Jordan Maney is the founder and lead planner of All the Days Event Co. in San Antonio. We are huge fans of Jordan, and we found her story really relatable and inspiring. She opens up about anxiety, being a survivor, and finding her voice as a social justice advocate in the wedding industry.
Liz: Can you tell us a bit about your background? What was growing up like for you?
Jordan: I was born in Germany into an Army family. Somehow my mom made moving fun, so leaving behind friends wasn't so scary. I always knew I'd be able to see them again. My parents always had functions and galas they had to attend, and as the youngest, I usually had to tag along. Maybe that's when I fell in love with events—the whole process of getting dolled up and anticipating a moment to just let loose and have fun. Aside from that, I also got to meet a lot of different people and get exposed to a lot of different cultures. I thought having Haitian-Korean and Jamaican-Cuban neighbors was the norm. We literally celebrated every heritage month with some kind of festival or weekend celebration. It wasn't until my dad retired and we were living in Texas that I realized how extraordinary all of that was. In a way, it's motivated me to carry that love of celebration and culture into everything I do.
Liz: Oh, that sounds like such a unique childhood!
Jordan: It was pretty cool looking back at it. You take it for granted when you're going through it, but it was pretty special.
Liz: So what was your transition into adulthood like?
Jordan: Oh Jesus.
Jordan: It wasn't a nightmare, but it wasn't fun either. I went to a small high school, then to a big college. I thought I had it all figured out at 17—law school and everything else that sounds like I have my collective shit together. But I didn't actually want to do that. I had a hard time in school because I was so used to being at the top, I didn't know how to handle failure. So I'd assume failing made me a failure, and I'd mope around and feel sorry for myself. I remember calling home my sophomore year, asking my mom to change my major to Art History and Latin. She was less than enthusiastic. I was majoring in journalism right when the industry sort of imploded in the worst way, so I felt very lost.
It was just such a random time. So many things started to just bubble to the surface: anxiety, ADHD, terrible panic attacks. I wouldn't want to leave my room, and I hid that from everyone. I wasn't okay at all. It took me two years to admit that to myself and finally go to therapy. It wasn't until then that I told my family and my therapist that I had been sexually assaulted when I was younger. I suppressed it totally, but nothing stays down for long.
Liz: Yes, absolutely. That sounds like a painful time.
Jordan: So I had all this stuff going on in my head. I felt lost, I felt broken, I felt like I wasn't good at anything. Then I decided to apply for a job at a wedding venue. It was such a left turn from what I had "planned." But it was the most rewarding thing I ever did. It really saved my life. I got to help people on the most beautiful day of their lives, and suddenly everything just made sense. I knew I always wanted to help people, and here was the path to do it. It's a far cry from law school, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Liz: I find that many of the wedding professionals I speak with never expected to find themselves in the wedding industry, but here we all are. So there must be something to it. Did you graduate from college?
Jordan: I finished, but I didn't walk. I didn't want to, even though my parents reeeeeally wanted me to. I just didn't want to be bothered with it anymore. It was a pretty selfish thing to do, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It was like a nasty divorce almost. I just wanted it to be over. This is the same girl who didn't want to go to prom because I love naps so...
Liz: I hear you. If you had walked, it would have been for your parents, but not really for you. So when did you decide to start your own business, and what was that process like?
Jordan: I tried explaining that to my parents, and it didn't go over well. C'est la vie. I moved back to San Antonio after not really knowing what to do with my life. The business was a series of left turns, too.
Liz: How did it unfold?
Jordan: I tinkered with a bunch of different things while still working at the venue. Read a bunch of business blogs like By Regina and Marie Forleo. I knew I wanted to write, but I felt I didn't know what to say. So all that was cooking until I eventually realized I had learned all I was going to learn at the venue. I appreciated that experience, but I knew I could do something different. Friends had been encouraging me to strike out on my own, and so I just went for it—which has been the most amazing and terrifying thing ever. Isn't there a word for that? Thrilling? Yes, it's been thrilling. Still so much to learn, but I always tell people if I can do it, anyone can.
Liz: That's amazing. So when did you officially launch your business?
Jordan: So I came up with All The Days in late August 2015. I didn't really tell anyone yet because I was terrified if it failed people would throw it in my face? I know, anxiety makes you think stupid thoughts. So I worked for about a year taking just about any client I could get. The branding wasn't fully there yet, I was waaaaay too accommodating on pricing, and I was still learning how to price everything. Then around July 2016, the ideas started to come together. I finally got the website where I wanted it about September 2016. So I guess I founded it in August 2015, but officially launched September 2016.
Liz: Awesome. And how is it going?
Jordan: Pretty damn good. You have to hustle. But you know that. (laughs) There's always something I need to do and someone I need to talk to, but every opportunity eventually pays for itself. On the wedding side of things, I offer day-of coordination, three different tiers of planning packages, and consultations. They're pretty even, and every couple has referred me out to someone else. San Antonio is very much a word of mouth town, so it helps!
Liz: That's great! So it's Woke Wednesday. Do you identify as woke, feminist, or otherwise a social justice advocate?
Jordan: God yes. I have to. I was definitely sipping the Kool-Aid growing up, thinking somehow I was an exception to the rule. That changed a few years ago after a horrible experience with some police officers. It was the October before the Mike Brown shooting. I thought a middle class upbringing, pearls, and dresses were going to save me. But I learned that to some people, all I ever will be is black and a problem. I hated it. I hated the microaggressions I denied were problems. It was really an unlearning of a bunch of different things. It was being honest about how I felt as a black woman in a world that hates black women. It grew into advocating for everyone else who gets sidelined into the margins. I learned to listen and I learned to speak up and out.
Liz: Totally. How do you incorporate those values into your business?
Jordan: It became a tenet of the business. Always advocate for the love stories the industry purposefully ignores. The majority of my clients are same-sex couples and people of color. I have no choice but to be political in a time when so many of their livelihoods are under attack. A lot of people have criticized me for doing that in such a fluffy business, but people are politics—it affects every aspect of our lives. You can't just ignore it, and if you can, it's because you're not worried about things affecting you negatively. That's an incredibly privileged stance to take.
Liz: Amen. A thousand times. So zooming out of your life a bit so you can sort of see your story from a bird's eye view, are there lessons there that you would share with someone else trying to find their way?
Jordan: For sure. I said this to a group a high school kids last week. You're going to fuck up, but you're not a fuck. Embrace your failures, and recognize they're not the end of your life. There's always something to learn in all of them and some of your best ideas will come out of something else not working. Just go for it.
Liz: I love that. Is there anything else you would like say or share?
Jordan: Hmmm...Love who you can while you can, and fight like hell for the ones you do.