”I Knew It Was Time To Fly” Jenny Crubaugh, J Cru Contract Furnishings

  • Published on:
    April 10, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    8 minutes

”I began as an admin assistant”

Me in a nutshell, I am a small business owning wife, mother of 2, grandmother to 1 from Madison WI. My education is in early childhood, but when I had my first child, I left teaching to jump into the business world. That’s where I got my start in Contract Furniture/Commercial Interiors. I began as an admin asst, then sales coordinator and onto outside sales at a contract furniture dealership.  Now 23 years later I own an independent sales representative business for contract furniture manufacturers. J Cru Contract Furnishings began in 2011 and I am the CEO, President, Treasurer, and Secretary. It drives my accountant nuts that I don’t have my husband listed as an officer, my toddler like reply is always the same; “It’s mine.” I’m the literal example of what starting at the bottom looks like and have risen to the topp.

The women who have empowered me

I’ve thought a lot about what drew me into the Women on Topp brand and wanted to share my success story for other women who may be on the edge of starting something great but might just need that little push of empowerment. When I think about women who have empowered me to be my best and take calculated, reward worthy risks, it’s always the same two, at the forefront of my mind.  The first is the woman who hired me into this crazy commercial design world and knew from my first interview with her I was destined for sales. It took me 4 years to get to her mindset and make the jump. The second is the woman who pushed me out of the nest I could successfully run an independent manufacturer rep business and stop “working for the man”. (she looked me right in the eye and told me, emphatically “You Can Do This!”}  Let’s stay on that subject for a moment. Working for men, in between my roles working for those amazing women. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent on the guest side of a desk, in a closed office listening to what I needed to do to be successful. My “favorite” memory is the one where I was compared to a famous football player. I was told I am wildly talented, yet uncoachable.  Between the frustrations in the workplace and want to have more of a work-life balance being a wife and mother, I knew I had to find a sales role that allowed me to work from home and be successful on my terms.  I utilized my amazing network and found a job mid-recession.

I knew it was time to fly

In 2009 I left the dealership world and worked for an Ind. Manuf, rep. owned by, you guessed it, another man. In 2011, I knew it was time to fly and utilized my network once again {that included the nest pusher} and realized my dream.  

So, here I am almost 10 years later, WI sales rep for Integra, and J Cru employee of 1.  I am extremely lucky to have a partner like Integra. Not only is Wisconsin their home state, they are a family-owned business and have made me feel like part of it. We strategize on solutions for our customers, several times we have developed a product for one client based on their specific needs. We have the ability to be nimble, without compromising the product’s core values. Comfort, durability and aesthetics.

J Cru, the naming itself was a strategic branding thought. First, I didn’t want the business name to be Jenny Crubaugh and Associates…. ummm party of one. J Cru has been a nickname of mine and I love J. Crew so I popped the idea off a few people, came up with a logo a voila J Cru Contract was born.

Now that I am an official empty nester, I have more time to give back, which to me means mentoring and empowering other women to be their best selves not only in their career but life as well. I have multiple tattoos, but the kanji I have on my wrists for Strength and Success has gotten me through many a time professionally and personally. Strength in everything and Success in life is my mantra. Visualize your dream and stop at nothing to achieve it. Namaste.

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