We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Parker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, how does your business help the community?
Impact Brands is a marketing communications firm developed from my 20+-year career in the corporate world. My best memories of that era includes leading a large group of mostly female sales representatives in achieving a record-shattering $49MM in sales. When I left the corporate environment to start Impact Brands, I knew that I would miss advising and mentoring women to find their unique paths to success, so I established a division within Impact Brands called Impact Women. This reduced-fee program is for female entrepreneurs who need help bringing their business vision to life. We support Impact Women clients, drawing from our depth of experience in business strategy, brand development and marketing communications.
What should our readers know about your business?
Impact Brands is a marketing strategy and communications firm located in downtown McKinney. We have team members all around the country who I am so proud to have on the team. They’re the best in the business! We are excited to celebrate our 4th anniversary this month.
I founded the business to create an alternative way for professional women to work and live, offering flexibility in schedules – whether that’s to be a more engaged mom, caretaker, homemaker, or provide the freedom and time to explore new passions. There is so much more to life than work and in the corporate world, I felt like my life was passing me by. I was in Groundhog Day, uninspired, going through the motions. Don’t get me wrong, I was enjoying plenty of success, but my kids were growing up and I was missing it. I decided I wasn’t missing another single day. It’s not been easy, but it’s been 100% worth it.
The pandemic created challenges no business owner could have anticipated. 2019 was a record year for Impact and our expectations for 2020 were just coming to life when COVID-19 took the wind out of our sails. By early April 2020, every day was dragging, almost like I was moving in slow motion. Clients needed out of their contracts. Some were desperate for our help, especially with crisis communication and alternative sales paths – help figuring out how to go off-premise or online. But most couldn’t pay normal rates anymore. It was brutal. By May 1st I resolved to pull myself together and put on my big girl pants. I got on the phone with other entrepreneurs, even some of my competitors, and together we brainstormed ways to save our companies. I created a plan to keep our Impact team working and minimize our losses. We had former colleagues who had been furloughed or laid off and we found work for them too. Somehow we all made it to the other side.
I firmly believe anyone can do anything – they just need a little blood, sweat and something to believe in.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Downtown McKinney for a little shopping and dinner at either Rye or Urban Grill & Wine Bar. Let’s be honest, this is probably two days of visiting! We’d definitely stop at Birds & Words boutique and Mary’s Mountain Cookies!
We’d definitely make a float tank appointment at The Float Spot in Frisco. Someone recently said it was like if chocolate and margaritas had a baby. I think it’s more like floating on a warm cloud or if you turn the lights off – floating in space! After that, we’d hit up Heirloom Haul for an awesome afternoon tea (with precious tea cups and saucers and fabulous atmosphere inside and out) or their Texas Waldorf salad. Their lattes can not be beat! Adjacent to their tearoom is Flea Style with handmade, unique, local offerings. It also includes an artisan hat shop called The Bar, where you can have a one-of-a-kind hat making experience – combining vintage accessories on your custom desgined hat. Who visits Texas and doesn’t go home with a hat!?!
If we made the track down to Dallas, Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que would be on the list for sure! The place is run by brothers Brent and Juan Reeves. Two of the nicest guys you could meet. You may have seen them on Restaurant Recovery or at the State Fair of Texas, where they have had food booths for decades – think smoked turkey legs and fried reese’s peanut butter cups or fried jello. If the weather’s nice we’d visit the Nasher Sculpture Garden. If the weather’s bad, there’s always interesting people watching at Northpark.
Back at my home in McKinney on the patio, we’d order a charcuterie board from Gifts of Graze and open a bottle of wine (or two) from Texas Hill Country, like Becker Vineyards.
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?
Alison Kieckhafer, who owns The Event Lounge, has been a great friend for more than a decade. She is an inspirational leader. She’s a great example of the kind of success you can have when you’re crazy smart, stay committed to your mission, find time to laugh, and most of all – always put your team first.