Beyond the Brand Interview Series: Jaclyn Tracy - rachelleslie.co

Beyond the Brand Interview Series: Jaclyn Tracy

How she builds two businesses one step at a time and her journey navigating entrepreneurship.

Our interview series, Beyond the Brand, continues with our second installment. In case you missed our first interview, you can find it here. We had the chance to hear from Jaclyn Tracy, the founder of conscious marketplace, SISTAIN, and a holistic marketing firm, Brand Effect.

1. I’m so excited to chat with you, for those who don’t know you tell me a bit about who you are and what you do?

I am the founder of SISTAIN, a DTC marketplace that curates sustainable products and provides tools to educate consumers about how to live more sustainably one step at a time. 

SISTAIN is a guide for conscious consumerism across the categories of lifestyle, fashion, home, beauty, and wellness. Our goal is to make a greater difference by making sustainable consumerism not only easier, but aspirational. Success is in the collective impact. We aim to create a movement to change consumer behaviors by committing to choosing sustainable brands, creating less waste and aiming for imperfect progress. 

I am also the founder of Brand Effect, a holistic design, marketing & strategy firm. We have a highly skilled core team who oversee and collaborate with a talented community of freelancers. Our services include: branding, website design and development, marketing strategy, advertising, content creation, social media management, email, and SMS marketing.

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2. We’re suckers for stories here in the studio. Can you share a bit about the origins of SISTAIN and Brand Effect, when you got started with each business and what led you to dive into the sustainable lifestyle community and the holistic marketing agency together?

I launched Brand Effect because I was working at traditional advertising agencies and saw an opportunity to take a more holistic approach to marketing at a fraction of the cost by tapping into a talented network of specialists (freelancers). I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so helping other entrepreneurs bring their dreams to life is so rewarding. 

SISTAIN I launched a couple years later because I was intimidated by the zero-waste movement. 

“I set out to solve my own problem by creating a company that makes living a more sustainable lifestyle easier and more accessible to all humans.”

The two companies compliment each other because we take what we learn from the various experiments we are constantly running on the SISTAIN side to better serve our Brand Effect clients to help them achieve positive business results. 

3. I know how isolating entrepreneurship and building a business can be, how have you found support and community as you’ve built your business?

Being a solo-entrepreneur can be lonely, so I have joined two female entrepreneur communities—Amy Jo Martin’s Collective and The Entreprenista League—of like-minded women whose knowledge I can tap into at any moment, which is honestly so encouraging.

Building my community was not something I used to prioritize. I have great friends and a great family, but once I became an entrepreneur, it was clear I needed a community of female entrepreneurs and business women. I truly believe the way to build community is through vulnerability. Vulnerability builds connection, connection leads to collaboration, and collaboration can turn your dreams into reality.

The women I have met through these groups are truly inspirational. Whenever I see women who have achieved their dreams, dreams others thought were too big, it gives me both hope and motivation to keep going.

4. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, what have been some challenges you’ve faced and how did you face them?

I have faced all kinds of challenges, most of which have been related to finances and or a lack of resources. But like any good entrepreneur, I’ve tackled those challenges one step at a time. Adversity builds resilience, it’s a catalyst for growth. So each challenge I have endured has only made me and my companies stronger.

5. What about the good stuff, what would be on your entrepreneur highlight reel?

At SISTAIN, we invested in public relations, working with an amazing PR firm, LVPR, to grow brand awareness and credibility in the sustainability space and as a result, we were recently featured in Vanity Fair. I also did my first round of desk side interviews and we are feeling a lot of momentum on this front!

At Brand Effect, nothing is more fulfilling than helping other entrepreneurs build and successfully bring their dream to life, which we do on a regular basis with our clients.

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6. As you know here at the studio, we’re passionate about working with mission-driven and purpose-focused brands, can you tell me more about Sistain and Brand Effect and the mission behind what you do?

SISTAIN is both an educational platform—teaching consumers how to live a more sustainable life (think of it as “The Google of Sustainable Lifestyle”)—and an online store (think of it as “The Nordstrom of Sustainable Shopping”)—offering sustainable solutions within fashion, beauty, home, wellness and lifestyle. 

“Our mission is to reduce the negative effects of consumerism. We want to make sustainable shopping more accessible to all individuals by bringing sustainable brands to consumers in a convenient one-stop online store. Success is in the collective impact. We aim to create a movement to change consumer behaviors by committing to choosing sustainable brands, and creating less waste and imperfect progress.”

Brand Effect’s mission is to help entrepreneurs, businesses and marketers drive positive business results through holistic marketing.

7. What do you have coming down the pipeline in your businesses for both Brand Effect and Sistain? What should we be keeping an eye out for?

Both Brand Effect and SISTAIN are growing simultaneously. With Brand Effect, we are in the process of streamlining all of our processes so we can scale. You’ll see us taking on more clients and growing our portfolio especially within lifestyle content creation, advertising, social media, and email marketing. 

This year with SISTAIN we are continuing to build out our educational media hub and our e-commerce platform—a one-stop shop for all things fashion, beauty, wellness, home and lifestyle, as well as our online community. We’re rolling out a number of new sustainable brands in October that we are so excited about including Ursa Major, Josh Rosebrook, Leaf Shave and Sarisha Beauty

And in the next five years, we plan to expand into fashion and expand our sustainable home, beauty and wellness offerings, build out our give back programs and get certified as a B Corporation.

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8. What is the best advice you received as an entrepreneur? What advice would YOU give to someone looking to make the leap but feeling unsure?

I would say, check-in with your gut, check-in with your heart, and check-in with your head to make the right decision. Entrepreneurship is hard, so make sure you are absolutely certain because it takes a lot of sacrifice, discipline, and energy.

9. We’d love to know, how do you stay inspired and creative in your business? If you have any book or music recommendations, we’re all ears!

Hiking. Biking. Meditating. Yoga. Anything that helps create more space in my brain. I talk to multiple entrepreneurs a week and get tons of ideas from those calls. I read books, but more for leadership tips, environmental research, business and prioritization advice, than creativity.

And I love listening to podcasts like Why Not Now? With Amy Jo Martin. We created a number of playlistS on SISTAIN’s spotify for different creative vibes too. Definitely check those out!

10. Lastly, let us know where we can find you and stay connected! 

Brand Effect: https://brandeffect.com/
@brand.effect on Instagram 

SISTAIN: thesistain.com 

@sistain on Instagram / Facebook / Spotify 

You can also join the movement at thesistain.com/community and reach out to us via Instagram DM if you have sustainable lifestyle questions.

And there you have it! We loved hearing some of Jaclyn’s story. We are SO inspired by the work she’s doing and honored to feature her on Beyond the Brand Interview Series. Building not one, but two sustainable AND mission-driven businesses. 

If you know someone who would be a good fit for this series, please email aimee@rachelleslie.co! Want to be the first to know when a new interview goes live on the blog?

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