Jenna’s ‘Succs’ Doesn’t Actually Suck!

June 29, 2023
3 mins read

Words by Carmen Macri

 

Now, when I got assigned to interview someone who goes by “Jenna’s Succs,” I was thrilled. I had absolutely no clue what I was getting myself into, but I knew it would be an interesting experience. Little did I know what an understatement that would be.

 

Arriving at Jenna Careme’s home studio, I found myself, once again, clueless about what awaited me beyond the gate. However, my uncertainty quickly transformed into delight as I was greeted by a vibrant, rainbow-haired jewel of a woman and a flock of chickens. After our introduction (and a few coos to the chicks), I became more aware of my surroundings. Careme’s hair was not the only thing plastered by the rainbow;  oh, no, everything was rainbow. As Careme’s husband put it, it was like a rainbow had thrown up everywhere. 

 

Careme, also known as Jenna’s Succs, is a Hospice nurse with a horticultural hobby that quickly turned into a side hustle, except rather than trying to make a quick buck, she just wants to share her plants, color and kindness for any budget. And I say any budget, I genuinely mean any budget. 

 

“Everybody tells me I sell way too cheap, I’m not gonna lie,” Careme shared. “I do a lot of trade and barter too because I’m not trying to get rich, I’m just trying to share my creativity.”

 

Careme even encountered a customer who had nothing, but a lottery ticket in her possession. Without hesitation, Careme decided to take a gamble and exchanged her creation for a chance at a life-changing lottery victory (it wasn’t). Careme extends discounts to various groups, including military personnel, healthcare workers, students, seniors, “broke Joes” and “cool cats.” Essentially, if you resonate with Careme’s vibes, you’re eligible for some form of discount, despite the disapproval it may draw from her financial adviser.

 

The story unfolds a few years ago when Careme’s son was just a toddler. While her son was at daycare, Careme stumbled upon an old plant pot and felt an impulse to bring it to life with vibrant paint. When her son returned, his face lit up with pure excitement upon seeing the bright colors. Encouraged by his reaction, Careme’s artistic journey took off as she started painting not just her pots, but also her benches, shelves and even her shed. (Cue the rainbow throw-up comment made by her husband). Once her house, backyard, front yard, side yard and shed were filled to the brim with revamped antique pots and planters, Careme (and her husband) realized she needed to get rid of a few, and thus began Jenna’s Succs. 

 

“I decided I’ll just try to sell it. It’s fun to make, and I just wanted to see how it does.” Careme explained. “And it has actually done pretty well. That’s the whole point behind the price too. Because there’s been plenty of times when I wanted something super cool or something rare or imported and I just couldn’t afford it.” 

 

In Careme’s remarkable inventory, each pot, planter and everything in between has a unique story — it’s either thrifted or obtained through bartering. Such is her reputation that customers go as far as dropping off pots at her doorstep, trusting her to breathe new life into them. And for the plants themselves? Jenna’s Succs operates as a licensed plant nursery under its LLC. The plants are all homegrown with enough love to share across the globe. 

 

As for the name Jenna’s Succs, she has her mother to thank for that. 

 

“So, when I told my mom I was thinking about doing this, she was like, ‘Well, you gotta have a name,’” Careme shared. “She was like, ‘Oh, you should just do Jenna’s Succs.’”

 

But over the phone, it sounded like her mother was telling her she sucks, that was until she broke it down and explained it was S-U-C-C-S, not S-U-C-K-S. And while Careme thought it was an amazing idea, she hadn’t realized how it looked on paper, specifically on her business cards. 

 

In a comical incident from years ago, when Careme had just acquired her business cards, she found herself at Goodwill with a cart piled high with ceramics, planters and pots. The employee at the register noticed the collection and couldn’t help but ask if Careme was doing some extreme gardening at home. When Careme explained her expertise in crafting fairy gardens and planters, the cashier asked if she had any business cards to share. It turned out that the cashier was friendly with the woman standing behind Careme in line — a small, elderly lady. Excited to share, the cashier said, “Look, she makes art!” and passed Careme’s card to her. 

 

“This poor lady looks at it, and she goes, ‘Oh, Lord, you need Jesus,’” Careme explained. “She sets the card down and goes muttering off, talking about, you know, finding God. And I’m like, what? Oh, my God. Did she think that was like’ Jenna sucks’?”

 

If you don’t understand (or appreciate) the joke, then odds are you won’t be a client of Careme’s since she also offers a few racy pieces or as she puts it, “raunchy but classy.” 

 

You can find Jenna’s Succs at local art markets across Jacksonville and online at jennassuccs.com.

 

Since a young age, Carmen Macri knew she wanted to be a writer. She started as our student intern and has advanced to Multi-media Journalist/Creative. She graduated from the University of North Florida and quickly found her home with Folio Weekly. She juggles writing, photography and running Folio’s social media accounts.

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