Jenny Vickers Chyb, our NJMOMpreneur of the week, has always been passionate about the environment, sustainability and the manufacture of objects. Growing up, she crocheted and her mother did just about everything they had by hand. Later, they would sell their creations in local markets, and Jenny dreamed of creating her own market that would bring together the beautiful and airy halls of her childhood German Christmas market with local and regional artists and artisans. And when she spotted the Asbury Park Convention Center, a beautiful historic venue on the beach, she knew she had the place to do it. Since the first season in 2013, Asbury Park Bazaar has grown into a popular seasonal market showcasing a community of makers, collectors and independent businesses offering family entertainment, live music and delicious food. We sat down with this mom of one (who also has a day job at an environmental nonprofit) about the aha moment that led up to the Asbury Park bazaar, her new born business from the pandemic and to the beaches of Monmouth County as a child and friendly dog.
Tell us a bit about your background and your family.
Growing up, I lived in Germany and England, but moved to New Jersey in 2002, right after college, to work for a nonprofit environmental association. My husband, Joe Chyb, and I have been married for 5 years and we have a 2 year old daughter, Magdalena. We live in Shark River Hills, a small neighborhood in Neptune Township. My day job is to work for the nonprofit Clean Water Action. I am also the founder of Asbury Park Bazaar, a seasonal market highly organized to bring you the best in handcrafted goods, vintage, art and music. Recently we expanded to Long Branch for host events and in the future we will be in Atlantic City.
What was your “aha” moment that led you to launch Asbury Park Bazaar?
Years ago my mom and I started a business selling handmade hats and scarves in local markets. She has always been a designer of clothes, curtains, hats, and I was very fond of crochet. Deep down, I always knew that I wanted to do something in this direction, but on a larger scale. Then I spotted Convention Hall in Asbury Park and immediately fell in love with the space. Something clicked – it reminded me of the magical German Christmas markets I grew up with, and I wanted to recreate that in Asbury. The building itself got me excited, but then I found some very special vendors, and it all worked out perfectly. I went from three seasonal events a year to almost 20 just before the pandemic hit.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Before my daughter was born I used to play drums in a band with my friends – it was great fun and a great way to de-stress. But, once Magdalena arrived, I realized that I wanted to be with her as much as possible. We love to spend time by the pool, at the beach, on the playgrounds and in the parks. I also enjoy practicing yoga and stand-up paddle boarding since we live right by the river.
What do you hope your daughter learns from you as you run your business?
I hope I can inspire her to be independent, creative, and put her in everything she thinks. I love that she already enjoys going to our events. I would always let her pick one thing from a local manufacturer, so now she’s supporting little ones at the age of two, and I couldn’t be happier.
How has the pandemic affected the bazaar?
As a business based on indoor events, the regulations temporarily stop us. Then Pier Village approached us to host an outdoor event, and we got down to work putting everything together, but changing capacity limits made that impossible. We played by the rules and decided for everyone’s safety that it was best to stop the live events altogether. However, we turned to virtual events and vendor features for holiday shopping on Instagram.
Now that things are starting to get back to normal, we are anticipating fall and the holiday season. And, we were able to host our latest business, the Makers + Shakers pop-up, all summer at Pier Village through Labor Day weekend. We have a rotation of amazing manufacturers, artists and designers selling their products. We also have beautiful spaces for families to take photos. If all goes as well as we hoped, we would love to do more small scale retail pop-ups like this, in addition to our larger Convention Hall events.
What are some of your favorite local NJ businesses?
In Asbury, Foolish Ginger and Interwoven are two of my favorite brick and mortar stores I go to for gifts and merchandise. And we love Oak Hill Farms in Holmdel – we relax with the alpacas and baby goats and sit outside with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and a delicious sweet treat. They were vendors at Asbury Park Bazaar and the owners are exceptional.
What do you like to do in New Jersey with your family?
We are beach people. Bradley Beach is the local hangout, but Shark River also has some great beaches and we can walk to them from our house. We also love Fisherman’s Cove, the beach for dogs in Manasquan where we take Edith, our black golden retriever, it’s her favorite place to get sticks. We also like to visit vineyards and cellars with friends. We will spread blankets, sip wine and let the children run. Working Dog Winery, Cream Ridge Winery, and 4JG’s Orchards & Vineyards are all great options. My husband, Joe, and I have always loved to hike. Before Magdalena was born we went to the Mount Tammany Trail in the Delaware River and Stairway to Heaven in Wawayanda State Park in North Jersey, but these are too difficult for our daughter at the moment. . Lately we got closer to home by hiking in Shark River Park.
What would you like to know to become NJMOMpreneur before starting your business?
I wish I had known that I didn’t have to do everything myself. At first and too long after that, I did everything myself, from selling tickets to securing vendors, booking talent and handling all the details you need to keep a eye on. But that is no longer the case now. I’ve since learned that asking for help and building your team is the best way to grow your business and make it successful.
For more information on Jenny Vickers Chyb and Asbury Park Bazaar, check out the website, Facebook pages and Instagram.
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