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Life and Work with Jamie Kolnick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Kolnick.

Jamie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2007, after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin, I moved to NYC to be an actress. As I was auditioning for everything and anything I needed to supplement my income (since I was a horrible waitress). I have a lot of experience in children’s music and theater so it was the natural move to start performing at kid’s birthday parties. This is how “Jam with Jamie” began! Not only was it enjoyable, but it quickly became my main source of income.

A couple years after starting the business, I booked an Off-Broadway children’s show called “Wanda’s Monster,” with music by Laurie Berkner. This took me away from doing parties myself so I began to train and hire other performers. As the demand grew I kept training more performers for our New York team. I realized that I could replicate this business model in other states and was inspired to expand. I now have over 30 performers that work in multiple states across the country.

We also work with other entertainers including balloon twisters, face painters, magicians, clowns, and even have house photographers. We are now a one stop shop for everything you could need entertainment-wise for your kids birthday! My main job now is managing the company, its growth, and my growing one-year-old boy! In addition to running “Jam with Jamie,” I created and wrote a couple comedic show for TV that I am currently pitching to multiple networks with my production company, Trick Candle Productions.

All of these things make me who I am but one of the most rewarding things I do is running my families charity, The Alan Epstein “Reach for the Stars” Scholarship Foundation. In 1998, my brother Alan passed away in a car accident.

My parents started this scholarship foundation in his name. Annually, we give 10k to graduating seniors in high school who are in deep financial need. Unfortunately, in the past 10 years, both of my parents have passed away from Cancer so we now contribute a portion of the raised monies to breast cancer and leukemia research. I plan an annual event in Miami (where I am from) that is going on its 13th year and we have had multiple charity events in New York.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
For every success, there are quadruple the amount of struggles. When we began to expand, it all happened very quickly. All eight states within 6 months’ time! We had found amazing entertainers in these various states and figured, why not!? The more the merrier. The problem was that we were a very small team and it was a lot to handle getting our name out in each of these states so that each state could be successful.

We stayed afloat and managed, but in retrospect, we would have been better off expanding slowly so we could give each state the attention it deserved. My advice for other entrepreneurial women just starting out is to make sure the people you bring onto your team are like-minded and that you are on the same page. If something is not clicking with someone you are working with, onto the next!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Jam with Jamie – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We specialize in children’s musical entertainment for private birthday parties, classes, and events. We have become a one-stop shop for all types of entertainment for your party including balloon twisters, face painters, and photographers. We have multiple packages that are customized for kids’ age 1-10 years old. I am very proud of our growth and the caliber of entertainers on our team.

I am a big advocate for only doing what you love, life is too short. So the people I bring onto our team LOVE what they do and were born to do this job. What sets us apart from others is our professionalism in communication, the amount of options we have available, the quality of entertainment you will receive, and the JOY we bring to your event!

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
Generally, because women are perceived as more sensitive than men, we face huge barriers as leaders in business. I am certainly a compassionate leader and I feel that is an asset to me because I have a real connection with everyone I work with.

However, there have certainly been times where I have felt like I was spoken to in a condescending way just because I was a woman. In these moments I have remained confident in my role as a leader. I have also surrounded myself with incredible women entrepreneurs, specifically through a group called “Hey Mama,” with members who have inspired me greatly to own my leadership role and feel incredibly supported with the growth of my company.

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Image Credit:
Alexandra Levin Photography, Stevi Sesin Photography

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