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This Entrepreneur's Love Story Inspired A Wedding Business That Doubled Her Salary

This Entrepreneur's Love Story Inspired A Wedding Business That Doubled Her Salary

There's no expense too expensive when it comes to making your dream come true.

BOSS UP

My daddy always told me that you should never spend more than you earn. But anyone who's ever owned a business knows that this simple rule can be easily offset by the day-to-day financial responsibilities of being an entrepreneur.

From administrative and marketing management to profit and loss, there's no expense too expensive when it comes to making your dream come true and while these obligations may put some pressure on your pockets Just Elope CEO Jennifer Allen knows that investing in yourself always pays off.

To date, Jennifer and her husband Tavarous have officiated 80 weddings, married dozens of happy couples all over the country, and maintained full-time jobs at the same damn time and she recently sat down with xoNecole to share the secret to her entrepreneurial success.

Jumping The Broom

In 2017, this Dallas-based pop-up wedding expert used her own elopement as an opportunity to launch a business that has more than doubled her income in 12 months, and according to Jennifer, it all started with her ability to meet a need.

After a surprise engagement to her soon-to-be deployed husband, the couple was left with little-to-no options when it came to finding a last-minute wedding planner and a seed was planted. Desperate to jump the broom, Jennifer was left to resort to her last (and honestly, most regrettable) option. She explained, "Our experience at the courthouse was very cold and that right there is what made me say, 'OK, something has to be different. It can't be either go to City Hall or run off to Vegas. There has to be a medium that can be met.'"

Little did Jennifer know, she would be the person to fill the void she so blatantly saw in the industry.

Taking The Leap

The mother-of-two shared that it wasn't until years after tying the knot that she decided that planning a wedding wasn't half as lucrative as launching a business. Jennifer told xoNecole, "One day, I was sitting in my living room, and it just clicked: 'Girl, let it go.' Stop trying to force this. Stop trying to plan a way to spend additional money––you need to figure out a way to make additional money."

In that moment, Just Elope was born and the rest, Jennifer says, is history. After designing a marketable brand and portfolio from scratch, Jennifer and her husband hit the ground running and it wasn't long before the couple snagged their first, second, and eventually, 80th client and this duo has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

Although Jennifer and her husband may have chosen to take the road less traveled with the launch of their unconventional bridal business, this couple doesn't have all of their pennies in one bank. According to Jennifer, one of the most valuable lessons she's learned as an entrepreneur is the importance of keeping your day job. "Working full-time for me has allowed me to, number one, not be a slave to my business––in the sense of chasing the money, having to take on any and everybody because I jumped out there too quick. It has also allowed me to start building up that emergency fund."

"Working full-time for me has allowed me to, number one, not be a slave to my business––in the sense of chasing the money, having to take on any and everybody because I jumped out there too quick. It has also allowed me to start building up that emergency fund."

Jennifer said that because her children didn't sign up to have entrepreneurs as parents, it's up to her and her husband, who is currently in school to become a pediatric nurse, to make sure the bag is secured regardless, and working full-time jobs has allowed them to do exactly that. "I don't know what leap everybody is taking, but we have kids who depend on us and who depend on the stability that they are accustomed to. Man, I'm not gonna jeopardize their childhood and they have to grow up to be rappers and talk about how they struggled," she laughed. "That truly is our push."

Building The Empire

While today may not be the day that Jennifer and her husband quit their day jobs to pursue their business full-time, they are preparing diligently for when that time comes. Jennifer told xoNecole that along with maintaining multiple streams of income, setting healthy boundaries has been a superpower when it comes to developing her business acumen.

In the last year, Jennifer has more than doubled her salary and according to her, the secret to her success lies in her ability to unapologetically say, "Nah."

You will never be all things to all people, so you should pick who you want to be and stop apologizing for it. This, Jennifer, says, was a lesson that she learned early on in her career. She explained, "When we first started, I was chasing the money. But I quickly realized that the money is going to come as long as you are consistently putting out quality work and I could not put it out quality work and be my best self if I was not consistent in what the services were that I offered."

"When we first started, I was chasing the money. But I quickly realized that the money is going to come as long as you are consistently putting out quality work and I could not put it out quality work and be my best self if I was not consistent."

Jennifer shared that as soon as she found the courage to set boundaries for both herself and her business, she finally became confident in her ability to build an empire. "I set those boundaries and I got the confidence, that's the key, is getting the confidence to stick to your boundaries. My business flourishes so much because these are the rules."

She continued, "I'm a wife and a mom of boys [aged] seven and five. I cannot and will not allow myself to become emotionally invested in the back and forth that goes along with, 'Well what about this or what about that? This is what we offer. And our business was set up that way because I do have other obligations. So I had to make a business that works for me and my family. The couples that we've married have no complaints, all five-stars, all great reviews because we were for them. Right? And that's what made it work."

Solidifying The Legacy

Now that Jennifer has jumped the broom, taken the leap, and began building her empire, she is doing what it takes to solidify her legacy and create an environment for generational wealth. Self-sabotage is a creative entrepreneur's best friend, but Jennifer says that accountability might be the protection against deflection you didn't know you needed. "Be accountable for all of your actions. If you don't let yourself down, you can get so much done. We self-sabotage more than we know. And that's what keeps people from truly reaching the goals that they have set for themselves."

"Be accountable for all of your actions. If you don't let yourself down, you can get so much done. We self-sabotage more than we know. And that's what keeps people from truly reaching the goals that they have set for themselves."

According to Jennifer, her New Year's resolution is to become her own accountability partner and this year, she refuses to take excuses for an answer. "If I set a goal, I'm not going to let myself down by not accomplishing it because how can I expect to run a lucrative business If I'm not intentional––if I'm not intentional with my time, with my learning, with my surroundings? There's a lot of women out there that have great ideas and they are making excuses as to why they cannot get them done."

For more of Jennifer, follow her on Instagram @IAmJenniferAllen!

For more Jennifer, follow her on Instagram @IAmJenniferAllen!

Featured image courtesy of Jennifer Allen.

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Decoding The 'It Girl': Tylynn Burns Is Human Too

Sweet Life: Los Angeles on HBO Max is an honest and unique look into what it means to be young, Black, and constantly pursuing one's dreams in the heart of South Los Angeles. Exploring themes of loyalty, legacy and love, the coming-of-age series follows a group of longtime friends navigating the relatable, chaotic mid-20s. Since season one, there's been a breakout star who's not been afraid to keep it real, "the nucleus" of the core cast friend group, and all-around IT GIRL, Tylynn Burns.

As season two comes to a close, xoNecole caught up with Tylynn who’s been gracing our screens with stylish looks while growing, learning — holding herself accountable — and chasing her dreams in front of a national audience. But sharing glimpses of her world via reality TV isn't always a walk in the park, and with season two, Tylynn is navigating the praise and scrutiny with grace.

Tylynn is aware of how she's portrayed on camera — "very serious, super tunnel vision with her business, always dipping her toes in her friends' lives" — but after Candiss, her IRL friend and fellow castmate, she swears she's the "most lit." An avid music listener and fan of trap and house music and reggaeton, she often spins some: Young Nudy, Steve Lacy, Bad Bunny, Blxst, Bino Rideaux, Megan Thee Stallion, and Beyoncé. Renaissance has been getting much of her attention lately, especially her favorite track, "Alien Superstar." Tylynn solidified that only this week, "I saw an astrology chart that says Pisces is an alien superstar. I feel like there's no one like me, and I'm a superstar, and I'm that girl. And it just speaks to me. It speaks to my soul for real."

She also can serve a look from head to toe. Whether a curly natural, a bright orange knit set, or lilac purple cowboy boots, Tylynn makes a statement every time she walks into a room. Pulling from Y2K trends and "just putting shit together," the 27-year-old defines her style as "street with a little class." Her Mexico trip look takes the top spot when asked what her favorite hairstyle was from season two — light brown, wavy locs. "I looked very beautiful in every scene I had that in, so that would be my favorite hairstyle. And then second would be Daphne (a red-orange, long, straight wig with a blunt bang) from [episode four, the New York episode], for sure," says Tylynn.

For Burns being that girl or an, it girl is more than superficial, "Being an it girl is realizing your power but allowing other people to have that power [too]. So a piece of your power. To me, that's an, it girl."

Tylynn keeps it real beyond the series, her genuine nature, warmth, fun, and inviting energy radiate during our conversation over zoom. She's an open book, sitting in front of a Kobe Bryant portrait with fresh box braids, hoop earrings, hot pink nails, and her best accessory, a smile that’s giving girl next door that's easy to talk to. Her portrayal on Sweet Life: Los Angeles also gets her business-minded side right. She's constantly on the go, in meetings, and getting endless Slack alerts — even during our interview (something we laughed about).

Burns is the founder of a boutique event-planning agency, House Party Creative, utilizing her degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Oregon to offer curated events to people that are typically reserved for influencers or celebrities. "I wanted to design moments that give people more," Tylynn tells xoNecole. She does that by integrating live performances and being intentional about working with local Black vendors.

A staple event for House Party Creative is featured on both seasons of Sweet Life: Legacy Table. It’s an event that brings various young movers and shakers together to network and have a good time amongst like-minded people. This season we saw Legacy Table go bi-coastal as Burns hosted her first New York installment. The event was a success that led to a lot of exposure for the agency and made a good impression on Biggie Smalls’ son, CJ Wallace, in episode five.

"We broke barriers by being bicoastal. When I go on [IG] live, many people say, 'Come to DC, come to New York, come to Philly.' The Midwest and the East Coast are tapped in now. Having that visibility outside L.A. means so much for House Party's future," says Burns.

But Tylynn admits it's not easy being in the creative space and now on TV as a dark skinned Black woman. She's aware of how covert colorism and misogynoir show up on screen and in her everyday life. "There's no room for error, especially for a dark-skinned Black woman. Compared to some of my other cast members, even when it comes to the men on the show, I am held to a very high expectation, which is a lot of pressure," she says.

Despite the world constantly trying to take agency and dehumanize Black women, Tylynn leads with humanity, sharing vulnerable, real moments with the audience. In episode six, she disclosed her abortion during a couple's therapy session with her boyfriend, Jaylenn. Although the season was filmed a while ago, abortion has been a huge and very polarizing topic since the Supreme Court recently overturnned Roe v. Wade. "It was easy for me to talk about," says Tylynn. "I wanted to show women that you're not alone. One in five women, I believe, have abortions. And once I shared mine, friends and family told me about theirs. I just wanted to open that dialogue in that safe space."

During that therapy session and throughout season two, the audience saw the not-so-Instagram-able moments of her relationship with Jaylenn. "I'm not the perfect girlfriend, and he's not the perfect boyfriend, but we're getting there. We have this mutual respect and love that was good for Instagram and TV, but obviously, we're missing it," Tylynn says of her relationship being in the public eye.

"I wanted to shed light that even though Jaylenn and I are like this, we're not perfect and have history," says Tylynn. Fully aware of what they signed up for by being on TV, she reassures us that the two are "solid." She hopes, beyond just watching and judging, that the audience can relate to these honest moments and reflect on times they went through similar experiences. "It's hard to be under pressure to say and do the right things with a partner because you have your views, and they have theirs. And so, I hope that people respect where we are right now and where we're going," she says.

This season, Tylynn went on an apology tour as she worked on herself through therapy and her platonic and romantic relationships. "I have learned that I'm not as self-aware as I thought. Therapy showed me that I have to know myself in relationships and friendships to be better or more self-aware," says Tylynn. Partly because of being a Pisces, Tylynn tends to read the room and decide what part of herself she is willing to share. "I realize by doing that, that when it's time to be fully me and stand in my emotions and thoughts, I don't know how to act. As you see [on the show], I either have blow ups or try to get my point across, but it doesn't translate because I was trying too hard to fit other people's narratives without trusting my own," she tells xoNecole.

For Burns, the hardest thing to re-watch on the show this season was the disagreement with Rob because her best friend Amanda was put in the middle. She's aware of how that situation not only impacted her and Rob but those they care about. "Having to re-watch that and having the relationship I do with [Rob] and Amanda's parents, just in the back of my head being like, 'dang, I kind of failed so many people.' Based on an unhinged reaction to something that could've been talked through. I feel like that is just your worst moments being blown up on screen for everyone to dive into without having the full context," she says.

Another long-awaited apology came at the tail end of the season as Tylynn made up with Jerrold during the Mexico trip. Both serve as the glue for the respective smaller friend groups that make up the core cast, and since their fall-out, in season one, it "fucked up the synergy with everyone." After filming the scene, Tylynn tells xoNecole that the two shared a hug and a sense of relief at being back on better terms. However, Tylynn isn't sure if they'll ever be the same as they once were.

"What I said on TV [about Jerrold being a ‘sociopath’] and how I felt he handled the situation [leaving Jaylenn to fend for himself against castmate Jordan Bentley on Jerrold’s podcast in season 1] will live forever, and it'll be a constant reminder even in our lowest points. But we have a ton of history and so much love and care for each other that should be the driving force with our friendship moving forward," Tylynn tells xoNecole.

Though Jordan doesn’t appear in season two, there’s no hard feelings or drama around that decision. “He let all of us know [that he wasn’t coming back for season two] and we were all incredibly supportive of that,” Tylynn tells xoNecole. “Like, he has so much going on with [his business] Hypland and even his own personal endeavors and stuff. And so like sometimes the timetable for a show and that doesn't mix. And so we're super supportive of him choosing what he did.” In his absence, supporting cast members Kailen (Jaylen’s cousin) and his long term girlfriend Candiss got to step up with more screen time this season.

As for what's next for Tylynn, she is excited for House Party Creative's future and taking some of their events nationally. She and Jaylenn are starting a new chapter, too, "We're looking for a house,” she says, excited about their upcoming home tour. “And we are starting a family with our bulldogs," she emphasizes, then adds, "kids in a few years. We're good." And for any fans she may have let down this season, Tylynn has a message to them:

"Trust the process, continue to put your faith in me and what's in store for me because I'm a work in progress. I still appreciate how loyal people are. That tells me that there's still a lot of me in these moments that I'm probably not capturing. And so I don't know—stay tuned for my process."

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