COVID-19 has affected many businesses, but some, such as Jennifer Coleman, owner of Common Journey Creations, found a way to help communities in the pandemic.

Coleman saw the needs for personal protective equipment in March 2020 and started making handmade and custom face masks. After a post on Facebook, Common Journey Creations exploded and suddenly was shipping out orders all over the country. The change happened overnight. This business did not start this way, however, Coleman started by making inspirational home and wedding decor, such as personalized motivational plaques, artwork and mason jar tea lights. Coleman’s goal is to bring people together and to help and encourage people to create.

Originally from Lackawanna County, Coleman received her associate’s degree in business administration from Lackawanna College. She graduated from Keystone College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in human resources.

Coleman decided to start Common Journey Creations in 2017, stemming from a “personal pandemic” of her own. From her experience with corporate life and having every door slammed in her face, she decided to approach her career differently. She felt inspired to help others. She believed that there are common challenges in life, yet they are not discussed openly. Her goal became to change that mentality by helping others get through their own personal pandemic through her lessons. This is what led her to Common Journey Creations — a business focused on inspiration and motivation. As the owner, Coleman designs inspirational wall and table signs, plaques, paintings, and drawings. She also creates outdoor decorations and provides personalized special occasion and holiday products, such as bridal guest books and memorial gifts. Common Journey Creations has evolved in response to changes that Coleman sees within the market.

The business’s mission is to represent all on our common journey through life, despite the differences in details in our lives. Although she built her business with only a few dollars, she believes that her mentality and focus on helping and encouraging people is where her passion lies as a business owner. During 2020, when state officials asked for “all hands on deck” from local and large scale businesses to help with the PPE shortage, Coleman stepped up. That led to an appearance on local news and orders started rolling in. She felt that she made a difference not only to those in her community, but the country as her masks were ordered nationwide.

Coleman built the business based on her core values and ethics. Coleman’s values are reflected in the designs of her handmade masks that are intended to lift not only the buyer’s mood, but the moods of those who encounter the face mask. She felt that masks could be a form of expression and individuality. This is why she uses a wide range of cloths for her facemask designs, including patterns such as rainbows, camouflage and even masks with toilet paper graphics.

It costs nothing to have a dream and work toward it, but seems as if it costs everything to build a dream, Coleman believes. To aspiring entrepreneurs, she re3commended setting goals within your means. Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming, but do fear making mistakes. Although doing nothing seems better than falling on your face, it is quite the opposite — do not be afraid to fail. Every failure is a stepping stone. Coleman tells others to not have self-doubt or compare yourself to others. The pandemic has made Coleman realize how much we need each other and with patience and respect, the difference you can make in someone’s life can be momentous.