Jenny Chyb on Stepping Up and Stepping Back
The German language has some highly specific words for a variety of situations. If there’s a word for a multitasking musician, who supports her community and environment through event organization, Jenny Chyb’s picture would be underneath it. Growing up in Germany, she was inspired by the holiday markets there and built on that inspiration to create the Asbury Park Bazaar that we enjoy today. While this event seems to run effortlessly, that’s clearly due to Jenny’s hard work and determination. Whether you’re hoping to run a large scale event, like the Bazaar, or you’re one of the vendors featured in it, there’s plenty to learn from Jenny’s insights. Genießen! (Enjoy!)
Give us a brief description of your event
The Asbury Park Bazaar is a celebration of local and regional makers, music and art in Asbury Park. We hold almost 20 events a year at Convention Hall - a beautiful, historic building right on the beach in Asbury Park. The Bazaar features a curated roster of both local and regional makers, designers, artists and collectors. The goal is to cultivate our amazing creative community, while creating a meaningful experience for event-goers.
All of our vendors sell items that are handcrafted or vintage, but the Bazaar is not just about shopping. People can enjoy beauty and wellness experiences or learn a new skill during our DIY workshops and kids art classes. There’s an amazing music schedule of local bands, acoustic artists and DJs as well as delicious food and libations offered by The Anchor's Bend restaurant and Oyster Bar.
How did you get started?
It started as a partnership with the Asbury Park Boardwalk and continues to be to this day! My husband was working down at The Anchor's Bend with James Douglas, the General Manager, and they wanted to host pop up events at Convention Hall. That's when I came in - my experiences as a maker myself, event organizer, and all of these ideas just collided - and we created the Asbury Park Bazaar. I grew up in Germany and my favorite memory as a child was visiting those amazing German holiday markets every year - Weihnachtsmarkts. I could just picture that kind of market being so magical in the Grand Arcade (it's such a gorgeous space!). We started in 2013 with the Fall Bazaar and added the holiday markets that December. At first it mostly featured our friends who were just starting out their handmade businesses at the time. It grew from there.
How do you stay organized?
That's a funny question. I honestly have no idea because I should have pulled all my hair out by now! Honestly, I think I may be just good at multitasking. To be successful at anything takes time, hard work, passion and dedication. In addition to my work at the Bazaar, I am a freelance writer, communications manager, and event organizer at Clean Water Action, a local environmental non-profit. My brain is always running in a million different directions and I am working on 10 different projects all at once.
How do you handle setbacks?
I take it out on my husband. Haha, just kidding...but seriously, I need to give a shout-out to my amazing husband, Joe Chyb, who works as a manager at Convention Hall. Any setbacks that I face, he is often there to help me solve them. Also, I have a great team (which is me, Joe, Jennifer Chavez, as well as the Asbury Park Boardwalk team, Lauren Macaulay and the staff). Issues do come up, but working together, you can solve anything.
What’s your biggest strength/weakness?
I think my biggest strength is passion for what I do. I am an environmentalist at heart - growing up in Germany made this a part of who I am. It was normal to buy organic, local produce, or ride your bikes to the store instead of driving your car. There, you did everything you could to care for the Earth.
That mindset extends into all the work I do. My business promotes locally-made, handcrafted goods and vintage/upcycled items that are more sustainable for the environment. Instead of buying cheap (and sometimes toxic) goods, you're supporting your local community by spending your money where it counts most.
My biggest weakness is taking on too many tasks which tends to give me major anxiety. Sometimes, I let little things get to me when they shouldn't and I get to the point where I can't stop thinking about them. It can make me very emotional.
How do you delegate responsibilities?
This past year I realized I needed a change because my stress levels were so high. When I started attending Babes in Business meetings I knew I needed some help if I wanted to continue to grow the Bazaar. I realized that in order to grow the event, we’d need to grow our team. By building a team of people, I was able to delegate different tasks to the appropriate people. We have workshop leaders, event coordinators, social media managers, and graphic designers all working together to make the best possible experience for the people attending the Bazaar. I really need to give a shout out to Jennifer Chavez, who I started working with last year. Our work together has taken the Bazaar to a whole new level and helped me become more organized and meet more like-minded people. We have so much fun stuff planned for the future!
What do you find rewarding about this endeavor?
I think supporting your local community and small businesses - artists, makers, designers, shops, musicians - is one of the most important things you can do for your well-being, happiness, and the planet! My favorite thing in the world is meeting all of the amazing makers during the Bazaars. I am blown away by the amount of talent in Asbury Park and our region. I feel so lucky to be a part of this incredible creative community!
What inspires you?
Music is probably the most inspiring to me. I'm a drummer in a band with some of my favorite gals - we're called Lyons. I love creating music with them. It keeps me sane and keeps me going every day. I also try to integrate my love for music into every Bazaar. We host acoustic artists, DJs, and have partnered with Indian Summer Music Festival, which features amazing local bands right on the beach at The Anchor's Bend every fall.
What are you looking forward to this fall?
Meeting our little girl, Magdalena! My husband and I are having our first baby! We are due September 14th (which coincides with the Asbury Park Fall Bazaar and Indian Summer Music Fest). It'll be the first Bazaar I'll miss, but they are in good hands with our Bazaar Team and it's for a very, very good reason! I can't wait to meet our little girl and bring her to all of the Holiday Bazaars this December. I grew up all over the world and have traveled to a lot of amazing places and I can't wait to show her the world.