I am so excited to start Lunch Break, a new interview series! It has been a great experience to learn about people who lead such different lives. I have learned that everyone is unique and this world is filled with beautiful, hard working individuals.
I am beginning this series with Janna Dearinger. I met Janna almost a decade ago and have loved following her life ever since.
Janna has always been a hard worker and this shows throughout her life. She sometimes had up to 3 jobs at once since she was 19 years old. This is something I had always admired of Janna.
“Well, when it comes to what I do…it’s not such a simple answer since I wear many hats and always have.”
Janna is a wife, mother, small business owner, jewelry merchandiser and your average country girl.
Janna’s husband is in the military which led them to being stationed in Puerto Rico, since 2015. She experienced the Zika epidemic and 2 hurricanes during her stay.
“I found it nearly impossible to find work there, so I started making soap. Yes, soap! In my kitchen. I started my shop Sailor Suds and it has grown from there!”
Janna also recently signed on as a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel, a jewelry company. They have a lifetime guarantee on all pieces that are completely hypoallergenic and are designed in the USA!
“My hands are always full but I love being able to enjoy what I do daily!”
At such a young age, how were you able to balance working between a few different jobs? What kept you going?
Ultimately the fact that my bosses scheduled me to where I could juggle another schedule. Usually my jobs wouldn’t be more than 10 minutes apart based on location. I gave all I had to keep my jobs. My bosses knew that and I think that’s why they respected how hard I worked with all the time I put in. It was extremely rare for me to ever call out of a shift. What kept me going was that I didn’t have a choice. It was my way of survival. I never asked my parents for money. If I didn’t take care of myself, nobody else would.
Did you like the jobs you had early on? What was one life-changing thing you learned from them?
Some jobs I loved and still miss to this day. Others were terrible. Much of it depended on the atmosphere and fellow coworkers. Red Robin was one of my worst experiences, it’s the only job I ever straight up quit. Every other one I stuck with until they closed or until I moved to Puerto Rico. I’d say the most valuable things I’ve learned from working hard are : love what you do, treat others how you want to be treated, don’t be quick to burn bridges and stay as consistent as possible.
How did you make it through the Zika epidemic and 2 hurricanes? What did you experience?
It wasn’t easy. All of those situations put me in the most dark, depressing places I’ve ever emotionally & mentally experienced. I didn’t find out I was negative for Zika until I was in the middle of delivering my daughter, although I had been tested 2 months prior to find out.
With hurricane Irma, we didn’t have power for over a week. Ticket prices jumped to over $1,000 for a one-way flight of the island. A few days after power was restored, hurricane Maria hit. I had a flight booked but the airline kept canceling it. The morning of Maria, a plan had been set in place to evacuate spouses and children on a C-130 if they wanted to leave. It was extremely last minute. We didn’t even know what our destination was or where we were landing. It’s hard for me to remember anything about that day besides sheer panic and anxiety that could sink a ship. I knew I had to go to keep my daughter safe. I knew I probably wouldn’t go back to Puerto Rico and to be separated AGAIN from my husband and cats, just crushed me. Plus only being able to take 1 suitcase for you and your child to share wasn’t exactly a breeze either. The only way I survived those experiences was my in-laws and their families who went above and beyond to get us whatever we needed. Friends who encouraged me to do more than lay around crying for weeks on end every time Puerto Rico was on the news and who reminded me of God’s promises & plans for my life and future.
That sounds like such an extremely difficult experience. What did you take away from it? Did your belief’s help you in any way?
It was. One of the biggest things I took away was how worthless material things are. You don’t notice it so much until you have so little and make do without things you’d consider a luxury. Dishwasher, hair dryer, clothes, makeup, vacuum cleaner etc. Ultimately I am very grateful we had an opportunity to get off the Island just in time, so many people didn’t get that chance and many are STILL living in the dark without electricity. I’m proud of my husband, brother, friends and neighbors for taking donations, supplies, gas, food & water to towns all across the Island to help however they could. Even rebuilding houses. As much as my stomach turned seeing Trump throw paper towels from my church sanctuary on every news station, I knew real work and love was being shown. My Faith is definitely what kept me together, even though some days I felt like I was in pieces. Ecclesiastes and the Psalms brought me peace as I usually re-read them when I need a reminder that life was never promised to be easy, perfect or always beautiful.
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”
Can you tell us more about your soap business?
Soap making kinda started on a whim as a hobby honestly! My husband loves organic, handmade goods so we bought a soap-making book off Amazon and gave it try. Once we found a process and recipe that worked well for us, we decided to see if anyone else would be interested in the products we had been making. After constantly selling out of batches in our neighborhood, we decided to open our own shop as “Sailor Suds” on Etsy. Almost 2 years later, we’re still going! Hoping to finally add new products to our shop since the ingredients are MUCH easier to get in the states versus Puerto Rico (where most key components wouldn’t ship)
Congratulations! What kind of new products are you planning to add? Do you have any goals for the autumn and winter season?
I’d love to add scrubs, bath bombs, lip balm and possibly lotions. I’m in the process of starting clay soaps to see how they do! Other than that, we’ll just be adding new batches of more holiday festive scents as the seasons change.
Do you like to stay busy? Does it get overwhelming at times?
I like to stay busy because I feel lazy if I don’t. Especially in a situation where I was forced to be a stay at home Mother due to transportation, foreign language and financial issues all playing a part. It’s never really been overwhelming for me, if anything it’s been a great creative outlet for me to put my time and energy into something I enjoy.
What is your favorite thing about being a stay at home mother and working on your businesses?
Not having to miss out on any of my daughters childhood. As much as I would LOVEEEEEEE a break or a few extra hours to relax, I can’t imagine missing her first steps or first words. Some days are completely insane trying to juggle it all but they’re so full of laughter and love. I know I won’t regret these years spent constantly with her.
What made you decide to become a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel?
Ultimately the extra money (even what you’re able to make from home) as well as the products, company and perks that came with it. Plus seeing my neighbor win a trip to Canada and Paris through Chloë + Isabel also helped! For me, it was really more like a “why not?” after wearing and loving their products for 2 years. My only regret is that I didn’t take the chance sooner.
Have you always loved jewelry? I’ve admired the beautiful pieces you wear year after year!
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t wear jewelry haha! Even as a child! Most of my stuff is worn until it breaks. I wear my rings and big Zuni cuffs all day, everyday.
“Thank you for reaching out and featuring my crazy life! I have stories for days, hopefully anyone going through a hard time will be encouraged to press on to better days after coming across this interview. It’s NOT ever easy, but it’s possible.” – Janna
Personal Instagram: @flurry__
I’d like to thank Janna for taking the time to do this interview with me. It has been humbling to hear of her life experiences and how she has come out stronger because of them. She is a hard worker and it’s great to see that in this world.