This month we recognize Jamie Sheaffer's dedication and outstanding work as an S&P Brand Champion.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Muskegon, Michigan. My husband’s military career has brought us to the Metro-Detroit area. I have two dogs, Bravo and Chinook, that make me laugh every single day. I enjoy spending time with friends and family and crafting. Whenever my husband is deployed, I immerse myself in any kind of DIY project to keep myself occupied.
Do you work another job in addition to Sword & Plough? If so, what job is that? What is it like to manage both responsibilities?
I also work at Team Rehabilitation Physical Therapy and AR Workshop. I am also attending school to earn a degree in Occupational Therapy. Needless to say, my schedule is very busy but I would not have it any other way. I love that my position with Sword & Plough allows me to work within my own schedule. Being a Brand Champion is a very fulfilling yet flexible role.
What made you decide to be a Sword & Plough Brand Manager? What is it about the products/brand you love?
I decided to be a Brand Manager because I simply loved the mission. It is my way to give back to veterans while using my skillset from former retail positions. I love that our products are made in America and that we give back to our veteran communities. One purchase creates a ripple effect that goes far beyond a simple fashion item.
What has been the most rewarding experience of being a Sword & Plough Community Brand Manager?
Being a Brand Manager has allowed me to have new and different opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have. One day, I had decided to reach out to one of my role models, a very popular wife of a very popular retired Navy Seal. She has done so much charity work for military members, veterans, and their families that she inspires me to continue to do more. I had told her about Sword & Plough’s mission and our products. To my surprise, not only did she write back, she purchased one of our totes. I was so excited! My role as a Brand Manager, opens new avenues to reach out to those who inspire me.
One of the hopes for the Community Brand Manager program is that each member will leverage their own entrepreneurial spirit. What creative ways have you employed to reach customers?
To reach new customer bases, I started a Facebook page and post regularly on my Instagram. But, I also enjoy setting up pop up shops for potential customers to see and feel the products in person. My pop up shops give me an opportunity to get creative with new displays. I also get to meet new people and share stories.
Can you please share what has been your favorite experience/memory working with a Sword & Plough customer?
I love hearing stories from everyone that I get to meet. I have met military wives who overcame hurdle after hurdle during deployments. I have met veterans who have never been thanked, and take the opportunity to express my gratitude. I always leave an event feeling accomplished and humbled.
What Sword & Plough product is your favorite and why?
I love the wool handbag! It is super durable and fashionable. My husband is a pilot, and being that it was inspired by aircraft insulation, I have a special connection to it.
Who is someone who inspires you and why?
Two of my role models are Taya Kyle and Melanie Luttrell. Both amaze me with their poise and tenacity through unimaginable hardships. They both immerse themselves in helping military members, veterans, and military families. They inspire me to continue to do more. I had the pleasure of listening to Taya Kyle speak during the Patriot Tour, and I was blown away by her ability to connect with people and maintain her composure while telling her incredibly emotional story. When my husband had deployed again, I had used a lot of what I had learned from Taya, to not only survive but thrive during difficult times.
Are you a military spouse? What is the most challenging aspect of being a military spouse? What is the most rewarding?
I am a military spouse. This role comes with some of my greatest challenges and greatest rewards. Besides the obvious challenges of your spouse being away, of constantly wondering and worrying, there are other not so obvious challenges. I found that it was difficult to connect with others who did not understand what it was like to have a spouse deployed. It is also challenging to maintain a positive outlook when you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. But it is essential that you do. It is inevitable during deployments, that a situation will arise that you have never had to face before. I have adapted with an ability to stay calm and just handle it. I knew after it was over, I could look back and feel proud and accomplished. I truly understand now that I can overcome whatever hurdles arise, even if that means asking for help.
Of course, the biggest reward of being a military spouse is the homecoming. For us, it had followed year long deployments and there is no better feeling than being with your loved one again. The littlest things would fill me with joy. Simply being able to call my husband’s cell phone and have him answer, with clear reception…. was AMAZING.
What is something about being a military spouse you did not expect?
Something as a military spouse that I did not expect would be the challenges that I would face going to school. I have a desire to pursue higher levels of education and I am always challenged to find programs that I could complete prior to moving or a potential military career shift. The unknowns make it difficult to make extensive commitments.
Tell us about the service members in your life and your connection to them.
My husband has been serving as a CH-47 pilot for 10 years. He has deployed twice to Afghanistan. My brother proudly served in the Marine Corps. I have numerous uncles that served in Vietnam and grandfathers who served in WWII and the Korean War. I am extremely proud of my family's military service and it drives me to support our veterans.
What, if any, experience did you have that made you feel like the Brand Champion program was a good fit for you? What advice would you give to someone who is just starting as a Brand Champion or thinking about applying?
The Brand Champion program has been a good fit for me because it is very flexible. I can schedule table events during times that work in my schedule and I can participate wherever we move. There are no downfalls to the program. You can be as involved as you would like to be. It also allows you to connect with your community and you’ll be humbled to hear their stories.