The Story Behind Encourage Huntsville with Jacki Gil of Salt + Paperie

If you've been reading our blog for a while, you know that community is deeply important to us here at Jitney's. We are ecstatic any time we see community developing and transitioning. We love seeing people connect, build relationships and grow together. It's everywhere and yet, we still can't get enough of it.

Knowing this, you can only imagine how thrilled I was when Jacki Gil of Salt + Paperie started Encourage Huntsville. And dang, has she started it!!

Jacki Gil of Salt + Paperie

Here's her story:

I’ve always felt like Huntsville and me were like a round peg in a square hole. I loved this town so much, and my family was here that I never really had a desire to move anywhere with the “big city” creativity or even somewhere artsy like Chattanooga. I wanted to be here, even if that meant not having the easiest road to finding my creative “dream job." I did a series of design jobs that varied from love to hate, until a year ago I took the leap of faith into the journey we will call “entrepreneur!” By the grace of God, and a catchy name, that still no one can seem to pronounce with confidence (salt + PAPER-E… lol) we have had a first year that exceeded all expectations. 

Somewhere along that year journey, people began coming to me looking for advice, brain-picking and business advice. All the while, I’m thinking… I do NOT have this figured out in the LEAST. I’m not even a year in (yet! I celebrated my workaversary May 1st!). But, I enjoyed talking to people about their journey into small business ownership, even if I was literally just confirming their awesome ideas and giving no advice, it seemed to help them have the “courage” to take whatever next step they needed, even if it was just heading down to the courthouse for a business license. 

One day, I’m not kidding you… it was like a lightbulb… entrepreneur + courage = encourage! OMG! ding ding ding. So, the “big picture” of Encourage Huntsville is to help small businesses grow or gain confidence through what will eventually be seminars directed and lead by what I call the best of the best in small business ownership, so much so that they might not even be considered small anymore! We will cover topics from taxes to families, and I could not be more excited.

The other half of Encourage is to just to help the average Huntsvillian connect to their creative side. Even the engineer in town needs a creative outlet. Or should I say ESPECIALLY the engineer. A lot of people have already confessed to me that they haven’t signed up because “they aren’t creative”, but that is exactly the opposite of what the point is! Creativity “can’t be used up, the more you use it, the more you have” (Maya Angelou). It’s simply a place to connect with friends and others around Huntsville to try something new that you just might love! 

I seriously hope that this passion project of mine can fuel a creative fire in Huntsville. I definitely want to be just the curator of talent for Encourage Huntsville, but the #handletterhuntsville and monthly lettering challenge was my way of testing the waters to see how much interest their was in the whole idea. I could teach that and get a feel for if this was really something people wanted to do… and, much to our surprise, it was a bigger hit than we could have ever imagined. So much so, we were scrambling to kind of ride the coat tails of the first class straight into Encourage. Now we are getting tons of other classes besides handlettering lined up, and I can’t WAIT to announce them! EEEEKK!!


Above: A few of Jacki Gil's (from Encourage Huntsville // Salt + Paperie) most lovely handlettered Instagram posts! 

Michelle Odom from Just Crumbs Cake Design will be teaching a Fondant Basics Workshop soon!! You do not want to miss this! Encourage Huntsville is giving away a free seat to the class on May 29th!  

Encourage Huntsville on Instagram
Encourage Huntsville on Facebook
Salt + Paperie on Instagram
Salt + Paprier on Facebook
Just Crumbs Cake Design on Instagram
Just Crumbs Cake Design on Facebook