He wanted me to be.
I had never felt so lost before – my jewelry company was diminishing and I had closed my store. Everything I thought I ever wanted I had achieved, and then realized how unhappy I was once I got there.
I STARTED TO REALIZE THAT MY LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME AND MY GLORY BUT ABOUT THE SUFFERING I ENDURE SO THAT CHRISTS' GLORY CAN SHINE THROUGH.
That week, my friend (whom I mentioned above), gave me a call and wanted me to look into a new business venture with CBD. This business was a franchise, low investment start-up cost, and easy to run. I did research on CBD and saw that the industry was still very young and had a lot of room to grow. Plus, I was excited to design and develop some retail locations. I knew I still wanted to be doing my jewelry but had lost my inspiration behind it and just needed a change and something else to do for a while.
I decided to take a leap of faith. I raised some capital and found an investor to partner with in addition to my business partner. No locations were viable in Las Vegas, so we decided to move to Oregon. In March 2020 I made the move and then a couple weeks later COVID happened. This wrecked the retail industry and I lost a bunch of boutique accounts and had purchase orders that were put on delay until things picked back up for my jewelry business.
Thankfully, God always provides and CBD was still able to be up and running as a retail location because it was deemed essential. However, the COVID guidelines did not help with opening a brand new business. I’m sure all of you have heard about Portland, OR and how it is one crazy place. Our first CBD store was in the heart of downtown Portland and the first night of riots our store had been vandalized. After the riots, people were afraid to come out of their houses and told to stay inside. Masks were mandated and everyone was super cautious but we did what we had to do as small business owners and kept our doors opened at three locations.
Then my grandma passed away from Leukemia, which took a toll on me spiritually. She was Jewish, and it wrecked my heart that I never had more conversations with her about Christ. At the end of the day I know only God can know her heart and be the one to judge when she passed. I was able to be by her side as she took her last breath with my mom, aunt and uncle (all of her children) and I knew God wanted me to say a prayer, so we all laid our hands upon her and I prayed to Christ as she took her last breath. Death does something to you and it did something to me, I knew I had to tell more people about Christ and be open to those hard, uncomfortable conversations.
A few months later in May of 2020, I received a call that my best friend Kaidra was not doing so well. Kaidra had been fighting brain cancer for two years and was a warrior. She was a bright light that impacted so many people by sharing her story with others through her Good Vibe Tribe and loving everyone for who they were. She was a best friend to many and to watch her struggle was not something I enjoyed. She was a Vegas girl at heart and then moved to North Dakota to follow her soul, which I could never understand. She always wanted me to move there so we could live next door to each other. I knew I had to pay a visit to her at this moment in time. Kaid lived a simple life, and had everything she wanted - her cowboy husband, two beautiful girls, a lake house, and weiner dogs. Never in my mind did I fully grasp that she would be gone, I always believed she would pull through.
The last time I visited her was different than anytime before – I knew she did not want to go and was fighting so hard to the point where she was exhausted. We prayed together and I told her I would see her soon and that everything was going to be okay. A few weeks later she passed. Again my faith was tested. I leaned into God for answers on why she had to go so soon, so young with so much life to live. And answers did I receive. Why do good people suffer? God, if you are so good why did she have to die? Is she saved? Am I saved? At the end of the day I realized it was out of my control to understand why God allowed this to happen. That still did not make it easier the fact that she was gone. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about this pretty girl, as I mentioned above death does something to you, it changes you.
This is a great quote I am going to reference from Alisa Childers book, Another Gospel?, "When we are faced with immeasurable and unspeakable pain, we have a choice. We can open our hands to the Father and fall at his feet, or we can shake our fist at him and walk away. We can throw the raw magnitude of our doubts, questions, and piercing grief into his capable lap, or we can gather it all up into clenched hands and declare him incompetent... or nonexistent. We each have that choice."
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Chris's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13
She also states, "Only with a robust understanding of God's holiness, goodness, and sovereignty do these words give any hope.
Evil and suffering are ugly realities unleashed upon creation by sin, but our Savior stepped into our world, took on human flesh, suffered, and experienced death for us.
Jesus physically rose and defeated the power of sin and death forever. He didn't just come to feel our pain - he came to end it. He didn't just give us an answer to suffering - he became the answer."
And yes, there will be a day when there is no more suffering, Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more."
Without hope in Christ I don't know how Kaidra fought and gave so much life to others around her, she had hope and a firm foundation of God's word and through her strength it allowed me to lean on Christ as well.
At Kaid’s celebration of life, I decided to get a group of her friends together and we rallied to continue her Good Vibe Tribe in her honor, making it a 501C3 nonprofit that is now called Kaidra’s Good Vibe Tribe Foundation. We had no idea what we were doing but knew God would lead the way, and He has indeed.
Our mission is to help families who are experiencing brain cancer and ensuring the legacy of Kaidra and all of our angels. We do that by providing good vibes all the time, knowing we can and we will provide comfort to families, creating memories and brand mottos for our warriors, connecting people through unique experiences and providing strength through prayers.
Being involved in a non-profit I saw a different side of business and the heart people had for it and realized that it all came back to the WHY.
I didn’t know where to go from here with my jewelry company – something in my heart told me to just wait. So, I focused my energy on the CBD company, the foundation, and finding a good church home. I started making friends in Oregon with women who were grounded in their faith that I had met at church. I started praying daily for God to lead me in His direction, as well as keeping a daily journal (highly recommend if you do not do this!) I brought up all questions I had about Christ and as my wisdom grew, my questions were answered – not all of them as I still am learning in my faith, but I am growing.
Even if you don't know what you believe or why you believe it, start asking why? You can be angry or frustrated with God all you want but if you do not seek Him for answers and just look up stuff on the internet your source is not truthful. These are some resources I highly recommend below. But again do not take my word for it - read the Bible and see for yourself, hence why it is my first resource!
1. The Bible (start anywhere, I recommend any of the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, and get an NLT, ESV, or NIV Translation). I prefer a physical Bible and recommend that, however there is a Bible app for your phone as well.
2. GotQuesitons.ORG - here you can type in any question you have!
3. Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace
4. Another Gospel by Alisa Childers
5. You can also watch sermons on here where the pastor goes verse by verse, book by book, chapter by chapter through the Bible.
My heart changed and I felt like JAECI as a brand had changed – I realized it wasn’t about me anymore or my story, it was about Him. I had to allow Christ to lead the way and my life in the direction he wanted it to go. I want to live more like Him. You see, all along He was my WHY. At the end of the day we do not get to bring any of our possessions with us, we lose our loved ones and I have come to realize this life is short. But by the grace of God, eternal life will last forever.
Being a good person just isn't enough. Everybody needs salvation, we are all sinners and that is where Christ comes in.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
My jewelry has always kept me rooted, but this time I knew I had to do things differently for Christ and not for myself. I want to come out with exclusive pieces and really enjoy the design process and what He is placing on my heart. I will share these with you as one-of-a-kind items and want to hear your stories about why each piece inspired you. This is why I have created a Fellowship Board.
So I introduce to you the newly born again JAECI. It is no longer about me and my initials, JAECI is for Jesus Christ. I invite you to enjoy this Journey as we Aim to Experience a Creative life that Inspires others as they get to know Jesus.
I share all this with you to let you know God’s thumbprints are over our entire lives and I have never felt more at peace than I am today. It is a beautiful disaster what happened in my life above - but God led me through every moment. He held my hand through my auto-immune disease, he walked me through my struggles and gave me the courage to leave Vegas. He knew I had to be secluded to draw closer to Him so I could only lean on Him to get through the passing of my gramma and my best friend. In addition, to so so much more. But He was always there and knows the beginning all the way unto end. And I know His story is still not yet complete but I will continue to know His glory in all that I do.
If you let Christ lead the way – "we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith" Hebrews 12:2 - there will be moments of suffering and pain but we are meant to have those moments.
And yes, sometimes we step on the staircase leading to Him and then take a few steps back, and then a few steps forward again. This is the amazing thing - that by God’s grace we are saved and He loves us, we must just trust in Him.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1
PS - if you have questions please reach out and if you want to be saved the Bible says, clear as day... "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." Romans 10:9 You don't need to be in a fancy church or a large stadium, you can do this from the comfort of your home. Pray this verse above with a redemptive heart. Amen!
PSS - I want to give a huge thanks to my sisters and brothers in Christ whom have guided me through my journey. To my Aunt Joanna, you helped so much in being my so called "editor" -- thank you, thank you! And to my dearest family and friends for being part of my story. I love you all.