by Jessi Burg and Kelly Sullivan
Happy Wednesday to all of our readers! Today we’re interviewing Emily Soloby, CEO and Founder of Juno Jones, about her vibrant spectrum of talents and a knack for business solutions. Emily has been advocating for women since the beginning of her career, and we’re excited to share her story.
JB: How did you get into the trades?
ES: I have a background in women’s studies and law. I was a domestic violence victim advocate in college, so I went onto law school to continue that work as a lawyer. Eventually, I wanted to switch careers because I needed a break. I went to graduate school to study broadcasting, where I met my husband. Together we co-own a truck and heavy equipment safety training firm. We have spent the last 13 years growing that business from a mom and pop shop into a national level consulting firm.
JB: How did you start a women’s work boot company?
ES: I have always been a boot lover. I trained in shoe making in Cuernavaca, Mexico and at the Brooklyn Shoe Space in New York. I found myself in need of some steel-toed boots that could work for both being around equipment at job sites and meeting with clients. I realized that there was a gap in the market when I couldn’t find anything I liked between the two options on the shelves. I started talking to women in various trades businesses about the lack of options in safety footwear, and decided that I wanted to change that. I’ve learned even more about boots since opening Juno Jones.
JB: Where did the name Juno Jones come from?
ES: Juno Jones is a fictional character that I created. I was aiming for a name that was easy to remember and fun to say. This character is intended to represent the modern woman – like a superhero who isn’t afraid to try new things and take on the world.
JB: What is Hazard Girls?
ES: Hazard Girls is a free Facebook community powered by Juno Jones. I launched Juno Jones in February of 2020 during the peak of Covid-19 lockdown, and we had a lot of extra time while we were waiting for the shoes to be produced, so I created the Hazard Girls group. I was starting to build a community on Instagram, and I would receive a lot of messages from women looking to be introduced to other women in similar industries. At first I wanted to direct them to Facebook groups, but quickly learned that there were no groups that were all encompassing women in male populated fields. I took the opportunity to create that group, and Hazard Girls was born!
JB: How did the Facebook group turn into a podcast?
ES: I was a guest on the Women in Manufacturing Podcast, and they loved my content so much that they wanted to give me my own podcast. Our team worked with Jacket Media Co. to create and produce the podcast. We now release a new episode every week, each that explores a different field through candid interviews with women leaders about their professional journeys. Starting this podcast has helped me grow a community to network with, and I have learned so much from amazing women in all different types of trades.
JB: What is your favorite thing about working with this population of women?
ES: My favorite thing is connecting with this community of women that have now become my friends and colleagues.
JB: What do you wish people knew about working in the trades industries/hazardous, non-traditional fields?
ES: My mission is to spread the word so that women know it is always an option for them. It’s easy to not consider those types of jobs when starting out on a career path, but there are many well paying jobs that need more women on board. I want them to know that men and women can have that same independence and financial freedom with a career in the trades.
JB: How can people who are building their businesses better support women in these fields and support that culture?
ES: Hiring women is an obvious answer to creating a diverse team. But not just women, ALL diverse candidates across the board so that you have all different voices and perspectives at the table. Oftentimes, business owners feel that they don’t have those options to hire, or don’t see many diverse applicants. One way to create a diverse team is by actively seeking out those applicants and putting structures in place to add more training where needed. This helps open doors for more on-the-job-training in order to hire women and other diverse candidates.
JB: What should men know about Juno Jones and the Hazard Girls?
ES: We find that most men want to be allies and want to support women in these different industries. They (and society as a whole) are starting to realize that yes, there is a shortage of workers across the board in many industries and yes, women are a great untapped resource. Anything men can do to support this will benefit our economy as a whole. Everyone wins!
To find out more about Emily Soloby and her many hats, visit any of the links included below.